To have your child Baptised at Holy Ghost, you need to be coming to Sunday Mass weekly – especially as you will be promising during the ceremony that you will be bringing your child up in the practice of the Faith.

The time to make an initial enquiry about a Baptism is at Open House – which takes place in the Parish Centre (27 Nightingale Square) most Tuesday evenings during term-time, from 6pm – 7.30pm. It is always wise to check the Parish Newsletter to see whether Open House is taking place.

As there are many Baptisms at Holy Ghost, it is important to emphasize that a visit to Open House must take place before any date or time for a Baptism can be considered. Also – please note that only two Godparents are permitted. Both must be practicing Christians over the age of 16, and at least one of the Godparents must be a Catholic.

A meeting takes place each year before the Summer Holidays for parents of children who will be in Primary School Year 3 or above from September of that same year. The meeting is specifically for parents who attend Holy Ghost Sunday Mass weekly with their children – regardless of which schools their children attend.

At the meeting, the Preparation Programme leading to First Confession/Reconciliation and First Holy Communion the following May/June is outlined, and the commitment required from both parents and children is explained. Parents are then invited to apply for places on the Preparation Programme – applications being required from all parents – including those with children at Holy Ghost School.

Children at Holy Ghost School are usually prepared in the school during school-time. Children at other Catholic and non-Catholic Schools are offered a number of out-of-school options for preparation. Currently these are term-time only on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 4.30pm – 5.30pm, or Saturdays from 9am – 10am. All these take place in the Parish Centre (27 Nightingale Square).

Before the Summer Holidays, children not at Holy Ghost School have their preparation groups confirmed, and then everyone is given dates for 3 Presentation Masses on Sundays at 11am for parents and children, and dates for 3 Parents’ Meetings on Wednesdays 8pm – 9pm.

All is then ready to start in September – so obviously no late applications can be received.

Usually between 20 – 25 teenagers come forward for Confirmation each year. Before the Summer Holidays, a Parents’ Meeting is held for those who have teenagers who will be in Secondary School Year 8 or above in September of that same year. The meeting is specifically for parents who attend Holy Ghost Sunday Mass weekly with their teenagers – regardless of whether they attend Catholic schools or not.

At the meeting, the Preparation Programme leading to Confirmation the following May/June is outlined, and the commitment required from both parents and teenagers is explained. Both parents and teenagers are then invited to apply for places on the Preparation Programme.

The Programme starts in the Autumn, and involves preparation sessions in term-time only on Tuesday evenings in the Church Crypt from 6.30pm – 8pm. There is also a Weekend Retreat involved towards the end of the Programme. During the course of the Preparation Programme there will be 3 Parents’ Meetings on Wednesday evenings from 8pm – 9pm.

A great deal of planning has to go into providing an engaging Preparation Programme, which is delivered by volunteer Parish Catechists – so it is not possible to accept applications after the pre-Summer deadline.

It is possible to get married at Holy Ghost if you are a Parishioner, or if you are a weekly Sunday worshipper. If you intend to get married, or if you are a Parishioner (or attend Holy Ghost) and intend to get married elsewhere in the UK, or anywhere else – please make contact with one of the priests at your earliest opportunity for advice on the appropriate procedure. It is never too early to make contact – and a minimum of 6 months notice is required in every case – so please don’t delay.

To be married in the Catholic Church both parties must be free to marry, and at least one party must be Roman Catholic – the other party may or may not be Christian, or may be of another faith – or none. In today’s society, this is not unusual. Please note that it is not necessary for the non-Catholic party to convert to Catholicism in order to be married in the Catholic Church.

If you are a Parishioner (or attend Holy Ghost) and you have arranged to be married in a Catholic Church elsewhere in the UK or anywhere else, it is a requirement in Church Law that the Paperwork and the Preparation is completed in the Parish in which you are actually resident. The priest in the Church where you are marrying should have advised you of this – but sometimes this doesn’t happen, and causes problems later.

On rare occasions, for those marrying elsewhere, the priest in that place will undertake to do the Paperwork and the Preparation. Please note that even if this does happen, it is still necessary to make contact with the priest in the Parish in which you are actually resident at the earliest opportunity.

Catholics are bound by Church Law to marry in the Catholic Church. In certain circumstances, it may be possible for permission to be granted by the Archbishop for the marriage of a Catholic and someone of another Christian denomination to take place in another Christian Church (eg Church of England, Methodist Church). In such circumstances, in addition to the Paperwork and Preparation required by the other Christian denomination, full Paperwork and Preparation is also required by the Catholic Church – which should be approached in the first instance by the Catholic party – and at the earliest opportunity – remembering the general requirement by the Catholic Church that all Paperwork and Preparation should begin at least 6 months before the marriage – and ideally well before.

It is often not realized how much is involved in the Paperwork and Preparation process when marrying in the Catholic Church. Allowing good time – and seeking good advice and direction – the vast majority of marriages are totally straightforward. Most, if not all, tension and stresses in the Paperwork and Preparation process for marriages are caused by couples not approaching the priest in the Parish in which they are resident in good time. Some couples come to see the priest once they are Engaged – and before they have set any date for their wedding or decided on a Church for their marriage, or a venue for their Reception! This is a very wise way to proceed.

So, if you are a Parishioner (or attend Holy Ghost), and you are planning on getting married anywhere – get in touch without delay.

