Christmas 2021

Christmas 2021

Copies of the Christmas schedule of Masses and Confessions and processions are now available at the back of the church to take home, and also posted online and on the notice boards in the porch and outside the church. We hope you will join us in celebrating the Birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

First Saturdays at the Rosary Shrine

First Saturdays at the Rosary Shrine

Our Lady of the Rosary appeared to the saintly children of Fatima in 1917. It is often forgotten that Our Lady continued to speak to Sr Lucia of Fatima a few more times, and in 1925 the Blessed Virgin specifically asked that on the first Saturdays of the month, we should:

  1. Make a good confession in a spirit of reparation for blasphemies against Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart;
  2. Receive Holy Communion in a state of grace, and as an act of reparation for sins against Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart;
  3. Pray five decades of the Rosary;
  4. Fifteen minutes of meditative prayer on the Mysteries of the Rosary, ie: the Gospels. A lectio divina will be done during Adoration to aid this. This meditation is in addition to the praying of the Rosary.

For a fuller explanation of the first Saturday devotion, which is approved by the Church, please refer to these sites: http://www.rosary-center.org/firstsat.htm and https://worldfatima-englandwales.org.uk/the-five-first-saturdays-devotion-explained/.

As this is the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, we wish to honour Our Lady’s requests, and to provide a means for people in London to observe the First Saturday acts of reparation. Please see the poster above, and do come and join us in prayer, meditation, Mass, Confession, and a Rosary Procession, every first Saturday of the month.

We shall start on 2 October, the month of the Holy Rosary. In addition to these monthly first Saturday devotions, please note that throughout the months of May and October, we shall continue to have a Rosary procession every Saturday at 7pm.




Welcome to our Parish Sisters!

Welcome to our Parish Sisters!

Sr Carino and Sr Lucy from the Dominican Sisters of St Joseph (based in the New Forest) have made a video to introduce themselves to us.

From 11 September 2021, they will be coming to St Dominic’s every weekend, helping the Dominican friars to support and build up the parish community in faith, hope, and love. They will have a key role in forming lay volunteers as catechists, working alongside them in providing catechesis for the children of this parish, preparing them to receive the Sacraments and encouraging them in their friendship with Jesus Christ. Welcome, dear Sisters!

Sacramental Preparation Update

Sacramental Preparation Update

Nine of our young parishioners were confirmed on Pentecost Sunday (23 May 2021). Thank you to their catechists and congratulations to them! We value the contribution of our young adults to the life of our parish, and we pray for them. 

We will be enrolling new Confirmation candidates for both 2021 and 2022 at the same time in December this year, and they will be confirmed together in the Summer of 2022. If you would like to be confirmed this year (2021) it may be possible to join the Deanery group at the Cathedral. Please speak to Fr Lawrence after Sunday Mass. 

Candidates for First Holy Communion: Parents should have registered their interest with the parish secretary, or should speak to the parish priest after Sunday Mass. We hope to begin catechesis soon for 2021 Communions, so please register asap at: secretary@haverstockhill.org.uk

Baptismal Preparation: Infant baptisms will ordinarily take place on the 1st Sunday of the month at the 10am Mass. Please speak to Fr Lawrence after Sunday Mass if you wish to have your child baptised. In most cases, you will need to attend two sessions of the Baptismal Course. This usually takes place on the 3rd Sunday of every month after the 10am Mass. A form will be given to you either by Fr Lawrence or the Catechist, and you can book the Baptism after you have attended the second session, if necessary.

Masses at the Restored High Altar

Masses at the Restored High Altar

We are grateful to all our benefactors and to all the talented craftsmen who have worked hard on repairing and restoring the stonework and stained glass in the apse of the church, which is dedicated to the Fifth Glorious Mystery – The Coronation of Our Lady and the Glory of all the Saints. The High Altar with its beautiful marble, mosaics, alabaster and metalwork has also been completely cleaned, and we are now in the final phase of re-gilding the walls of the apse, the tabernacle, and the High Altar itself.

From the very beginning, the High Altar with its Tabernacle and Exposition Throne has been the central focus of this beautiful church; this is its heart. And since Apostolic times, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been celebrated with the Priest and people standing on the same side, facing the so-called ‘liturgical East’, in anticipation of the Lord who promised to return from the East. Turned together to the Lord, the Priest and ministers and laity express outwardly an important interior turning of our minds and our hearts and our whole lives and beings towards the Lord who comes to us in the Holy Mass, present on the Altar.

Therefore, from Sunday 25 April onwards, the 12 noon Solemn Mass will be offered at the High Altar. This ‘Ordinary Form’ Mass will be in English, as usual, with Gregorian chants and choral motets sung by the choir as usual. The readings will also be read in English, with lay readers as usual. The only difference is that the Offertory and Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed by the Priest at the High Altar.

On the same Sunday 25 April, the Dominican rite Sung Mass, which is an ‘Extraordinary Form’ Mass in Latin, will resume. This Mass (which used to be at 4pm on Sundays) will henceforth be at 6pm, sung at the High Altar; this is the only sung EF Mass on a Sunday in our Archdiocese of Westminster. Where possible, sheets with English translations of the readings and prayers will be provided.

