Below we give highly abbreviated summaries about the many groups, societies and organisations who have an active presence in the Diocese of Northampton. Fuller information is in the printed Diocesan Directory which is available in all our churches and schools ; or you can ask the Webmaster.
To protect the privacy of many volunteers, we are not giving full addresses, private phone numbers or private e-mails unless specifically requested to do so. All we have done is give the town where a contact lives, so you can see if there is someone near you. Full contact details for any group will be provided on request to any legitimate enquirer - just e-mail the webmaster. .
ACTA - "A Call To Action". A national body/movement with a local group in the Diocese. "We are a group of Catholics, some of whom are ordained, brought together by our love of Christ's church and our anxiety about its future. Still inspired by the Second Vatican Council, we want to contribute fully to the life of our church so that we may be a more effective sign of the kingdom of God. To do this, we believe that an atmosphere of openness and dialogue, both with each other and with our Bishops, needs developing. We desire to help create a climate of trust and respect for all where this dialogue may be fostered." Since the first national meeting in autumn 2012 there have been national conferences, in Leeds, Liverpool and London. Members of the local group attended. Website: www.acalltoaction.org.uk Local contact: Jackie Gleeson, Luton
Aid to the Church in Need
With over 7,000 projects every year in Eastern Europe and throughout the world, ACN is present today wherever the Church is poor or persecuted. ACN is directly under the Pope and relies entirely on the generosity of its supporters. Website: www.acnuk.org Area Secretary: Michael Casey, Aylesbury.
Friendly, low-key, meal-featuring introduction to Christianity for those new to/enquiring about the faith, or wanting a refresher on the basics. Not specifically Catholic in content although there are Catholic "add-ons". For information contact Mike Gibbons (St Peter's, Rushden), or see the main Alpha website. National contact for "Alpha for Catholics" is Mike Roche.
Archconfraternity of St Stephen. Support and training for altar servers. Director: Rev Deacon Peter Griffin, Olney. See their pages here
Association of lnterchurch Families
The Association offers a support network for interchurch families, where husband and wife are practising Christians committed to different Churches - usually a Catholic and a Christian of another communion. Diocesan contacts: Ian and Adrienne Gordon, Clophill, Beds: Rita & Mike Courthold, Hungerford, Berks: Beverley & Paul Hollins, Newport Pagnell. Website: www.interchurchfamilies.org.uk/
Association of Separated and Divorced Catholics
The Association is a lay organisation whose purpose is to provide spiritual and practical support for those separated or divorced, whatever their circumstances. Diocesan Representative: Henry Worthy, Northampton. Website: www.asdcengland.org.uk . Helpline number: 0113 264 0638. Secretary: Mrs C L Townsend, c/o 3 Windham Place, Scale Hall, Lancaster, LA1 5HA. E-mail: email@example.com
The Beginning Experience is an active lay ministry for people of all ages experiencing loss through bereavement, separation or divorce. Contact: Felicity Harrison, Northampton
An international brotherhood of Catholic business and professional men who meet socially, at least once a month, at local branches or "circles".
Chiltern Circle: (169).
Bedford Circle (177).
Luton Circle (216).
Milton Keynes Circle (293).
Northampton Circle (35).
South Bucks Circle (124).
To find a Circle near you and be put in contact with them, and for further information, please see the Catenians National website:
CAFOD - Catholic Agency For Overseas Development
The official overseas development and relief agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales ; member of the Caritas International Federation, a worldwide network of Catholic relief and development organisations.
Diocesan Manager: Deborah Purfield,, CAFOD Northampton, Ker Anna Centre, Aylesbury Road, Princes Risborough, HP27 0JW. Phone 01844 274723. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cafod.org.uk/northampton
Catholic Charismatic Renewal
A spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in the Church whereby Catholics experience a renewal of their faith and Christian life, and the manifestation of further gifts of the Holy Spirit. To help people to experience and to grow in this renewal, there is a loosely organised network of Charismatic Prayer Groups (click here) and a National Service Team. Diocesan Contacts: Gerard and Toni Pomfret, Luton.
