Caring for God's House

Can you help with anything on the list?

Many happy returns to Monica on her 100th birthday on 3rd March!!   So grateful that she was able to celebrate it before 'Lockdown' with one of June's delicious cakes!


February 2020:  A lovely film - enjoyed by many who also appreciated the food and wine at the film night!



Pope Francis sees the beauty of the film in a few different ways. First of all he sees the feast as an example of true joy. He writes in Amoris laetitia:

“The most intense joys in life arise when we are able to elicit joy in others, as a foretaste of heaven. We can think of the lovely scene in the film Babette’s Feast, when the generous cook receives a grateful hug and praise: ‘Ah, how you will delight the angels!’ It is a joy and a great consolation to bring delight to others, to see them enjoying themselves. This joy, the fruit of fraternal love, is not that of the vain and self-centred, but of lovers who delight in the good of those whom they love, who give freely to them and thus bear good fruit” (AL, 129).

Pope Francis sees in the selfless giving of Babette an example that we should all follow. Babette spent her whole lottery winnings to make this feast and spent weeks planning the meal and securing the necessary ingredients. This is the joy that Pope Francis wants us to experience, a joy that does not focus on selfish needs but on the joy of others.


PLEASE SEE THE HISTORY PAGE for recent events regarding Heather Johnson's updated publication of 'STEADFAST IN FAITH' together with an exhibition coinciding with our inclusion in  DORSET ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE WEEK'S ANNUAL EVENT.

Heather also organised a parish visit to the Diocesan Archives to look at the history and artefacts of our parish.


Betty Doney would have been 89 on the 30th September;  she had 6 children – 3 girls and 3 boys – and 11 grandchildren.  Married to her beloved Dick (a Lt. Colonel in the army (O.B.E.  B.E.M. R.A.O.C) for over 50 years, she and the family accompanied him on his postings abroad which included Egypt and Australia.  Betty had a wicked sense of humour and was generous to a fault.  She suffered greatly with her arthritis during the past 14 years but she bore it with great fortitude.  We will miss her.


The parish came together again for St Benedict's Feast Day Lunch at The Coppleridge Inn in Motcombe.  It was organised so well - as usual - by Sylvie and Peter Timoney.   Fr. Martin was presented with the cash leftover from the present of his book.  He was very pleased and gave a short but witty 'thank you' speech!  The company was good and so was the food.


More pictures on the Gallery Page.....

Ultimately, rather more than the cost of the book has been donated, although the book, coming from America, did not arrive in time for presenting at the party. This gave us the opportunity to present Father with an I.O.U. for the book and an envelope containing a parcel of euros, to enhance Father’s next sojourn to Europe.

About 50 of us gathered in our school hall on a hot Saturday afternoon to enjoy cream teas, chocolate brownies and meringues filled with cream, all made and served by the ladies of the parish. We were joined by David Pender-Cudlip who left the parish for Sherborne three years ago and clearly enjoyed renewing old friendships. Both sides of the parish were well represented, once again confirming our parish community spirit!

Deacon Michael dusted off his guitar and sang us some lovely Spanish songs, followed by some Irish folk songs, which everyone joined in. Michael was joined at the music lectern by some parishioners and Father Martin.

Father then officiated at the cake table, bemused by the musical candelabra on the lovely cake that had been made by a parishioner’s daughter.

The afternoon whizzed by and by 4.30. the clearing-up began.

Many thanks to all the food providers, table waiters, musicians, washer-uppers, furniture handlers and sweepers, who all pitched in to make Father’s significant birthday a memorable one for him.

Significant donations have continued to come in, giving us an opportunity to present Father with another envelope of ‘holiday happiness’ when we get together over lunch on St. Benedict’s day later this week.

‘Parish Cream Tea Party’ turned out to be code for ‘Father Martin’s 70th Birthday Party’! Something very difficult to advertise to the whole parish, owing to Father’s reserved nature (and his anticipated alarm at seeing such an advert!)

Similarly difficult to advertise was the collection invited for the special gift of a book of the music of the Holy Mass, that an alert parishioner had remembered Father mentioning in passing.



