Please pray for those who are ill:

Ellen Paris, Monica Goode, Brendan Colohan, Jennie Spetch, Coral & Johnny Harrow, Betty Walford, Joyce West, Sarah Mackay, Mary Extance, Barbara Frost, Tony Timoney-White, Mary Bradbury, Joe Briffa, Judith Davidson, Mary Hawtree, Bob Horton, Robert Carson, Joan Duggan,  and Michael Ross


You will be aware that we are permitted to resume public worship from Thursday 3rd December. We shall follow the programme that obtained before this last lockdown, so the procedures and safeguards will be as before. Sunday Mass will be at Our Lady's 9.30am and St Benedict's at 11am next week.

Mass on Thursday this week at Our Lady's 9.30am and Friday (First Friday of the month) 6pm at St Benedict's with confessions from 5.15pm.


Christmas Masses in our Parish - booking is essential

Following news that our churches will be open for mass again from Thursday 3rd December we are now also able to give details of the Christmas Masses at Our Lady's and St Benedict's. We prepare to come together to celebrate the Lord's birth.

Because of restricted numbers at our churches we must take bookings for Christmas Masses this year.  You will need to contact us advising which mass you wish to attend and the total number of people in your group.

Christmas Mass Times:

Christmas Eve: Thursday 24 December, Our Lady's, Marnhull: 6pm.

St Benedict's, Gillingham: 8pm

Christmas Day: Friday 25 December, Our Lady's, Marnhull: 9.30am. St Benedict's, Gillingham: 11am.

Please email your request to Steve Carrivick on email or Tony Moore on giving your /name/ total number and in your group or bubble/ contact telephone number and the mass you wish to attend.

Please email your request as soon as possible and we will email confirmation back to you.

If you are not able to email us please phone Steve Carrivick on Tel:07887988123

This Sunday, the first of Advent, is the beginning of a new year and we shall all be fervently praying and hoping for a year which will be better than that which we have lived through. The season of Advent is when we particularly note that we are waiting for the coming of the Lord - and this waiting is to be understood in a variety of aspects. The Church awaits the forthcoming Christmas feasts, the celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus, our Saviour, but at the beginning of the season especially, she also bids us wait with attentive wakefulness for the coming of the Lord at the end times.

        Before we can appreciate properly what Christmas really means or be able to wait in joyful expectancy for the Master's coming at the end, we must first welcome Christ into our own hearts so that His life and His presence transform us into people who are caught up in His love. We must be patient and wakeful in this regard too: we do not achieve instant spiritual maturity. We must wait for God's grace, the seed He implants in our hearts, to come to fruitfulness. I read that, "God is not an impatient magician, but a gardener; he does not tug at the flowers to make them grow. He knows that nothing matures by some miraculous single stroke. He grows the roots deep in the ground of grace that they might hold fast to the end.

        This Sunday's Gospel reading bids us stay awake, alert and watchful for the Lord's coming so that when He comes we might receive Him with joy and begin a new, happier and better life in the coming year. 

Fr. Martin.

Don't forget to look at the Commentaries Page to read weekly homilies!


There will be  Holy Rosary Fridays at 6.00pm. (except 'First Fridays')on Zoom, organised by Deacon Michael,

Coffee morning continues as normal on Zoom at 12.15 on Sunday mornings.  If you’d like to join in, please contact Deacon Michael or Tony Moore for the usual meeting I.D. and password. Any problems, contact Deacon Michael on 07504821558

Holy Mass online: A reminder that Mass can be ‘streamed’ online from churches all over the world. To find a mass streamed from a church in England, Ireland, N. Ireland or Scotland to suit your schedule, go to . This is in addition to our cathedral at

As customary in Gillingham, the Churches Together In Gillingham group are distributing a Christmas card to every house in Gillingham.  We are seeking parishioners to help deliver around the town.  I will have the Cards available each Sunday morning if you would like to collect some for delivery on your  walks around the town.      Many thanks,     Deacon Michael

THERE ARE CHRISTMAS CARDS in the Repository at Our Lady's!