So, from 25th April, the Sunday evening schedule at the Rosary Shrine will be as follows: Adoration from 5pm; Solemn Vespers (sung by the Dominican community) at 5:30pm followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; Dominican rite Sung Mass at 6pm.

Our Sunday morning schedule remains unchanged: Mass at 8:30am (said) and 10am (Family Mass), with confessions from 9:45am and 11:45am.

All are very welcome indeed, and we hope that this full liturgical life, offering all that the Church’s rich Tradition allows, will be of service to you, and help you to feel at home in Our Lady’s Rosary Shrine, where together as one community but in a legitimate diversity of forms we can, in spirit and in truth, worship the one true and living God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Restored: Mrs Monselle’s Memorial

Restored: Mrs Monselle’s Memorial

The altar of Saint Thomas Aquinas, at the top of the south aisle, sits right up against the great organ. It was donated by Mrs Monselle in memory of her four sons, all of whom became priests. As the brass plaque to the left of the altar indicates, three of her sons (two of whom were Dominicans) died tragically young.

Heartbroken, Mrs Monselle erected this beautiful altar, a veritable Shrine, dedicated to St Thomas Aquinas, to whom her sons must have had a great devotion. St Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican friar and priest, the pre-eminent theologian and philosopher of the Catholic Church, and declared the Common Doctor of the Church, who died on 7 March 1274. His feast day is still celebrated on this date in the Dominican rite calendar, although the universal Church now observes his feast day on 28 January, the anniversary of the translation of his relics to Toulouse where they are enshrined in the medieval Dominican church (L’eglise des Jacobins).

The Aquinas altar when it was first installed: note the uncarved altar frontal.
The Aquinas altar before restoration: note the missing finial.

This year the English Dominican Province gives thanks to God for their 800th Jubilee, for the first Dominican friars arrived in England in 1221, sent by St Dominic himself, and they established their first priory in Oxford on the 15th of August 1221.

In commemoration of this historic event, and to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Province, the friars at St Dominic’s, London decided to restore and, for the first time, gild the altar of St Thomas Aquinas. The plan to gild the altar, as it was a new addition to the interior of this Grade II* listed building, had to be submitted to the Historic Churches Commission for consent. The friars noted that the three altars in the Lady Chapel, which have similar stonework and gables to the St Thomas altar, are all gilded, and so it would be fitting to thus complete the gilding of this set of four altars, which are the only altars in the church not dedicated to one of the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary; the other fifteen altars in the church, including the High Altar, are effectively Rosary altars. Happily, approval was granted by the HCC, and we were asked to consider replacing the finial that surmounted the central gable but which had gone missing. The restorer was prepared to re-create this, using a historic photograph (shown above) to help him replicate the original finial.

An undercoat to prepare the stone parapet for gilding.

As work commenced this week and the altar was cleaned, the original finial, although broken in parts, was found on top of the altar! This saved us time and money so the finial was repaired and then gilded and put back in its place, where it beautifully crowns the entire work.

The lost finial, as found…
The missing finial: found, repaired, and gilded!
Our happy restorers, Vitor & Gildo after they had replaced the missing finial at the centre.

The Aquinas Altar is now completed and beautifully gilded just on time for his ‘dies natalis’, his heavenly birthday, on 7 March 2021. The gold highlights include the carving of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, the edges of the pages of his books, the sun emblem on St Thomas’s chest, and the stars on the predella and around him. The sun and stars are inspired by this verse of Scripture: “They that are learned shall shine as the brightness of the heavens: and they that instruct many to justice, as stars for all eternity.” (Daniel 12:3)

“Pursue with energy [St Thomas Aquinas’s] works, more brilliant than the sun and written without the shadow of error” – Pope Benedict XIII
St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

Funding for this project came from generous donations through our Justgiving page, and also through the post, including a donation from members of the Priestly Fraternity of St Dominic – fitting, given the intention of the original donor of this altar. A Mass will be celebrated for all those who donated towards this restoration.

We trust that Mrs Monselle will be pleased with this work, and we ask St Thomas Aquinas to pray for her and her sons, and for the English Dominican Province. May the Lord grant us many vocations, fervent lovers of divine Wisdom and preachers of Truth like St Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor.

The restored and gilded Aquinas altar seen from the south aisle.

Apse & High Altar Restoration

Apse & High Altar Restoration

At the beginning of 2020, a fall of crumbling stonework from the apse (the windows around the High Altar) drew more urgent attention to the serious deterioration of the stonework in this vital part of the church.

To inspect more closely the damage that has developed over the years, and to remedy and safeguard the apse and the precious stained glass windows, a complex scaffolding must be erected with care over the elaborate marble reredos and canopied tabernacle which is the central feature of the sanctuary; then repair work will be undertaken on the damaged stone jambs, mullions and columns, with treatment and/or replacement of the iron saddle bars to prevent further corrosion and damage, and at least some minor repairs and cleaning of the stained glass windows (unless more extensive damage is revealed by closer inspection). The erection of the scaffolding will also allow for a cleaning of usually inaccessible parts of the apse, reredos, and stained glass windows.

