Canon Anthony Dwyer
Our Lady of Lourdes
1 Kirkwick Avenue
01582 712245

Church Address:
Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church
Rothamsted Avenue

Office Administrator: Mrs Melanie Armitage
Office hours: 9.30am - 12.30pm, Mon to Thu
Safeguarding Representative: Mrs Brigid Brennan

Our Lady of Lourdes is a Fairtrade Parish and a LiveSimply Parish.

“So faith comes from what is heard”
Romans 10:17

Questions about the Catholic Faith

In this section you can find answers to some common questions about the Catholic faith.  Click on the links below to jump to the question and answer:

How do I find out more about becoming a Catholic?

How do I find out if it’s for me?

Which best describes you?

Something is stirring inside of me; I need to find out what it is.

There comes a time in our lives when something inside of us begins to stir. Its not easy to understand what it is, ‘I can’t explain it to or discuss it with my circle of friends, they will either not understand or even think I’ve got something wrong with my head’. Rest assured it’s not unique to you. God calls us in many ways, we don’t call Him, so maybe through the Holy Spirit you are unwittingly being called to find out more about God. He has decided the time is now right for you be welcomed into the Family of God. Perhaps He encouraged you to read this page. Maybe you don’t want to admit it, but what have you got to lose?

Not yet ready to talk about it? Maybe not and that’s perfectly fine, but just keep going over it your mind, it’s called ‘praying’. God is listening and He will help you, if you ask Him, to take the next step.

The Next Step

Talk to our Parish Priest after Mass one day. He may be busy of course talking to parishioners as they leave church, but don’t be put off. Make yourself known and if he is surrounded by people and you don’t want to intrude say ‘hello’ to one of the Welcoming Team or another parishioner and ask them to introduce you.

Still reluctant? Then contact the Parish Office either by email or phone. Just give a very brief indication of the reason for the call, or even say it’s a private matter based on what is on your mind. It’s that simple and you won’t be judged, in fact quite the opposite, you will be admired for your determination.

You wish to quietly explore what it means to become or even just think about becoming a Catholic.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the rite through which adults are prepared and when ready are received into the Catholic Church. Our parish, as does every other one, organises such courses. The first step is to talk to our Parish Priest and together you will decide if RCIA is right for you. Everybody is different so there may be other routes more suitable for you at this stage in your life, so do start with an initial chat. Contact the Parish Office to start your journey.

You want to return to practising your faith and need help with this, or you were never Confirmed and would now like to reignite the desire to find out more?

On the assumption that you have some understanding of your faith and would now like to return to receiving the Sacraments to develop/rediscover your relationship with God then maybe the best place to start is participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession as its more commonly known). The word ‘Reconciliation’ is purposely used in this context because that’s exactly what you want to happen. Remember the parable of The Prodigal Son’? All of us at different times and in different ways have gone wayward to a greater or lesser extent. The Prodigal Son realised he had to return to his father, to ask him for forgiveness. Was he chastised? On the contrary, his father welcomed him back with open arms. The same will happen to you when you take this simple step. Two things are guaranteed, you won’t be judged, and a cloud, a heavy weight will be lifted from your mind.  You can find the times of Confession here, and to prepare you might like to use this guide.

Should you wish to cement this ‘return home’ by receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, then talk to our Parish Priest who will readily help you and advise on the next step. You can contact him via the Parish Office.

God calls us all at different times– welcome back.

You are simply looking to deepen your understanding of the faith, perhaps to support your spouse, children, or indeed any reason

‘Where do I start’?

The good news is you already have by looking at this page. The list of resources is virtually endless but also overwhelming so take it slowly but commit to doing something every day if you can, even just for ten or fifteen minutes. You can find a list of useful resources here.

Consider this: –

Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born of Mary after the Angel Gabriel came upon her at the Annunciation. Through Mary, God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ to live amongst us, to show the way to those who want to listen. He suffered and died for our sins so that we may have eternal life. In other words, he overcame death, death on a cross. It’s both complex and compelling, the more you learn the more revealing it becomes, but remember, as Pope Francis stated, faith is never a private matter, so talk to whoever you can and take it step by step.

