The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

How do I…?

How do I discover more about the Catholic Faith?

The best way to discover more about what Catholics believe and how we aim to follow Christ is to talk to Catholics who are already active in their faith. Many parishes in our Diocese have a group which meets to prepare adults to join the Church through the process known as RCIA. These groups (often called ‘Journey into Faith’) will usually offer a series of meetings where various aspects of Catholic teaching are presented with an opportunity for group discussion and prayer. Attending RCIA classes doesn’t commit you to joining the Church, but is a good way to understand the good news which the Church claims to have received through Christ. It may also allow you develop a sense of what it would feel like to belong to a community of practising Catholics, and how you might deepen your relationship with God through the Church and the Sacraments.  

Alternatively, there are also ways to explore the teachings of the Church on your own, through private reading and research. Whilst there are many books and resources which might be useful, here are a few suggestions for adults:

  • Michael Rota, Taking Pascal’s Wager: Faith, Evidence and the Abundant Life (Michael Rota, IVP Academic, 2016). This book offers an accessible presentation of contemporary philosophical evidence for God’s existence and for the truth of Christianity, which might be particularly valuable if you are considering whether it would be rational to embrace Christian faith. Rota argues that Christianity is not only very plausibly true, but also that embracing a relationship with Christ significantly improves one’s wellbeing, both in this life and potentially in heaven. Rota closes with a powerful consideration of several examples of people who have had their lives transformed by Christianity.
  • Thomas Joseph White OP, The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism (Catholic University of America Press: Washington D.C., 2017). White provides a detailed explanation of the Church’s teachings, and its claim to reveal God’s love for us through Christ. White attempts to show that Catholic faith is beautiful and intellectually plausible without providing… The Life of Christ might be of particular use to you if you have some background knowledge of philosophy, and are looking for a gentle but
  • Word on Fire is a website and ministry produced by Bishop Robert Barron. It contains many useful videos and articles explaining the faith. If you prefer listening to bite-sized videos or reading short articles to wading through whole books, this website is perfect for you. The resources are relatively easy to understand, and have a helpful focus on the roots of the Church’s teaching in Biblical narratives, and their relation to modern culture.
  • The most definitive and comprehensive presentation of the Church’s teachings is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Revised edn). If you are seriously considering becoming a Catholic, or just interested in discovering more about Catholicism, it’s important to have at least some familiarity with the Catechism. Since the Catechism is rather long and dense, you may prefer to use the shorter Compendium of the Catechism, or YouCat which presents the teachings of the Catechism in accessible language with illustrations.

Whilst learning about Catholic beliefs is an excellent way to reach an intellectual appreciation of Catholic doctrine, our faith aims to foster a loving, personal relationship with Christ. If you feel that God is drawing to you into a deeper relationship with Himself by receiving the Sacraments in the Catholic Church, it is important to foster the personal knowledge of God which is gained through private prayer and participation in the Liturgy. Many enquirers find the experience of attending Mass, where Christ is present in the Eucharist, an inspiring and powerful motivation to embrace Catholic faith. Whilst as a non-Catholic you cannot receive communion, every Catholic Church will welcome non-Catholics to attend Mass and other services.

If you have questions about our faith or would like more information about opportunities for formation, please contact your parish priest or Gregory Stacey, Diocesan Co-ordinator for Catechesis  gregory.stacey@dioceseofleeds.org.uk

How do I organise my child’s Catholic baptism?

The first thing to do is to go and see your parish priest.  He will probably want to have a chat with you and will almost certainly want to know if you go to Mass.  In some parishes there are baptismal courses and you may be expected to attend.  Some people do this even before baby is born!

If you want to have your child baptised in another parish you will need the permission of your own parish priest even if the church where you want your child baptising is the one which you usually attend.

It is important that you do not make any arrangements (e.g. booking venues for the reception or arranging flights for guests from overseas) until you have confirmed the date with your priest.

If your child is over 7 years-of-age (i.e. no longer an infant) the priest might suggest they have some instruction.

Remember that your child must have one godparent and may have two, but they must be practising Catholics over the age of sixteen.  Others may act as ‘Christian Witnesses’ if they have been baptised in non-Catholic churches.  At least one of the child’s parents should be a Catholic.

How do I organise a Catholic wedding?

First go and see your parish priest.  He will explain what you have to do.  There is a certain amount of form-filling but there is more involved than that.  Some parishes have marriage courses which you may be expected to follow.  You shouldn’t make any arrangements (e.g. booking venues for the reception or arranging flights for guests from overseas) until you have confirmed the date with your priest.

Your priest will ask you to obtain a copy of your baptismal certificate that is not more than 6 months old and a copy of your confirmation certificate.  He will want the same from your other half where applicable.

