This coming Thursday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, patroness of our parish, church and primary school.  11th February marks the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to St Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858.  We send you all our best wishes for this important feast. Today is the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Already the meaning and message of Lent is reaching out to us, calling us to prepare for the great journey of renewal. There is some further information below about the parish feast day and the start of Lent.  Best wishes and every blessing to you all for the coming week.

There will be a special Mass for Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School celebrated live online on Wednesday 10th February at 11am - all other children and families are warmly invited to join in too. The actual feast day is Thursday 11th February. We have two funerals that day already, so we will celebrate the solemn Mass for the feast live online at 6pm on Thursday - please note that there will be no Mass broadcast at 12 noon that day. Please join us in prayer and online at 6pm.

Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday (Wednesday 17th February). Next week there will be a Pastoral Letter from His Eminence the Cardinal about the current situation and how Ash Wednesday is to be managed within our current restrictions. We will read the letter at Mass next weekend and make it available on this website. Next weekend we will also outline the plan for Ash Wednesday here. While it is likely that our church will be open again by then (although not yet confirmed), the Cardinal's message will be that it is still very important to stay at home and pray at home. Ash Wednesday is normally a beautiful and inspirational day when great crowds gather at church, full of faith. Sadly, we cannot gather in such great numbers at this time so the situation must be managed. The ashes we receive are an outward sign of something that should actually happen on the inside: repentance and conversion. Wherever we find ourselves, and whatever our circumstances, that journey can begin in each of us thanks to the goodness of God's grace. We will also have a chance, in the coming weeks, to outline our programme for Lenten opportunities.

Thank you to all parishioners for your prayers and devotions which continue at home. We send you all best wishes and blessings from here at church. Your presence and your prayers are a great consolation to us and many others throughout the parish. Please continue to keep safe and keep praying!

Due to the critical situation in the local area, public Masses have been suspended at Our Lady of Lourdes Church and nearby parishes in the deanery until further notice. Masses will be broadcast on the live-feed here (and by telephone on Saturdays). We are extremely grateful to our volunteers who have worked so hard and generously to allow us to keep going for such a long time. We hope that this suspension will be short and we will work with others in the borough and deanery to reopen as soon as we can. Please spread the word to others. Whether you can watch online, hear Mass on the telephone, or join us spiritually, the most important thing is to pray at home and stay safe. Our funerals will continue unaffected. The online Mass times will be as follows:

Monday-Friday 12pm (English); 7pm (Malayalam)
Saturday Vigil 6pm (English); 7pm (Malayalam)
Sunday 10am (English)

Confessions will resume after the suspension. God bless you all and please stay safe.

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We have now been able to restore some hours in which the Parish Office is manned. However, we do please ask that you keep normal business until after the lockdown. It is not possible to come to the office in person. Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

Yet again, we will need to revise our plans for the preparation and celebration of these sacraments. At the time of writing, we would prefer to wait in order to have at least some preparation in person. While parents are the first teachers of the faith for their children, there is also an important element of 'accompaniment' by the community which cannot be realised so satisfactorily in the virtual setting. We are also aware that children and parents already have a lot of online learning to deal with. However, we will continue to reassess the situation for these sacraments, including what may or may not be possible in the time to come. Please wait for further information to be published.