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Northampton Diocese

Parish Activities

Liturgical | Missionary | Financial | Practical | Social | Pastoral Council | Miscellaneous


Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist

The Holy Spirit can use the humblest of us in God's work on earth. Ministries should be exercised in a spirit of fraternal service and dedication to the Church, in the name of the Lord (Catechism of the Catholic Church). When the necessity of the church warrants it, lay persons can distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of law (Codex Iuris Canonici). "Christ establishes the laity as witnesses, provides them with the sense of the faith and grace of the word" (St. Thomas Aquinas). Thus each person, through these gifts given to him/her is at once the witness and living instrument of the mission of the Church herself "according to the measure of Christ's bestowal" (Lumen Gentium).

In St. Bernardine's Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are commissioned to serve for a year, during the Maundy / Holy Thursday Mass. They gather together before the altar, and prayers are said and responded to, presided over by our parish priest. These prayers are taken from the "Order for the Commissioning of Lay Ministers of Holy Communion" .

Currently, there are nineteen extraordinary ministers at St. Bernardine's and there are normally two at each week-end Mass. Sometimes our priest requires that a Eucharistic Minister takes Holy Communion to the sick in home or hospital and also to lead the service of "Word and Communion" if either the priest or the deacon is absent and is not able to do this.

During Mass

St. Bernardine's have an active number of altar servers, predominantly taken from the younger generation, and parishioners who take it turn to read the lessons during Mass. Two or more attendants are present at each Mass, taken from a rota, who welcome parishioners into church, supervise the offertory collection, the offertory procession and any other organisational matters during Mass. There is a small pool of church organists, who play at the Sunday Mass, and a folk group which plays from time to time on special occasions.

The Catechist Team

There is a small team of catechists who are responsible for the teaching of Catechetics to children of school age. As there is no state Catholic Primary school in this area the parish provides instructions on Saturday mornings in term time from 10 00 to 11 00. The children are grouped according to their age and are welcome from age six. First Communion and First Reconciliation (confession) preparation is offered to children who are in Year 3 at school. The parents are expected to take part in the preparation by attending some Parent's meetings and also a few special children's masses which are linked to the preparation programme. The First Reconciliation is usually held at the end of November and the First Communion is held in June. There is a class offered for the older children who can stay for instructions until they begin the Confirmation preparation at age 11. The Confirmation Programme is usually held on Sundays, but this can vary depending on the catechist taking the course. There is another group who take the Children's Liturgy during the first part of Mass.

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From tiny beginnings CAFOD is now a huge organisation within the Catholic Church of England and Wales set up to help the development of the third world. For years the parish has supported the two annual fund-raising events; the Lent and Harvest Fast Days. Since early 2002 the parish has also played its part in broad-based projects involving several dioceses. The first of the projects gave funds to partner organisations in the Horn of Africa. This project gave way to one dealing with Brazil until 2006 when "focusafrica" took over. These projects do not replace the Fast Days but get their funds from direct giving and from a number of social events.

APF Red Box Collection Appeal

The Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF), in conjunction with the St. Joseph's Missionary Society (Mill Hill Fathers), exists to support the growth of Christian communities and work for the development of the poor, mainly for the peoples of the Third World, regardless of religion. The principal source of income is provided by the red mission collecting boxes. The red box has been at the heart of support for the mission for almost a century, playing a vital role in the life of the church. To be a Christian is to be a missionary. The parishioners of St. Bernardine's actively support the APF Red Box collection appeal which is collected and counted once a year.


Ethical trading means companies are involved in a process of trying to ensure that the basic labour rights of the employees of their third world suppliers are respected. The FAIRTRADE Mark which applies to products rather than companies, aims to give disadvantaged small producers more control over their own lives. It addresses the injustice of low prices by guaranteeing that producers receive fair terms of trade and fair prices. St. Bernardine's is officially registered as a FAIRTRADE Parish and holds a sale of FAIRTRADE goods after Masses on the first weekend of each month.

