Activity archive

The Baptism of the Lord – 10th January 2021 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – reflecting on the gift of Baptism

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Why is this important today? Today is the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, when Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. This is traditionally considered the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, and for this reason marks the end of the Christmas season – so after today we take down the crib and our Christmas tree.

Baptistry window showing the Baptism of Jesus

What is baptism? Baptism is the very first sacrament that we receive as Catholics – it is how we are welcomed into the family of God, and the communion of saints. You can watch this video to help you understand baptism more.

What can we do as a family? Watch the video together as a family, and reflect on your own baptisms. This is a wonderful opportunity to look at family videos and photographs, and see the people who celebrated your welcoming into the Catholic Church. You may also like to bring out your baptismal candles – if you have them – and light them as part of a special family meal together.

What we can all do is pray! We have included a prayer that is prayed on today’s feast that you can pray together as a family. You might also like to pray especially for your godparents, who were with you at your baptism, and promised to help your parents raise you in the Catholic faith.

A special note for First Holy Communion families: We encourage you to use this week’s Family Activity to reflect on all the sacraments, including the sacrament of Holy Communion that your children are preparing for.

Fourth Sunday of Advent – 20th December 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – sharing the peace and goodwill of God with others

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Why is this important today? Christmas is now only a few sleeps away!. As we continue our preparations for this Christmas, we remember that it is often described as a “season of peace and goodwill”, and we reflect on how we can share the peace of God with others – to be, like Saint John the Baptist from today’s Gospel reading, “a witness to testify to the light”.

What does this mean? A witness is a person who sees something take place, and who gives testimony – like in court where we have to be truthful. In the context of our Catholic faith, when we witness, we declare our faith in Jesus – not just through our words, but also through our actions. And that means not just talking about the peace and goodwill (kindness) of God, but also acting on His behalf to those around us.

What can we do as a family? Have a conversation as a family about how you can share the peace and goodwill of God with others as you prepare for Christmas. As you put up your crib (if you haven’t already done so), think of what the innkeeper did for Mary and Joseph – he didn’t have room in his inn, but he let them stay in his stable. Think of those who are homeless, or refugees. What can you do for them? You might consider buying a hamper or present for a poor family. Or donating to the Soup Run during the Christmas period. Or donating to Cafod.

What we can all do is pray! We can always pray for others – even those whose names we don’t know. This week, we invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light all four candles of your Advent wreath. Ask God to help your family share His peace and goodwill with others during the Christmas season.

A special note for First Holy Communion families: We encourage you to supplement this week’s Family Room activity with Chapter 11 of the I Belong book, “To love and to serve”. Reflect together on how Holy Communion is a sign of how much Jesus loves us, and consider how you can share His love and peace with those around you.

Third Sunday of Advent – 13th December 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – joyfully opening our hearts to Jesus

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Why is this important today? Today is the third Sunday of Advent, traditionally known as Gaudete or Rejoicing Sunday. This week, we are invited to consider how this season has helped us “come to realise that so great is Jesus’ love for us that He became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with Him.”

What does this mean? Jesus loved us so much that He chose to born as a human person. Not a rich and powerful person, but a tiny baby, born in a stable and surrounded by farm animals. God’s love and generosity should fill our hearts with joy – the joy we have when we experience something very special.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to do small things to joyfully prepare for Christmas. Put up your Christmas crib, if you haven’t already done so. Write Christmas cards to your loved ones. Play Christmas hymns in preparation for the birth of Jesus. And talk about how you can share the joy of Christmas with others.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light three candles of your Advent wreath. Ask God to fill the hearts of all your family with joy as you prepare for Christmas.


A special note for First Holy Communion families: Chapter 5 of the I Belong book – “Glory to God in the highest” – reflects on the birth of Jesus as the fulfilment of God’s promise to us. When we receive Holy Communion, we are like the shepherds seeing the glory of God. Sometimes we can experience the glory, but sometimes it is hidden. Talk with your child about how special receiving Holy Communion is, as they continue to prepare for the Sacrament.

Second Sunday of Advent – 6th December 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – preparing for the Lord with hope

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Why is this important today? Our Gospel reading today talks about how we need to “Prepare the way of the Lord”, and our First and Second readings also reflect on being ready for God when He comes.

