There has been a change to our Parish Team since the last AGM, as Fr. Damian has left us to work full time for SPEC at London Colney.  In his place we welcomed Fr. Kevin Moule, who was ordained last November and has come to us as his first official appointment in the Diocese.

Together with Aileen, our Catechist in Chief, Fr Tom and Fr Kevin hold regular Monday morning meetings to discuss upcoming events and items for the newsletter.  

Fr. Thomas Parayadyil, is still in residence as chaplain to the Syro-Malabar community from Kerula in India and he is kept very busy, visiting communities around the London area and holding a series of Marriage Preparation programmes in the Small Hall.  We are still very fortunate to have Fr. John McDade who continues to help out with our Sunday Masses.

Sadly both Fr. Damian and Fr. Thomas lost close family members during this year and our sympathies are, and have been, offered to them both.

We welcomed Bishop John Arnold to the Parish in December for an official Visitation.  He met with parish groups including the catechists, the Parish Council and the Finance Team and was available to speak to any parishioner who wanted to see him.  He also paid visits to the sick and attended our Christmas party.  His report was very favourable and some of it has been posted on the website for you all to read.


Fr. Tom, Fr. Damian and Fr. Kevin gave talks in Advent and Lent on the subject of St Paul to reflect the Year of St Paul, which runs from June 08 to June 09.

Extra exposition took place on the Sunday afternoons of Advent and Lent.

The RCIA programme had four “students” this year – all were confirmed at the Easter Vigil, and two were received into the church.

Bishop John Arnold was back in May to confirm thirty nine of our young people.  Once again, a wonderful ceremony and many thanks to all those who worked so hard to make it so, especially our fantastic team of Catechists.

40 children made their First Holy Communion over two special masses in May.  The weather was variable but the ceremonies went well and were enjoyed by the participants.  They gathered together again in June for a Mass of Thanksgiving, which gave the children a second opportunity to put on their finery and celebrate their new status.

We had a great deal of trouble getting hold of text-books for them – the ones we use are imported from America, and in the end Mrs Sutton very kindly photocopied extracts forty times for the children.  The books arrived the following week, but have been held over for next year.  The catechists who look after the children who do not attend Catholic schools and therefore have to follow a two year course in the parish, have found that their text books are not always appropriate and are creating their own programme, which seems to go down much better.  These children express a wide range of knowledge when they come to us, but enjoy and absorb their instruction very well.

We held our annual Sacrament of the Sick Masses in Advent and Lent and there was Mass in the Catholic section of New Southgate Cemetery in June.

The Parish as a whole, and the Parish Council in particular, needs to be aware of the many ways that we, as Christians, can help within the parish and the local community, especially during the economic troubles we are now experiencing.  We need to think about how we reach out to Catholics who have stopped coming to church and consider how to keep the young in the church community.


The Church and the Hall were both painted during the summer holidays.  

New benches, made by Irish Contract Seating were installed in the church in February.  They were designed to match the furniture on the sanctuary and were laid out to very specific measurements in order to eliminated poor sightlines.  Although there are fewer benches, there are the same number of seats as before – the rows are slightly closer together.  Matching chairs were also purchased for the choirs to sit on.  There have been some very generous donations from parishioners for the benches, which they have been asked to Gift Aid if they can.  The claim form is currently being completed.

The roof has been looked at yet again with reference to the leak, and we hope that it has finally been eliminated.

The Diocese has recommended a company called Precision to oversee that all the parishes are in line with the current health and safety regulations.  A representative visited us in April and gave us a good rating.  This will cost £900 a year.


The newsletter is posted weekly on the website, as are a number of other interesting items, often complete with links to other websites.  Any item of interest to our parish can be sent to the Office for inclusion on the website.  Pictures can also be added, and please note that pictures of children can be posted, as long as they are not directly identified.

With reference to the newsletter, this might be a good time to remind people that items for inclusion should be with the office by Wednesday, so that the newsletter can be printed in good time on Friday morning.  All late items will be kept for the following week, unless there is a deadline which will have passed by then.  This also applies to posters for the notice board, which should be brought in at least two weeks before the date of the event.


The Finance Committee has met regularly during this year to discuss cash flow and expenditure.  £35,000 was spent on repairs and renewals, including the re-paint and repairs to the roof.

Assessable income (Offertory and tax refunds) for 2008 was £12,000 less than for 2007.  The bank statement for 31st December showed a gain of £52,000 to £159,000, but the benches cost £78,000 in February.

The paper shop is doing well, and Rita and Phil make every effort to bring their wares to the attention of the parish, by holding special sales in the Hall for Christmas, Easter and First Communion etc.  On the other hand, we have a disappointing take up of Catholic papers considering the size of the parish.