You and your partner will also have to go to the register office to get a certificate to allow you to get married.  You cannot get married without this ‘blue form’.

If you have been married before it may still be possible to marry again in the Church if your previous marriage can be declared null or void or if your previous spouse has died.  Your priest will explain this to you.

Remember that for Catholics their marriage must take place in a Catholic church for it to be valid.  Sometimes, for special reasons, you might be able to get permission to marry in another church though it is very unlikely that permission would be given for you to marry in an hotel or other venue.

How do I organise a Catholic funeral?

The responsibility of organising the funeral for someone we love can add greatly to the emotional distress of bereavement.  In choosing the Catholic funeral rite, we can take comfort from returning to God His gift to us of the life of our departed loved one and, with the aid of our prayers, sending them on their journey to new life with Him. 

It is important that you make contact as soon as possible with a priest or deacon at the Catholic Church where the funeral is to take place. This will usually be at the same time you contact the funeral directors, but only a Catholic priest or deacon will be able to guide you as to the form of the religious service, so arrangements should never be finalised with the funeral directors until you have contacted the parish clergy.

Every aspect of a Catholic funeral rite expresses the fundamental beliefs and hopes of Christian faith in eternal life and hope in the resurrection of the body at the end of time.  Catholic funeral rites are not ‘a celebration of a person’s life’, as other funerals are sometimes referred to, but a celebration of the life given to us by God.  In choosing a Catholic funeral, it is important to know that respecting the integrity of the rites of the Church means that it will not be possible for the priest or deacon to change these rites to mirror practices that are sometimes to be found in other funeral celebrations. 

For example, sometimes people have been to other types of funerals where a favourite secular song or piece of music, reading or poetry will have been featured. In most instances these are not appropriate for use in the funeral rites of the Catholic Church. This limitation on secular material is restricted only to the celebration of the religious rites, though, and it can of course take place after the conclusion of the Rite of Committal at the graveside or crematorium, or when family and friends have gathered socially to console one another and to recall personal memories of their loved one. 

Arranging a Catholic funeral has at its heart our prayers: for their soul, now at rest; for the peace they will enjoy from receiving God’s merciful forgiveness of any sins they may have committed; and, for the hope that we will one day be reunited with them joyfully in God’s loving embrace.

Coming soon…

Bishop Marcus is compiling downloadable resources which will be distributed to all funeral directors.  These include a form – Instructions for my Funeral Liturgy – through which you will be able to make your own wishes known in accordance with the accompanying Guide to Catholic Funeral Rites in the Diocese of Leeds.

How do I obtain my baptism certificate?

Getting a Certificate of Baptism is easy.  Priests issue copies all the time for entry into schools, marriages and ordinations. All you need do is ask the priest of the parish where you were baptised for a copy of your certificate.   If you know the date of your baptism give him the date otherwise tell him your date of birth and roughly how old you were. 

It is important to let him know your name at the time of your baptism.

Arrange to pick up the certificate or give him the address to which it can be sent. If you have been confirmed details of that should also be in the baptismal register and he will include that on your certificate.

If details of confirmation are not on the baptismal certificate and you need a certificate of confirmation just write to the priest in charge of the parish where you were confirmed.  Remember,  the church where you were confirmed might not have been the parish church of where lived.

Once again, tell him your name at the time and the rough date.  Since confirmations tend to happen just once a year he will be able to find it easily if you only know the year of confirmation.

How do I go about obtaining an annulment?

The Church’s annulment process is one in which a broken marriage is investigated to see if it can be declared null. A declaration of nullity allows the parties involved to partake fully in the sacrament of Holy Communion and to re marry in the Catholic Church.

If you are a divorced Catholic, or hoping to marry someone who has been married before, please contact the Tribunal office for more details, or download a copy of our explanatory booklet for Petitioners.

How do I help support my parish and diocese?

To volunteer in your own parish, please contact your parish priest or parish office.

Curia departments also appreciate voluntary help, especially with special projects.  You are very welcome to send an enquiry with details of your skills and interests to volunteering@dioceseofleeds.org.uk

If you would like to make a donation or leave a legacy to your parish, please contact your parish priest or parish office.  To enquire about giving a gift to be used for a particular purpose within the Diocese, please contact the Finance Department of the Curia via the Gift Aid Administrator, Louise Ward 0113 261 8023 and louise.ward@dioceseofleeds.org.uk

Our Diocesan Music Department reaches more than 4,000 children a week through our Diocesan Choirs in Leeds, Huddersfield, Bradford and Keighley, Wakefield and Pontefract; through our Schools Singing Programme and also our Organists’ Training Programme which is run in partnership with the Royal College of Organists.

Many of these young people are living in some of the most deprived areas of the country, and the academic, social and behavioural benefits offered by these opportunities can change their lives.