What does this mean? When we prepare for a special visitor to our homes, we will often clean the house, put on special clothes, and sometimes buy or make something nice – a cake, or biscuits, or other special food. Today’s Readings are about preparing our insides, rather than our outsides – preparing our hearts for Jesus, who will be born on Christmas Day.

What can we do as a family? Have a conversation as a family about how you can prepare for the birth of Jesus. Think about Mary and Joseph, who travelled to Bethlehem, and about how they would have prepared for that long journey with hope for the baby who was to be born. And this week, you can light the second candle of your Advent wreath!

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light two candles of your Advent wreath this week. Ask God our Father to bless everyone in your family with hope during this Advent season.

A special note for First Holy Communion families: We encourage you to supplement this week’s Family Room activity with page 102 of the I Belong book with your child (part of Chapter 9, “Do this in memory of me”). Talk together about how receiving First Holy Communion gives each of us “strength for the journey” of our whole lives, and is a sign of God’s great love for us.

Tell us what you did: Share what you did with us either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page.

First Sunday of Advent – 29th November 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – Beginning Advent

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Why is this important today? Today is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the four weeks we use as Catholics to prepare for Jesus’ birth at Christmas.

What does this mean? Saint John Henry Newman explained Advent in one of his homilies as: “a time of waiting, a time of joy”. And Pope Francis describes Advent as a time of “preparing to welcome not a fairy-tale character, but the God who calls us, involves us, and before whom a choice is imposed”…the choice to believe in Him, love Him, and serve Him

What can we do as a family? We invite you to make your very own Advent Wreath as a way of preparing for Christmas. Advent Wreaths are circles made out of evergreen leaves and foliage, with four candles that are lit over the four weeks of Advent as a symbol of the light that the birth of Jesus brings to all of us. Traditionally, an Advent Wreath has three purple candles and one pink one, but you can use any colours that you like. On the first Sunday one candle is lit, on the second two, on the third Sunday we add the pink one and on the last Sunday light all four. So you can light the first candle, a purple one, this week – just once, or each evening as a family. You can also put a fifth candle, usually white, in the centre which is lit on Christmas Day itself. You can find out more about the origins and symbolism of the Advent Wreath here.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light the first candle of your Advent wreath.

A special note for First Holy Communion families: This week’s Family Room activity is a good opportunity for you to talk with your children about fasting before receiving Holy Communion. You can explain that, in the same way that we use Advent to prepare us for Jesus being born at Christmas, fasting is something we use to prepare us for receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

Tell us what you did: Share what you did with us, if you made an Advent Wreath send us a picture either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page.

Feast of Christ the King – 22nd November 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – How should we serve Christ our King?

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Why is this important today? Today we celebrate the Feast of ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of the Universe’ and in the Gospel, Jesus tells his followers what they and we need to do in order to serve and please Him and so win a place in His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.

What does this mean? Last Sunday we heard a parable, a simple story, about how God generously pours out His gifts or talents on us and how we should use them to serve everyone. Today we hear Jesus telling us directly that, when we care for the needy – the thirsty, the hungry, the stranger, the poor, the sick and those in prison, we are caring for Jesus Himself and He will reward us with a place in His Kingdom, a place in Heaven. Jesus is telling us that it is the things that we actually do with the talents he has given us that will please Him.

What can we do as a family? Well, begin with a prayer…….

….. and then, as a family, you can talk about what you can do that will please Jesus. But the talk needs to lead to action, to doing something. Perhaps you already do things like giving food or volunteering for our Parish Soup Run, donating to local Food Banks, shopping or keeping in touch with someone who is frail, befriending someone who is lonely or with a disability – helping at our Seeds group when it can open, giving time or money to help the homeless or refugees…. What else can you think of that you can practically and realistically do? When you have talked about what you are doing or what you could do, make a list and put it up somewhere that everyone can see it!

What we can do is pray! Finding what we can do is often not easy. One answer is to pray, and discern what needs call to us, what are our capabilities and then make a choice. Remembering that anything we do for others in need is done for Christ.

