All the following groups comprise of people giving freely of their time, living the Gospel in the community, the work is necessary and often unsung.

If you are interested in joining or require further information on any of these groups, please contact the Parish Office on 0161 980 4784 or email office@holyangelscatholicchurch.co.uk

Liturgy and Spirituality

Altar Servers
Over the past 50 years, Holy Angels has had many altar servers who have chosen to serve God in this way.

A team of altar servers (boys and girls) covers the weekend Masses, on a rota basis, playing an important part in the smooth running of the community’s liturgy.

New servers are welcome. Applicants should have made their First Communion.

Blessed Sacrament Guild
This longest-running group in the parish was set up at the request of the first parish priest, Father Gerald McDonald, to look after altar requirements, which the Guild still does through various social events and with a generous donation from the Piety Stall, an offshoot from the Guild.

Meetings take place at 2pm in the Parish Room on the last Wednesday of the month, and ladies of the parish are most welcome to join in any of the guild’s activities.

Children’s Liturgy
Our Children’s Liturgy has flourished since its inception at Holy Angels in 1988. Our aim is to proclaim and interpret the scriptures in a fun and loving environment, enabling our children to experience and understand The Word in a manner and language they can understand.

The group runs two sessions at 10.30am Mass on a Sunday:

  • Pre-school children, downstairs in the meeting room at the back of church.
  • Children aged 5+, in the upstairs parish room.

A team of volunteers run the sessions, if you are interested in knowing more, or maybe volunteering to help, please contact the Parish Office.

Choir
Music at Holy Angels is provided by a choir which formed in 1965 for the sung Sunday 10.30 am Mass, choir practice is after the Sunday Mass.

Eucharistic Ministers
Eucharistic Ministers are appointed to assist the parish priest in the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds at Mass.  They may also take the Blessed Sacrament out to the sick and housebound in their own homes. A small team of ministers are trained to conduct Celebrations of Word and Communion on the occasions when the parish priest is away.

Flowers
A small team of volunteers decorate the church every week on a rota basis, with the exception of Lent and Advent.  They are willing to use flowers or colours as requested for special occasions such as anniversaries etc.  It is only a small group and anyone who would like to join would be most welcome.  (Training can be arranged.)

Readers at Mass
Readers at Mass are performing one of the ministries integral to the celebration of the Eucharist.
At Holy Angels we have a reading rota for the three weekend masses – Saturday Vigil Mass (two readers), the 8.30am Sunday Mass (one reader) and the 10.30am Sunday Mass (three readers). The rotas are issued on a six-monthly basis and include details of the readings for each Mass. As preparation is needed to ensure that proclaiming the Word of God is done with due reverence, the readings are always available in advance, either from the presbytery or from the liturgical website.
Parishioners are encouraged to put themselves forward for reading at any time.

Catechesis

Baptismal Preparation Team
Members visit families prior to the celebration, to befriend and explain about the ceremony, answering any questions or concerns. They also chat about parish life and groups, including local schools and nurseries.

Stressing the importance of the preparation of the parents and godparents reflects the roles and responsibility of the parish community in welcoming and supporting the parents and the new baby, a responsibility that will be shared in the years to come through a partnership with schools.

Baptisms are usually held on Sundays either during Mass or at a separate Liturgy.

First Forgiveness and Communion
This is a significant time in the life of a child and also a special time for parents.

For children attending our parish school, St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School, preparation takes place in Year 3. For those children who attend other schools, sessions to help in their preparation take place during November, January and the Easter term. These classes are held in the parish room.

Both groups come together in our church to celebrate the special Mass of Election in December; First Reconciliation which is usually in March and the children receive the Eucharist for the for the first time in May.

Confirmation
At Holy Angels we prepare our young adults for Confirmation during Year 8. The aim of the group is to help integration into their new Secondary Schools and to keep them involved in parish life after children’s liturgy has finished. We would also like to help bridge the difficult years when young people frequently raise questions about church and religion.

RCIA
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a programme for non-baptised adults who want to become full members of the Catholic Church. We also include in our programme those who are already baptised Christians but not in full communion with the Catholic Church. The programme at Holy Angels is therefore open to anyone, of any denomination or none, whether or not they are already baptised Christians.

