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Thames Isis Coordinating Pastor:
Rev Jamie McGrath
01235 520375


Coordinating Pastor's Office
1 Radley Road


OX14 3PL

Tel: 01235 520375



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Pastoral Area Past Events and Photos


Children from St John's re-enact the Nativity on Christmas Day.


English Martyrs Church, Christmas 2009


Altar Servers from English Martyrs and St John the Evangelist Churches celebrated enrolment into the Guild of St Stephen on St Stephen's Day.

Our Lady and St Edmund's, Abingdon

Christmas 2009 


Ian Corbett, a parishioner of Our Lady and St. Edmund of Abingdon, had the honour of being presented to Pope Benedict XVI during a celebration of the International Year of Astronomy in Vatican City on 30 and 31 October.


The United Nations International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009 has seen no fewer than 148 countries taking part in special events.  The Vatican invited a group of astronomers from all over the world, including Ian, the present General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union, to the celebration of the IYA in Vatican City.
In a private audience His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the wonders of modern astronomy ‘which has shown us that neither we, nor the earth we stand on, is the centre of our universe’, remarking that ‘it is my hope that the wonder and exaltation which are meant to be the fruits of this International Year of Astronomy will lead beyond the contemplation of the marvels of creation to the contemplation of the Creator’.    Some of those attending then had the honour of being received by Pope Benedict.
Ian said “It was a wonderful experience to hear and meet the Holy Father face to face, and to see the Vatican Archives and the original papers of Galileo.  You can never forget an event like this.”  

The photographs show Pope Benedict XVI entering the Sala Clementina and then Ian with His Holiness, with the Director of the Vatican Observatory and Cardinal Lajolo in the background.

(Picture credit: Osservatore Romano)

Children took part in a Christmas Workshop held at Our Lady of the Rosary on Tuesday 22nd December, when among other activities, they made Christingles.

The Youth Group of St John's and English Martyrs Churches

organised a Carol Concert with mince pies, to thank parishioners for their support over the past year.

St John's hosted their annual Christmas Party for all young parishioners, with a visit from
Father Christmas, and plenty of fun, games and party food for all.

A big thank you to all who helped with the preparations

especially to Phyllis Green for her tireless efforts with keeping everything in order.


The senior citizens of English Martyrs Church enjoyed a Christmas lunch on 10th December, with all the usual festive trimmings.  A huge thank you goes to all involved with the preparations.

English Martyrs Church hosted a successful candlelit concert for Advent on Friday 4th November.  Concert-goers were treated to a selection of music from both traditional and modern composers, with many popular pieces with a Christmas theme being performed. 

Thanks to the Marilla String Quartet for their wonderful performance.


English Martyrs Church is hosting a series of talks on The Sacraments throughout November to mark the Year of the Priest. 

The first of the talks was held on Thursday 5th November, on
The Centrality of the Mass in our Lives Today, the speaker being
Fr Tim Finigan from Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Blackfen. 
Fr Tim gave us an insight into the background of the traditions of the Church in an enlightening way. 

Fr Timothy Finigan

Fr Tim Finigan

Our speaker on 12th November was Fr Bede Rowe, who gave a wonderfully humorous and light-hearted talk on  the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

The talk on 19th November was given by Fr Richard Duffield, on the Sacrament of the sick.

Deacon Richard Budgen gave the final talk on the Sacraments of Initiation. 
Click here if you would like to read his talk.


The event was organised by the parish Youth Group.

Fr Tom

Our Lady and St Edmund's recently hosted, for the first time, the annual ecumenical service for
'The Church in Abingdon'.

North HInksey Parish Patronal Feast – Our Lady of the Rosary

The Parish celebrated its patronal feast day with a special Mass on Tuesday 6th October, the Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  As well as giving thanks for 55 years of blessings received, and praying for parishioners past and present, the congregation witnessed the blessing of the newly restored statue of Our Lady, which has been placed in the Lady Chapel.  The new statue was rescued in a damaged state by Cate Elwes, a local Botley resident, from the deconsecrated chapel of her old school, which had closed.  She  kindly gave it to the church and advised on and partly paid for the restoration, to which the Parish  also contributed.  After Mass there was a celebratory supper and entertainments, supplied by the younger musicians in the congregation, which all enjoyed.



