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Our parish of St Thomas of Canterbury promotes God's kingdom of justice, love and peace through worship, the proclamation of the Word and prayer. As a community we serve those in need and support God's family in all areas of life.


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There are many questions asked about how everything came about – with the most common answer being the Big Bang Theory. Pope Benedict suggested another question should be asked first. Why is there something and not nothing? A time of reflection lets me ask the same question about myself. Why me and not somebody else?

Why am I a friar – probably for all kinds of reasons back in the 1940’s; but the reason I remain a friar is not the reason why I became one! I see S Francis’ world view very differently now. He was driven by market forces, within a Church which many were seeing as more and more irrelevant. He looked here and there, persisted in moving this way and that, hoping to find the desired goal. Something he never found but discovered that he had been found. He began to appreciate himself as gift: In creating him God gave him to himself; in saving him God gave himself to him; in making him whole [holy] God gave him to God.

Everything about us is gift; it is for us first to accept the gift; and then seek to become what have received – gift for others. Our world value system misses this completely – She thinks she’s God gift to creationa common put-down. But it is true and true of everybody. God never begins to love – just as there is no ending in God neither is there any beginning. God never began to love you – God loves you; even though you had a beginning God always loves you. Ask: Who was God loving before you were born? We are loved into existence so that through this very gift of life we can discover what S Bonaventure calls the face we had before we were born. This is who I am and the way to discover myself is through the way I live the gift. Because no two of us are alike there is no blue-print or sat-nav – simply the inbuilt tendency for good rather than bad, and the willingness to let my way be shown to me – Revelation – in the Word made flesh: I have come that you may have life in abundance . . . 

Click here>>> to continue reading "A Retreat" the latest of Fr Austin's writings (8068 words,14 pages).

Click here >>> to go to page on the website for downloading Fr Austin's various topic writings - including the five Lent 2014 talks.
Click here>>>
to go to Fr Austin's previous weekly Newsletter writings.


15/01/15 - THANK YOU
"Thursday evening last
[15th January] was a truly memorable experience. So many of you braved the cold to come and be with us – never has the Becket Centre seemed so full. Every aspect of the parish was here – the young, the not-so-young and the superannuated all coming from every part of the parish and beyond.

The evening began with Jeremy – Parish Council Chair – announcing a surprise presentation from the children and staff of St Antony’s – with cards made by the children and with wonderful ingenuity personalised for the three of us. Dr Doherty spoke very kindly on behalf of Trinity School and indeed on behalf of the parish.

All three of us had our thank-yous to make; first and above all for the sense of really belonging we have all enjoyed through your friendship, joys and indeed sorrows too. We were reminded by the young – and others – you baptised me, your married us, you shared our grief in our bereavement. We too have our gratitude here through you inviting us to be with you on all these occasions.

As Michael pointed out – there is something here that is not normally elsewhere – a sensitivity which means not waiting to be asked to help but proactively anticipating needs and volunteering. Michael, your new parish priest, is inheriting this reassuring gift – with a wonderful Parish Office Staff, and volunteers for every aspect of parish life – too numerous to mention; though I can give examples from the teams for the Garden Fete and Christmas Bazaar – and for outreach beyond parish boundaries with the Soup-run teams and Telco...

We leave with that affectionate feeling of being missed – to be missed is to be loved, and that was abundantly present – many, many thanks.

Words that came to mind as saying something about this wonderful experience, are those of Yeats [Cloths of Heaven] ... Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths // Enwrought with gold and silver light // the blue and the dim and the dark cloths // of night and light and half-light // I would spread the cloths under your feet - but I being poor, have only my dreams // I have spread my dreams under your feet // tread softly, for you walk upon my dreams."

Brian, Michael and Austin

23/01/15 - FAREWELL
Frs. Brian and Michael Copps have now left the parish to take up their new posts. We pray that with the help of our Lord’s Grace, they will be guided through the new challenges that lay ahead of them in their new parishes. We shall miss them tremendously.


. . .
urgently needs volunteers for the 6pm Mass and Sunday after 8.30am, 10.00am and 11.30am Mass. Please leave your details with the Parish Office if you are interested in joining a rota. If you no longer are a volunteer for the Repository, please return the keys to the Parish Office. Christmas cards, 2015 Church Calendars, Advent Calendars and Advent candles are now available from the Repository.

We are looking for some fresh faces to join the Stewards' rota at 10am Mass. Working in a team of four once every six weeks, duties include welcoming people into church, handing out service sheets and weekly newsletters, conducting the Offertory (collection) and guiding the congregation to Communion in an orderly manner. We are particularly keen to involve young families. To find out how you can help and join this important Ministry, contact David on 07905 741033.

The language of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is very theological. Youcat fills a gap for everyone. It is attractively presented with illustrations, interest- ing marginal quotes, accessible language, and is cross-referenced to the standard “big” Catechism. If you find the standard Catechism a bit too much, buy Youcat without hesitation and learn more about the Catholic faith. £9.95 in the Repository. There is also a youth Prayer book £7.95. http://www.youcat.org


Tuesday, 27th - TUESDAY CLUB
Becket Centre at 2pm. Fr. Quentin will be giving a talk on his time as a Prison Chaplain. Everyone welcome to come an listen to Fr. Quentin’s very interesting experience.Refreshments will be served.


6.30pm upstairs in the Becket Centre. This is where each member organisation will identify 4 or 5 local issues that they would like to see addressed. These will then be voted on, and the top 5 will become our focus for the coming year. Why not come along and see democracy in action!

