Mass times in Leamington

A background to the changes to the Mass times in Leamington

At the beginning of July, Fr Laurence Crowe retired from active ministry at the age of 84 after 20 years as Parish Priest of Our Lady’s. Following this retirement, Archbishop Bernard Longley asked  Fr John Cross who is Dean of the Warwick Deanery and Parish Priest of the neighbouring parish of St Peter Apostle in Leamington Spa to take pastoral and administrative responsibility for the parish of Lillington.

With fewer clergy we realised we could not say 10 Masses each weekend and  Fr Bob Devaney from St Joseph’s Church in Whitnash suggested we forge closer links to work together as a clergy team and serve the pastoral needs of the three parishes in Leamington .

With the guidance of the Diocese, the Sunday Mass times were reduced from 10  to 6. We realised that St Peter’s could accommodate its entire practicing population in 2 masses and still have 300 spaces left over. The same analysis could be made for Our Lady’s and St Joseph’s . However in taking out 4 Masses from the schedule we realised the remaining ones  did not serve the needs of the new community. Instead of having exactly the same time of Mass in each church we tried to spread the new Mass times across the Vigil and Sunday.

We now have a completely new mass time which allows for parishioners to travel in the light of day. Our Saturday mass at 12.30pm at Our Lady’s in Lillington begins the Vigil of Sunday and it is an opportunity for parishioners from our 3 churches to gather together for the celebration of the Eucharist. We have plans to offer soup and a roll  after this Mass.  The 5pm Mass at St Peter’s on Saturday evening is another popular time for parishioners .

Each church has one Sunday morning Mass each.  The parishioners  choose whichever Mass is most suited to their needs from any of the three churches.  Under the new system  the mass  brings together the Catholics from all three churches for communion in the Eucharist. They meet old and new faces as the parishes combine to meet with the times. Occasionally each church might have a ‘one off’ mass for special occasions like First Holy Communion and this is allowed for with 3 priests working together.

The new times reflect our unity as 3 churches working together to serve the needs of the parishioners who live in Leamington new and old town, Radford Semele, Sydenham, Milverton, Whitnash , Bishop’s Tachbrook, Lillington, Cubbington and Offchurch. These are the areas which link together to create one parish. The new Masses give sufficient time for the clergy to travel from one church to another and provide space for Baptisms,  Confessions, visiting the sick and other events. We are now also more able to supply for our fellow priests in the Deanery who may be sick or on leave.

Each Mass tries to provide for different liturgical tastes. There is an early morning Mass at 8 am at St Joseph’s in Whitnash. At this time in the morning the roads are quiet. Our 8 am Mass is well attended by well over a hundred parishioners from the locality. It is followed by very welcome refreshments and a bacon or sausage butty. More recently toast and marmalade has been added to the menu. 

Instead of 3 separate family masses across the 3 churches there is now one Family Mass at 9.30 am at Our Lady’s where the children’s liturgy is provided by a team of helpers during term time. Pupils from our  Primary Schools and their parents are encouraged to participate in this one Eucharist together. The Our Lady’s Music Group provide a range of liturgical experiences from congregational hymn singing, to A Capella, Taize chants and instrumentals.

The 11.30 am Mass at St Peter’s provides the traditional Sung Mass with incense, altar servers, choir and ceremony. It is a very uplifting experience. Sometimes the St Peter’s bells ring out our joy to the Lord after Mass.

The 5.30 pm Mass at St Joseph’s on Sunday is the only evening Mass in the Deanery. It combines what was once 2 masses at about the same time and has become the home of the folk mass. It is a popular mass for parishioners of all 3 churches, students, and those who do shift work on a Sunday. More recently a well attended course of study and reflecting on the recent encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato Si was available after this mass  in 6 sessions.

The clergy alternate on a rota system to allow them to celebrate a mass in each church at least once a month and have an opportunity to catch up with  parishioners who  attend Mass at any of the 3 churches. We exchange our Gift Aid envelopes to each other as well as our newsletters. The clergy are able to stand in for each other and we share masses during the week when the need arises.

There are  5 Primary Schools in the Parish : St Anthony’s, St Josephs, St Patrick’s, St Peter’s, Our Lady & St Teresa. Our Catholic Secondary is the Trinity School in Guys Cliffe Avenue. Each school has its own priest chaplain.

At the end of September a new priest moved into St Peter’s Parish in a semi-retired role. Fr Christopher Greaney lives in the parish and has been able to help to share in the pastoral responsibilities.  

The new Mass times are as follows :
Saturday 12.30pm (Said)    Vigil Mass at Our Lady’s in Lillington
                5.00pm (Hymns) Vigil Mass at St Peter’s in Leamington.
Sunday    8.00am (Said)    Mass at St Joseph’s in Whitnash
                9.30am (Childrens Liturgy) Mass at Our Lady’s in Lillington
              11.30am (Sung) Mass at St Peter’s in Leamington
                5.30pm (Folk) Mass at St Joseph’s in Whitnash

Or to put it another way :

Our Lady’s, Valley Road,  Lillington (Free car park next to church)
Vigil Mass at 12.30pm Saturday.
Family  Mass at  9.30am Sunday

St Joseph’s, Murcott Road East, Whitnash.
Early Mass at 8.00am Sunday
Evening Mass at 5.30pm Sunday * This is the only Sunday evening mass in Warwick Deanery

St Peter’s, Dormer Place, Leamington Spa. CV32 5AA
               Vigil Mass at   5.00pm Saturday
               Sung Mass at 11.30am Sunday
               Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Confession on Sunday from 3-4pm

The Christmas Mass Times are as follows :
Christmas Eve: 12.30pm Our Lady’s,  Lillington   (Said)
                          3.30pm St Peter’s, Leamington  (Carols)
                          6.00pm St Joseph’s, Whitnash   (Carols)
                         10.00pm St Peter’s, Leamington  (Choir)
                         11.00pm St Joseph’s, Whitnash   (Carols)

Christmas Day:  8.00 am  St Peter’s, Leamington  (Said)
                          9.30 am Our Lady’s, Lillington    (Children’s Mass)
                         10.00 am St Joseph’s, Whitnash  (Family Mass)
                         11.00 am St Peter’s, Leamington  (Choir)

  • Any matters relating to St Peter Apostle or Our Lady’s Church or the Parish Centres
    Email: stpeterslspa@hotmail.co.uk – Telephone: 01926 423824 & press option 0
    Postal Address: St Peter’s Parish Office, 3A Dormer Place, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5AA
    For the latest newsletter check out our website : www.stpetersleamington.org
  • For St Joseph’s Church please telephone 01926 772712 or email: st.josephs47@outlook.com