Bereavement Group

We are a group of parishioners who have all experienced bereavement. Our aims are:-

To visit a bereaved family, on behalf of the Parish, within the first few months of their bereavement and to make repeat visits if requested by the family.

To offer a completely confidential listening service to anyone who is hurting or lonely after a death. We don't profess to have answers or magic solutions to eliminate pain, but we do recognise the range of different feelings that a bereaved person might experience for months or years after their loss. We believe, based on our own experiences, that having someone who will listen while people express these feelings, is a help in coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.

There is no intention to take over the priest's place in visiting the bereaved. Nor are we attempting to take over the role of any other groups within the Parish. Anyone wishing to contact the group is asked to do so via the priest in the first instance. We believe that security is vital to protect the vulnerable, therefore every member of the group has clearance from the Vetting and Barring Service (formerly CRB) and we always make home visits in pairs.

Our group meets every three months or so and visits are allocated at these meetings. When visiting families we take them a small pot plant or some flowers as a gift. This is always appreciated a simple gesture to show support and sympathy. We help to organise the Annual Mass for the families of those parishioners who have died, which is held every November and send cards to the bereaved on the first Christmas, Easter and anniversary of their loss.

The names of those in our Parish who have died are entered in the Books of Remembrance which are kept in each Church - near the Sacred Heart Altar in Holy Rosary and beside the statues of Our Lady in St. John's and St. Joseph's Churches. The books are updated after each of our meetings.

It is a privilege to be able to offer support for those in our Parish community who are bereaved and to pray for their loved ones who have died.

Children's Liturgy of the Word of God

At the 5.00pm Mass at St. John's Church and 10.00 am Mass in Holy Rosary Church we celebrate the Liturgy of the Word of God with children of primary school age. This is a valuable time for prayer and simple instruction where children will benefit from having their own Liturgy of the Word.

Children gather with their families in church for the introductory rites of the Mass. After the opening hymn and prayer the children along with their leaders are called forward. A book of the scriptures is presented to a child and then we all process to the nearby parish hall. When the children have settled the leader introduces the Gospel of the day and then this is explored through reflection, discussion and other appropriate activity. We then all return to the main body of the church, bringing along a poster or text for the congregation to see. Afterwards we join our families for the liturgy of the Eucharist.

Children's Liturgy is not an exclusion from the church - it is an extension as our children play a very important part within our parish. We hope to help the children grow spiritually and therefore prepare them to take a full part in the Sunday Mass. Come along and see!!!

The strength of the group depends also on the input of adult volunteers. If you wish to become involved with the group please, please do not hesitate to come forward. New faces and new ideas are always welcome and needed! Please contact Caroline Kelly (07899788760), Suzanne Chell (07767404361) or the priest if you wish to be involved in any way.


The flowers in all three churches in the Parish of St. Thomas of Canterbury are arranged by volunteers.

The churches are specially decorated at Christmas, Easter, and First Communion days.

Any parishioner wishing to help with the flower arranging in any church would be most welcome. Please contact the priest who will put you in touch with the team.


People in our parish community work very hard to keep our Churches clean and fitting for the celebration of our Mass and liturgy's.

If you are able to offer your time and energy, you would be most welcome to become part of the team.

Please contact the priest who will give you more details.

400+ Club

Monthly draws of 2x £100 & 2x£50

Contact: Mary Buckton

Getting involved

If you require any information or details on how to make contact with any group or society, please ask the priest who will be happy to help. 


Thanks to the generosity and benefactors, we have been able to:

For more information, please contact Bill Scott.

Meetings are every other Monday in the Medway, Holy Rosary at 6.30pm

Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion

"Listen, I am standing at the door, knocking, if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you, and eat with you and you with me"

(Rev: 3:20) Diocesan Vision Statement

The children of our parish prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion by following a set programme of guidelines, as laid out by the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

This takes place within our schools and is supported by the involvement of parish volunteers; catechists, who implement it, in conjunction with the priest, through an organised programme of sessions carried out over a set number of weeks and months.

Themes that are covered include: Belonging, Baptism, Listening, Reconciliation and Celebration. All areas covered are linked to the Mass and the Eucharist and allow our children to see the impact that our faith has on everyone around them; families, friends, schools, neighbours and those in need in the wider world.

A catechist's role is to support both children and their families, especially throughout the programme sessions. The main teachers of the faith, for any child, are of course parents, family or guardians. Opportunities are provided for these, which run alongside the children's sessions, to discuss the same themes and to explore, develop and enhance a greater understanding of our Catholic faith.

The Sacrament of Confirmation

The Confirmation programme usually takes place biannually and takes six weeks to complete. During this time the young people are supported by the priest and some of our parish catechists.

During the sessions the following subjects are discussed; Baptism, the Creed & the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

On completion of the programme the young people are confirmed by the Bishop in one of our Parish Churches.

The Sacrament of Confirmation builds on the Sacraments of Baptism,

Penance and Holy Communion, completing their journey into the Catholic community and accepting responsibility for their faith.

At the end of the programme all of the young people are given the opportunity to go on a retreat with the priest and the catechists.

Contact: Jane Murray

Eucharistic Minister and Readers

The role of the Eucharistic Minister is to assist the priest in distributing the Eucharist at each Mass celebrated in our parish. Ministers also have the privilege of taking the Blessed Sacrament to parishioners who are no longer able to come to Church.

Readers offer their services to read the Word of God at both Sunday Mass and mid-week. Training is available along with the opportunity to attend a day of reflection each year with other readers and Eucharistic Ministers in the diocese.

Readers and Eucharistic Ministers are named on a rota at a Church of their choice.

If a member of your family is unable to attend Mass and would like to receive Holy Communion at home, please contact the priest.

Parish finance committee

The finance committee has the responsibility of maintaining and reporting the parish finances and it meets at least four times a year. The bank account is reconciled on a monthly basis, parish quarterly reports are produced, records are kept of all payments & receipts and Diocesan returns are made every six and twelve months.

The committee also have the responsibility of ensuring that buildings and grounds are kept in good order, the maintenance of all the parish property is completed and that health & safety procedures are always correctly followed.

At the close of each financial year a comprehensive report is produced for the diocese and signed by all committee members. A report is subsequently given to the Parish Council and then made available to all Parishioners.

Also, periodically the finances are examined by external auditors.

Contact: Caroline Kelly

Guild of St. Stephen

The Guild of St Stephen is an International Organisation of Altar Servers founded in 1904. It aims to encourage the highest standards of serving at the Church's liturgy and to provide altar servers with a greater understanding of what they are doing, whilst offering support and encouragement. We have around 35 servers who serve within the parish, holding coffee morning and raising money.

Contact: Callum Walker on 07828973860