Three very excited and happy girls celebrated their First Holy Communion on Corpus Christi morning.  God bless you Natasha, Gaby and Maisie


Welcome to Iga who was baptised on 4th November.  Her parents, Karolina and Slawomir, together with Godparents, Sylwia and Piotr celebrated the ceremony at Mass with the parishioners and we wish them and little Iga much love and peace together with her brother Seweryn who was baptised in 2016.  Pictures of Seweryn's baptism further down the page.


At Our Lady's thanks must go to Mary Colohan and Mary Moore for decorating the church so beautifully.  A lot of thought and effort went into the crafting and making the poppy and flag exhibits.  Any pictures of St Benedict's will of course be included here.

Both churches were led in remembrance at Mass by Bishop Emeritus Christopher Budd and parishioners at Marnhull then went to join others at St Gregory's War memorial for prayers and a bugle salute at 11.00 am.


We celebrate the solemnity of All Saints. This invites us to turn our gaze to the immense multitude of those who have already reached the blessed land, and points us on the path that will lead us to that destination.

Pope John Paul II, All Saints' Day 2003

For the souls in purgatory, waiting for eternal happiness and for meeting the Beloved is a source of suffering, because of the punishment due to sin which separates them from God. But there is also the certitude that once the time of purification is over, the souls will go to meet the One it desires.

Letter of Pope John Paul II for Millennium of All Souls' Day


When a soul leaves the body, it is not entirely cleansed from venial (minor) sins. However, through the power of prayer and self-denial, the faithful left on earth may be able to help these souls gain the Beatific Vision they seek, bringing the soul eternal sublime happiness.

On All Souls Day a Plenary Indulgence may be gained, only applicable to the souls in Purgatory, by visiting a church and there reciting an Our Father and the Creed. Also, on one day of choice between 1st - 8th November by visiting a cemetery and there praying for the Faithful Departed. (Usual conditions: Confession, Holy Communion, prayer for Pope’s intentions.)

......and for the sake of your loved ones.......Why wouldn't you?


On a dry but windy Saturday - 9 brave souls called at Church of Our Lady, Marnhull to register their visit.  


We had walkers, cyclists and a horseman!  Our own Chris Gassman appeared twice on the arrivals list - once at 10.00 am and again at approx. 5.40 pm - having visited 31 churches and cycling 70 miles - and collecting a puncture on the way.  He has raised well over £200 including gift aid. Donations in retrospect will be welcome.


We had husband and wife cyclists who arrived separately - having followed different routes - and the horse rider (who has visited us 3 years running) was this year without his companion lady rider who had accompanied him in other years.  His horse was unusually skittish and appeared to want nothing more than the fastest route home - making collection of the registration form a little tricky!  


Our visitor numbers were up over last year so perhaps in 2019 we can look forward to double figures!!

 Special thanks must go to Maggie Foster who spent the day at our church welcoming riders and striders with drinks and cakes.




This beautiful vestment was given to Fr Budge by the Polish families of the 4 First Holy Communicants and depicts St. John Paul.  What a magnificent present!


Recently, the parish came together again for a film night on Thursday, (now to be a regular feature) and a Brunch on Sunday morning, all in aid of the new church of St Benedict's to be built in the next few years.

The film was Monsieur Vincent and although made in 1947 was a beautifully crafted, award winning biopic of Vincent de Paul.  Filmed by Claude Renoir (yes, the grandson!) and script by Anouilh, it was a joy to watch!


We are always interested in ideas of films to show.  They don't have to be holy (or old!)  If you have any ideas of suitable films please let us know.

Quiz 2018


Friday 13th was lucky for some!  The Quiz party proved an enjoyable and amusing afternoon, with the additional pleasure of sumptuous food and cakes baked by Elizabeth O'Toole and Mary Moore.  Denis was our entertaining Quiz Master.  

It was all in aid of the Plymouth Children's Society, so thank you parish for your support.  We made £110.00.


The churches of Our Lady's and St Benedict's were happy to be able to celebrate Father Martin Budge's 30th anniversary of his ordination at the weekend and presented him with a generous gift he can enjoy on his travels.  He was presented with these gifts at Gillingham and Marnhull Masses by the young of both churches.

Thank you Father Martin for all you do for us!

Christmas Tree

Christmas was busy this year!  There was standing room only at the Christmas Eve Masses and full to capacity in the morning.  The flowers and decorations were outstanding (pictures to follow) and the choir turned out for both the Christmas Eve and Christmas morning Masses.