To find out how to support our young musicians, please visit Diocese of Leeds Music

How do I say the Rosary?

‘I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives’. Pope Saint John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (On the Rosary), 2002.

When we say the Rosary, we pray five Mysteries for each of the five sections (decades). The Mysteries of the Rosary are according to the days of the week.

Mondays and Saturdays:
The Five Joyful Mysteries centre on the infancy and the hidden life in Nazareth
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity
4. The Presentation
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Thursdays:
The Five Luminous Mysteries focus on the public life of Jesus. (These mysteries were added in 2002 by Pope Saint John Paul II.)
1. The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
3. The proclamation of the Kingdom of God and call to conversion
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Holy Eucharist

Tuesdays and Fridays:
The Five Sorrowful Mysteries recall Jesus’ Passion and Death
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

Wednesdays and Sundays:
The Five Glorious Mysteries centre on Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and the glories of heaven:
1. The Resurrection of Jesus
2. The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles
4. The Assumption into heaven of the Blessed Virgin Mary
5. The Coronation of Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven

Saying the Rosary

As with all written forms of service for Catholic rites, the parts written in red (the rubrics) are information regarding what you DO, whereas what is printed in black is what you SAY.

On the Crucifix, make the Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Pray the Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

On the large bead after the Crucifix, say the Lord’s Prayer, for the Pope’s intentions:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

On the next three beads, pray the Hail Mary for an increase of Faith, Hope and Love:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

On the chain or medal or bead, pray the Glory be:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

On the first large bead, pray the Our Father, meditating on the first Mystery…

On each of the ten following beads
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen

On the chain
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

After the Glory Be of each decade, the prayer given by Our Lady at Fatima in July 1917 may be said:
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy.

The next decade and next Mystery begins with the Our Father on the next large bead:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

After praying one decade for each of the five Mysteries of the day, end with the Hail, Holy Queen.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! Hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Additional prayers

Let us pray.
O God, whose only begotten Son by His life has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life grant we beseech thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer given by an Angel to the three children of Fatima in 1916.

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I beg pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.

Memorare of St Bernard

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

How do I find out about the consecrated religious life?

If you are interested in a vocation to the religious life, the advice is the same whether you are a man or a woman.  Speak to the Vocations Director of a community that inspires you, explore their website, or attend an event sponsored by the order.  There are a number of religious communities present in the Diocese that might interest you.  Fr Michael Doody, the Diocesan Vocations Director can help connect you with them.

The website for the European Region of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal has excellent information about discerning a vocation to the religious life:  www.cfrfranciscans.co.uk

The Sisters’ website is:  http://franciscansisterscfr.com/

Link to list of Religious Houses in the Diocese

How do I find out about the permanent diaconate?

A permanent deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church who works with the priests under the authority of the bishop to help others come to know and respond to the message of Jesus Christ.  Deacons have given service to the Christian community from earliest times.  They are a visible reminder to the whole church that Jesus called us to love one another and to demonstrate that love in acts of service, having a particular care for those who are vulnerable.

Single or married men between the ages of 35 and 65 may be ordained as deacons.  Those accepted for training as deacons follow a 4-year (part-time) course based in Leeds that includes studies in prayer, pastoral theology, scripture and liturgy.  Deacons are then appointed (‘ordained’) by their bishop usually to work in a parish.  They assist at Mass, proclaim the Gospel and help others to understand how to put the message of Jesus into practice.  Deacons preside at baptisms, weddings and funerals and they visit the housebound and bring Holy Communion to those who are sick and to those who are dying.  They can also work as chaplains in prisons, schools, universities and hospitals.  Deacons help to bring the Good News of the Gospel to others by continuing in their professional (paid) work in addition to offering their time within the parish.

Anyone who feels that God may be calling them to serve as a deacon should contact the Director for the Permanent Diaconate:

Deacon Keith Ballard MA, Tel: 01484 541366,

Email: keith.ballard@dioceseofleeds.org.uk

Useful further reading:

Diocese of Leeds Diocesan Directory – section on the Permanent Diaconate          

Congregation for Catholic Education, Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons (available online)

Deacons and the Church (2004) by Owen F. Cummings, (Paulist Press)        

The Deacon at Mass: A Theological and Pastoral Guide (2nd Edn.), (2013)     by William T. Ditewig, (Paulist Press)

The Liturgical Ministry of Deacons (2005) by Michael Kwatera, (Liturgical Press)

How do I find out about the priesthood?

It’s a good idea to speak to your parish priest if you’re thinking about the priesthood or alternatively you can contact Fr Michael Doody, the Vocation Director directly (michael.doody@dioceseofleeds.org.uk). A good resource to help is the website: https://www.ukpriest.org/