Public and private prayer, and the way we try to live all our life, are offered to God in worship (from the old word, ‘worthship’). By everything we do and are we try to show God what he is worth to us and to celebrate what we are worth to him.
The summit of this offering of ourselves is, for Catholics, the Mass. ‘It’s the Mass that matters’ is the old Catholic saying. Our offering is a small thing, but at the Mass we join ours to that of Jesus Christ; he is present with us in our gathered assembly, in the reading of the Scriptures, in our praying, in the silences, and above all in the bread and wine at the altar. At the Mass we are caught up in the movement of his self-offering, and that makes our poor attempts worthy after all. Mass is offered most days in one or other of the three churches in our parish. Central to the week is our Parish Mass every Sunday in our Parish Church in Bridport. The usual pattern of Mass times throughout the week is given both on the Home Page and under Holy Mass Times. Please look at the Newsletter for details of the current week’s Masses and other services.
Preparation is provided for Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Contact the Parish Office about these, and also to arrange the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Communion at home and hospital visits.
There are regular times each week for Confession but the priest can also be available at another time by arrangement.
What We Believe
The Catholic Church is a worldwide group of followers of Jesus who try to carry out the same things today as he taught his apostles. We believe we are all precious children of a loving God we call ‘Father’.
We have been told everything we need to know about our Father by his son Jesus: he taught the truth and lived it. His message that we are loved by God will affect the way we think of ourselves and others.
Not that we think ourselves better than other people: the Catholic Church is a fairly motley collection of sinners! But we have the joy of belonging to God none the less, and we do so in the company of the Church. That is important to us. We are not alone, left to ‘do our own thing’. Jesus deliberately formed a group of disciples around him, led by Peter. Catholics believe that we are part of that same group today, still led by Peter’s successor whom we call the Pope (ie ‘Father’).
Catholics have the Mass at the centre of their lives: in it we are caught up in the offering Jesus makes to the Father. There is no better prayer we can make or duty we can perform.
Becoming a Catholic
Being a Catholic in our world is not an easy option. It is a life-time commitment. But it offers a rich framework of worship, prayer, community, and a total way of life. The process of becoming a Catholic is not a quick one; it usually involves meetings over the autumn and winter for discussion, study and preparation. By not rushing things it gives enquirers plenty of time to see if it is the right path for them. The ceremony of being received into the Church is usually at Easter and involves a simple statement of faith, the sacrament of Confirmation and a welcome.
There are seven sacraments which Christ instituted and entrusted to the Church. They are sacred signs of God’s presence and channels of grace to those who receive them with the proper disposition. Throughout our lives we celebrate the power of God through these life giving actions. The seven sacraments celebrate our initiation into God’s life (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist), God’s call (Marriage and Holy Orders) and God’s healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick).
For adults who have not been initiated into the Catholic Church the sacraments are usually received after careful preparation.
Baptism is the sacrament by which we are born again of water and the Holy Spirit, and by which we receive a share in the Divine Life and become children of God.
Before having your child baptised, you should be attending Holy Mass regularly in our parish. Having your child baptised is an important step and it needs to be thought about carefully. As parents, you are undertaking to bring up your child to know and practise the faith of the Holy Catholic Church.
The first step is to pick up a Baptism Application Form from the church
The Eucharist is at the heart of our parish. The details of times for the week of Mass and times of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament can be found in the Bulletin.
First Holy Communion
The preparation course for the children takes the form of catechetical sessions which are held weekly during term time at the Holy Trinity Parish Centre. Each child will receive a workbook which they are encouraged to complete at home between sessions. The most important part of a child’s preparation is the celebration of Holy Mass and no amount of teaching can replace this experience which is an obligation binding to all Catholics.
There is very good support from the parish with a team of catechists and other regular helpers during the children’s sessions. Any of the catechists or helpers will be pleased to answer your questions. If your child is at a Catholic school there should be help at hand there also.
