[Jump to content]

The Parish The Sacred Heart and St. Margaret Mary. East Dereham, Norfolk


The church of the Sacred Heart and St. Margaret Mary in Dereham is a small church, but one where visitors and new parishioners are assured of a warm welcome. We are always pleased to see children and babies at Mass, and we quite understand that they won't always be quiet and still! As part of the family of the Church they are always welcome here.

The Catholic community in Dereham, which is diverse as regards both nationality and age, endeavours to live out the commandments of Jesus that we should love God and love one another. Our main work is the worship of God, and we seek to accomplish this with simplicity, dignity and reverence. There is an emphasis on the teaching of the Faith, and on its implications for our daily life. As a Catholic Parish, we seek to manifest the love, joy and peace which God the Holy Spirit wishes to bestow upon us.


Latest Coronavirus Updates

Through the time of isolation caused by the pandemic, we will containue to keep you updated in this section of the website with both announcements and helpful resources. Please check back regularly.

5th June:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

3rd June:

You can now subscribe to receive the newsletter every week by email.

2nd June:

Part 2 of the timetable of Thursday evening national masses for the Sick and their Families, NHS Front-Line workers and those working in Social Care

29th May:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

Preparations for the re-opening of our churches

27th May:

Fr. Brendan writes:

The Flame of Faith. The Paschal Candle was delivered to the Presbytery on Holy Saturday morning. I had been worrying if it would arrive in time for the Vigil. I had chivied up the suppliers a week earlier but they were a bit dubious about delivery because of the lockdown and that churches were closed. At 8.00 pm I began the Vigil. The Candle was prepared, a votive candle on the candle stand was lit by a flint, the fire blessed, and the Paschal Candle was lit. There was incense too in a burner lit from the 'Paschal Fire' and the vigil of Easter begun. There was some singing. I sang the Gregory Murray Mass Setting and the Easter Alleluia. At the Gloria, I let the altar candles from the Paschal Candle and also the Sanctuary Lamp. This flame from the Vigil continues to burn in the Sanctuary lamp as each one is lit from the previous one. It has not been extinguished - I am looking after it.

After Mass on Pentecost, the Paschal Candle will be placed by the font in the church. It will be lit at baptisms and funerals as a sign of the Risen Christ and the hope that we all share. Towards the end of the Rite of Baptism, the father of the child takes a light from the Paschal Candle and the priest/deacon says 'Receive the Light of Christ.' Then he says: 'Parents and godparents, this light has been entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been lightened by Christ. He/she is to walk always as a child of The Light. May he/she keep the flame of faith burning brightly may he/she walk always as a child of The light, bearing witness to the light by what he/she says and does.

The last days of Lent and all of Eastertide have been extraordinary. We have, all of us, kept that flame of faith alive in our hearts and souls. We have without Holy Communion but nonetheless been in Communion with Christ. We have been without the sacrament of reconciliation but nonetheless been forgiven and forgiving. We have been living our faith in a different way and faithful to Christ. Eastertide is coming to its end and Ordinary Time returning. Christ's faithful people continue to bear witness to the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

22nd May:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

21st May:

Pentecost Sunday, May 31st – National Rosary Rally

20th May:

Fr. Brendan writes:

This liturgical year was designated by the Bishops' Conference as the Year of the God Who Speaks. Do you remember that a nice booklet was produced and free copies of St. Matthew's Gospel distributed? All of our copies were taken by parishioners. Part of the year was for preachers to draw a closer relationship between the First Reading each Sunday and the Gospel. There is always a relationship between them. Attention was also to be drawn to the Second Reading, not to be omitted or overlooked. In short, I think the idea was to help us appreciate the treasure of God's revelation which is put before us on every day of the year, to bring before us the truth of our redemption, of God's promises and their fulfilment. The story, the revelation of God's love, the Paschal Mystery, our redemption by Christ.

Thanks to universalis.com I have the daily Mass readings sent to my iPhone at 8.00 am every day. In pre coronavirus days it gave me a quick look at the reading for Mass and helped me to mark the Lectionary and the Missal for Mass. I read through them, noted the Psalm Response and the Gospel and was thus equipped to prepare for Mass. At the moment things are different. Mass is at midday and there is no congregation, nor Reader or Lay Eucharistic Minister or Server. I am at the altar on my own. I do everything. I have some quiet time beforehand and I have begun to notice things. Maybe I am more aware, more recollected, quieter, less stressed, but the Readings make more sense. I notice things that might have overlooked before. I read the readings more slowly, why rush? I allow the message to sink in and there is nourishment for me. The Year of the God Who Speaks is working for me during this Coronavirus Crisis. Holy Week and Easter and Eastertide have been strange, unique in my experience, but very enriching for me.

So if you have your Sunday Missal, read it. Before you read it settle in a quiet comfortable place and then read it slowly. Note the punctuation and allow the message to penetrate your heart and mind. One sentence from Scripture might be enough to nourish you spiritually for a week. If you can manage this before a live-streamed Mass, so much the better. If we put ourselves in a position to listen, then this can still the Year of the God Who Speaks.

