First Reconciliation and First Holy Communions

Sacramental Programme 2015/16


October 1st 2015


Dear Parent/Carer

Every year we invite children of Year 3 age and above to celebrate the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion.

If you would like your child to celebrate these Sacraments in the coming year here is what you need to do:

On the weekends of October 10/11; 17/18; 24/25; 31/1st November you will be able to register your child for the Sacramental Programme at Mass at St. Francis Church on Saturdays at 5.30pm or Sacred Heart Church on Sundays at 10.30am. These are the only opportunities for registering. Please do not leave it until the last minute. You must be at the Mass to register and not arrive after Mass. All those children registering are invited to sit up at the front of Church with you nearby.

If you want your child to celebrate these Sacraments you will be committed to bringing them to Church every weekend. We know there are circumstances where that is difficult but ask you to make this a priority to prepare yourselves and your children for these great Sacraments. You will also be asked to attend a certain number of meetings. Please think about how you can make this possible rather than thinking of the reasons why you can’t. If you can’t commit this year consider leaving it another year or until you can commit fully.

On November 7th at 12noon there will be a Mass followed by a meeting at Sacred Heart Church. At this meeting you will receive more information, dates and be able to hear exactly what is required of you and the children. You must already be registered to take part in this Mass and meeting. The meeting will conclude by 1.30pm.

If your child is not yet baptised and you wish them to register for the programme please contact me straight away, do not delay this.


The Sacramental Programme team will give you lots of support and the parish as a whole will pray for you and your family. We are really looking forward to working with you in the months ahead.


With my prayers

Fr Andrew

Parish Priest

Message from Fr Andrew

I wanted to share with you my personal reaction to the incredibly sad news that Dale Gordon(age 20) one of our original group of singers on the AMBITION music project was murdered over the weekend.

In 2011 Dale Gordon sang at the funeral of another young, murdered man - Martin Gallagher. That song and that whole episode sparked the beginnings of the ambition music project. Out of tragedy SAFE Gorton was born: Social Action Rooted in Faith.

We set out on a journey, a really risk filled journey. We had no map, no real plan. We simply had a passion and a drive that we must do something. Reach out beyond our usual boundaries and help.

Dale Gordon didn't just sing and write he entered that zone very gifted people enter when performing. In a sense the audience was incidental. He became most himself when singing his own songs. He went to a place that drew you in and moved you to the core.

Dale came from an incredibly difficult background, his opportunities and capacity to understand his own potential were greatly limited. He was caught up in a cycle of life not entirely of his own choosing. His world involved violence and crime; gangs and chaos. However these realities; these facts are not the deepest truth of this young man.

The deepest truth is that Dale is a child of God, I was blessed along with others to witness the amazing grace of God's light in his creative and gifted soul. No young man or woman is the label put on them by people seeking to describe or make sense or define. We are much more than all the definitions and descriptions; we are children of a loving God. That is the identity that demands our attention and respect.

Dale is an example of how much need there is, how much action is required. No one privileged with loving parents and opportunities and choices and the capacity to accept love can keep those gifts to themselves. We have a duty to act; to give; to campaign; to do what we can.

We started a journey that still scares us; and so it should. This is not Disney; this is reality.

Did we fail Dale Gordon? No! The complexity of how his life came to an end in such a way cannot be answered so superficially.

Through us Dale was touched by love and care and he knew, even if he didn't understand, that he was loved without conditions.

We did not establish SAFE to resolve the issues of our streets. We established SAFE to walk with our young people on these streets, to offer them alternatives, and opportunities but most of all to stay with them; to see a person not a statistic or an outcome. We seek to enable them to begin to see their truest self as God sees them; that is real self esteem.

We are hurting because we have lost a family member but we are more resolved than ever to be courageous, to dare to continue on this journey; to stand in the darkness and be a light. We will continue to be SAFE for all those who need us.

Thank you for your support.

Fr Andrew.