The programme is run by volunteers who want to share their faith and accompany candidates on their journey in faith, which enquirers make with the whole parish, including the parish priest, over a six to seven month period, beginning in September with a ‘taster evening’. The process culminates in Baptism and/or reception into full communion with Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.

Candidates are never placed under any obligation and are free to leave the preparation process at any time.

Prayer Groups

Bethany Prayer Group
This group gathers each week (Thursday 7:30pm – 9pm) to spend time praying with the Readings for the following Sunday.  The Group use a way of praying called Lectio Divina.  The passage is read aloud twice after which we allow ourselves to be drawn to a word or phrase which we share.  Having reflected more deeply on the texts for ten/ fifteen minutes, we again share in the group, finishing with a short time of intercession.

Mother’s Prayers
“Stop your crying and wipe away your tears, all that you have done for your children will not go unrewarded.”  Jer. 31:16

This is a group of mothers who meet on Thursdays at 2 pm in the small parish room.  They unite in prayer with one another, praying for their children and grand-children.  There have been many answers to their prayers.  All are welcome.

Rosary
This group meets to pray for the sick of the parish, for vocations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.00pm, before Mass, Tuesday and Thursday at 8.30 am, after Mass and Saturday at 9.30am, before Mass.

Spiritual Development/Direction and Retreats in Daily Life
In order to enrich our relationship with God and the living out of our faith, all aspects of spiritual guidance and development are offered; Quiet Days, Days of Renewal or Recollection, Evenings of Prayer and Reflection, Space To Be.  Specific topics/themes are catered for including different ways of praying, images of God, listening prayer and discernment.  Individual spiritual direction sessions arranged either as one-offs or as regular accompaniment.  The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola offered in full or in adapted form, e.g. Open Door Retreats or Weeks of Accompanied Prayer.  If you feel this could benefit you, please contact us in the strictest confidence.

 

Stay Awake Prayer Group
Jesus said:                                        “Stay awake with me”  Matt 26:38      

“Stay awake and pray”  Matt 26:41     “Stay awake one hour”  Matt 14:38

This takes place on Fridays 9:30am – 11am at 31 Delaheys Road, Hale.  After getting ‘in touch’ we share briefly where and how we are in our lives, our relationships and with God.  We then “Stay awake an hour’ in silence letting God lead and draw us.  We finish with a short time of reflection and listening to each other’s journey of faith.  All welcome.

Outreach and Pastoral Care

Bereavement Support Group
This is a small group of parishioners who have received training in supporting the bereaved.  They are always available to assist Father Jonathan in being alongside those who are making the difficult journey through their bereavement.  The group also helps to organise services for the bereaved.

Cornerstone
This is a drop-in centre supported by Salford Diocese, but many of its volunteers live in our own diocese of Shrewsbury.  Every week day 130-160 vulnerable adults come for food, showers and laundry facilities.  Full-time staff provides counselling, assistance with benefit claims and outreach work, including visiting prisons, hospitals and families.

There is a collection box at the back of church for parishioners to donate contributions to the centre e.g. non-perishable foods, toiletries and clothing.    These goods are taken to Cornerstone weekly by parishioners.

Appeals for specific needs are made through the parish newsletter.

Pro-Life Group
This group meet regularly to discuss a range of pro-life issues including abortion, euthanasia and cloning, with a view to keeping ourselves informed on current events and supporting national campaigns in any practical way possible.

The group organises the free distribution after Masses of the quarterly Pro-Life Times newspaper to Holy Angels parishioners and the annual White Flower Appeal to support the work locally and internationally.

A variety of information s displayed on a notice board at the back of church.

SVP
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris in 1833 ‘for the service of those in need’.

‘Need’ has to be taken literally. Very few in our parish have material needs, but we do help financially other conferences both near and in other parts of the world. Locally, there are plenty of people whose needs may be expressed in the lonely, housebound, sick, etc. The SVP try to help with visits and practical support.

The group meets in the presbytery every Wednesday at 8pm. New members are always welcome.  Please advise us if you know of someone who might benefit from our work and phone if you would like more information.