The Youth Group of St John's and English Martyrs parishes enjoyed a wonderful weekend together at the Celebrate Conference in Southampton on 26th/27th September,

with plenty of opportunity for learning more about their faith, along with enjoying the beautiful weather in the lovely setting of St Mary's College.  Further information on Celebrate available here.

Enjoying cakes at the English Martyrs and St John's Welcome Weekend on 19th/20th September.

Participants in the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust Ride and Stride event being welcomed at The Chapel of The Good Shepherd on 12th September.

Two friends of Deacon Richard's - Brother Martin Sanderson and Brother Martin Mikuskiewicz - made their Perpetual Profession as Capuchin Franciscan Friars at Greyfriars Capuchin Friary in Oxford on Saturday 12 September 2009.

They made their Profession during a Mass of thanksgiving to Brother James, the Minister Provincial, at which Deacon Richard assisted as the Deacon.

They are pictured with the Minister Provincial, cutting a celebratory cake, and with Deacon Richard.

Welcoming participants outside St John's on the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust
Ride and Stride event on 12th September 2009.


Deacon Richard Budgen, in his role as Director of Mission Together, assists
Archbishop Vincent Nichols during Mass at Westminster Cathedral on 9th September.

The Mass was to celebrate Missio - the new name for Missions in England and Wales.

The Mother of the Bride warmly thanks Deacon Richard Budgen for the homily he preached at her daughter's Wedding at Our Lady of the Rosary on Saturday 5th September.

St John the Evangelist Church, Wallingford ran a successful Refreshments Stall at the Wallingford Bunkfest on 6th and 7th September. 

JULY 2009

Only two weeks after the Bishop's Mass with it's international theme,  St. Edmund's in Abingdon held an international "Bring and Share" supper following the regular Sunday evening Mass.
This was organised by the English Conversation Group, which Ann Corbett has  run with great success for a number of years.
The Group meets in the Parish Centre on most Wednesday mornings, and everyone is welcome.
The group now not only attracts people from other EU countries, but includes nationals from other parts of the world who are currently living here.
As a result we had a wide range of people bringing their national dishes for the buffet, including food from both Russia and Japan .

Ian Corbett and Anna Bogush from Siberia enjoy the evening.

The English Martyrs' and St John's joint Parish BBQ on 5th July

Fierce competition during the tug-of-war.

JUNE 2009
Feast of St Thomas More

The Feast of St Thomas More was anticipated at the Chapel of St Thomas More on Boars Hill on Saturday 20th June, when the Holy Rood Children's Choir processed in costume to the Chapel, preceded by the parish banner. A tableau illustrating the life of the saint was presented; in the second picture St Thomas is seen with his wife and children, while King Henry VIII sits enthroned on the opposite side of the chapel. The tableau was followed by Benediction, with singing by the Children's Choir, and this was followed by Tea and Games in a local garden.


On Sunday 21st June over 500 parishioners of Our Lady and St. Edmunds Church in Abingdon attended a Mass celebrated by Bishop Crispian Hollis. The parish normally has four Masses each Sunday, and the different congregations don't get together very often. To allow room for the combined congregations, Mass was celebrated outdoors in the garden of Our Lady's Convent. Because there are people from many nationalities in the Parish, prayers and readings in ten different languages were a special feature of the celebration.
The weather remained pleasant , and after Mass many of the congregation stayed for a "Bring and Share" picnic lunch in the Church grounds. The numbers attending were excellent considering that the 21st June was not only Father's Day, but also the date of the British F1 Grand Prix .

Some last minute preparations...

Relaxing in the sun with picnics after Mass

St John the Evangelist and English Martyrs Youth Group

The June meeting was a Silly Games and Pizza evening, where great fun was had by all. 

MAY 2009

Congratulations to the 32 candidates from the Pastoral Area who were confirmed by Bishop Crispian on 2nd June 2009, at English Martyrs Church, Didcot.