Charity giving in these difficult times: Last Sunday’s Gospel reading from Matthew reminds us of our obligations to those less fortunate than ourselves. Last week we looked at helping the hungry. This week we look at how we could help the homeless. We could subscribe to charities like Crisis or Centrepoint or Salvation Army. However, here’s some of the work done by the charity, Emmaus: “We give homeless people a place to live, meaningful work and a purpose. Give £25 to a homeless person and it might buy them a meal or pay for them to stay in a night shelter once or twice. But by giving £25 to Emmaus, you can help get them off the streets for good”. Visit  to help.

Mary's Meals  has informed us that “until 31 January 2021, public donations made to our appeal will be matched by the UK government, up to £2 million.” The meals our donations pay for are served in schools.


Help during lockdown: Keith and Beata Fleming in Peacemarsh, Gillingham, would be happy to help with any shopping or other errands for parishioners in need. Their contact details are:         Steve & Maureen Carrivick are also available, offering similar services for parishioners.   Tel: 07887988123 or email:

The Society of St Vincent de Paul work in parishes to support the elderly, vulnerable and those in need. There is a local branch based at St Edward's Shaftesbury which has members from our parish. The SVP are having meetings between 24th November and 4th December on "Zoom" which are open to all to hear about the work of the Society and to answer questions. To attend: Email- to register and receive a Zoom meeting link. 

World Gifts: Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas giving World Gifts are CAFOD's range of virtual gifts that make a real difference to families living in poverty across the world. Each World Gift you buy will change the life of someone living in poverty. Share your Christmas by giving a virtual gift. A meaningful gift for friends and relatives.  A gift of hope and love. A full range of Gifts from £5 can be ordered online at   Samples of gifts that will make a real difference:

  • Teach someone to read £10, School starter pack £25, Sewing kit £21

  • Keep clean kit £6, Healthy Mum and Baby £30, PPE for a health worker £127

  • Chirpy chickens £20, The goat that gives £28, Seeds for a vegetable garden £10

And many more...........share a gift at Christmas

18 Christmas 'Shoe Boxes' have been delivered to Salisbury. Many blessings on all the generous parishioners who contributed lovely gifts, full boxes and donations towards delivery charges and buying extra items. Not forgetting all the empty boxes - please continue to save for next year! Due to covid, they are being sent in January so the folk of poorer parts of Eastern Europe will enjoy them a bit later. And next year we will hopefully have our get-together again, packing them! 

The Fourteen Holy Helpers. In the middle of the 14th century, the plague – also called “The Black Death” – also also called “The Greatest Catastrophe Ever” – ravaged Europe, killing 50 million people, or about 60% of the population (a vastly higher death rate than coronavirus), within a few years. It was at this time that the Fourteen Holy Helpers – Catholics saints, all but one of whom were early martyrs – came to be invoked by Catholics against the plague and other misfortunes.

The collect for their feast in the Missal of Bamberg reads: “Almighty and merciful God, who didst adorn Thy Saints George, Blase, Erasmus, Pantaleon, Vitus, Christopher, Denis, Cyriacus, Acacius, Eustace, Giles, Margaret, Barbara and Catherine with special privileges above all others, so that all who in their necessities implore their help, according to the grace of Thy promise, may attain the salutary effect of their pleading, grant to us, we beseech Thee, forgiveness of our sins, and with their merits interceding, deliver us from all adversities, and kindly hear our prayers.”



CHARITIES - please see the Charities and Groups page


And finally, your domestic Christmas! It is going to be very strange and even painful that only some of us will get to Mass on Christmas Eve/Day due to social distancing restrictions being still in place, I know Father has made arrangements for attending Mass. 

However, there are so many things we can do in our domestic Church setting that make the season truly celebrational. Here are a few ideas:


Advent wreaths, Advent candles, the O antiphons from 17th December, crib building plus prayers by the crib, carol singing, St Nicholas shoes, the whole Christmas octave, St Stephen, Holy Innocents, Feast of the Holy Family, 12 days of Christmas, Epiphany, chalk on the doors, Mary for New Year - all domestic Church of course - in fact it's a wonder we ever fitted Christmas Mass in at all!!  

Try cutting holly from hedges without singing the Holly and the Ivy in order to discover that everything we do in the right mind can only be at the service of God and his glory.  


If we are on our own most of the above are very doable with a friend or two. If we are a larger household we can invite those who are on their own to join in any of these devotions - hosting does not always have to be mulled wine and mince pies. Of course always adhering to government guidelines.