A special note for First Holy Communion families: This week’s Family Room activity is the perfect companion to Chapter 11 in the I Belong book, which is “To love and to serve”. We encourage you to talk with your children about how receiving Jesus in Holy Communion is a sign of His great love for us, and how they can show their love for Him by serving those around them, as we are encouraged to do in today’s readings.

Tell us what you did: Share what you did with us, if you made a plan of things to do to help the needy send it to us either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 15th November 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – using our talents to serve everyone

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Why is this important today? Today’s Gospel reading is about a man going on a journey, who gives his money to each of his servants to look after. When he returns, he rewards the servants who used his money wisely.

What does this mean? We call the story that Jesus tells a parable, a simple story used to illustrate a spiritual lesson. The lesson in this story is that God gives each of us different talents, or gifts. Some people will be lucky enough to have many talents, others may have only one. The most important thing is not how many talents we have, but rather what we do with them, and how we use them to serve those around us.
What can we do as a family? Have a conversation together as a family, considering the talents or gifts that God has given each of you. Perhaps you could write them down as a Word Cloud of all your family’s talents – like the one shown above. Following our Family Room Activity last week, think about your loved ones who have died, and reflect on their gifts. You might also like to consider the Pope’s special prayer intention for this month: praying that progress in robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) “be human”. You can watch a message from Pope Francis here, and then discuss as a family how robotics and AI can make things better for humanity or how, perhaps, they could make things worse.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray together as a family, asking God to work in you and through you to help you see and use the talents He has given each of you. We also invite you to pray for the Pope’s prayer intention throughout November that technology is always used to bring about good.
A special note for First Holy Communion families: This week’s Family Room activity is a great supplement to Chapter 7 in the I Belong book – Bread to offer, and specifically to support you in discussing how the gifts of bread and wine in the offertory reflect the gift of ourselves (page 75).

Tell us what you think: Share your thoughts on using your talents with us – if you make a Word Cloud send us a photo – either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page.

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 8th November 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – remembering the Holy Souls and commemorating Remembrance Sunday

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Who are the “Holy Souls”? The Holy Souls is a phrase we use to describe everyone who has died. Every year on 2nd November, we remember them on All Souls’ Day, and throughout the month of November we pray as a parish community for our family and friends who have died.

What is “Remembrance Sunday”? Every year on the second Sunday in November, we commemorate and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom – the British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

What can we do as a family? Spend some time this week remembering your loved ones who have died – share good memories with each other, and pray for them together as a family. If you haven’t already done so, we invite you to share the names of family and friends who have died with us, so that our whole parish can pray for them throughout the month of November. And you may be interested in some of the special Remembrance Sunday ideas that the British Legion have suggested.

What we can all do is pray! As part of your celebrations, we also invite you to take a moment to thank God for all the people who have loved Him, and who are now with Him in Heaven. And ask the saints to help you as a family each and every day.

Tell us what you think: Share how you have remembered the Holy Souls and commemorated Remembrance Sunday with us either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page.

All Saints – 1st November 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – celebrating All Saints Day

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Who are “saints”? A saint is a person who recognised as being holy and close to God. As Catholics, we believe that anyone who is in Heaven is a saint. We also honour specific people, individuals whom the Church recognises as being good examples to us. Some of these saints are reflected in the statues and stained glass windows that are in our church, and in our beautiful porch window.

What kind of people are the saints? In the Gospel for our Mass today, Jesus tells us what characterises saints. It is a well-known piece of scripture usually called the ‘Beatitudes’. Click on this picture to learn more!
Why is this important today? We remember individual saints on particular days throughout the year. But every year on 1st November, we remember every single person who has died and is now in Heaven with God. Pope Benedict wrote that these “may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones (cf. 2 Tim 1:5)” who may have not always lived perfect lives but “amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord”.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to celebrate All Saints together as a family. Whether it’s eating a nice meal, having dessert, watching a movie or organising a family activity that you can do together, make All Saints Day special!

What we can all do is pray! As part of your celebrations, we also invite you to take a moment to thank God for all the people who have loved Him, and who are now with Him in Heaven. And ask the saints to help you as a family each and every day.

Tell us what you think: Share how you have celebrated All Saints with us either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page.