Fr Andrew J Stringfellow
Sacred Heart & St Francis
0161 223 0338


Following a recent OfSTED inspection our primary school has been judged Outstanding. This is a great achievement and a real testament to the hard work and commitment of all our staff. A wonderful time to celebrate and give thanks to God!!


The priest's house was built in 1907 for 3 priests and 2 housekeepers. Over the last 30 years priests living alone have tried to use the size of the house to good effect with visiting priests, lodgers etc. The time has now come to radically change the house so it can be used in a way that benefits the whole parish and provides private living space for the parish priest and any visiting priests or students. It doesn't feel right that the priest should live in the biggest house in the parish so we have to look at how we can use this great asset better. The plan is to make the whole of downstairs public space with a seminar/conference room, a meeting room and a communal kitchen and dining room. These rooms will be available to parish groups and to the schools. Upstairs one of the large guest rooms will be changed into a living room and kitchen for the priest and a new wall will be put in so that upstairs will be effectively a small private apartment and there will be a couple of guest rooms on the other side. This is a lot of work and will totally upgrade the building. The estimated cost is £47,000. This work will give us an asset for years to come. We will be applying to the All Churches Trust for a grant of £40,000. Please pray for this funding bid as it provides a real opportunity to get the work done. If you feel able to help fund the work then obviously donations are welcome. Pope Francis took the brave decision to live in a small apartment rather than a palace and although the house is not a palace it seems right to follow that example.


It's not often that an Apostolic Exhortation is in demand in a parish. Here in Gorton we have sold nearly 50 copies and we are having to order more to meet further demand. The Pope in all of his communication is very accessible and many parishioners have commented that they have found the content of Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) really helpful and inspiring. From Wednesday 12th March parishioners will be meeting to go through Pope Francis' work chapter by chapter.  The hope is that lots of parishioners will be imbued with the Pope's vision for the Church: a Church that is outward looking and missionary in character; a Church for the marginalised; a Church made up of compassionate and faith filled people. If you want to come along to the meetings just read a chapter of the Exhortation in advance. It's not an academic session, it's about sharing thoughts, questions and inspirations.


Here in Gorton there are many opportunities to spend time with Jesus in different ways. This helps us to fall in love with Him.  That is the purpose of our lives! Lent is an experience of deepening our Faith and Love leading into Holy Week where we are immersed in the very core of what we are about. without Holy Week our Faith has no significance!

Tuesdays:         6.45-7.30pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at St Francis Church: An opportunity to make a sacrifice of some sleep or time in the morning to deepen our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist.

                          7.30pm Mass followed by the Novena to St Anthony at St Francis Church

Wednesdays:   7-8.30pm Reflecting together on Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelii Gaudium -The Joy of the Gospel. Each week we ask that you read a chapter of the Pope's letter before coming to the meeting in the Presbytery. At the meeting we will share our questions, thoughts and inspirations and hopefully find out how we can share the Joy of the Gospel with others.

Thursdays:      6.30am Mass at Sacred Heart Church: An opportunity to make a sacrifice of some sleep or time in the morning to deepen our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist.

Fridays:           6.30pm Stations of the Cross at Sacred Heart Church: Each week this journey with the Lord to Calvary will be dedicated to a different prayer intention: Family Life; Vocations to Priesthood & Religious Life; The Sick & Housebound; The children and young people of the parish; The senior members of our parish; The Pope.

Saturdays:      11am-12noon Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at Sacred Heart Church.

                        11.30am Confessions at Sacred Heart Church

                        12 noon Mass at Sacred Heart Church

                         5.10pm Rosary at St Francis Church





Community Lunch for 100 is a Great Success

100 people were served a 3 course Turkey dinner on Thursday, December 5th. The lunch was made up of guests nominated for their service of the community. The SAFE cafe staff and Loreto students alongside parish volunteers prepared the lunch and served it to the delighted crowd. Entertainment came in the form of live music from Mandy Keen. For many of the guests it will be their only real communal lunch during the festive season. The atmosphere was wonderful and most impressive was the teamwork that made everything go so smoothly. Well done to all involved.