Catholic Women's League
The CWL promotes and supports charitable, educational and welfare work at parish, diocesan and national levels, unites Catholic women in bonds of friendship, trains and encourages members to use their talents and skills, and ensures Catholic representation of women's interests on national and international bodies. There are CWL sections in five parishes. Contact: President, Louise Dance, Slough: Secretary: Mrs Sue Arthur, Slough. Website: www.catholicwomensleague.org/
See under Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
English Catholic History Association
The Association aims to advance the education of the public in English Catholic history, and helping to preserve documents. Regional Co-ordinator: Mrs Sheila Mawhood, High Wycombe. Website: www.echa.org.uk
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
Under its Papal Constitution, the Order is a Religious Order of Knighthood, being one of only two such recognised by the Holy See. The Order is worldwide and has the specific task of supporting the maintenance and advancement of Christianity in the Holy Land through prayer, pilgrimage and almsgiving, principally through the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Patriarchate’s schools are a particular focus of the Order’s support. The Eastern Section, of which Bishop Peter is Prior and which covers this diocese as well as those of Brentwood and East Anglia, is one of eight Sections in the Lieutenancy of England and Wales. The President of the Eastern Section is Bernard Waddingham KGCHS of Holy Cross Parish, Bedford, and the Secretary is Kathy Bishop DC*HS . Website: www.khs.org.uk
Equipes Notre-Dame GB (formerly Teams of Our Lady) An international Catholic movement for Christian married couples. Founded in France just before WWII, Teams reached England in 1959. There are now over 150 teams in the UK and over 8,000 teams in more than 60 countries worldwide.Each team consists of 4 to 6 couples and a priest, sister or deacon as spiritual advisor, who meet monthly in one another's homes to share a simple meal, pray, study the Bible, and to share the joys and difficulties of married life. Teams exist at the following locations within the diocese: Aston-le-Walls, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Little Chalfont and Northampton. Anyone interested in joining Teams or requiring further information, contact Paul & Janet DeBoo, c/o Cathedral, Northampton. Website: www.TeamsGB.org.uk
Friends of the Venerabile. An Association founded in 1985 to support the Venerable English College in Rome, which trains some of our future priests. Contact Mike Lang. Their website here.
The Grail Society
As a community centred on the Eucharist we are committed to sharing the Christian values that inspire us and bring to our lives a spirit of creativity, celebration and joy. The Grail offers forms of membership for single women, as members of The Grail Secular Institute, and married couples. Local groups meet regularly throughout the country.
Web-site: www.grailsociety.org.uk e-mail: email@example.com
Community address: The Hermitage, Cheriton Road, Winchester SO22 5HW.Tel: 01962 859870; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jesus Caritas Priests' Fraternity
The Fraternity is a loosely-organised international association for priests, based on the inspiration of the contemplative and fraternal spirituality of Charles de Foucauld. It consists of local, and deliberately small, groups - Fraternities - of priests, who aim to give personal and spiritual support to each other. There are two such fraternities in the Diocese: For further information contact: Fr John Danford, Leighton Buzzard.
Justice and Peace:
Some parishes have a designated Justice & Peace Group but many do not. This is not to say that they are not active in matters concerning justice and peace. Most parishes have groups which concentrate on specific areas. CAFOD (see above), support for Missio and Pax Christi are just examples of a wide variety of groups making considerable contributions to justice and peace across the diocese. For the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission ,click here.
Knights of St Columba
The Knights are a body of Catholic laymen who place themselves at the disposal of priests, parishes and the community. The activities cover a wide range of action, including spiritual events such as pilgrimages, retreats, rosary campaigns and fund raising. Website: www.ksc.org.uk
Northampton Province 38 - Provincial Grand Knight: Damien Reilly, Corby
Aylesbury: Geoff Cox, Aylesbury.
Bedford: Carish Field, Kempston
Bletchley and Mlton Keynes; Mike Smith, Emmerson Valley
Corby: Mr Jerome Savage, Corby
Dunstable: Justin Redmond, Dunstable.
Kettering: Daniel Cannon, Kettering,
Luton: Wesley Keeks, Luton,
Northampton: Eric Walls, Northampton
Thames Valley Province 23 - Provincial Grand Knight: David Sole, Ducklington.
High Wycombe: Ian Rowe, High Wycombe
Legion of Mary
A worldwide lay organisation living and fulfilling the ideals of the Decree on the Lay Apostolate. Its objective is the spiritual formation of its members through a life of prayer and apostolic action under ecclesiastical guidance. Its mission is to be at the disposal of the parish priest for all forms of evangelisation and pastoral care, so as to bring all people to Christ through Mary.
Comitium: President: Wanda Leckie . Vice-President: Mrs Maureen Moriarty. Secretary: vacancy
Our Lady of Guadalupe Curia: Northampton South
President: Mrs Judy Weekes, Vice-President: Mrs Rosaleen Burke. Secretary: Mary Philpott. All contact via webmaster please.