New items the Council are considering purchasing include covering for the sanctuary floor, lockable storage for the new hymn books and a bigger oven in the Hall kitchen.


Celia and Clyde Webb put on a very special Roast Dinner in the Hall in February.  This was a sell out and was much praised - future events are planned starting with a buffet meal in October.  

There was another successful January Sale, the proceeds from which were earmarked for new hymn books.

Patrick Bolger organised our biannual pilgrimage to Lourdes in October: a number of parishioners, both Lourdes regulars and newcomers, were accompanied by Fr. Damian.  There is an account of the visit on the website together with a good selection of photographs.  Thank you and well done, Patrick!

The Fair Trade stall is still going well and is popular with the parishioners.  There is always a wide range of goodies on sale, including chocolate at Christmas and Easter.

There was a well-attended farewell gathering for Fr. Damian at the end of April.  He has very kindly sent us his “goodbye” letter, which has been made available on the website.


The Hall is no longer available to private users (apart from children’s parties), for reasons which have been detailed before, but it is in constant use by parish groups.  Scouts, Brownies, Cubs and Beavers meet each week, there is an Irish Dancing class on Wednesdays, Keep Fit twice a week; the AA, the Bridge Club, Mothers prayers and Mothers and Toddlers – all meet weekly.  The Youth Club and the Saturday Club meet monthly as does the Bernadette Club.  Latin Dance classes take place on Friday evenings.  There is not a free slot, especially during term time.  All age groups and genders are catered for.  The Hall is kept in generally good shape and new notice boards were purchased last summer to help save the walls for a bit longer.  There are occasionally problems with misuse of the facilities, but this has become much easier since the Hall was not let to individuals any more.

Annual events include the Parish Christmas Party and the Summer BarBeQue.

The Catholic Theatre Group, Ten Ten, now occupy one of the front rooms behind the kitchen area.  This seems to be working well, and they have expressed their thanks to the Parish Council and the parish at large for giving them this office space and allowing them to remove their business from their private home space.  They have offered to help run “awaydays” for the Confirmation group and are keen to put on a play in the Hall for parishioners to see their work.  They are the same group that performed Kolbe’s Gift and The Jeweller in the Hall a couple of years ago.

Special thanks to all those parishioners who take extra care to keep the Hall in the state that we all like to see it in.


Not a great deal happens in this area, although we are often invited to attend events at other local churches, the most notable of which is the Annual Nine Lessons and Carols at St Paul’s in Woodland Road.

The Churches Together magazine, Compass, is available free in the church porch each month and is now in colour when they can get the pictures.


The Diocese have printed a new book of guidelines and procedures which those who work with children are encouraged to read. If you do not have a copy, there should be some available in the paper shop.  CRB forms are an ongoing matter and there are always people who need to complete a form.  Nicky and John have been looking after the forms for a number of years now, and Nicky hopes to step down soon and hand over to other volunteers.


These are 12 – 14 collections which the Diocese asks us to make each year.  In some instances we link three or four together to reduce the number of weeks in which we have a second collection.  The two collections for WEEF and Sick and Retired Priests are considered particularly important to the Diocese and are accompanied by Gift Aid envelopes which many of you complete, for which many thanks.  However, they are often badly put together and words have been had with the Diocese to make them easier to complete, fill and open to be counted.


The church keys were stolen recently one Sunday morning and money was taken from the paper shop cash box.  We now have two sets of keys for the Sunday paper shop volunteers and the weekday servers and a new set of bolts on the sacristy door.  It is very difficult to keep a close eye on the parish on a Sunday morning for obvious reasons.


Attempts have been made recently to reaffirm our link with the school.  The priests like to visit the school, and since he has been here, Fr. Kevin has been going in on Friday mornings for a “chat”.  Some children have been encouraged to join the 11.15 choir and the children come to Mass in the church on special occasions, and held their Easter Play here.  The Junior Choir came and sang carols to the Bernadette Club at Christmas.  The school keeps the parish informed of their activities and fund-raisers through the newsletter and parishioners are always welcome to attend these events.

On a wider scale, the priests put aside several evenings in the Autumn term to sign school application forms.  The criteria is often changed, particularly by the Government, and each year it seems to be different.  There have been serious difficulties getting our children into the secondary school of their choice this year, particularly the girls.  



Four people were confirmed at the Easter Vigil, with two receptions.
First Holy Communion – 40 children
Confirmation – 39 young people

Statistics from our 2008 Return

Baptisms – 51, including RCIA
Weddings – 5 in this church, although we did the paperwork for a number of other weddings, which took place elsewhere.
Funerals – 43
Mass attendance for October 08 = 1450.