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Hampshire Downs Christmas Services and Events

illuminated crib scene Walters


(for the regular weekly parish update, scroll down or click here)

Events in the next week:

Friday 19th DecemberBlue Christmas – 10.30am in St. Peter’s.

Friday 19th DecemberNight of Light – see below. Between 4.00 and 7.00pm.

Saturday 20th DecemberFamily Penitential Service - 3.00pm.

Sunday 21st DecemberPoinsettias at St. Stephen’s in memoriam.

Monday 22nd December – Parish Penitential Service - 7.30pm.

Tuesday 23rd December – Children & young people (any age)  welcome to come and decorate St Peter’s for Christmas, from 10 am. Lunch afterwards.

more details of all these events below or in the newsletter


St Stephen’s   Oliver’s Battery Road North, Winchester, SO22 4JB

  •  Would you as a family like to welcome Mary, Joseph and the donkey into your home during their travels during Advent? If you are interested please get in touch with Mary Alveyn at church or via the website.
  • As in previous years we need your help to decorate St Stephen’s for Christmas. Liz Tipple would appreciate as much assistance as possible on the day which is Tuesday 23rd December from 10.00 am onwards. If flower arranging is not your forte please feel free to come after 11.15 to help tidy up the church. We stop for prayers at approx. 11.00 am followed by coffee and a mince pie.
  • Traditionally we remember our deceased loved ones by bringing a seasonal plant – this year we would like it to be a red poinsettia, cyclamen or any red plant of your choice. This can be brought to Mass on the previous Sunday 21st December or on Tuesday morning 23rd December from 10.00 am.
  • On Thursday 26th December we celebrate the Feast of St Stephen – our Patron Saint, at 10.00 am Mass. This is the annual Mass for our Parish Altar Servers.

St Peter’s  Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8BW

      • On Friday 19th December the “Blue Christmas” Mass will be held at 10.30 am in St Peter’s. There are many reasons why some people may find it difficult to feel joyful at Christmas, perhaps due to bereavement, separation, poverty or disappointment at the over commercialisation  of this Holy day in a world where some many lack the basics of food, shelter, peace and justice.  “Blue Christmas” is a service to enable us to  celebrate the birth of Jesus in an atmosphere of gentleness and peace.
    • Saturday 20th December – Family Penitential Service – 3.00pm.
  • Monday 22nd December – Parish Penitential Service – 7.30pm.
  • On Tuesday 23rd December at 10am children of the Parish are invited to come along to St Peter’s to decorate the Sacred Heart Chapel and clean the glass doors. Lunch will be provided at Subway afterwards.

St Gregory the Great   1 Grange Road, Alresford, SO24 9HD

  • During the week commencing Monday 15th December parishioners from St Gregory’s will be involved in the traditional Carol singing in the sheltered houses in and around our town with members of the other Churches in Alresford.
  • On Saturday 20 December, Churches Together in Alresford will hold a carol singing session in the centre of the town. If you would like to join us please meet outside the Wessex Pharmacy in Broad Street at 11am.


Wednesday, 24th December (Christmas Eve)

(No 12.15pm Mass in St. Peter’s)

5.30pm           First Mass of Christmas (St Peter’s, Winchester)

5.30pm           First Mass of Christmas (St Stephen’s, Oliver’s Battery)

8.30pm           ‘Midnight Mass’, with carols from 8.00pm (St Gregory’s, Alresford)

10.30pm         ‘Midnight Mass’, with carols from 10.00pm (St Peter’s, Winchester)

Thursday, 25th December (Christmas Day)

8.00am           Mass (St Peter’s, Winchester)

9.00am           Mass (St Thomas More’s, Stockbridge)

9.15am           Mass (St Stephen’s, Oliver’s Battery)

10.30am         Mass (St Peter’s, Winchester)

11.00am         Mass (St Gregory’s, Alresford)

(No Evening Mass, or Evening Prayers and Benediction)

Friday, 26th December (Feast of St Stephen)

10.00am         Mass (St Stephen’s, Oliver’s Battery).

