Over the next few weeks we are asking all parishioners to register on our new Parish List. We would like to update address and contact details and other basic information for all our parishioners so that we can be better prepared for times of immediate pastoral need, strengthen our community and improve our understanding of the needs of our parishioners. This will also enable us to hold your data in a secure and confidential way.

    You can do this either by filling in a secure online form or by completing and returning a paper form, available in all porches from today.

    Why do we ask for this information?

    • It enables priests and others in the Parish, to get to know you better, and thus to be able to better serve your needs;
    • it is helpful for future planning to know the demographics of parishioners;
    • it assists the priests, parish office, catechists and other groups to communicate more effectively with you, with your permission;
    • it aids the Parish Priest when he is asked to complete forms for parishioners such as godparent and school application forms;
    • it gives you and your family the chance to be counted and heard in the parish, and to register your commitment to the faith;
    • it gives you the opportunity to offer your talents; and
    • it will reduce the risk of people missing registration for important things like First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

    Do please complete the online form or return the paper form to the office. Here is the link to the online form

    The information will be kept in a secure database, in compliance with Diocesan guidelines and GDPR.


    Today’s Mass: SECOND SUNDAY of ADVENT (Year C)

    First Reading: Baruch, here making a rare appearance in the Lectionary, was probably written during the exile in Babylon. This Reading is a very poetic and prophetic message of consolation, foretelling the restoration of Jerusalem, the holy city.

    Psalm: this is the song of the exiles returned from Babylon. For us it foreshadows the song we shall sing when we return from our exile ‘in this vale of tears’ to our true homeland, heaven.

    Second Reading: we prepare for the second coming (“the Day of Christ”) by spreading the Good News, increasing in love for each other, and improving our knowledge (of the things of God), so as to become “pure and blameless”.

    The Gospel for each year on this Sunday focuses on St John the Baptist. Notice how Luke firmly places John in both history (with the rather detailed dating) and in theology (with the reference to Isaiah 40: 3-5).

    Today is also Bible Sunday.

    Fr. David


    Visiting Priests
    Welcome to Fr Mark Odion, MSP, to offer the Otford and St Thomas’s 11:15am Masses.

    11:15am Mass
    The Traditional Choir leads our music today.

    Foodbank collection
    Please place items, especially this time ‘Christmassy’ things, in the baskets provided. Thank you for your regular gifts – always appreciated – but perhaps we could have a bumper load for Christmas!

    This Week

    Wednesday: Confessions
    Fr Paul will be in the Confessional after the 10:00am Mass at Otford on Wednesday. Take this opportunity to confess early before Christmas!

    Thursday: Pilgrims’ Advent Meeting
    After the 12:00 noon Mass, in the Parish Room: a lunch of sandwiches and party food, followed at 1.45pm by a short reflection with prayers based on the ‘O Antiphons’ of Advent. After that we continue with music, songs, conversation and a raffle followed by tea. Any monies from the raffle will go to the local homeless charity. Please sign up on the list in the porch to help with catering.


    Parish Registration
    All parishioners are asked to register with the Parish. Please complete the on line form on the parish website ( or fill in the blue form. Having a parish database will enormously assist the Parish clergy, the Parish Office, and the various parish organisations in serving you more efficiently. See p10 for further details.

    Email address
    Fr David’s, Fr Paul’s, and the Parish Office old parish email addresses have now been discontinued. To contact Fr David, Fr Paul, or Ingrid in the Parish Office, please use the new diocesan email addresses as on page 11.

    Bereavement Support Group
    Please do come along to the Parish Room on Monday 17th December anytime between 10:30am - midday to share coffee and mincepies. All are very welcome to join us. We would love to see you even if you haven’t been able to come before. Contact details on p11.

    The Repository in St Thomas’s has a comprehensive stock of Christmas cards, Advent Calendars and various gift items. If the Repository is unmanned, please put your money in the wall box marked ‘Repository’.

    The big Christmas clean at St Thomas's
    We shall do this after the School Mass on Wednesday 19th December from 10.30 to 11.30am. Team C would welcome help from other Teams or, indeed, from any parishioners who could join us to prepare the Church for the great feast. Rubber gloves would be useful if you might be able to help remove wax from the candle stands. Thank you. Pat Harman

    Lost Property: Porch & kitchen at St Thomas's
    This is the last call to ask if you would be kind enough to retrieve your things, including spectacles and umbrellas, from the basket in the porch. We are tidying up before Christmas . The kitchen worktops need decluttering so please check, if you ever use the kitchen, and take home your things. Thank you.