And to evangelise?:

- Cribs visible from outside (garden, street window...)  

- Poster in window (if we can thank the NHS with our rainbow posters why not with a Christmas message of hope?)

- Christmas card to the postman, with Scripture message  

- St Nicholas tea party/ Christmas Carol singing etc... involving the non-Christians in your "bubble".  

The domestic Church is so powerful and this year presents us with a real opportunity to make it even more so.

Regards as ever, Deacon James

Parish collections

Parish Standing Order Form:  For parishioners wishing to contribute to church finances whilst access to our churches is limited a Parish Standing Order form is available upon request from the treasurer, Pamela Snell: 01258 821463.  Address:  Grafthayes, Nash Lane, Marnhull, Dorset  DT10 1JZ

Gift Aid contributors who usually use numbered envelopes can switch to this method for the foreseeable future if desired.


If you wish to send a cheque instead please make it payable to  Marnhull R.C.Parish and send to : The Parish Priest, The Presbytery, Old Mill Lane, MARNHULL, DT10 1JX


Online banking payments is another alternative but the REFERENCE FIELD  i.e. your surname and gift aid envelope number, must be completed so that we can identify donors. This is particularly important if you are a taxpayer allowing Gift Aid reimbursements, although non-tax payers can use this method also.  For forms and further information please phone Pamela Snell [ Parish Treasurer] on:  01258 821463  or email:

Brian adds: “With the present inability to distribute and use the new year Gift Aid numbered envelopes– please use the above proposals if you can. Hopefully this years boxes will be distributed as soon as restrictions allow." Brian White – Gift Aid Organiser.


OUR CHURCHES ARE ONLY OPEN OCCASIONALLY FOR MASS.  During the times when they are open, Masses are conducted very safely following the procedure below.

Click here to print out your Track and Trace forms.


What can we expect when coming to mass at Marnhull and Gillingham? Mass will be a different experience, but much has been put in place to make our churches a safe and welcoming place to worship. Below is a guide to what to expect and procedures that will be in place

  • When coming to church household groups will be expected to maintain a safe distance (preferably 2 metres) and wear a face covering.

  • There will be no holy water.

  • There is a sanitising gel dispenser in the porch which must be used before entering church.

  • Stewards will be on duty and seat each household group starting at the front and only one household group per pew. Please seat away from the aisle           

  • Track and Trace: Each household group will be asked to complete a contact form listing all household group members attending mass with contact details. (Forms will be kept for 21 days then destroyed)     PRINT THESE IN ADVANCE HERE

  • There will be no mass books or hymn books.

  • The Sign of Peace is not exchanged

  • No hymns and no moving from the pews during mass                                                              

  • Toilets will not be available neither will refreshments after mass.

  • The Eucharist will be distributed at the end of mass as you leave church.

  • Father will be at the back of the church and maintaining a safe distance with outstretched arms to receive communion.

  • Communion will be given as you leave mass starting with the back rows.

  • We are asked to maintain a safe distance at all times and depart immediately without congregating outside the church.

  • Some pews in the church are blocked off to maintain social distancing.

  •  Anyone with a mobility problem moving around the church, wishing to attend Mass at Our Lady’s, should phone Steve Carrivick, on 07887 988123 to help him prepare a place for you.

Please advise a steward if you would like to be added to the newsletter email distribution list.            

The church will be cleaned after each mass with sanitising cleanser.

Get an advance copy of the newsletter with more parish information by signing up to the parish email group with Tony Moore: 

The parish of Our Lady's Marnhull (Dorset) covers the towns and villages of: Bourton, Buckhorn Weston, Child Okeford, East Orchard and West Orchard, East Stour and West Stour, Stour Provost, Stour Row, Fifehead Magdalen, Fifehead Neville & Fifehead St Quentin, Gillingham, Hammoon, Hazelbury Bryan, Henstridge, Hinton St Mary, Kington Magna, Lydlinch, Manston, Margaret Marsh, Marnhull, Milton on Stour, Okeford Fitzpaine, Silton, Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton, Todber & Kings Stag.

Site Map

Privacy and Cookie Policy


Web Contact    (for contacting web admin.       For the priest or deacons - see Contact's page)

© 2016 Marnhull & Gillingham RC Parish