Our thanks extend to Deacon Richard Budgen for leading the Pastoral Council of English Martyrs and
St John's in an inspiring and valuable Day of Reflection on 30th May.

Birthday Celebrations

Parishioners at Holy Rood Church, North Hinksey, celebrate a birthday celebration lunch after Mass on the Feast of the Ascension.



Father Paul presents Monica Powley with a 'thank you' bouquet

Extreme Ironing at Our Lady of the Rosary.
A remarkable achievement was recognised at Mass on Sunday 17th May at Our Lady of the Rosary in North Hinksey Parish, when Father Paul King presented Monica Powley with a bouquet of flowers as a thank you for having laundered the altar cloths and priests' albs from the church for fifty years. In his short speech, Father Paul spoke of her faithful quiet service, of which many people were unaware. 
Just for the record, Monica has ironed over a mile and a half of altar cloth in that time, and enough albs to vest a Vatican of priests.
Monica has now stepped down from her duties, and has handed over to another Monica - Mrs Monica Callan.



Group discussion with some of our Children's Liturgy leaders. 

The safeguarding training sessions at Our Lady of the Rosary on Saturday 9th May were attended by over forty parishioners. The sessions were informative and thought provoking, and the group discussion proved particularly lively and fruitful. Indeed some topics were still being discussed over coffee after Mass the following morning.  

APRIL 2009

THANK YOU very much to all parishioners who have generously
sponsored our daughters . The girls trained hard and swam with
enthusiasm last Saturday. So far we have collected £411. 50 for Marie
Curie Cancer Care. Those who still want to sponsor us, please leave your
donations in envelopes in the basket at the back of the church marked
SWIMATHON. Cheques should be made out to "Swimathon 2009".
Thank you very much again!
Anna Radaelli Ghislaine Moschetta


Children in the congregation at Our Lady of the Rosary organised a mini-fete after Mass on Sunday 26th April.

There were stalls selling plants, cakes and toys as well as several competitions for young and not so young.

The children raised £103.79 which will be shared between two charities - Helping Hands (building a school in Uganda) and the Kenyan Orphan Project. Congratulations to our young people for this successful venture!

Our local community already has links with both these charities.
The children at Cumnor Primary School, which a number of our parish children attend, support Helping Hands (www.helpinghandsworldwide.com), a charity which exists to help disadvantaged people throughout the world. The children are working to raise money to build a school in Uganda.

The Kenyan Orphan Project (www.kopafrica.org) was started in 2001 by medical students with the vision to fight against poverty, disease, social exclusion and injustice and to help improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya.
Katie Ayres, a second year medical student, who is well known in the parish, as are her parents and grandparents, is going to work on placement in the Kadinda Health Centre in July. Katie has already organised a very successful Quiz Night in the local area which raised over £1000 for KOP. The children's contribution will be added to this and the money will be donated to the Health Centre via the charity.



Abingdon celebrates Blessing of the Easter Food

Last year the Polish community in Abingdon celebrated their
traditional "Blessing of the Easter food" at St. Edmund's, and the
occasion was a great success with many non - Polish parishioners
joining them. This year a special invitation was extended to fellow
parishioners of all nationalities, and the ceremony was attended by an
even larger congregation.

A large number of the baskets were brought by parishioners other
nationalities , all participating in what has now become a part of
"Our" Easter celebrations. As Father Tom said "We can all learn from
one another, and as Catholics share our faith with one another"

Click here for more pictures

MARCH 2009



Thames Isis participate in the Women's World day of Prayer at St John the Evangelist, Wallingford

This year St John's hosted the Women's World Day of Prayer in Wallingford. The service was written and produced by the women of Papua New Guinea and held by women in 170 countries on the same day (3,000 parishes in UK). The theme this year was 'In Christ there are many members yet one body'. Janey
Carline produced the art sculptures and our music group provided the music.

The Lenten Soup Lunches have been held every Friday throughout Lent at both English Martyrs and St John the Evangelist churches. They have proved very popular, with all funds raised going to charity.