This is the Sacrament in which a man is ordained a Deacon, a Priest, or a Bishop. While only a relatively small number of Catholics receive this Sacrament in some form, it is important to include details of it to encourage people to think about a possible vocation to ordained ministry in the Church. It is essential to have an ordained ministry in the Church for the Church to continue, as it has done, since the time when Christ walked on this earth.


Deacons can be transitory or permanent.

A Transitory Deacon is someone due to be ordained priest shortly. All priests have to be ordained Deacon on their formation journey to the priesthood.

A Permanent Deacon is someone who is ordained deacon for life. Unlike a Transitory Deacon, in certain circumstances a Permanent Deacon may be married and undertake regular employment in addition to his role as deacon. A deacon assists at (but does not celebrate) Mass, and proclaims and preaches the Gospel. Among a number of other things, he officiates at Baptisms, Weddings and at Funeral Services.


In most circumstances a priest may not marry, or have any other regular employment in addition to his role as priest. He is a Minister of Word and Sacrament – presiding at the Eucharist, and proclaiming and preaching the Gospel. He officiates at Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals – he hears Confessions and Anoints the Sick. In certain circumstances, with permission, he may Confirm.

Some priests are involved full-time in academic work, or in the seminary formation of future priests – others in school, college or university chaplaincy – some in youth, hospital or prison work – still others in catechetical, administrative or other diocesan posts. Priests can, in some cases, combine some of these roles with part-time Parish work – but the vast majority of priests are involved in full-time Parish work.

Just as the family is at the heart of society, so the Parish is at the heart of the Church – in which the priest acts as the spiritual father of the community, working collaboratively with the People of God to build up the Kingdom in that place. In developing the exercise of his role as Minster of Word and Sacrament, the priest walks alongside the Parishioners in the joys and in the sorrows of their lives – offering them pastoral advice and support as they seek to develop their faith, and to share it with others. A priest always receives as much, if not more, than he gives, from the Parishioners he serves!


A priest is ordained Bishop having been specially chosen by the Pope for such a role. A Bishop has pastoral oversight and care of a Diocese – which is a geographical area containing a number of Parishes (our own Diocese of Southwark, for example, has approximately 180). Only a Bishop can ordain a Deacon or a Priest – or another Bishop (with the authority of the Pope, and assisted by two other Bishops). Generally, it is the Bishop who celebrates the Sacrament of Confirmation – although a priest may do so, in certain circumstances, with permission. An Auxiliary Bishop assists a Diocesan Bishop in his pastoral care and oversight of the Diocese.

An Archbishop usually has pastoral care and oversight of one of the larger Dioceses – as well as, in rare and certain circumstances, some oversight and pastoral care of neighbouring Dioceses (Province) – always respecting the authority of the bishops of these Dioceses.


We live in such a busy, fast and noisy world, that the call of God to the Permanent Diaconate and to the Priesthood can be drowned out. God still calls men to ordained ministry in the Church. He always has, and he always will – of that, there is no doubt! Could it be that you are being called by God to consider one of these ministries?

If you are interested in finding out more about being a Permanent Deacon or a Priest – please visit the Permanent Diaconate or Vocations Sections of this website.

If you are interested in becoming a Bishop – you will have to leave that to the Holy Father ….. and the Holy Spirit!

Young, middle-aged or elderly can be affected by physical or mental illness at any time. It can be relatively minor, reasonably substantial or concerningly severe – and can be short, medium or long-term.

Those who are sick and/or housebound, those who care for them or who worry about them, are of special concern to the Parish – and they are remembered regularly in prayer.

If you have a medium to long-term substantial sickness – or are similarly housebound – and would like a visit from one of the priests, please contact the Parish Office in the first instance. The priests would be very happy to visit to offer support, and to offer comfort in the Sacraments of Confession/Reconciliation and/or Holy Communion. In certain circumstances, you may be offered the Sacrament of the Sick (Anointing). At one stage, this Sacrament was seen as being only for those who were critically ill. This is no longer the case, and it is now more fully understood to be a Sacrament of Healing for body and mind – for the whole being of the person who receives it – giving great strength and comfort, not only to them, but also to their families and friends, and those who care for them or who worry about them. The Sacrament of the Sick can be received at regular periods during the course of an illness, or during a state of infirmity and frailty.


The pastoral care of Catholic patients in hospital is the responsibility of the Roman Catholic Chaplain. Most, if not all, major hospitals have a full-time priest Chaplain who is responsible for the pastoral and sacramental care of patients – and who is fully conversant with hospital requirements for the privacy and safety of patients.

The hospital Chaplain no longer does general visits to wards. All visits must be specific, and at the request of the patient or a relative. Therefore, if you would like to see the Roman Catholic Chaplain when you are in hospital, you will specifically need to inform the hospital administration on admission that you are Roman Catholic, and that you wish to see the Roman Catholic Chaplain during your stay in hospital. You may need to remind the ward staff!

Whilst your pastoral and sacramental care is the responsibility of the Roman Catholic Chaplain while you are in hospital – if you are in hospital for a period of time – please inform the Parish Office (or get someone to do so), and, if at all possible, one of the priests from the Parish will visit you.

For further information please visit St. George’s Hospital, or Royal Trinity Hospice, Clapham