St Werburgh's Roman Catholic Parish, Chester

Parish Newsletter





We have a handful of places at some of the Masses: if you have not yet booked, please email or phone as soon as possible. First come, first served. When these final seats have been allocated, we will be completely full, and it will not be possible to admit anyone who turns up on the day without a Booking. Sorry – but Covid-19 safety comes first, as we are sure you all understand!

Isaiah 61, 1-11; Psalm Luke 1; I Thessalonians 5, 16-24; John 1, 6-28

9.00 am: St Werburgh’s: Anne Dudley (8th Anniversary)
10.00 am: St Werburgh’s: Holy Souls List - Matt and Christine Lawton
11.00 am: St Werburgh’s: Tony Mayers (4th Anniversary)
12.00 noon: St Werburgh’s: Trudy Axon (Birthday Remembrance)

Monday 14th December: St John of the Cross: Numbers 24, 2-17; Psalm 24; Matthew 21, 23-27
11.30 am: St Werburgh’s: Requiem Mass for Sheila Fields, late of Beeston Pathway
Fr Paul’s Private Mass Intention today: Holy Souls List - Lyn and Richard Williams

Tuesday 15th December: Ferial: Zephaniah 3, 1-13; Psalm 33; Matthew 21, 28-32
Fr Paul’s Private Mass Intention today: Finn Abberton (3rd Anniversary)

Wednesday 16th December: Ferial: Isaiah 45, 6-26; Psalm 84; Luke 7, 19-23
11.20 am: Blacon: Funeral Service for Ted Clarkson, late of Guilden Sutton
Fr Paul’s Private Mass Intention today: Holy Souls List - Jon and Frances Mathias

Thursday 17th December: Ferial: Genesis 49, 2-10; Psalm 71; Matthew 1, 1-17
12.00 noon: St Werburgh’s: Requiem Mass for Jean Lynch, late of Barley Croft
Fr Paul’s Private Mass Intention today: Holy Souls List - John and Sarah Collins

Friday 18th December: Ferial: Jeremiah 23, 5-8; Psalm 71; Matthew 1, 18-24
Fr Paul’s Private Mass Intention today: Holy Souls List - Keith and Helen Gornall

Saturday 19th December: Ferial: Judges 13, 2-25; Psalm 70; Luke 1, 5-25
Fr Paul’s Private Mass Intention today: Holy Souls List - Jan Howatt

II Samuel 7, 1-16; Psalm 88; Romans 16, 25-27; Luke 1, 26-38
9.00 am: St Werburgh’s: Molly Massey (11th Anniversary)
10.00 am: St Werburgh’s: Eileen O’Connor (L.D.)
11.00 am: St Werburgh’s: Sally Coates (L.D.)
12.00 noon: St Werburgh’s: Finn Abberton (3rd Anniversary)

Prayer intentions

Your prayers are asked for the following who are sick: Jennifer Murphy, John McMahon, Pauline Hackett, Laura Chadwick, Elisabeth, Stuart Clark, Keith Hayes, Sheila Winder, Joe and Ruth O’Kane, Garth Stocking and Kevin Maguire; and for all the sick of the Parish; and for those who have died recently, especially Catherine Petterson, Sheila Fields, Pauline Harper, Edward Clarkson and Jean Lynch; and for those whose anniversaries occur about this time: Maria Downey, John McCarthy, Nell Murphy, Mark Entwistle, John & Frances Williams, Terence Hunt, Elizabeth Macaulay, Olive Rowlands, Arthur Townley, Pauline Blanche, Brendan Anderson, David O’Malley, Maureen Middleton, Robert Barlow, Josephine Quinn, Peggy Sheen, Sheila Burns, Marie Gilmovitch, Loreta Roberts, Gilderoy Finney, Violet Carroll, Stephen Kennedy, George Bowyer, Ron Bennett, Dot Williams, Charles Donnelly, Douglas Brown, Violet Martinez, Harry O’Korn, Cesidia Moreton, Margaret Cooper, Christina Williams and John Arcari. May They All Rest in the Peace and Light of the Risen Lord Jesus.

Parish events

Booking for Christmas Masses

Just a handful of places left at some of the Masses, now that we were able last week to increase capacity by ten (thanks to the number of bubbles booking). If you want one of these last places, either email us or phone. First come, first served!

Reminders for ALL Christmas Masses

  • Please only come to one of the nine Masses
  • Face coverings are compulsory unless you have Health Exemption.
  • Please arrive 15/20 mins before the start time.
  • No parking available at church, we’re afraid - the alleyway is for Stewards only.
  • Once seated, don’t move around the church.
  • The toilets at church are unfortunately not open.
  • If you have any special mobility/wheelchair needs, please let us know.
  • If you are bringing a baby who will sit on a knee throughout the Mass, you do not need to book a separate seat for them.
  • If you need to cancel, let us know asap.