LIFE Pregnancy Care offers free pregnancy testing, counselling before and after abortion, and practical care (accommodation available). The LIFE National Helpline is available between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. every day on 0800 915 4600. See also website: www.lifecharity.org.uk LIFE also offers temporary accommodation in its LIFE Houses in Aylesbury and Wycombe, and does talks for secondary and primary schools, and sixth-form conferences, to fit in with the National Curriculum. It also offers fertility advice - see the website www.lifefertilitycare.co.uk . Main Diocesan contact: Gill Duval, High Wycombe.
An interdenominational Christian Community dedicated to Unity, Renewal and Healing. Drawn from all the main Christian traditions, Maranatha members are committed to the life of their local churches. Nationally, Maranatha is actively working to reverse the decline in moral standards and to bring reconciliation to Northern Ireland. A Maranatha gathering of praise, prayer, sharing and healing is held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Bedgrove, Aylesbury on the first Monday of each month except August at 8 p.m. Contact: Sr Bemadette Larkin, c/o the parish.
Marriage Care (Formerly CMAC)
Established in 1946 as the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council to support marriage and family life, Marriage Care provides marriage preparation courses, as well as confidential counselling for individuals or couples who experience marital or relationship difficulties. The service, which is offered by 65 centres in England and Wales, is free of charge, but clients are invited to make a contribution towards the cost of the service. Marriage Care also runs a National Telephone Helpline on 0845 660 6000 which operates from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm on Monday to Friday. Fertility UK is an associated service to couples who want information about fertility awareness and/or instruction in the use of natural methods of family planning. Website: www.FertilityUK.org.
Centres within the Northampton Diocese at Milton Keynes and Northampton (also offering local counselling in Daventry, Kettering and Corby). Chief Executive: Mr Mark Molden: 020 73711341
See under Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
Marriage Preparation (Smart Loving Engaged) . Internationally approved and well resourced, Smart Loving Engaged offers an easy and supported way for parishes to provide marriage preparation for their engaged couples whose life-long intimate love affair can witness to the profound depths of God’s love and be a source of inspiration and encouragement to their children and extended community. Combining a number of adult learning methods, the course is designed to be used in one of four ways - couple to couple mentoring, small home-centred groups, larger groups in parish rooms or on-line mentored correspondence.
Core content is presented on DVD and is supported by comprehensive participant materials with additional take-home activities to stimulate discussion in private.
This is a marriage formation programme that fully integrates:
• Contemporary relationship psychology - presented by husband and wife teams, the perspectives and experience of both sexes are brought to each topic with examples and personal stories, so making the concepts come alive in relatable and relevant ways which offer profound opportunities for personal discovery.
• Robust practical skills and tools - useable immediately for a direct impact on a relationship at whatever stage and throughout marriage.
• Comprehensive Catholic theology for an effective and powerful sacramental preparation of the engaged couple, helping them to grow into the fullness of their spiritual potential and mission to love.
For further details, course availability in the Diocese, resources & information leaflets for parishes and engaged couples, email email@example.com or visit website https://smartloving.org/uk/
The Medaille Trust
The Medaille Trust exists to raise awareness of the plight of trafficked men, women and children to provide relief to these victims through safe housing, opportunities for physical and psychological healing and rehabilitation.Northampton Diocesan representative: Antony Burton (Braunston). Medaille Trust. c/o CARITAS Cathedral Centre 3 Ford St. Salford M3 6DP. Web site: www.medaille-trust.org.uk
The Missionaries of the Poor Supporters Association (MoPSA)
This voluntary organisation, a registered charity, founded by Father Kenneth Payne, supports the Missionaries of the Poor by raising funds for the poor and destitute that are living in parts of the world where there are insufficient resources.
Every penny raised is sent directly to the missions without any deductions for administration. The Missionaries of the Poor was founded by Fr Richard Ho Lung and has centres in Jamaica, India, the Philippines, Haiti, Indonesia, USA, Kenya, Uganda and East Timor.
A community of brothers, living a monastic life, give their services free of charge by feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, caring for street children and the sick, including HIV/Aids and leprosy patients.
Chairman: Mrs Monica Basham
Secretary: Miss Theresa Short, Leighton Buzzard
Treasurer: Mrs Caroline Richards, Great Brington
Founder: Father Kenneth Payne - Little Chalfont
National Board of Catholic Women
The National Board of Catholic Women is a forum, founded in 1939, in which Catholic women of England and Wales come together to share their views and concerns at diocesan and national level They work ecumenically, with women of other faiths and with secular groups at a national and international level to challenge discrimination and promote a woman's right to gender justice. Diocesan Link: Mrs Maura Potter, Burnham, Slough.
