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Sunday & Weekday Masses at Our Lady and St Edmund of Abingdon and other churches in the area

Key Contacts

Rev Jamie McGrath
01235 520375

Rev Phil Carroll
 Lisa Paterson

1 Radley Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire. OX14 3PL


01235  520375. 


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Hospital Chaplains



The Church in Abingdon



Our Church Groups

There are many ways in which you can get involved and contribute to our Parish community, as teams of volunteers run a number of groups/activities open to everybody. Some of them have been running for a long time, like the music groups, some of them are relatively recent, for example the Communication Group.    

While most of them are linked to the life of the Church in one form or another, either liturgically or practically, some are not faith-based and are more social, like the Baby and Toddler and the Cake and Conversation Groups.

Normally, all our activities and events are advertised weekly in the newsletter distributed every Sunday at Mass. For more information, or if you would like to get involved in any of them, please contact the Parish Office.


Alpha Course

 The Parish runs the Alpha Course each year. This course looks at the key tenets of Christianity in a social and relaxed way.  We start with a cooked supper followed by a talk, sometimes on a DVD, and then break into small discussion groups.  We follow the model that is used in many countries around the world.  We have found the course to be as helpful and inspiring to existing parishioners as it is to those who aren’t Christian or feel they know little about their faith. 

Friendships are often formed and guests often comment on the friendly atmosphere.  We often organise a joint Launch Supper with the other Christian churches in the town that run Alpha Courses and that has proved to be a big blessing.

Marriage Care
 It is the largest faith-based provider of marriage preparation and relationship counseling in the UK. Founded in 1946 it provides marriage preparation, information, education and relationship counseling to thousands of people each year. Near 800 highly trained practitioners and support volunteers work in 53 Centres across England, Wales and Gibraltar. 

 During last year over 71,500 people accessed information about marriage and relationships from Marriage Care, and 7,600 clients took part in 9,716 sessions of face-to-face marriage preparation or relationship counselling. There are regular days in Oxford for married couples, and our Parish representative would be pleased to talk to you about this.

 The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

 The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process established in the church for individuals to become members of the Catholic Church and receive the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. The initiation process involves a Parish community experiencing a renewal of faith as it prepares and welcomes new members into the Church.      

 Who is the RCIA for? Participants vary from people in need of Baptism, to people baptised in another Christian tradition and willing to become Catholic, and finally to those baptised Catholic and in need of First Communion and/or Confirmation.  RCIA sessions take place in the Parish every year from September until Pentecost, and are held weekly on Tuesday evenings 7.30-9.00pm.



The Parish Covenant with the Poor (see below) commits us to continuing support for CAFOD, the official Catholic aid agency in England and Wales. The parish works closely with the Portsmouth office - www.cafod.org.uk/cafod-in-your-area/Portsmouth - using opportunities such as the Lent and Harvest Fast Days to inform the community about the causes of poverty, to campaign for change and to give financial support to CAFOD`s work.

Christian Aid

 Christian Aid aims to deliver on the ground real practical benefits to the poor and the destitute in countries where the need is greatest, to speak out where there is injustice and to campaign for change. Abingdon Christian Aid Group is a friendly group of people drawn from all of the churches in Abingdon. We organize events and meetings to raise awareness of the work of Christian Aid and to raise funds for its work.

Church in Abingdon (CiA)

 Along with 13 other churches of various denominations in Abingdon, St Edmund’s belongs to the union of churches together called the CiA. We aim to pray, study and work together in order to deepen our Christian faith and put that faith into practice within the community of the town of Abingdon. The CiA gives  encouragement to various action groups, such as Christian Aid and Bereavement Support, and supports  financially certain projects, such as Street Pastors, 35 Ock St Cafe and the Abingdon Passion Play.

Collection for the Homeless

The Advent collection for the homeless is to help those people who are living on the streets, particularly during the cold months of December & January. We look for new warm clothes, particularly scarves, hats, sweaters, and socks, but toiletry items are also welcome. We deliver donated items to different homeless organizations in Oxford each week throughout December.