SVP Christmas Appeal: Please Don’t Forget!

They do a superb job supporting families and housebound every Christmas, and this year it’s more necessary than ever. The two lockdowns and those who’ve lost their jobs means this could be a bleak Christmas for many. If you want to support this Appeal, please send me your contributions via post, letterbox (or Sunday Basket when we’re open again for Mass). Many thanks for all those envelopes that have come in so far!

November/December Holy Souls Mass Intentions

  • Sun 13th Dec: Matt and Christine Lawton’s Family
  • Mon 14th Dec: Lyn and Richard Williams’ Family
  • Tues 15th Dec: Finn Abberton
  • Wed 16th Dec: John and Frances Matthias’s Family
  • Thurs 17th Dec: John and Sarah Collins and Family
  • Fri 18th Dec: Keith and Helen Gornall’s Family
  • Mon 28th Dec: Jan Howatt’s Family
  • Wed 30th Dec: Wendy O’Brien’s Family
  • Thurs 31st Dec: Celia Murphy’s Family
  • Tues 5th Jan: Les and Eileen Owens’ Family

Photo of the Week: Papal Legate in Chester, 1932

An extraordinary archive photo today, taken on the platform at Chester Station, the Papal Legate (Cardinal Lorenzo Lauri) en route to Dublin for the Eucharistic Congress. To his right (our left) is Canon Hayes, and next to him is Fr McGinley. The tall figure to the Cardinal’s left is Fr Murphy.

Seminarians Training Fund Second Collection

This annual Collection is for the training and formation of Priests. If you wish to Gift Aid your donation, please make your donation Online. To donate Online please go to


To be read at all Masses on the Third Sunday of Advent 13th December 2020

My dear brothers and sisters,

I write on a Sunday of great rejoicing, traditionally known as "Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday". For the Mass begins with Saint Paul’s words which urge every Christian to rejoice. Joy is the hallmark of the Christian life, a joy from which no one can be excluded. The Church’s call to rejoice may seem discordant at the end of a year marked by so much anxiety, isolation and loss; and so we must recognise the source of our joy at Christmas. In the darkness and suffering of their own times, the prophets anticipated this joy; in today’s Gospel, the last of the prophets - Saint John the Baptist - announces that "there stands among you - unknown to you - the One who is coming". Our joy is found then, in knowing and loving Christ our Lord. "Rejoice in the Lord" says the Apostle, for we will be joyful insofar as we recognise that "the Lord is very near". It was a great sadness to see the doors of our churches close during Lent in co-operation with public health measures; yet we remained united in prayer by many and often creative means, until the return of the Mass and the Sacraments came with an outpouring of joy. Again, it came as a bitter blow last month when Parliament took the dangerous and unprecedented step of declaring public worship in England illegal. Yet this inspired across the Diocese, an equally unprecedented witness to the essential place of worship in our lives. Many of you wrote to Members of Parliament testifying how worship can never be reduced to the "non-essential". This reminded of me of the Christians of the first centuries who had declared "we cannot live without Sunday." Neither can we live without the joy found in the Eucharist and the spirit of service and charity which flows from this Sacrifice and Sacrament. The Diocese might appear in some ways diminished at the end of a year of many trials, yet we have also surely grown stronger in that joy which nothing can take away. Through the dark days of winter into brighter days ahead, we must keep alive the joy of our witness to the mystery of Christmas, God-with-us. We have turned to Saint Joseph as a guide as we emerge from this crisis, to learn how to remain in the joy of Christ’s coming, the joy the Apostle describes today as knowing "God has called us and will not fail us". Pope Francis has called the whole Church to celebrate a Year of Saint Joseph until 8th December 2021. The Holy Father writes "Each of us can discover Saint Joseph - the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence - an intercessor, a support and guide in times of trouble". In the circumstances of the first Christmas, we see how Our Lady and Saint Joseph were brought to near destitution; faced the threats of a homicidal ruler; and shared the plight of refugees in a strange land, yet never lost that unfailing joy which Christ’s Nativity brought and the joy of remaining in His Presence. If this Christmas brings its own share of difficulties and disappointments for us, then we are in good company! Yet, nothing can take away the joy of recognising the One who is already in our midst, the Lord who is very near to us. As we prepare for Christmas 2020 and the challenges of a New Year to come, a prayer addressing Saint Joseph with the words of Scripture might help us enter more deeply into the great joy of "Christ’s Mass": O Blessed Joseph, happy man, to whom it was given not only to see and hear the God whom many kings longed to see, but did not see, and longed to hear but did not hear; but you were privileged even to bear Him in your arms, to embrace Him, to clothe Him, and to watch over Him. In the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist, may we share the joy of Saint Joseph.

Wishing you all the joy of Christmas and a blessed New Year,

+ Mark, Bishop of Shrewsbury