Natural Family Planning
The Natural Family Planning Teachers' Association is an education service offering instruction/counselling for women/couples. It teaches couples to understand and value their fertility and helps them to make responsible and informed choices about planning their family in accordance with the moral teaching of the Church. Fertility awareness is particularly valuable for couples with fertility problems. To learn more about NFP, please see their website www.nfpta.org.uk
As one example pf methods taught under NFP, The Billings Ovulation Method teaches a woman to interpret her natural signs of fertility to achieve or postpone pregnancy and to safeguard her reproductive health. It involves no drugs or devices so there are no side-effects. The Method applies to cycles of any length and can be reliably used throughout a woman’s reproductive life. It is used worldwide and is acceptable to all cultures. It is easy to learn and is very effective for couples wishing to achieve pregnancy naturally - the most recent official trial recorded 65%-78% success rates among sub-fertile couples. It is highly successful when learned and used by a couple to postpone pregnancy and the method consistently shows a success rate of better than 99% when taught by a trained, competent teacher. We believe it’s one of the things that can help couples achieve a life-long happy marriage. For details of accredited teachers or further information on the Method, please see the website and contact page at www.billingsmethodengland.org.uk or speak to a local contact for fertility awareness – Sue Marriott on 07932773750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOAH Enterprise (New Opportunities and Horizons),
Provides support for the homeless and the socially excluded in Luton, including welfare training and work experience. This is combined with the recycling of donated furniture and other goods through dedicated retail outlets.
Welfare Services: 141 Park Street, Luton LU1 3HG. Tel: 01582 728416. Website www.noahenterprise.org
Northampton Notre Dame Association
An association of former Notre Dame High School pupils. Contact the President: : Mrs Margaret Bradbury, Old Duston, Northampton
Northampton Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart
A lay organisation, founded in 1898, whose primary aim is the promotion of sobriety and temperance. Its chief means are prayer and self-sacrifice. Members pledge to abstain from all intoxicating liquor.
Northampton Pioneer Centre: President: Mr Sean Griffin, Kingsthorpe, Northampton
Meeting: St Gregory's, Northampton, first Tuesday of each month
Luton Pioneer Centre: President: Mrs Kathleen Kiernan, Luton,
Secretary: Mrs Eileen Devane, Luton, M
Meeting: Holy Ghost Presbytery, First Monday of each month.
International Website: http://www.pioneerassociation.ie.
Our Lady's Catechists
An association of lay men and women who are qualified to give religious instruction. Provides a range of postal courses. Diocesan Representative: Mrs Jean White, Wendover. Website: https://ourladyscatechists.wordpress.com/
Prison Advice and Care trust (PACT) - formerly the Bourne trust. A Catholic charity benefitting prisoners, their families and ex-offenders. Website here.
Pax Christi International Catholic movement for peace.
Pax Christi invites Catholics and all people of good will to become involved in prayer, study and action for peace. A Northampton group was launched in late October 2015. Diocesan Representative: Nick Cooper (Northampton).
Pro Lahore Dei (For the labour of God)
Pro Lahore Dei is an ecclesial movement with a radical fundamental option for the poorest of the poor. It is a covenant community whose members include Consecrated Virgins who give up everything up for the service of Christ in the poor and lonely, and married/unmarried volunteers from all works of life who work with the Consecrated Virgins. Contact: Sr. Theresa Aluko, Luton. Website: www.prolaboredei.org
RAINBOWS for all God's Children
Rainbows is an international organisation which helps children, young people and adults through the grieving process that follows any significant loss, such as death, divorce or separation.
Rainbows G.B. Werneth Grange, Grange Avenue, Oldham OL8 4EL. Website: www.rainbowsgb.org
The Rosary Link for Vocations is a lay team, encouraged by the late Fr Damien Walne, Fr Mark Floody and the Bishop, who tour the Diocese visiting parishes to lead the praying of the Rosary for vocations, life, faith and family. This is usually preceded by an evening Mass and followed by Exposition. Contact via webmaster . We try to publish their meetings in our Events section ; they tend to happen in batches in April, June, September and December
St. Francis Group - A new group which has been set up in response to Pope Francis' call for dialogue and action concerning the care of what he calls 'our common home'. We aim to educate about and promote concern for our fellow creatures, to be a witness to the Church's concern for animals and to spread the message of the Pope's Encyclical 'Laudato Si' regarding our treatment of animals within parish life. This has been begun in Milton Keynes Bedford but our vision is a St. Francis Group in parishes all over the Diocese and beyond! We welcome interest from anywhere in the Diocese. Join us! Contact Virginia Bell:- email@example.com.
