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Baptism

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Why Baptism?

Baptism is the first of three initiation Sacraments (the other two being Confirmation and Holy Communion).  The external signs of Baptism, cleansing with water, robing in white garments and anointing with oils are the external signs of hidden inner realities.  The hidden realities correspond to cleansing away of original sin, reception of grace and sealing with the Holy Spirit, so becoming members of Christ’s Church.

Baptism of infants has occurred since the very earliest days of the Church and ensures that infants also receive the free and unmerited grace of the sacrament.

At Baptism parents promise to raise their child in the practice of the faith, which means coming to Mass each Sunday, praying with your child and teaching them the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

Where does Baptism of Infants usually take place
As Baptism is entry into the Catholic Church it normally takes place in church. It can take place during a Sunday Mass or at a separate ceremony. Baptisms do not normally take place during Lent.


To have an infant Baptized, collect an application form from any of the four churches in the parish, fill it in, and return it to the Presbytery. One of the priests will then contact you to confirm the date and time, and to arrange a preparatory meeting with him.

 

Baptism of older children
Please enquire at the Parish Office.

First Holy Communion & Reconciliation Programme

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Why is Holy Communion and Reconciliation important?

“The Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion) is "the source and summit of the Christian life… for in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324).

The Eucharist is the third sacrament of initiation and the only one that can be received more than once.  Receiving the Eucharist helps us to live virtuous lives, deepens our relationship with Christ and allows Him to strengthen us if a very special way.

Registration

If your child is currently in Year 2 or older they will be eligible to enrol on our parish programme for First Holy Communion and Reconciliation. ​Registration opens each year in July.  The registration link will become live at that time.

Family catechesis

Pope Francis summed up what it means to be a Christian when he wrote ’Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you’. (Evangelii Gaudium 164)
As a parent/guardian, you took on the responsibility to ensure your child knows that Jesus loves them when you presented them for Baptism.


Pope St John Paul II’s homily during a First Holy Communion Mass in Cardiff during the papal visit to Britain in 1982 rings especially true for you as parents today.

’Dear parents of these children: your love for Christ has made this day possible. For you are your children’s first teachers in the ways of faith. By what you say and do, you show them the truths of our faith and the values of the Gospel. This is indeed not only a sacred duty, but a grace, a great privilege. Many other members of the Church share in this task, but the main responsibility for your children’s religious formation falls upon your shoulders. So try to make your homes genuinely Christian. Help your children to grow and mature as Jesus did at Nazareth, "in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52). Allow no one to take advantage of their lack of experience and knowledge. As you share with them in their personal pilgrimage to God, may you always be united in prayer and worship and in humble love of God and his people.’

The church calls each family home a ’domestic church’, a place where we parents are called to both model and teach our children how to live holy lives by ordering our everyday activities towards Christ. In your ’domestic church’ this year our catechetical team will accompany you, the parents, during the programme, as you pray, listen, act and ponder together with your child. Additional support for parents will also be an integral part of the programme during the coming year, and you will be asked to commit to participate in these online sessions.

We look forward to welcoming you and your families to our parish First Reconciliation and Holy Communion community.

God bless your families,

Fr. Vipin James
Assistant Priest
St Thomas of Canterbury, Sevenoaks

Confirmation

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Why is the Sacrament of Confirmation so important?

The Sacrament of Confirmation is “necessary for the completion of Baptismal grace” (Catechism 1285); without it “Christian initiation remains incomplete” (1306). To put it another way, unless one is Confirmed one is not fully a Catholic and one has not received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, we need to lead a life worthy of being a disciple of Christ. A Catholic should have been Confirmed in order to Marry in the Church, to be a godparent at a Baptism, and so on.

Confirmation of younger people

Registration for the 2024 programme is now closed.  Registrations for next year's program should be available from March/April 2025.  Each year, those currently in Year 7 and above who have been Baptized and have received their First Holy Communion should register for this year’s programme. You will be able to REGISTER ONLINE HERE or if not obtain a printed form from any of the four churches.  Please speak with Fr Priotr or Gabrielle Ellis if you have further questions.

Important Dates for Your Diary

​Click on PDF icon to view or download. 

Link to 2024 Candidate's page.

Reconciliation (Confession):

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Why confess?

The Sacrament of Confession is essential to heal our broken nature and helps to grow in virtue and holiness.  Through the special charism given to priests through the Sacrament of Ordination, they are empowered to act  'in persona Christi' (in the person of Christ) forgiving sins and imparting Graces that God lovingly wants to give us as penitent beloved sons and daughters.    Anything said in Confession is subject to the seal of Confession and will never be revealed to anyone outside of the confessional.