Third World Group
This group was founded in the 1980s, principally to raise financial support for small charities in Africa and Asia as well as coordinating appeals and collections for international disasters.  

Community

Art Class
The group meets in the Parish Room on Mondays 10am – 12 noon, October to Christmas and New Year to Easter. 

The Art Class was started by a group of parishioners and friends in 1994.  The group aims to learn the basic techniques of drawing and painting in a practical workshop, encouraging each other by sharing experiences.   They have also enjoyed many summer painting holidays together.

Book Club
The Book Club meets on the third Monday of every month at 7:30 pm in the Parish Room.

Books are chosen by the group for the forthcoming two months, our choice is eclectic.

All are welcome to join, just come along on the relevant evening.

The Fellowship Group
This group was set up as a request of Father Roger Clarke to provide social time for our older parishioners, having a simple tea or coffee with cakes, a chat or playing games. Lifts are provided where needed.

We meet on the second Wednesday of the month at 2pm to 3.45pm in the lounge at All Saints Parish Hall. Our members are phoned on a Monday before meeting to see if they are coming and require a lift. We have a list of drivers and helpers to call on when needed.

Churches Together in Hale
This group unites the Christian Churches in Hale and Hale Barns in seeking a deepening of their communion with Christ and with one another and to fulfil their mission to proclaim the Gospel by common witness and service to the people of our community.  The forum normally meets every two months and each church is represented by its clergy and up to two others from each church.

Churches Together organises such events as distribution of Christmas Service Cards, pulpit exchange, Lenten Prayer Groups and One World Week Suppers.

Interfaith Group
The Interfaith Group includes Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Unitarians and Christians and works to encourage interfaith understanding, respect and cooperation within and between faith communities. It provides opportunities for friendships to develop within and between the different communities in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Examples are Friendship Groups of mixed faiths, which meet regularly in each other’s homes, the annual picnic in Tatton Park, entertainment and cultural exchange evenings and a shared meal with proceeds going to charity.

 

Link Group
The first meeting of Link was held on Tuesday 19 February 1980 when fourteen ladies of the parish agreed to form a group to promote friendship, communication and informal discussions. We have met monthly in one another’s homes but now meet at Wyevale Garden Centre Café for coffee and a chat. We would be delighted to welcome any new members on the second Tuesday of each month at 10.30 am

Piety Stall
The piety stall is open, at the back of Church, on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month where a range of cards, books and sacramental and seasonal items are available.  During Advent the piety stall is open more frequently.  Mass cards are always available at the back of Church.

All profits are given to our Parish Priest for the purchase of altar breads and wine.

Refreshments after Mass
This is a very popular activity after Sunday 10:30am Mass, giving all members of our parish community an opportunity to meet one another and welcome visitors and newcomers. There is a rota for people who are willing to serve coffee and if you felt that you would like to help we would be delighted to add you to our list of helpers. Please let us know via the Parish Office or speak to the people serving drinks.

Welcomers
There are ‘Welcomers’ for each of the weekend Masses but there is only a rota for the 10.30am Mass on Sundays. They are responsible for handing out hymn books, Mass leaflets and the Newsletter and for collecting them in at the end of the service. It is also customary for the ‘Welcomers’ to carry up the gifts at the Offertory. If you would like to ‘welcome’ at any of our Masses please let us know via the Parish Office.

Administration
The following groups give a quiet, efficient service to the running of our parish.  As with all volunteers the work is necessary and but often unsung.

Finance
The parish finance committee meets to oversee the parish finances.  It comprises two parishioners and the parish priest.

Every Sunday several parishioners, on a rota basis, collect, count and bank the money.

GiftAid
The parish benefits significantly from the Income Tax repaid against offerings and donations made under GiftAid.  The arrangement can be used without any cost to themselves, by anyone who pays Income Tax.  There is no commitment and the arrangement is completely confidential.  The only requirements are;

  • GiftAid declaration.
  • That payments are made by standing order, Offertory Envelope or cheques.

Offertory Envelopes are used for regular offerings and special collections.

Please contact the Parish Office if you would like to join the scheme or receive Offertory Envelopes.