    St Thomas’ School Admission - September 2019
    Parents of children who were born between 1st September 2014 and 31st August 2015 should be aware that the procedure for Primary Admissions has commenced. An Information Booklet and Reception Common Application Forms (RCAF) are available from the Local Authority at Closing date for applications is 15th January 2019. Families wishing to apply to St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School will also need to complete and return a Supplementary Form to the school, together with a copy of the child’s Baptismal Certificate and Birth Certificate. An information pack is available to collect from the school office or please visit (follow the link to the Parents section).

    St Bernadette’s Christmas Flowers & Raffle
    Tickets are on sale after Mass. The raffle will be drawn next Sunday. There will also be a retiring collection this Sunday and next for flowers (the flower fund is very low).

    Crib Service before Christmas Vigil Mass
    This year’s Crib Service at St Thomas’s will be at 5.30pm on Christmas Eve, immediately followed by the first Mass of Christmas at 6:00pm. All our young parishioners in Years 6 and up are invited to participate in readings and bidding prayers for the Service and Mass. Children in Years 1 to 3 will take costumed roles to enact the Nativity, Years 4 and 5 in reading of prayers. Reception children are welcome to arrive in angel/shepherd costumes and sit at the front of the Church to take part in the candlelight procession. Please note that children in Year 5 and under MUST be accompanied by an adult during rehearsals. More adult helpers will be warmly welcomed! Rehearsals from 12:00 noon on Christmas Eve. For further details, and to take part, please email as soon as possible, and no later than Friday 14th December.

    St Gregory’s School Christmas Carol Service
    The School invites parishioners to its Carol Service, in the school (Reynolds Lane, TN4 9XL) on Thursday at 7:00pm. Mince pies and mulled wine afterwards.

    One World Committee
    In 2017 we donated £2,000 to the newly opened Clara Nursery School at the Limbe Cathedral campus in Blantyre, Malawi. We have received a series of receipts from the Financial Administrator of the Archdiocese of Blantyre to show where the money has been spent, on things like desks, playground materials (a merry-go-round, a see-saw) and cleaning materials.

    Advent Reflections
    The diocesan Spirituality Commission has produced a series of short daily emails, ‘to help us focus on the true meaning of Advent’. To sign up, please visit The diocesan Stewardship team has produced a daily reflection for Advent, to be sent to your inbox. To receive your daily reflection simply sign up at Also, Jesuit Media Initiatives and the Westminster Marriage & Family Life team have produced a series of contemplations to help families journey alongside the Holy Family this Advent. Listen or download from

    ‘Come back to me’ – Teaching and Leading in Catholic Schools
    Are you a Catholic and a teacher, middle or senior leader in a community school or academy and interested in moving to the Catholic educational sector? If so, the Archdiocese of Southwark Education Commission would like to invite you to one of two twilight sessions: Teaching in and Leading Catholic Schools. The session will include information about the uniqueness of Catholic schools and practical tips in relation to the application and selection process. From 6:30pm to 8:30pm. 14th January 2019: Amigo Hall, St George’s Cathedral, Westminster Bridge Road SE1 6HR; 17th January 2019: St Francis Catholic Primary School, Queen’s Road, Maidstone ME16 0LB.

    Post of Chaplaincy Adviser
    The Archdiocesan Education Commission is looking to appoint an enthusiastic and highly motivated person to the post of Chaplaincy Adviser who will: be a practising Catholic with prior experience in leading and developing chaplaincy provision in a school setting; play a significant role within a dynamic team dedicated to supporting Catholic life and Religious Education in our 169 Catholic schools and colleges; be willing to be based initially in Orpington, but will also be willing to relocate to an office based in central London (near Waterloo Station); hold a full drivers’ licence as the Chaplaincy Adviser role involves visiting schools and colleges. This position might suit an existing school chaplain who is currently on a part-time contract but would like further work in a similar field. This position is subject to a full DBS check. If you are interested please contact Sharon Docherty, the Deputy Director, Religious Education & Spirituality: 01689 829331, Closing date: 4:00pm Mon 10 December, interview date: Wed 19 December.

    CAFOD volunteer Co-ordinator needed
    A volunteer co-ordinator is needed, to work with and motivate a small group of parish volunteers in the local area. Feel free to contact the Southwark Volunteer Team if you are able to put your faith in action and work with CAFOD:

    Holy Land Pilgrimage 12th – 19th November 2019
    Fr David will be the Spiritual Director for this Tangney Tours Pilgrimage. The package price (for flights, 7 nights hotel accommodation, half board) is £1,426 per person, single room supplement £360. You can obtain an information sheet and booking form from the Parish Office. Please note that this is not the proposed Parish Pilgrimage, which is scheduled for 2020.