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.
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 Eddie & Maureen Rodwell, Corby, or see the main Alpha website.
Archconfraternity of St Stephen. Support and training for altar servers. Director: Rev Deacon Peter Griffin, Wellingborough. See their website.
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. This support is provided through local groups, currently within Northampton diocese in Northampton, Milton Keynes and Luton. Diocesan Representative: Henry Worthy, Northampton. Website: www.asdcengland.org.uk
The Beginning Experience is an active lay ministry for people of all ages experiencing loss through bereavement, separation or divorce. Contact: Felicity Harrison, Northampton .
British Victims of Abortion Affiliated to SPUC Educational Trust - see SPUC, later)
BVA Helpline: 0845 603 8501.
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). Secretary: Peter Curtis, Chesham.
Bedford Circle (177). Secretary: Mike Norton, Bedford
Luton Circle (216). Secretary: Mr Richard Daly, Hemel Hempstead.
Milton Keynes Circle (293). Secretary: Tony McManus, Gt Linford
Northampton Circle (35). Secretary: Eugene Sinnott, Wollaston
South Bucks Circle (124). Secretary: Gerald Cox, High Wycombe
National website: www.thecatenians.com/
Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD)
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: Frank Sudlow, CAFOD Northampton, St Gregory's Catholic Primary School Grange Road, Northampton NN3 2AX. Tel: 01604 785254. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cafod.org.uk/northampton
Catholic Archives Society
Promotes good practice in the storage and accessibility of diocesan and Catholic archives. Diocesan contact: Brin Dunsire c/o Bishops House. Website: www.catholic-history.org
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. Contacts: Gerard and Toni Pomfret, Luton.
Catholic Faith Exploration (CaFE)
CaFE makes use of videos and group discussions to help Catholics find out more about their faith and its relevance to their everyday lives. Groups using the service are to be found in many parishes. For more information contact: Catholic Evangelisation Services, PO Box 333, St Albans, Herts AL2 1EL. Web: www.faithcafe.org E-mail: email@example.com
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, Mrs Jane Dawson, Stoke Poges. Secretary: Mrs Leslie Edwards, Chalfont St Peter. Website: www.catholicwomensleague.org/
Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Christian CND is a specialist section of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament working with the Christian Churches. Christian CND states that the possession of and threat to use nuclear weapons is contrary to both international and moral law. South Midlands Regional Representative: Barbara Sunderland, Henlow, Beds.
Christian Life Community
Our Community is made up of small groups of people who meet regularly to help each other deepen their life of prayer, by sharing their experience of daily prayer, usually based on Scripture, and by seeking to recognise God's presence in each other's lives. Contacts for Midland Region: John and Margaret Partridge, Oxford
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
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
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, married couples and young adults. Website: www.grailsociety.org.uk Diocesan Representative: Mrs Chris Drysdale, Peterborough.
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.
Kettering & Corby Districts Sick Pilgrims Trust.
We take a group of people who are sick or who have disabilities to Lourdes each year on the Across jumbulance. Our Charity no. is 1019007. Website, www.kcdspt.btik.com. Chair: Agnes Gallacher, Corby
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: Patrick Martin, Aylesbury
Bedford: Philip Hills, Bedford
Corby: Mr Damian Reilly, Corby
Dunstable: Lionel Jeffreys, Dunstable.
Kettering: Daniel Cannon, Kettering,
Luton: Frank Gallagher, Luton,
Milton Keynes: Gabriel Adams, Potterspury
Northampton: Eric Walls, Northampton
Thames Valley Province 23 - Provincial Grand Knight: Tony Berkeley, Ascot.
High Wycombe: Stefan Zachary, 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. Northampton Comitium President: Mrs Maureen Moriarty. Our Lady of Guadalupe Curia (Northampton South): President, Judy Weekes, Luton
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 There is a Care Centre in the Diocese at High Wycombe: Fri 10.30 -12.30 and by appointment: 01494 448544 Out of hours calls diverted to National Helpline. 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.
Luton Good Counsel
An agency providing pro-life pregnancy counselling from a Catholic perspective. The services include free pregnancy testing, counselling, practical help and moral support, as well as reaching out to women seeking abortion. Also offered are post-abortion counselling, chastity education and training for Natural Fertility Awareness. Luton Good Counsel worked with our former Bishop, Kevin McDonald (later Archbishop of Southwark) on a Natural Fertility Awareness DVD called "The Joy of God's Plan" which is available from the Catholic Truth Society . Contact: Mrs Emanuela Coy, Luton
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 Terry Prendergast: 020 73711341
See under Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
The Missionaries of the Poor Supporters Association
This organisation, a registered charity, supports the Missionaries of the Poor by raising funds for their work with the poor and destitute who are living in parts of the world where there are insufficient resources, especially in Jamaica, India, the Philippines, Haiti and Uganda. Chairman: Monica Basham, Piddington, Northants. Website: www.mopsa.org.uk
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 Teachers' Association
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 contact Dr Olive Duddy, 0161 767 8323. Website www.nfpta.org.uk
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. Secretary: Mrs Mary March, Northampton
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: www.ourladyscatechists.org
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. Diocesan Representative: Matt Jeziorski, Luton
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. Pioneer Centres at Northampton and Luton. International Website: http://www.pioneertotal.ie . Local contacts: Deidre Teevan, Northampton: Elieen Devane, Luton
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. Unit 7, Hightown Enterprise Park, York Street, Luton LU2 OHA. Or contact: Sr Brenda Moore, Northampton. Website: www.rainbowsgb.org
The Rosary Link for Vocations is a lay team, encouraged by 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 Fr Walne. Their list of 2013 dates and venues is awaited.
St Francis of Assisi Catholic Ramblers Club. Not a Diocesan group, but a London-based society of Catholics who enjoy a congenal 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. Website; www.stabf.co.uk
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. Membership in the diocese: over 400. Number of parish groups: 45. President of Northampton Central Council: John Curtin, Olney . National website: www.svp.org.uk/
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: Michael 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 John McGowan OCD, Gerrards Cross
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)
The premier lobbying group opposed to the Abortion Act 1967, SPUC also leads campaigns against euthanasia and human embryo experimentation. SPUC sponsors major publications and research projects; offers emergency help to mothers-to-be and to women who have had abortions through British Victims of Abortion (see separate entry). Website: www.spuc.org.uk
SPUC Branches in Northampton Diocese:
Bedford SPUC: Mrs Sue Sarsfield, Bromham
Luton SPUC: Mrs Margaret Langley, Luton
Milton Keynes SPUC: Sheila Dipple
Northampton SPUC: Mr Alan Eccles, East Hunsbury
Society of St Gregory. An international society for music and liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church. Produces a quarterly journal, runs an annual Summer School and can advise on organ care and restoration. Diocesan contact: Maureen Hicks, Beaconsfield. Website: www.ssg.org.uk
Union of Catholic Mothers
To uphold the sanctity, responsibilities and permanence of marriage and family life; to ensure Catholic education for their children, to help the family in difficulties, and to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
There are 11 foundations in the diocese with a total membership of around 200.
Chaplain: Rev. Gerard Byme,St Brendans, Corby .
Secretary: Mrs Ann Budd, Slough
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
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
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.
Diocesan Contact: Richard de Souza, Bedford