If you decide to enrol your child on the First Holy Communion Course, it is of vital importance that you, as parents, fully support your child throughout. You can do this by ensuring that your child attends every class, by making time to talk through with them what they have learnt, by keeping up to date with what is happening on the course of preparation and most importantly by attending Holy Mass as a family every Sunday as the Church requires all its members to do.
When your child was baptised, you were reminded that you are the first teachers of the faith to your children by word and example. During the classes, we can only build upon what you do at home. You are the primary role models for your children.
Details of the First Holy Communion Course dates in the Parish are published in the church’s weekly bulletin. If you wish to enrol your child in the programme, you should write to Fr Richard at the Presbytery address stating your desire for your child to receive this Sacrament and your intention for them to attend the preparatory course for all candidates.
Please note that you and your child should be regular, practising Catholics in this parish and that each child will be expected to complete the necessary catechesis for both the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
The majority of Catholics are baptised as children before they are old enough to understand what it really means. Their parents and Godparents promise to bring them up in the Catholic Faith following the example of Jesus and His teaching made clear to us through the Holy Catholic Church.
When a young person reaches an age where he or she is able to understand the difficulties and challenges of living out the Christian faith, they are invited to confirm the promises made on their behalf at Baptism through Confirmation.
Confirmation is one of seven Sacraments instituted by Christ. The effect of the Sacrament of Confirmation is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Through Confirmation we receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: reverence, understanding, courage, knowledge, wisdom, awe and wonder and right judgment.
Candidates for Confirmation take the name of a saint. The saint will act as a patron and guide to the person. Candidates will usually devote time during their Confirmation classes to choosing a saint who particularly inspires them.
Details of the Confirmation course dates in the Parish are published in the Church’s weekly bulletin. If you are aged thirteen or over and wish to be confirmed, you should write to Fr Richard at the Presbytery address stating your desire to receive the sacrament and your intention to attend the preparatory course for all candidates.
Please note that all candidates should be attending Holy Mass each Sunday at the time of application.
Reconciliation (Sometimes known as Confession)
The grace received in baptism, which is lost through sin, can be restored to us in the most wonderful sacrament of God’s mercy, Confession.
Through this Sacrament of Reconciliation we find God’s forgiveness and as a result we are called to forgive others always mindful of the mercy God has bestowed upon us.
Confessions are heard on Saturday mornings from 9am (with Mass at 09:30am) and during the week (see current weekly bulletin) and on request. Also at other times – see the regular mass page.
For Catholics, marriage is a sacrament, a sacred sign of God’s unconditional love for us all, and the way to celebrate the union of a man and a woman in the context of that love.
The Church will do everything possible to help the couple gain every grace and blessing from the sacrament, both during the time of preparation, and afterwards.
Anointing of the Sick
Sickness often presents a great challenge and reminds us of our human frailty. The sacrament of the sick strengthens us during these times and if necessary forgives us of our sins. The sacrament of the sick involves an anointing with holy oil and a prayer for healing. The priest is the minister of this sacrament.
The priest or an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may also visit a sick person to bring them Holy Communion.
If you are interested in exploring a call to the priesthood or the permanent diaconate then please speak to Canon Richard.
When a Catholic dies it is possible to arrange a Funeral (Requiem) Mass to be celebrated at the church. If a Requiem Mass is not requested, then a funeral service may be celebrated in the church or at the crematorium or cemetery.
It is best, in the first instance, to begin arrangements for the funeral through your undertaker. This is because it is necessary to co-ordinate the availability of the priest, the church and the cemetery or crematorium.
The undertaker should be aware that no firm arrangements can be made for the funeral until they have spoken to your priest. This is important as your priest may have other arrangements which he cannot change for the time you would like the funeral, or the church may have already been booked for something else.
In planning the service please bear in mind that secular music and readings are not permitted during Holy Mass. If you should wish to have the organ played, the undertaker and Parish Priest will help you to find an organist. The choice of music and hymns will need to be approved by the Parish Priest.
Regarding fees for the funeral, your undertaker should be able to make the necessary arrangements on your behalf.
If you require further information on the sacraments or wish to arrange for a baptism, wedding or funeral in this parish, please contact Canon Richard.