A Sacrament is an efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is given to us. Full and active participation in the sacramental life of the Church requires a period of preparation of both mind and heart to be receptive to the grace of new life in Christ.
Baptisms normally take place at St Philip's on a Sunday at 3.30pm, or during one of the Sunday Masses.
Families must have been registered with the parish for at least three months before the date of the proposed Baptism. Newcomers to the parish will need a letter from their previous Parish Priest, as will any family resident outside the Parish of Finchley Church End.
Parents are required to attend a preparation session on one evening before arranging the date of their child's Baptism. These sessions take place several times a year; the date of the next session is publicised several weeks in advance in the newsletter.
It is normal to have one godfather and one godmother for the child, both of whom should be practising, Confirmed Catholics, but it is possible to have more than that number, or to have just one godparent.
Blue application forms are available in the church.
First Holy Communion
Parents of children who are in Year 3 or above, and who live in the Parish, may enter their child in the preparation programme for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. During the year of their First Holy Communion preparation, children who are not attending a Catholic School are required to attend further catechism classes every Sunday morning during term time. They join the other children on the weeks when the workshops take place.
The First Holy Communion preparation for all children consists of a series of workshops which take place on Saturday mornings about once a month. The children are expected to attend all of those workshops and also to play an active part in the 12 noon Mass on the following Sunday. There are also meetings for parents at intervals during the programme, normally on a Thursday evening, to provide information and support so that they can be actively involved in their child's preparation for the Sacraments.
The preparation programme normally begins in October, with First Reconciliation in the following Spring Term, and First Holy Communion in the Summer Term. Parents are provided with details of all the dates at their first meeting.
Yellow application forms are available in the church prior to the start of the programme.
Young people who are in Year 9 or above in secondary school, and who live in the parish of St Philip's and normally attend Mass here, are invited to join the programme of preparation for Confirmation. Applications are normally invited at the start of the Autumn Term, and the Sacrament of Confirmation is generally conferred by one of the Bishops of the Diocese during the Summer Term. The programme consists of a series of sessions in the parish, as well as a Day of Recollection. There is also generally a Pastoral Day on which candidates take an active part in the life of the community and gain a broader experience of the mission of the Church.
Green application forms are available in the church prior to the start of the programme.
It is a requirement in the Archdiocese of Westminster that couples wishing to get married must give at least six months' notice of their intention to the Parish Priest of the parish where they intend to get married. This period is to allow sufficient time for pre-marriage preparation and for the obtaining of documents that will be required before the marriage can take place. The requirements vary depending on the status of each individual. It is a good idea to make an appointment with a priest as soon as possible to discuss those requirements.
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
This process is for those who may be thinking about becoming members of the Catholic Church. Weekly sessions are run for those who would like to find out more about the Church, without any obligation to join. For those who decide that they wish to become part of the Church in this parish, preparation is made for receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. For most candidates those Sacraments are received at the Easter Vigil service. Anyone who may be interested in learning more should make contact initially with the Parish Priest.