Gaudete Sunday


Today, the Third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday. This title comes from the Entrance Antiphon for the Mass which begins with ‘Rejoice’. Rose coloured vestments may be worn for Mass today, symbolising the joyful expectation of this stage of Advent. From 17th December onwards, the prayers and readings at Mass are focused particularly on preparing to celebrate the birth of the Saviour.

Christmas Mass Times


Mon 24 Dec

3pm Vigil Mass, St Wulstan’s, Alston (carols from 2.30pm)

6.30pm Vigil Mass, St.Catherine’s, Penrith (carols from 6pm)

Tues 25 Dec

9.30am Mass at St.Catherine’s

11.30am Mass in Polish at St.Catherine’s

NB. At the Christmas Eve 6.30pm Vigil Mass, all children are invited to come dressed as one of the Nativity characters. Our Children’s Liturgy catechists have been speaking with the children about the various characters during Advent.

News from St Catherine's Catholic Primary School


Another busy week came to a close with our amazing KS1 Nativities. We have so many children in KS1 that we have to perform two separate plays to make sure everyone has a chance to shine – and did they shine! Thank you children you made our hearts glad! Congratulations to our choir who performed beautifully at St. Andrew’s on Tuesday evening and at Centre Parcs on Thursday.

The Eden District Carol Service at 6:30pm on Monday 17th December at St. Andrew’s and our own KS2 Carol Service in St. Catherine’s Church on Wednesday 19th December, will also feature our choir. Everyone is very welcome to join us. Angela Hill, Headteacher


 Thanks to Lesley Veen for photo via Flickr

Thanks to Lesley Veen for photo via Flickr

Many of us will remember from childhood Advent Calendars that were focused solely on the Nativity Story, opening a window to an angel, a shepherd or a star in the run up to Christmas. It added to the excitement as December progressed and built up a picture of the true Christian meaning of the season.

And then there came a different type of Advent Calendar when each window, for the days of December, had behind it a picture or item unrelated to the Christian meaning of Advent.

Recently, a new take on the Advent Calendar has been introduced in some places: the calendar that gives something back. The idea is that instead of opening the door to a picture or a chocolate, you do the giving. People put aside a food item each day of Advent making up a gift to give to a food bank charity or a needy person. Besides edible donations, people have been collecting toys, clothes, toiletries and other items that might be helpful to someone in need. This emphasis on giving leads us back to God and the giving of his son, Jesus, to the world. The beautiful gift of the birth of the baby in Bethlehem, in the humblest of circumstances, is God’s gift to you and to the world. May our giving this Advent reflect the Love of God shown to us in Jesus our Saviour. (written by Fr. John for the Alston Churches leaflet)

The Guild of St Stephen - Altar Servers


On 19th October St Catherine’s Parish received its Diploma of Affiliation to the Archconfraternity of St Stephen signed by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

On Sunday 30th December our longer serving Altar Servers will be enrolled into the guild at the Sunday Mass. Other Altar Servers who are new and still in training will be enrolled when at least six months serving has been completed.

The three aims of the guild are:

  1. To encourage, positively and practically, the highest standards of serving at the Church’s Liturgy.

  2. To provide Altar Servers with greater understanding of what they are doing.

  3. To unite Altar Servers of different parishes and diocese for mutual support.

St Stephen, Deacon and Martyr, Patron of Altar Servers: Pray for us

Servers Albs - As we approach Christmas it would be good to have the Altar Servers’ Albs nice and clean. Are there a couple of the parents who could take on this task please? Contact David or Mervyn.

Confirmation 2019


On 11th June 2019 Bishop Paul Swarbrick will be present at St Catherine’s to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on a number of our young people. If you wish to begin Preparation to receive this Sacrament there will be a series of evening sessions in the Haydock centre along with a one day retreat at Castlerigg. If you are year 6 and above please take an information leaflet from the Narthex, complete it and return it personally to David Greaves or Fr John.

Monze - fundraising for the Neo-Natal Unit


At our recent meeting we shared the following ideas for future events, collecting Smartie tubes again, a talk on Cattle Droving, a whist drive, a race night, a Pudding Evening, a quiz, a Film Evening, Donation Cards, bake sale etc. Also to design and print some Donation Cards which you may wish to offer your friends and family as a Christmas gift or for another occasion. If you have any further ideas for fundraising, and can offer help with future events, please email me at Judith Bayley

Thank you, on behalf of The Monze Mission Hospital Group, to all those who attended our film evening and to those who so generously donated the cost of the licence, the food, the drinks, the raffle prizes etc and to those who helped on the evening. A special thanks to Stuart who organised the event and who chose the lovely film which, at times, had us rocking with laughter or weeping with emotion. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event which raised £340 for the Neo-Natal Unit in Monze.

Christmas Fair


We would like to thank everyone who helped in any way to make this a successful and enjoyable event last Sunday when we raised £750.00 for parish funds.

We are very grateful for all the donated items, prizes for the raffle & tombola, all the great baking for the cake stall and of course our excellent team for all their hard work, as well as the many who came along to support the fair.

Sue & Lorna

Christians Against Poverty (C.A.P.)


Thank you on behalf of CAP, for the response to last weekend’s appeal.

The total amount raised was £480.00 (£40.75 from Alston and the balance from St Catherine’s). As agreed, £170.00 will go to CAP Head Office and £310.00 to CAP Eden Debt Centre.

5 people expressed interest in becoming volunteers and hopefully will feel that they can help with the work. Overall, a brilliant result. John Poland

Cumbria Flooding


Niall McLoughlin is a parishioner of St Catherine's and a young PhD Researcher (ESRC funded) at Bath University. He is asking you to share your thoughts and feelings about flooding, extreme weather and flood risk management in an online survey. The findings from this research will help promote better preparation, responses and community engagement in areas like Cumbria.

Niall wishes to thank all those who responded to the survey on flooding. A number of responses were received and the feedback has been very useful. There is still more time to participate. The survey can be directly accessed via this link:

This research has full ethical approval from the University of Bath Psychology Ethics Committee (Ref: 16-323). For further information, contact: Niall McLoughlin ( or phone 07944791928. Feel free to share the link with friends, family and anyone else who might be interested in taking part . Thank you. Jennifer McLoughlin