Sacramental Programmes

The sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred.

Catholics believe the sacraments are channels of God's grace which helps us to be faithful followers of Christ.

They communicate the grace of God to those who receive them. Grace is God's power working through us helping us to follow Christ and do the will of God.

Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven:


Preparation for Baptism:

Baptism, the gateway to the Sacraments is necessary for salvation. Parents are encouraged to take care that their children are baptised. For a child to be baptised the church expects that there is a well founded hope that the child will be brought up in the church (Catholic Faith). Non-Catholic parent/partner can play a positive role in the Catholic upbringing. The Catholic parent(s) will be expected to show a copy of their baptismal certificate.

Children should be baptised in the proper parish church of their parents, unless there is a just reason. The parish community will support any special issues such as disability. Please make issues known to the priest or parish team.

Older teenagers and adults will differ from that of infants and young children in that they will be part of a programme of adequate catechesis that may involve other programmes or special arrangement.

Practical points for Baptism Preparation

Let people share in your joy at pregnancy.

Baptism preparation class every 3rd Monday of the month or by appointment. Please phone the parish office for more information.

Baptisms are held on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 12.30pm following the 11.15am Mass.

Contact the parish office (Tel: 020 8672 2179) to make an appointment to see one of the priests.

Seek commitment of Godparents in assisting you. Catholic Godparents over 16 and practising Catholics.

We would recommend you include a Saint name for your child.

Be aware of the support in the parish that there is for young toddlers and pre-school children.

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Confirmation is so called because it confirms and strengthens baptismal grace.

Confirmation Confirmation celebrates the call of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are given to us. P5170034 'God never takes back his gifts nor revokes his choice.' Rm 11:29

Confirmation is a Sacrament of Initiation and lays down the foundation for Christian life.

Adult Catholics will be supported through the RCIA programme.

Confirmation is open to every baptised person.

The Code of Canon Law presumes that Confirmation is celebrated around the age of reason. The minimum age is 12 years. Readiness and willingness to receive the Sacrament is important and is the commitment and attitude of the candidate.

Regular weekly commitment will be required to attend Mass and the full programme.

You are requiared to be supported by a sponsor and advice will be given on this. (A sponsor should not be a parent, should be over 16 and a confirmed practising Catholic).

Attending to the liturgy the gifts of the Spirit and the Rite of Confirmation will provide the foundation for the Sacrament to be developed.

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Older teenagers and adults will differ from that of infants and young children in that they will be part of a programme of adequate catechesis that may involve other programmes or special arrangement.

Practical points:

First Reconciliation (Confession) both precedes and is linked to a child's preparation for First Holy Communion.

It is customary and good practice for children to be prepared for First Reconciliation around the age of 7/8 years (Year 3). It is important to recognise the readiness of a child to understand the process and their needs to be considered.

Reconciliation as part of the First Holy Communion programme is announced to the parish in October each year with an enrolment morning in early November. The programme will commence in January and run through to June of that year. First Reconciliation is celebrated in March each year.

Parents should see the Reconciliation Sacrament as part of their ongoing development of their family faith journey.

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The Eucharist

Eucharist A fundamental catechetical requirement set out by Pius X in 1910 is that a child should be able to recognise that there is a distinction between the Eucharist and ordinary bread.

Three things are important in this celebration:
That we understand: Eucharistia

- 'Thanksgiving' for all the blessings in our lives.
- 'Acknowledging' the memory of Christ's gift to us, which is real for us now.
- 'Appreciating' Christ is present in the word and Sacrament and in the clergy and people, whenever we are gathered.

It is the capacity to understand what the mystery of Christ means, and that they are able to receive the body and blood of Christ with faith and devotion. It is generally accepted that First Holy Communion is received around 8 years of age, but it is the readiness of the child that counts.

Preparation for First Holy Communion is a shared responsibility between home and parish. The Catholic school will also support the faith of home and family.