Covenant with The Poor

Inspired by Pope Francis` s challenge to become a Church FOR the Poor and WITH the Poor, and prompted by Bishop Philip`s call that we must ALL have a special concern for justice, peace and social responsibility, our Parish re-drafted and renewed our Covenant with the Poor. Originally drawn up at Pentecost in 1998 at the instigation of Bishop Crispian Hollis, we have recently re affirmed our commitment to this new Covenant at the Parish Day in 2014. Meetings are held periodically in the parish to review how we fulfill these commitments and are open to all. To read the text of the Covenant, please click here.

Foodbank Contribution

 The Foodbank collection started in our Parish as an Advent project and over the past two years has extended to run throughout the year. All contributions are taken to the Abingdon Emergency Foodbank, based at Christ Church in Northcourt Road. Food items and toiletries are distributed to people who have been referred to the Foodbank by local support services.

The Foodbank is open twice a week and those in need are given sufficient food for their family for 3 days. Normally they can re-apply twice or three times a year for emergency support. Our Parish contributions have made a big difference and it is a privilege to be working with the Christ Church community. To view their website, chick here.


Life is a national charity that provides a nationwide care service for pregnant women, girls with a problem pregnancy, infertility or suffering from the effects of abortion. Life cares by offering free pregnancy testing, confidential counselling, practical help and accommodation for pregnant women in a crisis. There are Life CARE Centres throughout the UK and a number of Life Houses locally (e.g. Didcot and Oxford).

Life also runs an education programme by giving talks to schools, colleges and other groups. If you would like a Life Speaker to speak to your group, contact the Parish Office.

Pax Christi

In its commitment to the Covenant with the Poor, our Parish is to continue and develop its support for a number of organizations working for a world of justice and peace within the framework of the Catholic Social Teaching. One of these is Pax Christi, whose goals of world peace, reconciliation and non- violence draw inspiration from the Sermon on the Mount down to current Papal teaching. In particular, the parish celebrates Peace Sunday in January. Further details about Pax Christi can be found at www.paxchristi.org.uk


Altar Servers

Any parishioner can participate in a more meaningful way at Mass by becoming an Altar Server. It is one of the lay ministries of the Church and provides an opportunity to explore a new path for growing closer to God. It involves preparing the altar and sanctuary with all the sacred vessels and accessories and assisting the Priest during the Mass itself.

Many of our servers have also joined The Guild of St Stephen, a group that brings together those who serve at the Altar to help them foster a reverence for all they do and to participate more fully in liturgies. We are always looking for new servers, particularly for feast days and the bigger celebrations such as Easter and Christmas. Children are welcome to become Altar Servers once they have received their First Holy Communion.

Children’s Liturgy

The purpose of the Children’s Liturgy is to provide an adapted Liturgy of the Word during Mass on Sundays for children from Reception to the end of year 6. It takes place during the 10:15am Sunday Mass in term time, with the exception of the first Sunday of the month, when there is a special children’s service, and  on special occasions. There are two Children’s Liturgy groups: the younger group is for children from Reception to the start of Year 3; the older group is for children in Year 3  to Year 6.

 An adult must accompany children under the age of 5 years, and a consent form must be completed for all children aged 4 years and above. Although parents are welcome to accompany their children to the younger group, we request that if parents would like to join us, you limit attendance to one adult per family, due to the number of children attending and the size of the room. We are always looking for new helpers and leaders to join the team of volunteers who run  the Children’s Liturgy.

Eucharistic Ministry

Eucharistic Ministers are commissioned primarily to assist the Parish Priest with the distribution of Holy Communion at Masses in Church. They also take Holy Communion to the sick and housebound in the Parish. Training is provided for all those new. A Day of Recollection is organized annually for all the Ministers.

Liturgy Steering Group

The Liturgy Steering Group is an umbrella group of all the ministries involved in our liturgies, from music and Reading  the Word, to Eucharistic Ministry and Welcome. It strives to ensure that many people of all ages are actively involved in our worship, and that there are styles of worship which appeal to a variety of parishioners, whether it be at regular services or liturgies for special occasions.

Readers Ministry

All readings during the Masses at Our Lady and St Edmund are undertaken by a group of volunteers – usually two readers for each Mass. New volunteers, especially young people, are always welcome and training is available. For the Readers’ rota, please see the home page.