Health and Safety
In line with legislative and diocesan guidelines we have a nominated Health and Safety Representative who has the necessary links to the on-line Diocesan guide.   The Parish representatives are updated from time to time on current health and safety issues and occasional training and information sessions are run to help with refreshing existing parish representative and the induction of new representatives.

Maintenance
Parishioners are involved in the maintenance of the fabric of the Church and its grounds.

Newsletter
The purpose of the Newsletter is to inform.  It is produced by volunteers on a weekly basis and gives times of Mass and other services, information on group meeting, parish event, ecumenical activities and other relevant information.  It is distributed at all Sunday Masses and published on the website.  Parishioners are always welcome to contribute items for publication.  If you could spare a couple of hours and would like to be involved please contact the parish office.

Sacristans
Parishioners have always supported the clergy in caring for the Sacristy and church e.g. sacred vessels, clergy vestments, altar linen, candles etc.

Safeguarding
Parishioners are aware of the changes, over the years, regarding voluntary work with Children and Vulnerable Adults within the parish and how it affects us all.  Holy Angels work hand in hand with the Diocesan Department in Shrewsbury to assist volunteers in completing the necessary paperwork required when working with any potentially vulnerable group.

If you have any questions or required any assistance with the forms, please contact the Parish Safeguarding Officers, named at the back of Church, or the Curial Offices.

Other Catholic and Related Organisations in the Area

Newman Association
The Newman Association is a national organisation of Catholic laity and clergy, which aims to help Catholics to discuss and develop their understanding of the faith throughout life. The Association was founded in 1942, out of the then University Catholic Federation (UCF), to provide a forum for Catholic graduates and professionals, taking its name from Cardinal Newman, who firmly believed in the formation of an ‘informed laity’.

Membership is now open to all interested Catholics, and Associate Status is available for members of other churches. The local circle meets monthly from October to June at St Theresa’s Church Hall, Green Lane, Wilmslow, beginning with Mass at 7.30pm, followed by a talk at 8.15pm. Visitors are always most welcome to attend the meetings. No need to book, just turn up. For more information visit the website at www.phavard.demon.co.uk

Catenians
Wouldn’t it be a great idea to have an organisation which makes it easy for Catholic families in the area and region to meet and become friends? The Catenian Association fills this need for 10,000 men around the world.

The Catenian Association is an organisation for Catholic men to meet socially. We have a monthly meeting and also organise a variety of evening and daytime events throughout the year for members and their families.

We hope to promote Catholic family values through fellowship and brotherhood. We sometimes raise money for good causes at the discretion of our members, but fundraising is not our main objective.

Today, when many of us lead hectic lifestyles, it can be difficult to establish connections in our community, particularly the Catholic community. If you would like to find out more please have a look at our website www.thecatenians.co.uk or leave your contact details with the Parish Office and one of the parish Catenians will contact you.

Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight, when visiting as a chorister to hear Gregorian chant. In consequence, the church incorporates a number of architectural features found at Quarr. Designed as a Choir Church, the building had to be narrower than intended, as special piling was needed with the discovery of a prehistoric glacial lake under the site. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Grasar on 15 September 1962, in mud and pouring rain. The church cost some £80,000 and was built by T Brown and Sons of Wilmslow. The completed church was dedicated on 12 March 1964.

In 1975, two hundred priests and religious of the Diocese concelebrated Mass with Archbishop Bruno Heim, Apostolic Delegate, during his Holy Year visit. In 1969, Granada TV televised a sung Mass concelebrated with Bishop Grasar, and the BBC recorded “Sunday Half Hour” in the church in January 1997.

Music has featured prominently in the parish, from the robed choir in the choir stalls around the altar, to the “Little Angels” children’s choir; and with professional recordings produced in the church, one of which was, “Hymns for the Angels” – a Benediction Service organised by the Blessed Sacrament Guild with traditional Catholic hymns sung by the congregation. The church is used periodically for rehearsal and for concerts by Altrincham Choral Society and by the Romulus Singers, and is in frequent use by St Ambrose College. A number of former choir members now sing professionally, while one former parishioner and organist, Martin Baker, is currently Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, and another former parishioner and organist, now Monsignor Philip Whitmore, is Rector of Rome’s Venerable English College. The pipe organ on which they played, originating from Ringway Chapel, was later replaced by an electronic instrument, the pipe organ being donated to a parish in Romania.

