From 4th July we can celebrate Mass publicly again!

 Fr Richard writes... Yes, after almost four months of closed doors we can once again gather together in our church for Mass. It will be a huge joy to welcome you back! So many of you have told me how hard it has been for you not to be able to come to Mass, especially during these days when we all needed that extra support and strength. So we give thanks to God that we can now return to Mass. 

However it is really important to understand two things: 

1)      We will not be simply returning to how things were before. Covid-19 is still a threat and so we have to take many precautions and do many things differently from what we are used to. Mass will need to be shorter and simpler. Please read the document at the bottom of this post with the guidelines for how we will now be able to celebrate Mass.  And also please pass on what you learn from it to other people whom you know who come to Mass with us.

2)      Because of the need to social distance we will need to limit the number of people who can be inside the church at Mass, and so please think carefully about when you will come to Mass. For example, in ‘normal times’ about 250 people come to the Sunday 11am Mass, which will not be possible at the moment. Once we have reached the maximum number allowed in the church we will need to close the doors and people who arrive after this will need to come back for a Mass later in the day/week. Please therefore think about coming to one of the other Sunday Masses where there are usually fewer people (eg the Saturday/ Sunday evening Masses at 6pm). The Bishops of England and Wales have made it clear that because of this need to limit the number of people at Mass and because many people in vulnerable categories should still be staying at home/shielding, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass continues to be suspended. Instead you could come to Mass on a weekday (9.15am Monday – Saturday and we will also be having a 7.00pm Friday evening Mass to help those who work during the day) so as to take the pressure off the Sunday Masses. 

So our weekly Mass schedule is: Saturday evening at 6pm, followed by 9am, 11am and 6pm on Sunday. Weekday Masses – 9.15am Monday – Saturday plus 7pm on Fridays.

Finally, we are also allowed to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation publicly from this weekend. A number of people have asked if they can celebrate the Sacrament before they come back to Mass. Fr Ephrem and I will therefore be celebrating the Sacrament this Saturday between 12noon and 3pm. We also need to practice social distancing while hearing confessions, so they will take place in the mid-week chapel and (if we are both available at the same time) in the parish garden. 

Absolutely finally (!), we urgently need to put together teams of about 6-8 stewards for each of the 4 Sunday Masses. A few of you have already volunteered but we still need many more. If you are able to help, please let me know asap (you could simply reply to this email). I REALLY NEED YOUR HELP WITH THIS – we simply cannot reopen if we don’t have enough stewards. 

Many thanks - we look forward to seeing you again soon!

Please click here for guidelines document

Our Church is open again for private prayer!

June 2020: The Government has announced that places of worship can re-open, initially for individual, private prayer. This is wonderful news! Our church will be open on the following days/times, during which we will also have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament:

Wednesdays: 10am - 12noon and 17.00-19.00
Saturdays: 12noon - 2pm 
Sundays: 16.00 - 18.00

Please respect the need to social distance when you come to church and you are strongly advised to wear a face mask. There is plenty of hand sanitiser gel at church and there will be stewards to explain to you how it all works. Hope to see you soon!

                                  Join us from May 21st to 30th for a Novena to the Holy Spirit from the Ascension to Pentecost at 6pm every evening led by Fr Richard

Novena to the Holy Spirit

You can download PDF versions of the prayers below: 

Social Media Links:


The following is not so spiritual, but is also important!

As Mass is not being celebrated publicly, (and our regular parish centre bookings are all suspended), there is, apart from our very welcome Standing Orders, currently no income for our parish. I have been touched by how many parishioners have been in contact asking for details of the parish bank account so that they can continue to support the parish financially during this time. I appreciate that for many of you this is a time real financial hardship and probably will be for some time to come, even after the current situation has hopefully passed. So PLEASE DON’T WORRY ABOUT THIS UNLESS YOU REALLY WANT TO. But if you are able and would like to support the parish financially at this time here are two ways:

1.You could make a bank transfer payment to our parish bank account which is with HSBC. The name of the account is: Westminster Roman Catholic Diocese Trustee – White City Our Lady of Fatima. The Account Number is 31264990 and the Sort Code is: 40-05-20. If you usually donate via the planned giving envelopes, it would help if you could include your normal envelope number in the bank reference, otherwise just put your surname for the bank reference. This will also help us to continue to claim the Gift Aid, which makes such a difference every year for our parish finances.

2. Alternatively, you could put to one side what you would normally put in the weekly collection, so that when we resume public Masses we can replenish parish funds. If you do not already give to the parish by Standing Order you might want to consider starting this. We can easily email you a form. Just let me know. 

Thank you and God bless!

Fr Richard

  • A Day Away...
    Dear All,

    Warmest greetings one again – I hope this finds you safe and well.

    On Friday I had what felt like my first day outside the parish for weeks and weeks! We had a funeral at Mortlake cemetery at 12noon for the late John Ethapemi, after which I decided to treat myself to an afternoon at Kew Gardens, which is just along the Thames river bank from the cemetery and which re-opened last Monday. After I was ordained back in 2007 my first parish was Our Lady and St Joseph in Hanwell which is not so far from Kew so I became a member (the annual fee is not too bad and you can visit as often as you like, otherwise every visit costs about £15!). I’ve kept my membership every year ever since, even though some years I have only managed a few visits. But I love going whenever I can – as many of you will know, it is one of the finest collections of trees and plants in the world set in acres of tranquil parkland. There are busy parts like the great glasshouses which feel like mini-tropical rain forests with gigantic palm and banana trees, cocoa plants and tropical fruit bushes and trees like papaya, avocado and guava – and then there are much quieter nooks, unvisited by the crowds tucked away in distant corners, such as the beech tree wood, which is decked with a dazzling carpet of bluebells every Spring. I usually have a bit of a wander around and then head off for one of these quite corners with a good book and a picnic lunch. That’s what I did today, walking through the rhododendron dell where these magnificent woodland shrubs were just coming to the end of their great display, and on past the bamboo corner into my beloved beech woodland corner.