Maybe get to understand the Mass better. Marvel at what we witness each time we attend. We listen to the Word of God and relate it to our own every day lives. We thank God for our own gifts and talents specific to us and those of others from which we benefit. We witness the Holy Spirit, present on the altar in the form of bread, water and wine, which through our priest, are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ – ‘bring down your Spirit like the dewfall’. Pause for a moment to take this in, wonder in the remarkable privilege at being present at this transubstantiation as the priest then elevates the host (body of Christ) followed by the chalice (blood of Christ). We are united in faith with all the saints, martyrs, apostles and loved ones who have gone before (death where is your sting). Then if all this is not enough, we receive the very body and blood of Christ at communion. It is truly remarkable. Can you think of a more inspiring gift, sharing in the supper of and at The Lord’s Table, as did the Apostles at the last supper? What a connection! Finally, the priest blesses us in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, then bids us to share the Gospel by our life.  Remember, Pope Francis said ‘faith is never a private matter’! The more we talk to each other the more we learn, the more we understand, the more we can help ourselves and each other.

Our trained instructors (catechists) run courses for groups or individuals for those who wish to understand more.  Contact the Parish Office to be put in touch with them.

Why Do We Sit, Stand and Kneel at Catholic Mass?

The Catholic Faith liturgy follows its own unique set of religious rituals and traditions which are part of the Catholic Mass Order. As a member of the Catholic Faith, you probably observed some of these practices which include sitting, standing and kneeling during mass. So why do we do these things and what do they signify?

To better understand the meaning behind the physical gestures that we perform during the Catholic Mass, we need to keep in mind two basic elements of the Catholic Mass Order.

During the Mass, the priest is not just leading the celebration of the Eucharist, he is acting the role of Jesus. As Jesus, he leads us to do the different gestures, traditions and rituals that are part of the Catholic Mass Order. This is why we sit and stand when the priest sits and stands. This is also the reason why altar servers and other priests bow when they approach the celebrating priest. In this way they are showing reverence to Christ who is represented by the priest.

Another important thing that we should understand about the Catholic Mass is that Jesus is present in the consecrated Eucharist. This is in accordance to the doctrine of transubstantiation which states that the bread and wine become Jesus at a certain point during the Mass. The bread and wine retain their appearance but are actually transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

Why We Sit During the Mass

At the beginning of every Mass, we start in a sitting position. Sitting is considered the base position of worship. This is the position from which we can stand and kneel. We sit when we are listening to the first two readings during Mass which is based on the Lectionary.

We also sit down after the Gospel reading, focused and attentively taking in the homily. We remain while waiting for the Eucharistic elements to be prepared, a very meaningful gesture because we expectantly wait and rise when the priest is ready.

Why We Stand During the Mass

The Catholic Mass starts with the Penitential Act which happens right after the priest walks down to the Sanctuary. During this part of the Catholic Mass Order, we acclaim the Kyrie Eleison by saying “Lord, have mercy.”

The Kyrie Eleison is an ancient Christian tradition in which we confess our sinfulness to our Almighty Father and to our fellow Christians. This is in compliance to the New Testament command for us to admit our sins to one another.

Standing is also a simple but profound way of honouring and respecting Jesus who is represented by the priest during Mass. During the first two readings of the Bible, we are seated and listening but during the Gospel reading, we stand up.

The Gospel is the Word of God and to hear this is a great honour, which is why we ascend from our base position of worship. We stand to acknowledge the significance of hearing God’s very own words.

During the reading of the Gospel, we make a small sign of the cross using our thumb on our forehead, lips and over our hearts. This simple act is a symbolic request for God to impress His Word upon our minds, lips and heart.

When the priest has finished reading the Gospel, he will show respect to the Words of God by kissing the Gospel and then start his homily. After the homily, we stand up to recite our either the Nicene Creed or Apostle’s Creed as a Profession of Faith.

Why We Kneel During the Mass

Kneeling is the most humble way of worshipping God during Mass. When we kneel, we completely submit and surrender ourselves to our Heavenly Father. We kneel during several parts of the Mass.

After the Profession of Faith, we spend the rest of the Mass on our knees. This is an incredible act of faith and devotion because when we kneel, we acknowledge that Jesus is really coming. In light of the doctrine of transubstantiation, we kneel to recognize Jesus’ presence in the Eucharistic elements after the priest says the Eucharistic Prayers.