Miscellaneous Missionary Activities

The parishioners of the St. Bernardine's regularly support various other missionary activities through special collections taken throughout the year .

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Finance Committee

Parish accounts are published annually and you may see a copy together with a report from the Finance Committee on the notice board. The report also identifies members of the Committee, so you will know who to ask for when you want to discuss Gift Aid. The Finance Committee meets quarterly.

Planned Giving

Gift aid plays an important part in fund raising for the needs of the Parish. Please participate if you are able and remember if you are a tax payer then the parish will be able to claim back the tax on your contribution at no extra expense to you.

200 Club

The 200 Club provides a valuable source of funds for the parish. New members are always welcome. The draw takes place on the second Sunday of the month, in St Bernardine's Parish Room after Mass. It currently only costs £12 a year to join. Contact the parish priest or deacon for further information.
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Flowers at St Bernardine's

Flowers are done each week at the church by a talented and dedicated team of ladies who are organised on a rota basis. The cost of flowers can be claimed from church funds. There is a flower room where new oasis is provided and also where extra stands, bowls, water, clearing up and waste disposal equipment can be found. No flowers are required during Lent and Advent, however, the feasts of Easter and Christmas require all helpers to make the church look extra special prior to the Easter vigil and midnight Mass. There is a special collection after Mass prior to these events to cover the cost of flowers. Wedding/funeral flowers do not usually involve the flower ladies but they are always glad to lend their talents if asked. New flower ladies are welcome on a regular basis or just helping on those big occasions.

Church Cleaning

Church cleaning is carried out by a team of volunteers. Working in groups of two or three people, each group decides the most convenient time to come and do the "basic weekly housework" of dusting, sweeping and polishing the church. It can be done during the day, evening or on a Saturday. Cleaning materials are supplied. There are currently six groups. New volunteers are always welcome so if you can spare any time to help with this essential task please let it be known.

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Organised Events

A reflection of the vibrant and friendly Christian community at St. Bernardine is reflected in its enthusiasm for participating in social events. They are always well supported and provide an excellent opportunity for making new friends and reinforcing existing friendships. These events also provide a valuable contribution to Church funds. Many events are organised during the year such as; a wine tasting evening, quiz night, musical events, fun horse racing evening, barbeque lunch, mini-fete, flower arranging demonstration class etc. These events are always enjoyable, inexpensive and usually accompanied by a superb meal prepared by a number of very talented cooks from within the parish. From time to time visits are arranged to places of historical and religious interest.

Coffee after Mass

Coffee is served in the parish room after 11.00 Mass every Sunday. This provides a chance to meet and chat with other parishioners, and to catch up on the comings and goings of the parish. A small group of volunteers prepare and serve the tea, coffee, squash and biscuits  on a rota basis. New volunteers are always welcome. 

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Pastoral Council

The Pastoral Council meets the second Thursday of each month (except August) and the minutes of the meetings are displayed on the notice boards and the St. Bernardine's web site. The Pastoral Council is always open to and welcome to new ideas, so everyone is invited to put these forward. Members are asked to serve for a period of three years, and four members resign and are replaced at the end of each year. If you would like to serve on the Council, contact the parish priest or the current chairman.

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Child Protection

Since every person who has contact with children or vulnerable adults has to obtain an enhanced Child Protection Bureau disclosure before they can work in the parish, there is an official Child Protection Officer in the Parish. This coverage applies to the priest and deacon, catechists for all the age groups including any helpers and Eucharistic ministers who visit people in their homes.

Repository and Bookshop

A Repository and Bookshop are located in the foyer of the church. Here religious articles such as rosary beads, statues etc. are on sale at very reasonable prices. Mass cards, cards for special occasions, missals and instructional booklets are also available.  Other articles can also be purchased from a catalogue on request.

Churches Together in Buckingham

Ecumenical meetings take place from time to time and St. Bernardine's support this activity (see St. Peter and St. Paul's, Buckingham).

Key Contacts

If you need to identify an individual who is responsible for any of the above mentioned activities, please consult the "Key Contacts List" to find out the name of that person.

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