Children of the First Holy Communion class have an opportunity to see the re-enactment by catechists of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They recognised Him in the "breaking of the bread".

Catechists read the Passover story to members of the First Holy Communion programme. They had a fun morning workshop on Sat 25th April 2015. The workshop consisted of input from Revelation Ministry as well as a quiz, prayers and reflection. Father Will and Father Paul joined us for this fun morning. The programme will reach its final stage in the next few weeks as the individual groups settle into the final stage of instruction.

Preparation for Holy Communion

Older teenagers and adults will differ from that of infants and young children in that they will be part of a programme of adequate catechesis that may involve other programmes or special arrangement. Any special issues such as disability will be supported by the parish community. Please make issues known to the priest or parish team.

Practical points for First Holy Communion

Faith is caught not taught. It is important that faith example and regular Mass attendance is part of the preparation. Canon Law assumes that children will understand at 7/8 years of age, depending on the child. Families will be supported by the parish and school in their faith journey during this important year.

First Holy Communion preparation is part of the families' long-term commitment to their faith journey. It is important to reach out to the intellect and to the heart in this process. This time of preparation is also an invitation to parents to reflect on their own faith. The Parish Priest must be satisfied that any child presented for First Holy Communion is adequately catechised and prepared.

The process will include in one programme the children from both parish and parish school. It will help the parish celebrate the life of the parish and the importance of young people. Prayer partners, sponsors and regular mention of our young people at the Masses. It will give all participants an active role in liturgy through Mass, prayer and other services. Regular weekly commitment will be required to attend Mass and the full programme.

The programme will be advertised in the parish newsletter in September with enrolment in October.

A letter of invitation will be sent out to each family once accepted on to the programme to a Registration morning in early December, when classes will commence in January and continue through until First Holy Communion Celebration in June that year.

Catechism classes for Children going to non-Catholic Schools

These sessions are held on Saturday at 10.45am until 11.30am in a little room past the lower new hall. Any children from 4 to 8 years of age willing to learn or revise their understanding of the faith for that age are welcome to attend.

We start and end with a prayer. The children learn the basic prayers with an explanation of their meaning and where we get them from e.g. references to the Bible. We read from the Children's Bible of God, why they were created, the reason for their baptism and what it means to belong to the family of God.

As Advent approaches they will learn about the Incarnation and as Easter approaches - the reason for our redemption.

As we go through the Old Testament they learn about God's promises - the covenants and the commandments.

The children have a little walk around the inside of our church where they learn about the sacramental signs and symbols, the right way to give reverence to God and genuflect. We also go through sections of the Mass so that they have some understanding, be more attentive and able to participate in the Mass. I explain the meaning of certain words and what it means to have grace. I am always amazed that they do remember when I test them at the next class.

Each time I remind them to add to their prayers at home a small intention - one week it could be for the children suffering from the effects of war - Syria, pray for faith, pray for the Pope and for our priests, for their teachers or friends and family etc. They are learning how to ask God to help them throughout the day with a spontaneous prayer from the heart and how to thank and praise God. We are also focusing on a simple morning offering prayer and a simple reconciliation prayer. They are learning about the devotion or dedication of each month such as the Rosary or a Patron Saint, Christmas or Easter and November to pray for our dead. The reference books we use are 'Our Heavenly Father' from the Faith and Life series, and from the Catholic Truth Society, St Joseph Picture Books, a Golden Treasury of the Catholic Faith.

If we have time the children have the chance to do some drawing with colour pencils and a small piece of homework; fill in the blanks or a word search relating to what we have learnt at that session.

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Healing and Anointing Ministry

St. Anselm's Parish has, through the prayers of its Priests, had a long tradition of a Healing Ministry. The Healing Services twice a year have been a part of Parish life for decades. As well as regular opportunities for individual personal prayer and confession, two important opportunities exist for Healing in a Spiritual way.

The Healing and Anointing Mass

Our annual first powerful healing experience is the Healing and Anointing Mass.