(No 12.15pm Mass in St. Peter’s)

Saturday, 27th December

9.00am           Mass (St. Peter’s, Winchester)

6.00pm           Mass (St Peter’s, Winchester)


Featured post

Welcome to the Parish of Hampshire Downs

– combining the churches of St Peter and St Stephen in Winchester, St Gregory in Alresford, and St Thomas More in Stockbridge

We hope that members of the Parish can use the site to get information and updates about the life of the community, and that visitors can learn about us. Please explore the wepages using the tabs above,

We are part of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth and unite four worshipping communities – St Gregory the Great, Alresford; St Thomas More, Stockbridge; and St Peter’s and St Stephen’s, both in Winchester. Do come and join us, or please contact us if you need further information or if we can help or support you in any way.

Mid-Week Update – 17th December

A reminder of the key events in the runup to Christmas Eve

Friday 19th DecemberBlue Christmas – 10.30am in St. Peter’s. Many of us find Christmas a difficult time to celebrate, and worry that we have to bury our feelings to make everyone else happy. Blue Christmas is a service to enable us to recognise these more painful parts of our lives and of our world, not to cheer each other up or wallow in pity, but to offer God the whole of who we are. Do please come and make use of this space of gentleness and peace, and pray with us for healing and wholeness.

Friday 19th DecemberNight of Light –  This Advent, we are stepping out and inviting passers-by to come in to our beautiful church to light a candle & spend a few moments in the presence of the Lord. Throughout the evening, there will be Eucharistic Adoration, meditative music & the opportunity for confession. Whilst some of us will be inviting passers-by in, we are all encouraged to take part in our own way by bring our families along, or by inviting friends & neighbours any time between 4.00 and 7.00pm. Mince pies, tea and coffee will be available in the Pastoral Centre from 7.00pm.

Saturday 20th DecemberFamily Penitential Service - 3.00pm.

Sunday 21st December (and 23rd) – Poinsettias at St. Stephen’s in memoriam. Traditionally we remember our deceased loved ones by bringing a seasonal plant – this year we would like it to be a red poinsettia, cyclamen or any red plant of your choice. This can be brought to Mass on  Sunday 21st December or on Tuesday morning 23rd December from 10.00 am.

Monday 22nd December – Parish Penitential Service - 7.30pm.

Tuesday 23rd December – Children & young people (any age)  will be decorating St Peter’s for Christmas, from 10 am on Tuesday 23rd. Lunch afterwards at Subway. Please join us, all welcome.

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Christmas Bazaar at St Gregory’s Alresford


The Christmas Bazaar was held on Saturday 7th December in the Community Centre in Alresford. As you can see below in these great photos from Laura Brill, it was a huge success.  It raised over £2000 which will go towards the replacement of the sound system in St Gregory’s. Everybody worked very hard, but we also had a fantastic time, as always. Many helped but special thanks must go to Jon and Fran Carroll, the co-ordinators. See more photos here.




Xmas 14 young people

Members of the Sunday Mass music group attracted customers and brought a festive touch to the event

Xmas 14 people

Canon Paul with Fran and Jon Carroll, the Bazaar organizers

Xmas 14 bazaar 2

Enjoying the varied stalls


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The Crossing the Threshold project – aimed at reaching out to lapsed and inactive Catholics – has started up in the Parish, and drawn up an action plan. For more details, click here.


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2nd Sunday of Advent: 7th December

Immaculate Conception

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Joint Principal Patron of Portsmouth Diocese

Feast day December 8th

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary, the mother of Christ, was conceived without sin and her conception was thus immaculate. Mary received God’s grace from the first moment of her existence, and was totally and completely redeemed by this grace. Because she was redeemed, Mary spent her whole existence in a perfect relationship with God.  Christians believe that God’s redeeming grace is available to all believers: those who accept the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception regard Mary as the perfect example of the redeeming action of God’s grace, and believe that Mary was able to receive this grace because Christ would later redeem all humanity through his death on the cross. READ MORE HERE.


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Advent flyer


click image to see larger version

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— got off to a great start in November. The December meeting will be on THURSDAY 11TH DECEMBER at 12.45 at the Pastoral Centre. There’ll be a home-cooked meal, followed by a demonstration of how to make mince-pies – and a chance to eat them.  All welcome: the meetings are a chance to socialize with others and take part in discussions and other activities (or just sit round eating and chatting…).