Bishop Crispian’s visit to the Thames Isis Pastoral Area, Winter 2009

For over thirty weekends in the year Bishop Crispian visits Parishes in the Pastoral Areas to celebrate the main Mass of the Sunday with the Clergy and people. He comes as their Chief Shepherd to be part of the Parish, and to experience the way each community stamps its character on the celebration of the Eucharist in the context of our Diocese being in communion with the Universal Church, and its Chief Shepherd, Pope Benedict.

Over several Sunday mornings in early 2009 Bishop Crispian came to the Thames Isis Pastoral Area to be part of our gathering as Church around the Risen Christ in the Eucharist.
He celebrated Mass at Abingdon, East Ilsley, Didcot, Wallingford, and North Hinksey.
Bishop Crispian also had lunch with the Parish Pastoral Council members in each Parish, and at North Hinksey enrolled new altar servers into the Guild of St Stephen.

He was accompanied by Deacon Richard, our Pastoral Area Deacon, as Deacons are Ordained primarily to be the Bishop’s man, and should be at his side when he visits a Parish or Pastoral Area.

Bishop Crispian presented well earned Diocesan Medals to 4  wonderful parishioners of the
St Patrick, Parish - & something for the altar servers as well!

Rose Millett, Vic Horgan,  Maureen Eyston and Diana Tuson

In recognition of their dedication and completion of training as altar servers, the Bishop also presented Guild of St Stephen medals.

 Click here for more



North Hinksey - Our Dear Bishop Crispian enrolls Altar Servers in the Guild of St Stephen

On the occasion of his visitation, Bishop Crispian was principal celebrant and preached at 9.15 Mass. He also enrolled our altar servers in the Guild of St Stephen.


Hinksey Parish Pastoral Council meets the Bishop After 11.15 Mass, members of the Parish Pastoral Council met Bishop Crispian over lunch. There was opportunity to discuss various matters connected with both Parish and Pastoral Area.



In January there was a four-day Healing Weekend at St Edmunds conducted by Pauline Edwards and Fr Laurence Brassill. The presence of the Holy Spirit was very tangible and many blessings were poured out. We witnessed many healings.

To read an account of the event, with photos and testimonies, click here.

2008 Scrap Book

The Monday before Christmas was the occasion of our Children's Workshop at Our Lady of the Rosary. The morning included a suitable Service of Reconciliation, opportunity for private confession, and the making of Christingles. The children also made Christmas cards and assembled Christmas baskets to take to housebound parishioners, who are unable to join at church at this time.

Didcot & Wallingford Fundraising Committee Report

Over the past few months the fundraisers have been quite busy organising a number of events for the parish. We held a hugely popular quiz night at the local golf club in November, put on a Christmas lunch for the senior parishioners and organised a candleit Christmas Concert by the Marilla String Quartet at EM in early December. We also gave lunch to the choir of St Amand's primary school after they sang carols for us. We regularly hold cake stalls to raise funds and have been running themed lunches for the senior parishioners; Valentine's day (sadly cancelled because of the snow), St Patrick and St. George!

September 2008
Harvest 2008 Joy and Kindness at Our lady of the Rosary

At Our Lady of the Rosary the last Sunday in September is always celebrated with a Family Harvest Mass, followed by brunch. Money is raised to support the local Porch Steppin' Stone charity, with which the congregation has links. This charity provides day long support for homeless and vulnerably housed people who want to move forward in their lives away from street-life and addiction. Here we see one of our young people holding the Harvest basket which was raffled for the charity.

June 2008

A wonderful trip was made by parishioners of St John's in June 2008 to the Wintershall Estate's 'Life of Christ'. It was an early start in order to arrive on time, but well worth it. The play was performed throughout the whole day, and thankfully the weather was kind to us. Everyone returned home affected by the thought-provoking performance, and looking forward to returning again in future years.

Click here for the Wintershall web site

The Didcot & Wallingford Youth Group at the Celebrate Family Conference in Bristol 2008

For more about the conference click here

May 2008
Hinksey Parish First Holy Communion Celebration - 4th May 2008