Fabric and Finance Committee

The Finance and Fabric Committee oversees and is responsible, together with the Parish Priest, for the financial running of the Parish and the maintenance of the Church, Presbytery, Parish Centre and grounds. It meets about four times a year, and some of the members have been on it since it was officially established back in the late 90s.
The members responsible for financial matters attend, in the main, to the following: the counting and banking of all monies and cheques received by the Parish from all sources; the payment of all sums in connection with the running of the Parish; the submitting of the Annual Parish Accounts to the Diocese on time; the keeping of Gift Aid records so that our Annual Claims can be submitted to the Inland Revenue; the payment to the various Charities of the additional retiring collections made and of any Gift Aid due to them.
The members of the Committee dealing with the fabric of the buildings are usually experienced in buildings works or the maintenance of buildings. A report on the condition of our buildings and external areas is prepared every five years by a local architect. It includes a list of all the defects observed together with an indication of the urgency of repairs. The Committee obtains quotations for the repair works and ensures that they are carried out as recommended in the report. In addition, any problems occurring with the buildings at any time are referred to the Committee, who arranges for rectification. Recent projects include the removal of asbestos from the Church and Presbytery, followed by complete redecoration, new lighting and new boilers for the Church. The replacement of the old heating distribution system throughout the Church and Cloisters is next.


Church Choir

Our formal church choir sings in harmony at the 10.15am Mass on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month and also provide music for the major liturgical feasts of Christmas and Easter, including Holy Week. Around Christmas, a Carol Service is organised to which the Abingdon Society of Bell Ringers is usually invited. We rehearse in church from approximately 8.00pm to 9.30pm on the Tuesdays preceding the Mass at which we are singing, apart from August when we have a summer break. When preparing music for Christmas and Easter, we have weekly rehearsals.

Most of our hymns are taken from the Laudate Hymnal, but our repertoire also includes motets, classical music and music composed by some of our members. There are no auditions to join the choir, but the ability to sight sing to some degree is essential. We are a friendly group, and occasionally meet socially. New members are most welcome but we need some commitment in terms of attending choir practices and singing at Mass on a regular basis.

Folk Group

The Parish Folk Group normally provides music at the 10:15am Mass on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, including the special Children’s Masses which takes place the 1st Sunday of the month in term-time. The music played by the group is the most eclectic within the Parish varying from Taizé and traditional hymns (e.g. Thine be the glory), through to modern Catholic Liturgical Music (e.g. by Dan Schutte/John Foley) to more recently composed worship music (e.g. by Robin Mark and Darlene Zschech).

The group membership varies from youngsters playing Grade 1 clarinet, to adults and young people with guitars, flutes and violins. There are no auditions and we are rarely able to have formal practices as most of us have families. For this reason the membership may vary weekly, especially during school holidays! If you’d like to join us, please simply approach us after one of our Masses. To quote Marty Haugen: “All are welcome”.



The Safeguarding Team supports group leaders in the safe recruitment of volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults.  It is essential to make sure that volunteers understand their roles, have undergone DBS checking where necessary, have references suitable for their roles, and have undergone safeguard training before commencing their ministry.  The Parish Safeguarding Team works with the Diocesan Safeguarding Office to ensure that our Parish is a safe place for everyone.

 Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP)

A local group of the SVP has been established in the parish in 2014. It exists to ‘turn concern into action’ by helping the poor or those in need. So far our work is mainly visiting the housebound. We are not social workers or experts – just volunteers who are willing to befriend and help. We meet fortnightly in the Parish Centre for 45 minutes.


Church Cleaning

As far as we know, Our Lady & St Edmund’s Church cleaning group has always been in existence. The group now consists of thirty-one parishioners, and given its size, individuals only need to clean the church three times a year. We are always looking for new cleaners to help. It is a very calming, peaceful and rewarding task.

Flower Arrangement

 We are a small group of volunteers, whose aim  is to ensure that our church is prepared for Sunday  and special celebrations. We make sure that the altar and shrines are dressed to reflect and celebrate the various feasts over the Liturgical year, especially Christmas and Eastertide. It is an enjoyable task and we have a very supportive group. We welcome new people, with or without any experience. We do not do wedding flowers but are happy to liaise with the couples to ensure their florists have easy access to our church.


The duties of  the Stewards are as follows : to help people find a seat, to carry out  the collection and arrange the offertory, to offer first aid, to provide fire cover and anything the priest requires to run the service. Our church needs up to four stewards per Mass, and spares to cover sickness and holidays. First Aid training and fire training can be provided.