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First Sunday of Advent: 30th November

Saint of the Week is St Andrew the Apostle

feast day 30th November.

St Andrew 1St Andrew was born in Bethsaida on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee and was a fisherman and the brother of Simon Peter. He was first a disciple of John the Baptist and in John’s Gospel he becomes a follower of Jesus after hearing John the Baptist recognise Jesus as the Lamb of God. He introduced his brother to Jesus and said ‘We have found the Messiah.’ St Andrew is known in the orthodox tradition as the First-Called.

Tradition and early church history places St Andrew’s later ministry in Scythia, the Black Sea and Thrace. He is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras in Achaea, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. A tradition developed that he had been crucified on an x-shaped cross or saltire. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Russia, Ukraine and Romania and the city of Manila. He is also the patron saint of fishermen. Read more here.


St Andrew 2

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– Appeal this weekend to help Ethiopian maternal health workers

Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world – one in 27 women dies from pregnancy-related complications. Infant mortality is also high – 109 infant deaths per 1000 live births, most of them in their first week of life. If a mother dies, her newborn baby is ten times more likely to die as well.

So this year’s CWP Advent appeal is for midwives@ethiopia, a UK-registered charity which provides training and support to midwife teachers, midwives and health extension workers (HEWs). It hopes to raise up to £5,000 for essential teaching resources, and for Safe Delivery Kits (SDKs). The training (undertaken in partnership with agencies in Ethiopia) develops midwifery practice, and promotes safe delivery, to improve standards of care for mothers and babies.

You can read more about the Appeal, and about the Covenant with the Poor, in their regular newsletter, The Promise, which is here and also  on the CWP page here.


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Sacrament of Penance for Advent

The Sacrament of Penance is available every Saturday between 11.30am and 12.30am and between 4.30pm and 5.00pm in St. Peter’s. It will also be available during the two Penitential Liturgies. One especially for families and young people at 3.00pm on Saturday 20th December in St. Peter’s and the other on Monday 22nd December  at 7.30pm in St. Peter’s.

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Some of you may know, or receive, Africa, the monthly magazine of the St Patrick’s Missionary Society, better-known as the Kiltegan Fathers. The January/February issue (not out yet!) will feature this beautiful picture of the ambry in St Peter’s church on the back page.

If you would like a copy of the magazine, please contact the website editor (who has an in with the editor of Africa magazine…).

Photo taken by Tim Redmond, and used with his kind permission.

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There have been a number of changes to the clergy team recently: this is the updated list – also here on the People page on the website.

Parish Priest Rev Canon Paul Townsend
Assistant Priest Rev Mgr Thomas McGrath
Permanent Deacon
Rev Gerard Dailly
Clergy in Retirement Rev John Catlin; Rev Brian Croughan
Priest in Residence  Rev Andrew Moore

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Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King: 23rd November

Christ the King Lew smalller (2)

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Matthew 25

Image courtesy of Lawrence Lew OP

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ADVENT LITURGY – 29th/30th November 2014

Advent starts next weekend. We would like to invite/encourage everyone to take some time out from their really busy schedules and to spend it in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Next weekend after the 6.00pm Mass on Saturday through to 8.00am Mass on Sunday, the Blessed Sacrament will be present in the Lady Chapel at St Peter’s. A number of groups have agreed to take the lead at different times throughout the evening/morning. But, we really would like to invite as many people to come and share in this beautiful start to Advent. Please be assured of prayers from the Clergy of Hampshire Downs, and please remember them also in your prayers. If you have any queries please contact Deacon Gerard.

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During Advent,  we are particularly encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance.

The Sacrament is available at the usual times on Saturdays, between 11.30am and 12.30pm and between 4.30 and 5.00pm, both at St. Peter’s. There will be two special penitential liturgies with the individual celebration of the Sacrament included. The first will be especially for families and young people on Saturday 20th December at 3.00pm and the second on Monday 22nd December at 7.30pm. Both of these will be at St. Peter’s.

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For other recent Parish news, scroll down or click here.

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