Wednesday, 28th - SOUP RUN
We would be grateful to receive sandwiches, biscuits, sweets, cakes and warm clean men’s clothing. Items can be left in the parish office on Wed. morning or in the Becket Centre in the evening between 6.30pm and 7.30pm. Volunteers to help with kitchen between 6.45pm and 7.30pm urgently required. Thank you for your continued support.

Friday, 30th - ASSISI LUNCH
12.30pm - 2.30pm, Becket Centre.


Meeting at the Convent on at 7.30pm to join with the Sisters in memory of the occasion of 3rd February 1822.

7th February - BINGO NIGHT
Becket Centre at 7.30pm in aid of Scout Japan Jamboree Fundraising 2015. Tickets, contact Kathleen Mahoney 07958 645746.

Saturday, 7th February - QUIZ NIGHT
Buckhurst Hill Money Advice Service (BHMAS) is a free personal advice service for people with financial difficulties run by volunteers from various church groups located in the area. We are organising a quiz night at the Baptist Church in Buckhurst Hill to meet annual running expenses. Tables of 6-8 people are available so if interested in attending or putting a table together contact Miro on 0791 3754054.

Sunday, 15th February -
Will be celebrating Mass at 2.30pm (please note the earlier time) at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Wanstead followed by refreshments. All welcome.


Please join Bishop Alan and parishioners from across the Diocese at Brentwood Cathedral at 3pm for Mass to celebrate on of the Patrons of Brentwood Diocese, in the week of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Many hundreds take part in our Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes each year. Cathy O’Connor, the pilgrimage administrator, will be on hand to answer any queries you have, and the BCYS will also be assisting, just as they do in Lourdes. This special celebration will include candles blessed in Lourdes, and everyone is very welcome. There will be refreshments after the Mass. For more information contact Cathy on 01206 501146

Saturday, 21st February - NEARLY NEW & JUMBLE SALE
Chigwell Sisters at 2pm in the Becket Centre. Please leave donations in the church porch. Grateful thanks.

9th April 2015 - ACROSS Trip to Lourdes
If you know of anyone sick, disabled and terminally ill who would benefit from the pilgrimage to Lourdes, please take an application form from the back of the church.



Come and get fit in 2015. We play Thursday nights between 8pm and 10pm in Trinity School, Mornington Road. For details please ‘phone Liz 07759410304 or turn up on the night.

Has now restarted Wednesday and Thursday evenings in the Clare Room (upstairs in the Becket Centre). For more information davidrae56gmail.com
Monday in Becket Centre 8pm. Come and work off those Christmas indulgences!

The Catholic community in England and Wales has so far donated £1m to CAFOD's Ebola crisis  appeal. Your support is helping our local Church partners to educate people about the risks of the virus, to supply essential hygiene kits and washing-stations, and to ensure that burials are carried out safely to reduce the risk of infection. We are also providing emergency supplies of rice to thousands of people in areas that have been quarantined or where farming has been restricted. DONATE TO THE EBOLA CRISIS APPEAL HERE>>>


Please take a copy of The Troubadour and a 2015 mission calendar as you leave church. In the year just ended the parish sent £10,124 to the FMU office in Glasgow for the Franciscan Missions. Half of that total came from the annual appeal, a quarter from the mission boxes (some available from the back of the church) and £1,330 from the Gift Aid tax reclaim. Thank you to all who have supported us during the year.


Have you every prayed to St. Anthony? If after Fr. Austin’s words on St. Anthony in the last newsletter you feel compelled to make a donation to St. Anthony’s Bread as a gesture of thanks, you will find a coin slot on the back wall of the church marked S.A.B. Our church collects this money throughout the year and then divides it among five or six worthy causes at Christmas.

800 YEARS!

The Friars have donated a book and DVD to celebrate 800 years of the Order of Franciscan Friars and these are available this weekend at the back of the church for you to take a copy.

The book celebrates Franciscans with Frontiers since 1209 and the DVD looks at the life and ministry of the Friars in Great Britain since 1224. You are welcome to take a copy of each and any donations would be gratefully received.


If you, or a relative or friend are in Whipps Cross Hospital, please let the priests at Our Lady and St. George parish know 020 8520 5877. Though the hospital staff are very helpful, the priests at St. George’s also rely on being told of people who may welcome a visit.


f you are new to the parish or have moved within the parish, please contact the Parish Office so we can keep our records up to date.

Download the New Parishioner / Change of Address form (pdf file, 312Kb) here>>

Follow this link to see events and notices previously listed on this page.


Any Christian community tries to live out the commandment of Christ to love God and one's neighbour as thyself. Both aspects are inseparable and support for CAFOD enables us to help those in great need.

A recent estimate indicates that we throw away enough food to feed the starving in the whole of Africa. We urge all to review their lifestyle and the effects that a secular and consumerist society have had upon our existence. Live simply so that others may simply live!

Click here to go to the page on this website for details of the Brentwood Diocesan branch of CAFOD. Click here to go directly to the CAFOD Brentwood website, from where you can access the latest newsletter.

Mass Times

St Thomas
Saturday: 6pm (First Mass of Sunday)
Sunday: 8.30am, 10am (Children's Liturgy)
11.30am (Traditional Choir)
Weekdays: 10am (The Rosary, Weds after Mass)
Confession: Saturday, 10.30am, 5pm

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St James URC BuckhurstHill
Sunday: 9am (Children's Liturgy)

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Chigwell Convent
Sunday: 10am (Children's Liturgy)
Weekdays: 6.50am (Morning Prayer), 9.30am
Saturday: 10am
First Wednesday of month no morning Mass
Confession: Saturday, after 10am Mass

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