    Although there were lots of social distancing measures in place and much fewer people than normal (you have to pre-book a place at the moment) – there were still so many things unchanged. This included the exorbitant price of cake in the outside café (you need to take out an overdraft to buy food at Kew – I think it’s how they make a lot of their money!) Fortunately I had come prepared with a flask of tea, my own sandwiches and a truly delicious piece of traditional Polish ‘piernik’ ginger cake made by one of our Polish parishioners, Bozena. I felt like a real squirrel tucked away in a corner of the gardens delighting in my delicious lunch. Then I had the extra delight of a free afternoon just to delight in a good book, again the very kind gift of a parishioner, entitled “The Shepherd’s Life – A Tale of the Lake District” by James Rebanks. The title pretty much says it all – it is a passionately written personal account of the life of a sheep farmer in the Lake District, a man whose family for generations has been working the hill farms of the Lake District, with a knowledge and understanding of shepherding the hardy flocks of these exposed hill lands passed down from generation to generation. Like so many people living in London, I am a bit of a castaway, living far from the place where I was born (Scotland) and having moved with my parents and then in my own adult life from place to place. I have a fascination with people like James Rebanks whose whole identity is rooted in the same community and land in which they were born and in which their ancestors lived.

    Maybe that’s why the two great loves of my life – the Church and Mother Nature – are so important to me. Like so many people today, I don’t have a very clear sense of where I truly belong or “come from” on this earth, but in the family of the Church and in the beauty of nature, rooted in the common earth on which we all stand, I find my home, my sense of belonging. When I think of our parish community here in White City, we are all drawn from so many different corners of the world, and yet when we come together to pray and worship the Lord, we find a common language in our common home, our beautiful Our Lady of Fatima church. And every hour and every minute we are united with Catholics all over the world also praying the same prayers, celebrating the Eucharist, being nourished/challenged by the same Word of God. Different languages, perhaps different clothe and musical styles, but all connected and belonging together in the one Church with Christ our Lord as our Head and Heart. And the same with the “universal language” of creation – the rhythms of the seasons with their ever changing tapestry of colours and moods, the ever urgent lives of birds, squirrels and insects crossing over the paths of our own lives, each with their own cycle of life, death and rebirth. And somehow in all of this, we find our own place, our own little footprint imprinted on the face of the earth.

    Forgive my ramblings – it was just so good to have that time in the beech wood on the day. I fell asleep as always and woke up to the sound of rain dripping through the tree canopy above. Precious rain which I have been praying for for some weeks for our gasping gardens, so no complaints! You could almost hear the woodland around me applauding the rain as it fell down, tree trunks and root systems creaking with delight and relief, drinking it all in. Rain brings new growth and new life, strengthened by the warmth of the sun when it returns.

    This whole time of lockdown has been something of a desert time – with all of the negatives and positives of what we can imagine desert life to be – but slowly, tentatively we are coming out of the desert again and new life is taking form around us. As members of the Church, followers and friends of Jesus Christ, as stewards of creation, we have the opportunity and responsibility to make sure that we learn from this desert time and commit ourselves to work together for a better and brighter world – a world in which God is once again remembered and revered, and in which His Creation is cherished and protected. A world in which everyone of whatever culture, social and economic status is able to feel that they ‘belong’ and have a place and a community which they can call home.

    I think this powerful prayer below, written for school communities but applicable for every community, says it all very beautifully…

    Prayers for the Pandemic: A Morning Prayer for a School Community

    God our loving Father
    we gather together this morning
    but it’s not the same: many of us are not here
    and there is distance between those who are –
    not the distance of fear or mistrust,
    but the distance of care, of thoughtfulness,
    the distance that will help us to stop the virus from spreading.
    We pray for friends and classmates who are at home.
    We know we will see them again in real life
    and value their real presence even more, the gift of friendship.
    Help us to ‘see’ more clearly what is important,
    the good things we had perhaps overlooked,
    the small details of everyday life,
    graced with your presence.
    We pray for a better world to come out of this –
    more grateful for the people who do the ordinary jobs,
    more just in the way people are treated, more caring for the vulnerable.
    We pray for a world which is more determined
    to look after the earth, our common home;
    a world that will live wisely, think deeply,
    love generously.
    We make all our prayers through Christ our Lord. Amen

    Raymond Friel.

    It was a beautiful gift to go to Kew today, but also to so good to come back ‘home’ to White City at the end of the day. It is important to sometimes go away for a while, as Jesus himself often used to do, to reflect and then to return with a fresh appreciation for all that we have. I hope that, although many of you are still very much in lockdown still at home, each one of you may be able to have your own version of an “away-day” sometime soon, so as to be able to spend some time with your deepest self, with God and in the beauty of Creation. You don’t have to go very far…

    With all best wishes and prayers for you and your families.

    God bless!

    Fr Richard

    Posted 6 Jun 2020, 11:49 by Our Lady of Fatima Church - White City London
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