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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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St. Anthony is today, as he was in his lifetime, the faithful friend of all in trouble, especially the poor and the needy. "St. Anthony's Bread" means that when a person prays for the intercession of the Saint for a favour, he or she promises to give a gift ("bread") to the poor or some charitable cause.

This custom goes back to the year 1888. At that time there lived in Toulon, France, a devout young woman named Louise Bouffier, who managed a small bakery store. One morning Louise couldn't open the door with her key. Neither could a locksmith, who told her he would have to break the door open. While he went to get his tools, Louise promised St. Anthony she would give some bread to the poor if the door could be opened without force. When the locksmith returned, she begged him to try just once more. The door opened.

Louise kept her promise and the poor received their bread. This answer to Louise’s prayers became known to her friends, and they began to imitate her example. One of then bought a little statue of St. Anthony and placed it in the back room of the shop. It soon became a well- known shrine.

From Toulon this devotion spread to all parts of the world. Sometimes travellers going on a long voyage would promise an offering in bread to St. Anthony if they made their journey safely. Sometimes a mother asked for the health of her sick child. A family might ask for the conversion of someone who was dying. All those petitions accompanied by a promise of bread were granted.?Pope Leo XIII, in his letter of 1898 on the Thirteen Tuesdays, commended the practice of giving "St. Anthony's Bread" to the needy.

Christmas says that being a baby and being a child, as well as being grown-up is what God is all about! A baby is an amazing symbol of helplessness and power! In its total vulnerability it is completely trusting - yet does something for you that only very special people can do - lets you be yourself! Which is the Christmas message - your God wants you to enjoy being yourself, as much as he enjoys you being you!

What do you owe God? From our side we can truly say everything! But what about what God says? Will you be asking the persons who give you presents - how much do I owe you?!!! You smile - but why do we do it to God? This baby is telling you that you have been given to yourself - God says - you owe nothing, it is a present, make sure you enjoy it, and we know that life is full when we know we are loved - need to love - and enjoy being where both of these can happen - that is what Father, Son and Spirit means - and you are made for that. When God chose to be looked after - he asked you and me! What is this baby telling us about God?

The way to be like God is to be a genuine human being - words like love, gentleness, compassion, peace and joy... when these human qualities are real, only when they have skin on, will they blend perfectly with what it means to be God. Where you find love, enjoy it and celebrate; wherever you find love damaged, mend it; where you find love missing - bring it with you!

The Gospel begins with shepherds being told not to be afraid, and ends with Jesus telling the disciples at the Ascension - don’t be afraid - indeed the whole meaning of the Gospel is in that tiny, helpless baby clinging to a human breast - God saying to us wherever you meet the need for love - Don’t be afraid, its only me - and I love you!

From all of us to all of you – peace and goodness!


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.


— Wednesay, 24th December

St. Thomas’
5pm preceded by carols at 4.30pm
7pm preceded by carols at 6.30pm
11.15pm Carols leading into Midnight Mass

Chigwell Convent
8.45pm Carols leading into Mass at 9pm

CHRISTMAS DAY - Thursday, 25th December
St. Thomas’ - 8.30am, 10am & 11.30am
St. James (URC) Buckhurst Hill  - 9am
Chigwell Convent  - 10am

Preparations for Farewell Celebrations for Frs. Austin, Brian and Michael will take place in early January. Details to follow.

Your offerings at the Christmas Masses will be for the Community.

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>>>


CAFOD's beautiful Advent calendar is now live – giving you the chance to take a moment out of each day for reflection and prayer in the run up to Christmas.
Advent is a season of preparation. A time to take a step back, to make our paths straight, to consider what is really important and to make a change in our lives to reflect that.


A Journey of Prayer for Advent and Christmastide 2014.
Copies available from the back of the church—price £1.

Download the parish Advent 2014 Services schedule here>>>

Booklet of Prayers of St. Francis now available from the Repository price £1 each.

Are now available from the repository price £2.75.

Are available from the back of the church giving the times of Masses etc., over the Christmas period. Please take one as you leave.


Have you seen the Waitrose Christmas TV Advert? What do you think of it? We think that it portrays a false representation as it claims that “...everyone who works at Waitrose owns Waitrose…” Not so for the cleaners or kitchen staff working for Waitrose & John Lewis. Sadly, they are not partners or even paid a living wage! We have written to the chairman of the JL Partnership, Sir Charlie Mayfield, Carlisle Place, London SW1P 1BX asking that he pays all his staff a “Living Wage”. If you are moved by this injustice, why not send Sir Charlie a Christmas card asking him to pay the Living Wage.

Many thanks to the 324 parishioners who recently signed the Syrian Refugee Crisis petition and to those who attended last Sat. morning when the petition was presented to the Deputy Leader of the Redbridge Council, Councillor Wes Streeting.


Many thanks to those who supported the service, particularly to the readers, the choirs of Loyola and All Saints and the CWL. The retiring collection raised £600 which has been divided equally between the Redbridge Cold Weather Centre and Mary’s Meals. Many thanks for your generosity.


The Sisters of 5 The Green are very grateful to all their friends who give them Christmas presents each year. This year, because we are aware of the present situation of the world where so many are in need and also because we are fewer in number, we would ask you that instead of giving us presents, you make a donation to a charity of your choice. We take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness and generosity to us and to wish all of you a very happy and blessed Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

We have now completed the last Soup Run of the year and want to say a big thank you for the fantastic response we have received from parishioners supplying food, clothing and donations. Next year we celebrate our 20th year and without your ongoing support this would not have been possible. A special thanks to Moya Moffat and Jerry Bacon for their hard work behind the scenes and all the volunteers.  We would like to say a big thank you to the parents of children in the Nursery at St. Antony’s School for the food donations for the Soup Run.

Wishes to thank everyone who bought raffle tickets last weekend.


Thank you for your support in helping Marie get to her goal to go to Switzerland with the Girl Guides. The generosity of the congregation has really shown her the charity you all have.


. . .
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.


Weekend, 20th/21st December - SVP
There will be an SVP collection after all Masses.

Tuesday, 23rd December - CHURCH CLEANING
The Christmas Clean of the church will be at 10.30am. Please put this date in your diary. Don’t leave it to the few—just half an hour of your time would make a big difference. Thank you.

Wednesday, 24th December to Monday, 5th January - PARISH OFFICE
Please note that the Parish Office is closed on Christmas Eve and re-opens on Monday, 5th January 2015.


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.

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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