As we kneel during the rest of the Mass, the priest will perform a number of meaningful gestures. One gesture is the sign of the cross which the priest will do at different parts of the Mass, a prayer request for Christ to come and help strengthen us with His gifts. He will make the sign of the cross over the elements and proclaim “This is my body,” and “This is my blood” over the bread and wine.

Once the bread and wine are consecrated, the priest and the people celebrating with him will kneel in front of the elements to express reverence. The rest of us will rise again when the Lord’s Prayer and the Sign of Peace are said.

The Mass is rich with meaning, every element and gesture represents something profound and beautiful. When we understand these different meanings and take them to heart, each moment we spend during Mass will certainly become more transformative and nourishing to our souls.

Why does a priest wear different coloured vestments?

Throughout the liturgical year, a priest wears different coloured vestments for Mass depending on the liturgical season and which Mass he is celebrating. The colours have symbolic meaning and mark the passage of time. The four most common colours for vestments are green, white, violet, and red.

Along with these four main colours, there are also rose vestments and black vestments in the Roman rite. Priests may wear rose vestments, symbolizing joy, on Gaudete Sunday during Advent and Laetare Sunday during Lent. They may wear black vestments, representing mourning, on All Souls Day.

Liturgical colours and the use of different vestments represent more than just small details to be remembered. The Mass is a sensory experience in which we touch and taste the Eucharist, smell the incense, hear the music and prayers, and see everything happening at the altar. The use of colour heightens our experience by evoking certain moods and feelings to contribute to the whole experience of the sacrifice of the Mass.

Why Do Catholics Pray the Rosary?

What is the Rosary?


“In the early 13th century, St. Dominic preached the Gospel to combat various heresies, and he founded the Order of the Dominicans to carry out this work of spreading the Good News. Despite their efforts, the heresy continued to reappear, however, so he called on the Blessed Virgin Mary to guide him. Tradition holds that Mary appeared to him in 1221 and gave him the devotion of the Rosary, encouraging him to share the prayer with others. Many also believe that the historical origin of the Rosary lies in the monastic practice of reciting 150 Psalms each week, a practice which additionally expanded into the repetition of Hail Mary’s.”

The prayers that make up the Rosary are arranged in sets of ten Hail Marys, called decades. Before each decade we begin with one Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father”) and traditionally we end with one Glory Be. The rosary beads are used as an aid to counting the prayers while reciting them.

Visit to find out more or listen to Bishop Robert Baron explaining the rosary here:

The Importance of Praying the Rosary

“The Rosary is a meditative prayer based on Scripture. When we pray the Rosary, we ask Mary to pray for us as we seek to grow closer to her son Jesus by contemplating His life, death, and Resurrection. The Rosary is a prayer that always accompanies me; it is also the prayer of the ordinary people and the saints … it is a prayer from my heart.”
Pope Francis

“Although the repeated Hail Mary is addressed directly to Mary, it is to Jesus that the act of love is ultimately directed, with her and through her.”
St. John Paul II

At a Mass in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary on 7th October at the Rosary Shrine, Haverstock Hill, Bishop John Wilson encouraged the faithful present to ‘pray the Rosary often’, echoing the words of St Pio of Pietrelcina.

‘As the beads move through our fingers, we pray with Mary as she shows and leads the way to Christ. Moving through the scenes of salvation, Mary guides us into tender intimacy with Jesus,’ he said.

‘We come as students to the school of Mary to be taught to pray,’ he explained. ‘Our Blessed Lady shows us how to live according to God’s promise. She witnesses how to receive Jesus into our lives and hearts. She mirrors how to follow him as faith-filled disciples.’

‘Through our prayerful repetition Mary, who received Christ within her womb, invites us to enthrone him in our heart. The Rosary is the remembrance of God’s promise’, a ‘lavish promise, cast out from the cross into human history and beyond.’

He added: ‘No matter how spiritually firm or flimsy we might feel, we continue, with Mary, as the pilgrim people of God’s promise.’

Speaking of the recent ad limina visit of the Bishops of England and Wales, Bishop John explained that he had asked Pope Francis about his devotion to Our Lady, Untier of Knots. In response, the Holy Father ‘spoke movingly about his simple trust in the power of Our Lady’s prayers to untie the knots of life, the difficult situations that affect the world, the Church, other people and ourselves“To some it may sound naïve,” he said, “but I pray.”’

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