The Healing and Anointing Mass takes place twice a year (May and October) in the church and its origins go back to the early days of our Christian faith as mentioned in the early Church. The healing ministry of the Church allows for the priest of the parish to pray and lay hands on the person to be anointed. This powerful ministry is one of the seven great sacraments of the church and allows for the power of Jesus to be present in the anointing and the prayer.

The Healing Mass is not just about physical illness or disability; it is about wholeness and is a deeply spiritual experience. During the Mass the suffering of Jesus himself and his oneness with us is acknowledged and the pain and suffering of those present is honoured with the church as the centre of what the church does.

The whole universal church in focusing and honouring each participant and affirming and praying with them. We hope as many of you as possible will take advantage of the opportunity to receive the Sacrament.

The service is followed by tea in the hew halls. We advertise this in the parish newsletter and on the Upcoming Events page of this website. Should anyone need transport, please contact the parish office, 020 8672 2179.

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Holy Orders

Ordination - Holy Orders

Our biblical foundation for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination is the Last Supper. Jesus appointed the twelve apostles as the first priests as he celebrated the Last Supper of the first Mass with his friends. He empowered them with the Holy Spirit to do the same.

Holy Orders is the Sacrament through which a man is made into a deacon, a priest or a bishop.

We believe that the apostles were ordained as bishops as well as priests by Jesus, and so able to ordain other men to the diaconate, the priesthood and the bishopric. A deacon is ordained to be a servant to God's people, the Church. A priest is ordained to celebrate the Eucharist and forgive sins, the Sacraments, reconciliation and anointing of the sick. A bishop is ordained to ordain other deacons, priests and bishops. Every bishop is also a priest and a deacon. Every priest is a deacon. All three ministries are as servants and teachers of God's people. The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, calls himself, 'The Servant of the Servants of God'.

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Holy Matrimony

The Sacrament of Marriage

There are two Sacraments of Commitment, signs of the reality of God's presence and God's activity in our human lives. The Catholic Priesthood is one and the other is Christian Marriage. This is a visible sign of God's love, self-giving, creative, the effort to learn at the school of love, the love and ever-opening curriculum of love and dedication to the welfare of others.

Practical points

Catholics wishing to marry in this country or abroad need to complete various documents to fulfil Canon Law. If you live in the parish of St Anselm's, Tooting Bec, please contact the parish office at least six months before the date of the proposed wedding to arrange an appointment to see the parish priest. This is to enable him to confirm eligibility to marry and that both parties live within the parish boundaries.

Both parties are expected to attend the meeting to commence paper work and when the necessary advice will be given in how to proceed with the documentation.

By Canon Law copies of baptismal, confirmation and letters of freedom cannot be dated more than six months before the proposed wedding date; advice on the documentation required will be given and is individual to each couples' requirements.

Couples attending St Anselm's to complete their marriage paper work are expected to attend the Marriage Preparation Course which consists of four evening meetings over four weeks covering the Sacrament of Marriage. The course is usually led by a member of the clergy with the support of a lay team of parishioners. The course culminates in a social gathering of all the parties at the final meeting. At the end of the course all couples are invited to attend Mass on the Sunday after completion of the course when they will be introduced to the parish community and Certificates presented.

All couples are responsible for contacting the parish office to make a follow up appointment with the parish priest once they have collated all the necessary paper work to finalise the documents before they are sent off to Archbishop's House in London for authorisation and then forwarded on to the place of the proposed marriage, whether in the UK or abroad.

"Lisa and I were married in 2002, have been parishioners at St Anselm's for over 10 years and have three children, two of whom are attending our parish school. Fr Will invited us to join the Marriage Preparation catechist team in 2013 and we've loved helping couples on the course. We never attended a formal course before we married and we've learned a lot ourselves, benefitting from the practical and spiritual content in both our married and family life! We look forward to meeting you on courses in the future." Tim and Lisa Mycroft

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