The parish debt was cleared in 1980, owing to the efforts of an enterprising Parish Committee, while to this day the Ladies Blessed Sacrament Guild, formed in the early days, continues to meet the cost of altar requirements – altar cloths, hosts, wine, candles, etc – and in 1974, provided a beautiful stained glass rose window in the Lady Chapel.

Following Vatican II, the original marble altar rails were removed in 1989, some being re-used in the ambo, and the baptismal font was moved from the traditional adjoining baptistery to the front of the church, the baptistery becoming initially a parish library, and later, with the books moved to be displayed in the ambulatory behind the Sanctuary, a small meeting room.  In the Lady Chapel, Our Lady’s statue was moved from above her dedicated altar to a side wall and replaced by embroidered panels created by the parish embroidery group. The high altar remains unchanged.

Various groups provide a strong social cohesion, while others, including SVP, Pro-Life, Third World, and various prayer groups, engage in charitable and devotional activities within the parish and beyond, extending to involvement in Churches Together in Hale and the Altrincham Interfaith Group.

After almost 30 years as parish priest, Fr McDonald retired in 1987, being succeeded by Fr Roger Clarke until his replacement in 1991 by Canon Christopher Dwyer. On Canon Dwyer’s retirement in 2002, Father (now Canon) David Roberts became parish priest, to be succeeded in 2012 by Father Jonathan Brandon.

Holy Angels is one of four churches forming the new Altrincham Pastoral Area. With the closure of St John the Baptist Church and the combining of that parish with St Hugh of Lincoln, Pastoral Area No15 now includes the three parishes of St Vincent de Paul, St Hugh and St John, and Holy Angels.

The Golden Jubilee of the parish of Holy Angels in 2008, and the Golden Jubilee of the dedication of the church in 2014, has been celebrated over the period by many and various events. An article in the Shrewsbury Diocesan Yearbook, as well as features on the parish website, celebrated the founding of the parish, but the main celebration commenced in November 2010 with a Parish Day, providing the many parish organisations with an opportunity to display examples of their impressively varied work and activities.

In July 2011 an International Mass was followed by a parish luncheon, celebrated with members of the many nationalities that are part of the parish community, with all those attending dressed in a huge variety of national costume. The church was adorned with flags and colourful decorations to match that variety.

September 2012 saw the erection and blessing of a large hand-hewn wooden carving of angels positioned at the entrance to the church grounds, with the blessing followed by a Ministry Fair with refreshments in St Ambrose Preparatory School hall.

The highlight of 2013, on 13 October to coincide with the dedication by Pope Francis of the world to Our Lady, was the blessing by Fr Jonathan of the new landscaped shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and the dedication of the parish of Holy Angels to Our Lady, using the same text used by the pope. It has since become the custom that, after receiving their First Holy Communion, children process together to the shrine, each carrying a rose, to make their thanksgiving, and to have a group photograph taken with Fr Jonathan. The beautiful shrine has been provided by Holy Angels Blessed Sacrament Guild.

Approaching the parish feast of The Holy Angels on 29 September 2014, a series of events commenced, with a Parish Jubilee Pilgrimage on 24 September to the shrine of Our Lady at Ladyewell near Preston. On Friday 26 September, a major Jubilee Celebration of Spirituality and Reflection took place in the church, attended by the Mayor of Trafford, with clergy and representatives of other faith groups throughout the area, and featuring singers, readers, musicians and dancers, with refreshments afterwards in the Preparatory School Hall. The following morning there was a Jubilee Parish Walk and Pub Lunch, and on the Sunday a Jubilee Barbecue and Bake-Off.

A series of spiritual events led into 2015, featuring retreat evenings during Advent, and culminating in a Jubilee Retreat in Daily Life in January. A Jubilee Tea for parishioners and others was organised in May, while the youngsters of the parish entered a decorated Jubilee float in the Altrincham Festival on 4 July, and were awarded the trophy for Best Voluntary Entry.