Thanks to all those who helped everything go so smoothly.


These 27 Christmas Boxes (left) were delivered to the Trussell Trust depot in Salisbury before Christmas Day for dispatch to  Eastern Europe (Bulgaria and Romania).  This is the second year the parish has contributed to this project.


They included presents for girls, boys, men and women and were packed under Annette's supervision at the Mackain Bremner's house with the enthusiastic help of children of the parish.  

Each shoe box was packed with a variety of appropriate gifts donated by parishioners, which were items recommended by the Trust based on their experience of what the recipients most needed or would appreciate (treats as well as practical items).

Below is a video on the Trussell Trust site of boxes being distributed in a hall in Bulgaria in 2016, which shows the profound impact this project has on recipients.

A lot of love was invested in this parish activity: assembling the right mix of gifts, obtaining the empty shoe boxes, sorting items appropriate for the age and sex of each recipient and the wrapping and labelling of each box.


Annette hopes that our parish support for this project will gather momentum in future.

Mmmm. Father who?
Red coats for Advent
Goodo! Mince pies coming my way!
Oh the suspense!
Some wonderful prizes

There were mince pies and mulled wine on offer at the Christmas Draw on Sunday and no less than 31 spectacular prizes!  

We won't know yet how much was made for parish funds but tickets were obviously sold far and wide.

Many thanks to all those parishioners who both sold and bought raffle tickets.

Thank you too to Tony and Mary and all the helpers who organised the raffle and the party that went with it.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves!


Angela Wood from The Holy Family Catholic Church Southampton came to talk to us about 'Grace'.  Angela is a well known speaker at the 'Celebrate' Conferences.

Included in her talk were videos to help the message of God's love strike home.

Attached are two of these YouTube videos.

We need to know how much God loves us.  God spoke to us first through the prophets, and when Christ came He spoke to us as God.  When Thomas asked how can we know the way, Christ tells us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and we can know the Father through Him.

Pope Benedict tells us that Grace is being looked upon by God - being touched by His love, Grace is given to us to be able to receive this love, for He willed to both reveal Himself to man and to give man the grace of being able to welcome His revelation in faith.

Grace is given to us at baptism.  Baptised people can never NOT be a child of God.  We were filled with an abundance of grace at our baptism - but we have free will and are therefore free to either reject God or welcome Him.  With grace we can choose to receive the love of God in many ways, supremely through the sacraments, particularly the eucharist and confession.


More on the subject of Grace from the Tabernacle of St Francis on the Commentaries Page.


Both Our Lady's and St Benedict's held a short service for those wishing to revisit and/or return to their faith after a time away.  We were able to pray for those who asked for prayers and we lit candles for our loved ones and neighbours.  

There was exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a quiet and peaceful setting for meditation and prayer.

When we came out of the church there was a most beautiful rainbow which seemed to put a biblical seal on the service!  It was a very special afternoon.


We had a very enjoyable visit from Bishop Mark O'Toole last weekend.  He said all the masses in the parish in Gillingham and in Marnhull.  He held a meeting with parishioners on Saturday and was able to talk with them both in groups and privately.

Unfortunately, nobody thought of taking any photographs! (well, one proud grandfather did!).  If you took any on the day any please send them to

07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 15
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 1
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 26
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 22
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 18
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 10
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 27
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 8
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 11
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 3
07.30.17 Maksiu's baptism 12

We had the Baptism on July 30th of the lovely Marta’s and Mateusz's new baby…a boy, at last!  His big sisters, Tereska and Edyta, were serving on the altar with Father Martin and little sister, Helena, was beautifully behaved.  Marta’s mother, Zofia, was Maksiu’s Godmother.  A close friend, Grzegorz, was the Godfather.  His wife, Anna, and their daughter, Julia – who recently had her First Holy Communion -, kept Helena in check! 

St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017
St Benedict's Lunch 2017

Once again, St Benedict's feast on July 11th allowed us all to celebrate with a wonderful lunch at the Coppleridge Inn at Motcombe.  We all enjoyed our pre-ordered chosen meals and drink kindly donated by our parish priest.

