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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.

3rd Sunday of the Year: 25th January

Fishers of men Brooklyn


As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him. Mark Chapter 1

Picture by Tissot from the Brooklyn Museum, used with their kind permission

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The Called and Gifted Programme

Called and Gifted is a a process of discovering your spiritual gifts for the church. It is a diocesan project  coming to our parish in February. The trained diocesan team will lead the workshop on living out our Christian life for the benefit of all through our gifts of the Holy Spirit. Please pray and reflect on whether you are being urged to do this. This could be a good reflection to start your Lenten journey.

Please contact us to find out more or to book a place on 27th February 7-9pm and 28th February 9-4pm in the Parish Centre.


Called and Gifted




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In December a tea hosted by Canon Paul celebrated the work of the developing neighbourhood groups in Winnall/St Giles’ Hill/Highcliffe; Weeke/Harestock; Fulflood; and the ‘Northern’ Villages.   Neighbours, young and not so young, joined in.


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Canon Paul shares his vision of neighbourhood groups, likening them to the early Christian communities


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Being my neighbour – sharing enthusiasm and skills

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We’re all in it together!  Pooling knowledge and experience


Keep an eye on the website and in the newsletter for further information and updates on the development of neighbourhood groups across the Parish! Contact us if you have any questions or want to give us your views and ideas.

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2nd Sunday of the Year: 18th January

(c) Bury Art Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


Samuel was lying in the sanctuary of the Lord, where the ark of God was, when the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ 1 Samuel 3

The picture, by James Sant, is from the Athenaeum website.

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There is a pastoral letter today from Bishop Philip: it will be read at all the Masses, and there are copies at the back of all the churches. You can also read it online by clicking here.


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Today is Peace Sunday

We welcome visiting speakers at the 9.15am Mass (Mrs Margaret Mouland) and the 10.30am Mass (Mrs Pat Fry from the United Church). This is a local custom to mark the beginning of Christian Unity Week.



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This beautiful picture of the ambry at St Peter’s church is featured in this month’s copy of Africa magazine, the journal of ST Patrick’s Missionary Society, generally known as the Kiltegan fathers.


The ambry contains the three holy oils: the sacred Chrism, the Oil of Catechumens, and the Oil of the Sick.


There are some spare copies of the magazine – the one with this picture on the back and some other recent issues – at the back of the church, and some calendars: please help yourself to them. They have been donated to us by the Kiltegans.



photograph courtesy of Tim Redmond


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The Baptism of the Lord: 11th January

Baptism of the Lord

Mural inside the Orthodox Church at the archaeological site of the Baptism, Bethany Beyond the Jordan

In the course of his preaching, John the Baptist said ‘someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’ It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven. “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’ Mark 1:7-11

This Feast day commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. The Baptism of the Lord has historically been associated with the celebration of Epiphany. It was originally one of the three Gospel events marked by the Feast of the Epiphany. The Eastern Christian feast of Theophany, celebrated on January 6 as a counterpart to the Western feast of Epiphany focuses primarily on the Baptism of the Lord as the revelation of God to man. After the Nativity of Christ (Christmas) was separated out from Epiphany, the Church in the West continued the process and dedicated a celebration to each of the major epiphanies (revelations): the Birth of Christ at Christmas, which revealed Christ to Israel; the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles in the visit of the Wise Men at Epiphany; the Baptism of the Lord, which revealed the Trinity; and the miracle at the wedding at Cana, which revealed Christ’s transformation of the world. The feast marks the end of the liturgical season of Christmastide.

You can read more about this: please click here.


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Thursday January 15th 6.00 to 6.45pm

Monthly Prayer Group for the Middle East

Because of the on-going desperation of the situation for Christians in the Middle East we are starting an Ecumenical Prayer Group, meeting monthly, to pray for them and show our solidarity. We will meet in the Lady Chapel of St Peter’s Catholic Church, Jewry Street, Winchester with a candle on the altar from 6.00-6.45pm. The focus will be on prayers for Palestine.

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Thursday 15th January – First Holy Communion Parents’ Meeting in the Pastoral Centre from 8.00 to 9.00pm.


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The Epiphany of the Lord: 4th January

Grail Kings

The three Kings at the crib at the Grail Community in Winchester

Going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2

Photo courtesy of Tim Redmond

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The flight into Egypt: wood carving in the Lady Chapel at St Peter’s

Photo courtesy of Joe Low

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Christmas pictures from St Stephen’s, courtesy of the Tutton family:


poinsettias at St S

poinsettias at St Stephen’s to remember the dead



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The crib at St Stephen’s


St S Advent wreath

Advent wreath at St Stephen’s

For more Christmas pictures, scroll down or click here.


St Stephen The Feast of St Stephen

of course fell on 26th December, and was celebrated with a special Mass at our church of St Stephen in Oliver’s Battery.

St Stephen was the first martyr and was a Deacon in the early church at Jerusalem. He is mentioned in Acts of the Apostles as one of the first seven deacons appointed by the Apostles to distribute food and charitable aid to members of the early church community.

St Stephen is the patron saint of Deacons and stonemasons. His Feast Day is also the day we give thanks for the ministry of altar servers in the Guild of St Stephen, an International Organisation of Altar Servers.

In Western Christianity, 26 December is called “St. Stephen’s Day”, and the “Feast of Stephen” and is mentioned in the English Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas”.

For the full story of St Stephen and more information, please click here.



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This Thursday, 8th January there’ll be another meeting of

The Pie Club

at the Pastoral Centre from about 12.30.

The idea for the Pie Club is that it provides another opportunity for parishioners and friends of Hamphire Downs to meet regularly (approximately monthly) to get to know each other and share interests and, of course, food. There is a two-course home-cooked lunch (featuring a pie) and then a talk, discussion or activity, with plenty of time for socializing too.

Here are the December participants, eating….

Pie Club 1 Dec 14



…. and enjoying a demonstration of mince-pie making (and eating), courtesy of Hampshire Downs own Clare Flynn….


Pie Club 2 Dec 14

Do come along and join us  – all welcome!

More photos here and here.

Pictures courtesy of John Thornhill


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Feast of the Holy Family: 28th December

Holy Family Presentation at the Temple

‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’ Luke Chapter 2

Picture of the Presentation at the Temple by James Tissot, from the Brooklyn Museum of Art and used with their kind permission.


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 Crib at St Gregory's

This is the St Gregory’s Nativity from our church in Alresford. The olive wood house
was bought last year from the Bethlehem stall holder who visits our Parish churches in Advent.

Photo courtesy of Laura Brill.


… and this is the crib at the Grail Community’s home in Winchester.Grail crib


They are a community of lay women who moved to our Parish two years ago – you can find out more about their organization on their website here.

Photo courtesy of Tim Redmond.

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Thursday 1st January is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

– Mass in St. Peter’s will be at 10.00am.


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