A Polish feast! World Youth Day target edges ever closer!

Last Saturday’s Polish Buffet Supper was a great success.  There were three courses of traditional Polish cuisine.  The food was delicious and plentiful, feeding over 30 hungry guests!  With so many different Polish dishes it was a challenge to try everything! Many thanks to all those who supported the event and a very big thank you to the chef! Do take a look at the photos below. Our three young people are edging ever closer to their fundraising target!

Polish Evening – Sat 30 Jan 2016

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Holy Week and Easter Mass times

Thursday 24 March at St Michael’s Catholic Church, Shepton Mallet

10.30am Stations of the Cross

7.30pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper


Friday 25 March at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Glastonbury

3pm The Solemn Liturgy of the Passion


Saturday 26 March at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Glastonbury

9pm Solemn Vigil of the Resurrection


Sunday 27 March at St Michael’s Catholic Church, Shepton Mallet

9am Mass

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Bishop Declan’s Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family


Bishop Declan has written a Pastoral Letter to people of the Clifton Diocese.

To be read and made available in all Churches and Chapels in the Clifton Diocese

on the Feast of the Holy Family 26/27 December 2015


Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ

During this Christmas season many families come together from different parts of the country or the world to celebrate the Christmas feast. Friends do likewise and it is good that they do so. However, there are many families who lack the security and stability of family life, often due to causes not of their own making. Sadly there are literally millions of people who have been displaced, seeing their homes and family life destroyed through war and violence. We remember the refugees from Syria and other parts of the world.

Within our own country there are those who have recently seen their homes destroyed by floods. For all these people this must be an experience they would rather not have had. It is into the darkness of life that the light of Christ seeks to shine and to give hope when there is despair and peace when there is cruelty and violence. For this to become a reality, there is a need for a people who are instruments of God’s peace and who thirst for justice and reconciliation. This work cannot be left to politicians and those in public office, though they have an important part to play. It is the responsibility of us all to live the Gospel and transform our world making it into a better place.

Today’s feast of the Holy Family is a reminder that the family is at the basis of the life of the Church and society. It was into a family that Jesus was born. For thirty years he lived anonymously before his public ministry. Those years were a preparation for his journey to Jerusalem, to his death and resurrection – to being the saviour of the world.

Within the family of Nazareth there was a sense of God. We are told that Mary and Joseph travelled up to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover as they usually did. When he was 12, Jesus accompanied them. Later in Luke’s Gospel we are told that Jesus returned to Nazareth and went into the Synagogue as he usually did. What is usual in the life of our own families? Is there the sense of God’s presence? Is prayer and the celebration of Mass and the other sacraments a usual part of our life. For many families it is, but for all families in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, there is the call to deepen our awareness of God’s presence – a God of mercy and compassion.

In one of his General Audiences, Pope Francis said “that on the front door of family life there should be written these phrases: “please”, “thank you” and “excuse me”. These words the Pope said open up the way for a family to live well. They are simple words but not so simple to put into practice. They contain a great power to safeguard the house through a thousand difficulties and trials.

If those words are good for the family, they are good for the whole Church. The Church is called to be a community where all find a welcome, the love of God and the challenge of God to grow and flourish as human beings.

Recently I received two letters which saddened me. One was a vitriolic attack on the entire Muslim population in response to the recent terrorist atrocities. The other was saying that people of the same sex orientation should not be allowed to go to Mass as they are unworthy.

All of us are unworthy. That is why we pray: Lord I am not worthy to receive you under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. And the word is spoken to all.

Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist. This is the same Jesus who was criticised by some of the religious leaders as the friend of prostitutes and sinners and who ate with them.

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus who is the Face of God’s Mercy. The Church can only be an authentic and credible sign of Christ when we are a people of mercy. Knowing the mercy of God towards ourselves, we need to share that gift with others.

The Holy Family went up to celebrate the Passover as they usually did. May it be usual for us to be a people of mercy both at home and wherever we find ourselves during our everyday lives in the coming year.

With my best wishes and prayers for a New Year

Rt Rev Declan Lang

Bishop of Clifton



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Christmas Mass times at St Michael’s Church

Thursday 24 December

Family Mass of Christmas at 6.30pm, Carols from 6pm


Friday 25 December

Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Day Mass at 9.00am 


Sunday 27 December

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Mass at 9.00am


Friday 01 January  

Mary, the Holy Mother of God (New Year’s Day) Mass at 11.00am 


Sunday 03 January

Epiphany of the Lord     Exposition 8.15-8.45am   Mass at 9.00am

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Cardinal Nichols Issues Pastoral letter on the Synod on the Family

His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols has written a pastoral letter reflecting on the synod and the importance of the family to be read out in parishes this Sunday, the Solemnity of All Saints.

In the letter Cardinal Vincent spoke of the work of the synod which centred around ‘fashioning fresh ways of thinking about the family in the plan of God’.
Of the many images of the family that emerged, the Cardinal noted that it was a ‘reflection of the mystery of love which is the life of God’ and ‘the flesh of the Church’.

He explained that synod participants in small groups ‘shared together what we treasured most about our own family life’. They also spoke about the challenges that are faced by families, such as ‘poverty; an absence of faith; a reluctance to speak of faith at home; the drama of being refugees or migrants; the breakdown of a marriage in the pain of divorce and the fact of people entering a second civil marriage’.

Cardinal Vincent said that the main work of this Synod was to ‘fashion the right response of the Church to many of these situations’, which included ‘a patient accompaniment, a readiness to listen, a gift of time and attention to one another’. He spoke of this as the ‘pathway for us all to take’.

Echoing the call in the First Reading (Jer 31.9) from the previous Sunday’s Mass, the Cardinal said: ‘To all who have left in tears I want to offer a hand of welcome, especially during this coming Year of Mercy.’