Confessions are heard in St Thomas's on Saturdays 10:00am - 10:30am and 5:15pm - 5:45pm.
Or you can ask a priest before any Mass (if there is time) or after a Mass.

Marriage

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Why is Marriage defined as a Sacrament?

The Catholic Church understands that Christ raised Matrimony to the level of a Holy Sacrament.   The Sacrament is a covenant between the couple and God.  When the Covenant of Marriage is legitimately entered into, is by mutual free consent, with intention of permanent fidelity and open to new life God is delighted.  He imparts graces to the couple in their Sacramental vows to live according to His will for Marriage.  The sacrament acknowledges a couple’s commitment to share their life together and reveals God’s love to themselves and to those around them through the witness of their married lives.

 

Marriage Preparation

It is important please to contact Fr. Piotr at least 6 months ahead of the proposed date of the wedding to plan preparations.

Marriage Care (formerly CMAC):

For marriage support, marriage preparation, education work, counselling.

National Help Line: 0845 6606000 (10 am. - 4 pm.)

HQ. Clitherow House, 1 Blythe Mews, Blythe Road,
London W14 0NW, tel: 0207 371 1341.

Nearest Marriage Care Centre is Sevenoaks. tel: 0115 993 4255.

RCIA - Adult reception into the Catholic Church

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Knowing & Living Christian faith in Full Communion with the Catholic Church

Who is God? Who is Jesus? Who is the Church? Discover how to answer these questions through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, (RCIA), a process of prayerful study, fellowship, introductory rites & reception of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation & the Eucharist.

The full St Thomas Parish programme is provided every year and usually runs from October through to April.  Reception into the Catholic Church is timed to coincide with Easter.  Applications for participation are welcome at any time.

For all enquiries please email Andrew Wilkinson or phone 07487 652846, or speak to Fr Piotr.

The detailed schedule with topics and dates for our most recent program are shown below.

Dates

Mon 8 Jan 2024

Mon 15 Jan 2024

Mon 22 Jan 2024

Mon 29 Jan 2024

Mon 5 Feb 2024

Mon 12 Feb 2024

Sat 17 Feb 2024

Mon 19 Feb 2024

Mon 26 Feb 2024

Sun 3 Mar 2024

Mon 4 Mar 2024

Sun 10 Mar 2024

Mon 11 Mar 2024

Sun 17 Mar 2024

Mon 18 Mar 2024

Mon 25 Mar 2024

Sat 30 Mar 2024

                        

Mon 8 Apr 2024

Sat 20 Apr 2024

PART 2: LIVING THE FAITH, with Rite of Election, the Scrutinies & Easter Reception

The Sacraments: Baptism & Confirmation.

The Eucharist: Source & Summit of Christian Life

Walk through the Mass: Exploring the Sacred Liturgy.

Penance & Annointing of the Sick: God's Mercy Revealed.

Matrimony & Holy Orders: The Sacraments of Communion.

A Catholic Moral Vision: Virtue, Grace & the Path to Happiness.

Rite of Election, St George's Cathedral.

A Love that Lasts I: Discovering Authentic Love.

A Love that Lasts II: God's Plan for Sexuality.

1st Scrutiny, 11.15 am Mass, St Thomas' Church

Catholic Social Teaching: Building a Civilisation of Love.

2nd Scrutiny, 11.15 am Mass, St Thomas' Church.

Catholic Social Teaching: Protecting the Dignity of the Human Person.

3rd Scrutiny, 11.15 am Mass, St Thomas' Church.

Easter Vigil Preparation

Walking the Church, Catholic Devotions & Review.

EASTER VIGIL RECEPTION

POST - RECEPTION SESSIONS

Service, Fellowship & Learning: domestic & parish church, wider community.

Retreat Day at Poult Barn.

1.01 The Journey of Faith

1.06 The Paschal Mystery

2.01 The Sacrament of Baptism

2.06 A Catholic Moral Vision

1.02 Divine Revelation

1.07 The Holy Spirit _____

2.02 The Eucharist _____

2.07 A Love that Lasts

1.03 The Bible _____

1.08 Why do I Need the Church

2.03 Walk Through the Mass

2.08 A Love that Lasts - Sexuality

1.04 The Strory of Salvation

1.09 Mary and the Saints

2.04 Penance and Anointing of the Sick

2.09 Catholic Social Teaching(1)

1.05 Who is Jesus _____

1.10 The 4 Last Things

2.05 Matrimony and Holy Orders

2.10 Catholic Social Teaching(2)

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