Gillingham and Marnhull churches can sometimes feel like two parishes, and it is events like this and the Summer party that encourage us to come together and support our parish and meet friends we don't see often enough.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Tony wishes Father happy birthday
Father's card from the school
Father's Birthday Cake
Father and his Present
Good heavens! Young People!
Deacon Mike with Barbara
The Worker Bees

The Parish held a Summer Garden Party last week with the excuse of celebrating Father's birthday!  It was actually too hot to be held outside, so the school hall was called into services and looked very festive.  


The school enjoyed making him a card and the parish enjoyed eating a lot of cake!  The busy Social team decorated the hall most beautifully with bunting and vintage mis matched tea things.  (There's a good game to be had in matching the cups to saucers for some!) and the bakers excelled themselves.


There were even sightings of...... Young People!!

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017
1st Communion St Benedict's 2017


There was a lovely Mass on Sunday with eight children making their First Holy Communions.  This year all of them were Polish.  The church was beautifully decorated and the singing and celebrations vibrant and joyful.  We are truly blessed with our Polish parishioners and welcome them wholeheartedly into the parish.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

The children are:  

Julia, Wiktoria, Weronika, Fabian, Krzysztof,  Mateusz, Wiktor,  and Daniel 



After watching 'The Passion of the Christ' directed by Mel Gibson, during Holy Week the parish put on another film after Easter.  'Risen' tells the story of 'a Roman Tribune in Judea tasked with finding the missing body of an executed Jew rumoured to have risen from the dead......'

We were able to celebrate the Easter story with biscuits, cheese and wine donated by parishioners and share a happy evening together.

The next film will be on May 24th called 'The 13th Day'  The story of Fatima.


After Mass on Laetare Sunday, we celebrated a mothers day brunch in Our Lady's parish room, where both Our Lady's and St Benedict's parishioners joined for coffee and tea, with some bacon rolls and croissants and pain au chocolat before going off and honouring their mothers with further celebrations.

Thank you to our cooks, helpers and young waitresses for a smooth and friendly get together.

Show More


After Sunday Mass (Feb 5) we were delighted that so many of the congregation joined us for coffee/tea and a bacon roll - together with croissants and pains au chocolat.  What a wonderful morning it turned out to be!  Nearly 40 parishioners joined us and were most generous with their donations.  (We aim to replace the chairs in the Chapel Room with more comfortable ones!)

We are hoping to be able to repeat the brunch every six weeks or so. During lent this is not so appropriate, but Laetare Sunday (March 26) offers us an opportunity to rejoice, and to celebrate mothers on Mothers Day. 

I'm sorry, and annoyed with myself, that I neglected to take time!


On Saturday, after Mass, the parish came together for mulled wine and mince pies. There was a generous array of prizes and we all enjoyed a Christmas atmosphere.



Parents Karolina and Slawomir from our local Polish community brought their son Seweryn to be baptised at St Benedict's on Sunday (November 27th) and we warmly welcome them all.  Seweryn's godparents are Remigiusz and Sylwia.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.


We celebrated this in the traditional manner - Mass at 11.00 am at St Benedict's church and then on to the Coppleridge in Motcombe for a delicious and enjoyable feast!  The atmosphere was friendly and inviting and we all enjoyed chatting with fellow parishioners some of  whom we normally only share a handshake of peace.

As usual Peter and Sylvie had organised the event wonderfully well with a varied and filling choice of menu.
Vanessa was armed with her camera luckily and so we are able to put together a gallery of all of us enjoying ourselves.....Click to see more on the Gallery Page

Well she did it!   Monica, our intrepid 96 year old adventurer took to the skies in a Piper Warrior at Compton Abbas and we have the photographs to prove it!  We were greeted by our friendly and encouraging pilot, Andrew, who took us over Shaftesbury and Gillingham then on to Stourhead and King Alfred’s Tower;  Poole Harbour and then it was time to come back.  
Unfortunately Monica was super keen to get into the aircraft and hurt her knee quite badly, but she rallied and was thrilled with it all,  and was keen to control the aircraft herself which she did for a short while.


On our return,  came the manoeuvre of getting Monica out;  legs first.  She was in quite a bit of pain but her good humour didn’t leave her;  Monica came down the wing on her backside and, finally, she was on terra firma again. Unfortunately, Monica’s leg became worse and she was taken to the Surgery later.  She is better now but is on quite heavy anti-inflammatories and Paracetamols and her carer attendance has been doubled up but, hopefully, we will see her back at Church on Sunday and at the Coppleridge on Monday.  