He expressed his hope that all ‘may draw from this Synod of Bishops great encouragement for our family life and for the life of the family of the Church’.

Full text of the pastoral letter by His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols can be found below:

Pastoral Letter following the Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family

Last Sunday I joined thousands of people in St Peter’s Square waiting to receive the blessing of Pope Francis. I was surrounded by families: babies asleep in prams, young children crawling on the cobbles, older children entertaining each other, teenagers looking studiously bored, fathers surveying the scene protectively, mothers holding up their children and pointing to the Holy Father, groups of families on holiday together, uncles and aunts, three or four generations.

I looked at them with fresh eyes, having just come from the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the Vocation and Mission of the Family. There we had been fashioning fresh ways of thinking about the family in the plan of God. We had agreed that the family is an ‘image and likeness of the Blessed Trinity’, a reflection of the mystery of love which is the life of God. In the families around me I could contemplate that love being expressed in everyday ways, a love which strives so hard to be faithful, to overcome rows and difficulties with forgiveness, a love which gives energy for the day and rest in weariness. In the Synod we had talked of the family as ‘a blessing for the Church’: the place where we learn and share how to live by faith, where we teach and practice family prayer, and the place from which we reach out to others in their need.

All of this was summed up for me in a phrase: the family is the flesh of the Church. In St Peter’s Square, and in every parish, I see in the families around me the very flesh of the Church, the life of Christ taking place before my eyes. It is they who so often show most clearly the work of the Beatitudes which we have just heard in the Gospel reading.

In our Synod discussion group we had shared together what we treasured most about our own family life. Doing this brought us together powerfully, even though we came from five different continents! The challenges faced by families today were in our own stories, too: poverty; an absence of faith; a reluctance to speak of faith at home; the drama of being refugees or migrants; the breakdown of a marriage in the pain of divorce and, of course, the fact of people entering a second civil marriage and finding there a new start, stability, and fruitful love.

Our main work in the Synod, over the last three weeks, has been to fashion the right response of the Church to many of these situations. In our final reflections, we pointed out clearly that this must be a patient accompaniment, a readiness to listen, a gift of time and attention to one another. This is a pathway for us all to take, but especially us bishops and priests who are entrusted with the care of God’s people.

Our final document of the Synod, which we presented to Pope Francis for his consideration, speaks often of this ‘pathway of accompaniment’, of that ‘reverential listening’, which is the first act of mercy, of the work of ‘discernment’, of wanting to come close to the reality of so many lives in their difficulties and trials. During the Synod discussions, many wanted us to express, humbly, a word of regret and apology that this often has not been the path we have taken. I am glad to do so now.

The purpose of this focus of our pastoral work is very clear. It was beautifully expressed in the first reading at Mass last Sunday: ‘They left in tears. But I will comfort them and lead them back; I will guide them to streams of water … For I am a father to Israel and Ephraim is my son’ (Jer. 31.9). To all who have left in tears I want to offer a hand of welcome, especially during this coming Year of Mercy. With time we hope to fashion a clear invitation for you to come to meet the Lord, to ponder His ways in your lives, to sense his mercy and his truth and to grow in strength as his baptised disciples in the family of the Church.

Today we honour all the saints. We see them gathered round the throne of God, praising God in joy and thanksgiving. We hear that in their trials and suffering they clung faithfully to Christ, so closely that ‘they washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.’ They teach us so much.

We all have our favourite or patron saint. Perhaps we were given his or her name at baptism or at confirmation. They have so much to teach us about how to accompany each other through the dilemmas of life and of how to come to a mature understanding of the demands of the Gospel in our lives as the one true path of life. Today we also honour all those who may not be canonized but are surely saints. For so many of these, family life, with all its joy and challenges, was their path to heaven. Think how many saints there may be in your family, still helping you by their example and intercession!

May all the saints encourage and strengthen us today. May we draw from this Synod of Bishops great encouragement for our own family life and for the life of the family of the Church, as we each reach out for the great mercy of God, a mercy that will never fail us once we come, with penitent hearts, seeking its healing and peace.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

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St Michael’s to St Mary’s Sponsored Walk for World Youth Day 2016

Walking is good for the soul, that is what we kept telling ourselves as we trudged through the mud of the fields between Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet. The parish of St Michael’s in Shepton Mallet has three young people who are going to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland next year. They need to raise £1000 pounds each, so seeing as the parish priest, Fr James Finan has two parishes, Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet, we thought it would be a good idea to walk between them raising money for our three young people.  So on Sunday 22nd November at 12.30 14 people left St Mary’s in Glastonbury and began the walk of just over 11 miles to St Michael’s in Shepton Mallet. The walk was not only good for oubodies but it was great to be able to share experiences, deepen friendships, to pray for our world, our families and friends and of course to breathe in deeply the wonderful fresh air in the Somerset countryside. Arriving in Shepton at 5pm we were greeted by our welcome party with hot food and a good cup of tea, although I know a few of the adults would have appreciated something stronger! We were all quite sore but very glad to be able to get warm and reflect upon what we had just done. Everyone enjoyed the experience and we raised over £1000 towards the three young people going to WYD. We are very grateful for all the sponsorship and although the walk took longer than we thought and it was tougher that we thought we were all very proud of our achievement.

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For more information on World Youth Day click here

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St Michael’s ‘Mini’ Youth Group – Up and running!

Friday 02 October saw the first gathering St Michael’s ‘Mini’ Youth Group. There were lots of fun and games enjoyed by all.  Do come along and join us, all young people aged 6 – 11 years are very welcome.

For those aged 11+ do come along to St Michael’s Youth Group who meet every Friday (term-time) from 6pm – 8pm. 


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