Thanks to benefactions already given to the Rosary Shrine’s repair fund, we are able to begin this important work. We are currently actively seeking grants from charities, public bodies, and trusts to completely finance the significant cost of repairing, restoring, and cleaning the entire apse and High Altar.

The process will begin on 3 November, the feast of St Martin de Porres, and we entrust this project to his intercession. The whole area around the High Altar will be screened off for about 6 months; the Blessed Sacrament will be moved for the duration of these works to the tabernacle in the Lady Chapel; and the Mass in both Ordinary and Extraordinary Form (Dominican rite) will be said at the free-standing Main Altar in the sanctuary.

Please pray for a safe and uneventful restoration work, and we pray that we will be able to finance the whole project, by the providence of God. To this end, as always, donations towards our essential repairs and restoration works are welcomed. Please approach the Prior Fr Lawrence, or the Bursary Fr Toby if you’d like to help, or for more information about this project. Thank you.

October at the Rosary Shrine

October at the Rosary Shrine

October is the month of the Holy Rosary, and during this month we turn to Our Lady of the Rosary in fervent prayer, especially during this time of the pandemic. There are various restrictions in place still, but we will do our best to mark the month of the Rosary:

Every Saturday in October (beginning 3 October) there will be a candlelit Rosary Procession at 7pm (after the 6pm Vigil Mass). The Dominican friars alone will process with the statue of Our Lady, and everyone else is asked to please stay in their seats, socially-distanced and with face coverings on. Candles will be distributed before the procession, and these should be taken home with you or disposed of after the procession.

Sunday 4 October will be observed as “Rosary Sunday” with a solemn Mass celebrated by the Prior Provincial at 12 noon. Roses, which are a sacramental against illness, will be blessed and distributed after all the Masses on 3–4 October.

On every Friday in October at 8pm, the Rosary Shrine will be participating in the nation-wide “Rosary Whirlwind” for the month of October. A live Rosary prayed by the friars will be livestreamed on YouTube (youtube.com/c/RosariumOP).

Resumption of Mass & Confession – New Opening Hours

Resumption of Mass & Confession – New Opening Hours

We thank God that our church can now offer public Liturgies once again, and that the doors can be opened for private prayer. The initial phase of opening for private individual prayer went well, and we are able to build on that as we resume Mass and Confessions, but there will be changes to the opening hours.

The Archbishops of England have written a Message, and we draw your attention to this:

Our lives have been changed by the experience of the pandemic and it is clear that we cannot simply return to how things were before lockdown. We remain centred on the Lord Jesus and his command at the Last Supper to ‘do this in memory of me.’ We must now rebuild what it means to be Eucharistic communities, holding fast to all that we hold dear, while at the same time exploring creative ways to meet changed circumstances… [Because many will still be shielding] it is important to reaffirm that, at present, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended… We cannot return immediately to our customary practices. This next step is not, in any sense, a moment when we are going ‘back to normal.’ 

We will do all we can, in accordance with Government Guidance and Diocesan Guidelines, to ensure the church is safe and clean for you to attend Mass and to come and pray. But if you are shielded or vulnerable to the virus or feel uncomfortable to attend, please do stay at home and please do keep in touch with us, and let us know if we can help you.

Seating in church is socially-distanced, limited to maximum 150 per Mass. We will review this situation if the demand increases.

The following are the arrangements for Mass, and the new timetable:

SAT 4th JULY: 2–4pm = Church open for private individual prayer. Confessions will be heard to prepare for a return to Mass & Holy Communion.

SUNDAYS (from 5th JULY) = Masses at 8:30am; 10am; 12 noon.  These Masses will be brief, with no Homily; no servers or lay readers; Communion under one kind only. The church will be closed between each Mass for cleaning. 

SUNDAYS (from 5th JULY): 2-4pm = Church open for private individual prayer with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament followed by Benediction at 3:45pm.

On SUNDAYS at 4pm, there will be a Dominican Rite Sung Mass at the High Altar after Adoration and Benediction. This Mass will also be livestreamed to facebook.com/RosaryShrineUK. The church will be closed immediately after this Mass.

Please note: there will be no Sunday 6pm Mass.

MONDAY-SATURDAY (from 6th JULY): The church will open at 5pm (Mon-Sat) with Mass at 6pm after which the church is closed for cleaning. On Saturdays (from 11 July onwards) Confessions will be heard from 5pm. Please note: there are no morning Masses from Mon-Sat. and the church remains closed until 5pm.

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Support the ‘Future Decades’ Campaign

The ‘Future Decades’ Fundraising Campaign Fundraising to Secure the Future of Our Church and the Rosary Shrine Since 2019, the Future Decades campaign has been raising money to respond to our most urgent priorities: Ensuring a Warm Welcome: A New

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