Click to see more on the Gallery Page.  The last picture shows her with a well deserved drink!                            
She had a wonderful experience and has managed to raise quite a bit for Julia's House.  More details on that later.                           Vanessa

Tom Davies swum his 20 lengths unassisted last Friday.   He wishes to thank all those parishioners who generously sponsored his unassisted 20 length backstroke swim last week. Tom can only use one arm and finished within the allotted hour! You helped him to raise £600 for Scope, the local charity at Thorngrove.  Tom has lived at the SCOPE centre for many years and suffers from a congenital heart condition and had an internal defibrillator (ICD) fitted last year. This was his first charity swim with it.  An amazing achievment.
​Well done Tom!
He was able to join us for the Flower Festival and celebrated with tea and cakes;  (Tom seated on the bench).


​On June 9th, members of our parish of Marnhull and Gillingham, together with a few of Shaftesbury parish boarded a coach and set off ultimately to pass through the Door of Mercy at Plymouth Cathedral, but also to visit and attend Mass at Buckfast Abbey on the way.  

There were 48 of us in all and together with Father Budge and Deacon Mike we had a most uplifting and spiritual pilgrimage as well as a lot of fun and quite a bit of laughter.  

See Pilgrimage page for details....


Some parishioners were delighted to attend their grandchildren's First Holy Communion in Shaftesbury on Sunday 9th June.  Catechists Pepi and Theresa prepared the children.  It was a beautiful day and everyone felt very blessed.  
Congratulations to Ruby and Phoebe!            And there was cake!


Three of our Polish parishioners took their First Holy Communion on Sunday 29th May.  It was all really quite lovely, with many family members having flown over especially from Poland.  At the end of Mass, they all sang a beautiful Polish hymn;  unaccompanied, of course which was mesmerising for all.
The three are: Aleksander, Tereska & Edyta.

28 MAY SATURDAY:  Our parish joined that of St Edwards, Shaftesbury and had a public prayers in the Town Hall Square.  The Gathering was in honour of Our Lady of Fatima where prayers, including the rosary, were recited and a few hymns sung.  May is the month of Mary and honouring her in this way brings many graces to ourselves, and our communities.

St Mary's Primary School were recently extremely lucky to welcome David Wells in his New Evangelisation role come to talk to staff and parents.  We were fortunate as parishioners that the school invited us also to listen to him.
He is a warm, entertaining and down to earth speaker, yet also inspiring.  He promises to return for another visit.  Don't miss him when he does!
Meanwhile he has written a number of books, the latest of which are:  The Reluctant Disciple (Daring to Believe) and The Grateful Disciple (Daring to be Loved).  You can find them both on Amazon or Redemptorist Publications.

In this book of his personal reflections, David helps us to see God in a range of situations that are often funny, sometimes painful, occasionally toe-curlingly embarrassing. Related with characteristically self-deprecating humour, the stories in this volume range from his moving account of visiting war graves in France to the hilarious account of his “Mr Bean in a ballet” moment in California. 
“With self-deprecating humour, David tells gentle stories that describe a powerful Spirit at work in his life.”
Fr Christopher Jamison OSB

​Another chance to join friends on A Life in the Spirit Course!  
We were given the gift of our faith at Baptism and often leave it as a gift unopened.  The Holy Spirit invites us to unwrap our faith and let Him into our lives ..... and let Him change us.

'Life in the Spirit' is a short weekly (CaFE*) course, the aim of which is to help all of us recognise the Holy Spirit in our lives and become open to Him.  We will listen to some inspirational speakers on DVD and come together to talk about our faith and the place of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

​We will listen to some inspirational speakers on DVD and come together to talk about our faith and the place of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

On a retreat for over 1000 priests in Rome in June this year, Pope Francis asked “I ask each and every one of you, as part of the current of grace of Renewal, to organise seminars of Life in the Spirit in your parishes, seminaries, schools and neighbourhoods, to share Baptism in the Spirit. It is catechesis that produces, by the work of the Holy Spirit, the personal encounter with Jesus who changes our life.”


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.

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