Mothers' Prayers

 Mothers' Prayers is a prayer group for mothers who wish to pray together for their children and grandchildren.  The group uses a specific booklet of prayers that are used by mothers throughout the world.  The group meets in the church in front of Our Lady’s statue at 10:15 on the first Saturday of the month, for about half an hour.

Wednesday evening Charismatic Prayer

We have a flourishing and growing prayer group at St Edmund's, with a wide spread of ages, from children to senior citizens. Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday we have a Praise & Worship meeting in the church from 7:45pm to about 9pm, where we come together for an informal time of Prayer, Praise and Worship. Each meeting is different as we open it to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Usually we start with a time of Praise, worshipping the Lord through song and prayer. This is followed by the reading of the Scriptures, times of silence where we listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say, and offering up intercessions for our needs, the needs of our family, our parish and our community. We also offer individual Prayer Ministry. You are warmly invited to come to our meeting and join us - everyone is very welcome!


Baptism Preparation

Baptism Preparation in the Parish is undertaken by the Pastoral Area, and is led by a group of dedicated lay catechists from the parishes within the PA. It is co-ordinated by Deacon Richard Budgen and takes place on the first Wednesday of the month (excluding August and December) at 8.00 p.m. in the Abingdon Parish Centre. It is a requirement to attend one preparation evening in order for the sacrament to be administered.


The Confirmation programme is for all young people from  Year 8 and above in the Pastoral Area of Abingdon, Didcot, Hinksey, Grandpont and East Hendred.  The programme consists of a day’s retreat and 12 to 15 sessions, currently on Sunday tea-times in the Abingdon Parish Centre.  It currently starts in January each year, with the actual Confirmation taking place around June.  There is also a programme of events for parents, which is greatly appreciated.  We also aim to offer activities for these young people in the year after their Confirmation, and encourage them to grow in their faith in a variety of ways.

First Holy Communion

First Holy Communion is celebrated in the Parish each year in June.  The programme is aimed at children from our Parish in year 3 at school, or slightly older. Parents are invited to attend a meeting in November to enrol their children and to receive details about it. Saturday morning sessions are held from January to May and take place in the Church and in the Parish Centre. The Sacrament of First Reconciliation, which is a part of the programme, is administered in March.

Marriage Preparation

This is undertaken by Fr Jamie McGrath, our Parish Priest. Please contact the Parish Office to make an appointment.


Baby and Toddler

 St Edmund’s Baby & Toddler Group meets every Friday during school term time from 9.30am to 11.30pm at the Parish Centre. It is aimed at babies through to children of preschool age together with their parents/carers. It is a friendly drop-in group providing opportunity for play, crafts, singing and refreshments.  New comers are always welcome. 
It costs £1 per family per week. Please come along if you are the parent, grandparent or carer of a baby or preschool child, even if English is not your first language. It is a great place to meet other adults with children your child’s age and your child can make new friends too.

Cake and Conversation

This is a friendly, informal group of people who meet in the Parish Centre on Wednesday mornings from 9.30  - 11 am. It is part of the welcome outreach into the local community and provides an opportunity to practise English language skills for anyone whose first language is not English.

Monthly Lunch

The Parish Lunch is held once a month on a Wednesday at Our Lady and St Edmunds in the Parish Centre. It was originally intended for 'older' parishioners or people on their own as a social get-together, but it has evolved into a lunch for anyone. It is an opportunity to meet socially and exercise a little parish hospitality. A rota of cooks and "bottle-washers" ensures that there is good food available and a friendly group with whom to chat. New volunteers are always welcome as the current helpers are ageing fast! Transport is arranged for those who require it.


The Parish has a youth group for ages 11 – 16 which meets on some Sunday afternoons during term in the Parish Centre.  We also organise Youth Masses and attend diocesan youth events, where possible.  Some of the youth help out in various ministries in the Parish and we always encourage young people to take a full part in Parish life.   We are a very friendly group and welcome new  young people to come and see if the youth group is for them.


Community Notices

newsletter by email

Click here for the Thames Isis Pastoral Area Diary

Click here for the Notice Board


Click here for the Calendar of Future Events