If you would like to be kept up to date with the meetings, contact Tony ( who will let you know any information you need.  ALL parishioners are welcome.


Parishioners are encouraged to join all the meetings advertised in the newsletter.  All the initiatives that you read about there have been started by individual's suggestions and then help from the parish group to make it happen.  


Initiatives such as the Gospel Study sessions, the parish film night,  the parish outings, Let the Children Live, sourcing leaflets for our faith understanding, reorganising the noticeboard, the stamp collection initiative, the Quiet Garden, the school interaction, the brunches and the business cards all happened because someone in the parish woke up and thought it was a Good Idea and would help the cohesion of parish life.  

There is a solid and enthusiastic group of friends waiting to welcome you!


Dr Farey is the Director of Studies at the School of the Annunication Centre at Buckfast Abbey.  She is one of only three lay women experts who participated in the Synod of Bishops in Rome dedicated to the New Evangelization and the Transmission of the Faith.

On May 6th, some of us went to a most interesting talk by Dr Caroline Farey, a gentle reminder that our faith is not for keeping to ourselves.  The final thought was to think about ways the dimensions of our Christian life are nourished in the life of our parish.  

Parishioners meetings and gatherings are open to all of our parish and we welcome support and ideas from all.  Don't think "I wish they would....."  Come and share ideas!

The next parish meeting is Friday 26th May.


Faith in Action Meeting:  30th March at Holy Trinity, Dorchester, where Maria Armitage* gave a stimulating presentation on where we see our parishes in 2020. 6 of our parishioners joined with 8 from Holy Trinity and 3 from Weymouth parish. 

Maria made a plea for us all to pray hard on what it might be that God has in mind for each of us. It might be that He wants one of us to apply to be her replacement, as her contract (sadly for us) expires tomorrow.

* Maria has been our Diocesan  Evangelisation Outreach worker for Dorset for the last 18 months.


23 February - a small group met in the parish room at Marnhull.  It was a friendly occasion and ideas were put forward as to how we could encourage more parishioners to attend the meetings and events.  The incredibly successful Brunch last month will be repeated on Laetare Sunday (Mothers Day).  See Parish Life page for details of that event.

There are many initiatives and faith enhancing projects underway and these are recorded in the weekly newsletter.  All of us need encouragement and support in our faith and some of the DVDs are a wonderful 'jumping off point'.

Maria could not attend this meeting but has encouraged us to join a Dorchester meeting next month (March 30th) where she will be putting on a presentation that may help encourage participation from  all our parishioners.    ALL parishioners are welcome  at any meetings held. 


19th January - we were fortunate to have Maria Armitage (left), our Dorset field worker join us for this meeting.  She told us of the various schemes that were going on in the county to encourage people to find their way back to God.  

We discussed what we could do in our own parish to encourage others to join the various events, courses and talks  that are put  on to strengthen  our community  and enliven our faith.

We are going to run another course which is a 'compilation of six popular CaFE sessions inspired by Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" (Joy of the Gospel), which will  help people engage personally with the Good News in an inspiring and practical way'. 

We  will also be showing  "The Passion of the Christ" during Holy Week and "Risen" after Easter.

The next 'Faith in Action' meeting is on  Thursday 23rd February.  All parishioners are welcome.


Blandford hosted a very enjoyable meeting, partly to inaugurate a new Walsingham group, and partly to hear some of our discipleship ideas.  We are enjoying the support between our two parishes and bouncing ideas off each other.

We saw wonderful pictures of their pilgrimage to Walsingham which took place about a month after our own.  They seemed to have had better weather, which they took full advantage off, even using a drone to take photographs and videos!  Also attending were Fr Chacko and Fr Tom Regan OSB.  The evening was topped off with a 'Bring and Share' supper and mulled wine! Thank you Marie and Adrian for a lovely evening.

The next Marnhull and Gillingham Parishioners meeting will be Thursday 19th January 2017 in the Chapel Room at Our Lady's Marnhull. As usual we'll begin with prayer in church at


We are meeting with Blandford Parish on Tuesday 6th December where we should share, or just hear, each other's encounters which may have been an evangelising opportunity. This is a lifelong task, which Pope Francis reminds us, fairly forcefully, is not easy, particularly alone. We all need the encouragement, support and prayers of each other.  Tony has found an inspiring leaflet on this subject whilst on his travels which we hope to adapt for our own parish.


Dominican Andrew Brooks at St Boniface's College Plymouth on evangelisation


DISCIPLESHIP IN OUR COMMUNITIES: Fr Jonathan Bielawski, the Diocesan Co-ordinator, came to Blandford Church (Our Lady of Lourdes and St Cecilia) on 8th July to talk to those who had completed the ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’ programme.  He talked about the 'next step' and gave pointers as to how to draw people to the joy of the faith. It was an opportunity for people of our parish as well as Shaftesbury and Blandford to meet and share views of the programme.  We hope to be able to come together for other events and share ideas.
Thank you Blandford for hosting an enlightening, inspirational and bonding event.  Notes from the meeting are to be found here...

Fr Jon Bielawski talks to David Wells

Sherry Weddell: Forming Intentional Disciples 1 

Sherry Weddell: Forming Intentional Disciples 2 


Sherry Weddell is co-founder of the Siena Institute in America which is 'dedicated to equipping parishes for the evangelisation and formation of lay Catholics for the sake of their mission to the world'.  Her book 'Forming Intentional Disciples' has been widely read and welcomed in the Catholic world and we too have been studying it.  It really was very instructive, if painful, to read and thoroughly recommended.  It is available from Amazon here.  


Although not a substitute, if you are pressed for time it may be useful to see the two videos from Sherry that summarise the book.  (left).
​There will be a number of follow-on events after studying this book.

We have a Diocesan Evangelisation Fieldworker for Dorset!  


Maria Armitage is enthusiastic, encouraging and keen to help our parish develop spiritually and in March a small group of us went to Richmond to hear Katherine Coolidge, a representative of the Siena Institute and co-worker of Sherry Weddell, speak to the Portsmouth Team about the Called and Gifted course.  Other members of the Plymouth Diocesan team (Fr Jon Bielawski, Michelle Thompson, Maria Armitage and Terry Danes) were also present.  Tony has written a short summary of the visit here.​

You can buy the book from Amazon following this link.


This is the report produced for Bishop Mark and the Diocese of Plymouth on the responses they received to the Symposium on the New Evangelisation held in November 2013:  Report on the New Evangelisation for the Plymouth Diocese: 


to the clergy of the diocese and the delegates at the 'Gather' Conference in February 2015, Bishop Mark sent this letter:  "It is the Lord". 

May 2017: Click here to see the new Pastoral letter "Go, Make Disciples..."

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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