St Francis of Assisi Catholic Ramblers Club. Not a Diocesan group, but a London-based society of Catholics who enjoy a congenial walk in the Home Counties at weekends.... and as they quite often venture into Northampton Diocese, you might be interested to join up and be kept in touch with their plans. See their website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
St Thomas a Becket Foundation
The Foundation is a registered charity whose main aim is to make a positive difference to the disabled and their families by:
- Providing support to individuals and their families, and to parishes of the Diocese.
- Assisting and advising the Diocese in meeting its requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act.
- Co-ordinating and supporting a network of parish representatives.
- Developing pastoral services and the RE curriculum for children in special schools.
- Ensuring that awareness of disabled people is maintained throughout the Diocese as a whole.
Chairman: Rev Canon Kevin O'Driscoll, Langley, Slough.
St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP)
The SVP is dedicated to helping those who are disadvantaged, neglected or in need, without discrimination. Members are all volunteers who help those in need through person to person contact, mainly by visiting people in their homes, in hospitals, prisons and other institutions. The work is based on respect of people's dignity and promotes the concept of helping people to help themselves. Each local group meets regularly every month. Membership is open to men and women, Christians and non-Christians, in sympathy with the values and objectives of the Society.For North of the Diocese contact: James Bellamy, For South of the Diocese contact: Steve Gill .
Secular Franciscan Order
An international order of lay men and women founded by St Francis of Assisi and canonically established in 1221 to help people to live in the Franciscan spirit of detachment from earthly possessions. Members make a life-long commitment to a daily office, regular participation in the sacraments and regular attendance at the monthly community meetings. The Bedford Fraternity holds monthly meetings, 3:15pm at Holy Cross, Bedford, 4th Sunday. Contact: : Anne Simmonds, Bedford.
Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites
The Carmelite secular order is an association of lay people who pursue the path to holiness in the circumstances of their daily lives, inspired and assisted by the spirituality of the Teresian Charism. It is an integral part of the Carmelite family and is open to men and women, married and single. A group of Secular Carmelites meets at St Joseph's, Gerrards Cross on the second Saturday of each month. Contact: Rev Michael Spain OCD, Gerrards Cross
Society of St Gregory. The SSG is the national society for liturgy and music in the Roman Catholic Church in the British Isles. It was founded in 1929. The SSG aims to promote good practice in the celebration of the Liturgy of the Catholic Church by providing many opportunities for learning and developing the skills of musicians, readers and all involved in the Liturgy today. It does this through an annual Summer School, a Winter Assembly, the Composers Forum and the journal Music and Liturgy, which is published three times a year. This includes a liturgy planner for readers and musicians, and a free copy of Music and Liturgy, together with much more information, is available from the SSG website www.ssg.org.uk Diocesan representative: Teresa Brown Email email@example.com .
To promote true devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham, pilgrimages to Our Lady's National Shrine, and to support prayerfully the growth and development of the Shrine.
Diocesan Pilgrimage Director: Rev. Michael Fleming (Deacon), Northampton
Web site: www.walsingham.org.uk
Worldwide Marriage Encounter
Worldwide Marriage Encounter (W.W.M.E.) is a Catholic movement for couples and priests, whose 'Weekends' over the past 30 years have helped thousands of couples in the UK to bring new joy to their marriages, and to strengthen their foundations.
Our Weekends are held throughout the year at venues around the country and are mostly residential. The venues most easily reached from Northampton Diocese are Ross-on-Wye, Doncaster, and Kent. For more information, dates of weekends, or booking, contact via the website below.
“Engaged Encounter” weekends give engaged couples the opportunity to talk to each other about their future lives together, to share feelings, hopes and disappointments, joys and frustrations. Diocesan Contacts: Peter & Denise Johnson, Kettering. Website: www.wwme.org.uk
Young Christian Workers / Impact . An international movement for young people 13-30. Fostering an action-oriented link between faith and life. HQ at St Anthony's Presbytery, Trafford Partk, Manchester M17 1JF. Website here.
Youth 2000 is an international spiritual initiative of young people working in cooperation with clergy and religious to provide a series of retreats and spiritual events throughout Europe and other parts of the world. The principal aim is to draw young people (12 - 35) of any or no faith into the mystery and richness of God's love and his promise of eternal life. Website: http://www.youth2000.org.