15th May:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

13th May:

Statement on "Our Plan to Rebuild - the UK Government's COVID-19 recover strategy"

The following statement has been prepared regarding the Government document above; it was made public this evening:

The timing and the manner of the opening of churches touches profound sensitivities and spiritual needs. The Government's document and statements fail to recognise this.

The Government's position, established today, includes these steps aimed at opening churches as soon as possible: the establishment of a task force for places of worship, to work closely with 'stakeholders' in ensuring that premises are COVID-19 secure; and heeding the experience of other countries in which churches are already open for worship.

In dialogue with the Government, the Catholic Church will continue its engagement in this process and has already submitted a detailed plan, in full accordance with public health guidelines, for churches to be opened for private prayer. The Church is ready to play its full part in the task force, understanding that this includes the possible earlier use of churches for private prayer, as a first safe step towards their use for public worship.

A link can be found: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/catholic-bishops-respond-to-governments-lockdown-easing-plans/

11th May:

Day of prayer, fasting and works of charity on 14th May

8th May:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

7th May:

This is usually a time where we at Mary's Meals would be reaching out to ask churches if we can share our story with their parishioners but, due to the coronavirus, we know that will not be possible.

Until we can be together again, our founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, has recorded a special message for your parishioners.

You can find his message, filmed outside the shed in Argyll where it all began for Mary's Meals, here. We hope you will help to spread the word about our beautiful mission by sharing it on your website or social media channels.

Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, and we look forward to meeting you again in the future. If you would like to register interest in hosting a talk from one of our volunteers when it is safe to do so, please get in touch.

2nd May:

A People who Hope in Christ - a message from the five Archbishops of England and Wales about the present situation of the Church in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic

1st May:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

30th April:

Pastoral Letter for Good Shepherd Sunday

CAFOD Coronavirus Appeal

Letter and Prayers of the Holy Father

28th April:

The UCM has donated some money for toilet and tap twinning:

Certificate 1

Certificate 2


26th April:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

Day of Prayer for Dereham

The day of prayer for Dereham is on Sunday 26th, see below for more information.

St. Withburga Prayer

Our statue of St. Withburga

22nd April:

Fr. Brendan writes

Welcome to Mass.... The liturgical purists say that there should not be any additional greeting at the beginning of Mass other than: 'The Lord be with you.' For well over thirty years now I have added the 'welcome to Mass' as a personal note but also to say which Sunday of the year we were on or to announce a Feast Day or Solemnity. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to resuming that welcome when Lockdown is lifted! To welcome you again to the Lord's House on the Lord's Day to celebrate the Lord's Supper will be wonderful. At Sacred Heart Dereham we will gather (congregate) sing, listen to the Word of God, Profess our Faith, Pray, bring up the gifts of bread and wine to be consecrated and received back as the Body and Blood of Christ and be sent into the world in the Peace of Christ as a consecrated people will be joyful indeed. Till then, I celebrate Mass for you on my own. There is a candle burning before our Lady of Walsingham's statue for you every day as well.

17th April:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

Timetable of National Masses for the Sick and their Families, NHS Front-Line workers and those working in Social Care

Day of Prayer for Dereham Sunday 26th April.

We have decided to go for Sunday 26th of this month as a day of prayer as we feel it is urgent. Please ask your congregations to pray for the listed topics throughout the day. It would be really good too to have some feedback as to the number of people participating in this day so if you could reply to Julie in the office please.

1 General prayer for our town and surrounding villages
2 Pray for those struggling financially especially those we know, and for the food bank that the supplies keep coming in to meet the needs of those who need help.
3 Pray for those on the front line, bin men shop assistants, doctors, nurses, care assistants and others who you may think of.
4 Pray for those who cannot look after themselves, those in care homes and hospitals.
5 Pray for the local businesses especially for those who have had to close and have had to furlough staff. Pray that they may come through this time safely and that they will be able to open their business as soon as possible.
6 Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ that their faith might grow and not be shaken.
7 Pray for those who as yet have not got a personal faith that they may seek and find the One who never changes and Whose love is free, limitless and unconditional.

16th April:

Fr. Brendan writes

It is said that the great philosopher Socrates (d. 399BC) went into the market place one day and remarked about how much we can do without. I cannot guarantee that it was Socrates who made that remark, but if he didn't he should have. He was known for valuing wisdom above everything else.

In these day of lockdown now extended for another three weeks, I think that perhaps we are beginning to feel what we really value and what is really worth having. Being able to distinguish between what we need and what we want is a good lesson and if there is a silver lining to the current dark cloud, perhaps that is part of it.

I feel that there are many positive things going on at the moment, so much good will about that it is very uplifting for everyone. For us, our faith in God's goodness is never in doubt. Our spirituality and spiritual lives strengthen us in times of trial and we now have the experience of living the Christian life together but separately. What people are telling me in phone calls and emails is how their prayer life is being lived. Mass on TV and livestreaming is becoming very important to feeling connected with the entire Church. How much more will our spiritual lives be enriched when we are all able to receive the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ together again?

I celebrate Mass daily (unfortunately not livestreamed) but is not the same for me without you, the People of God, being present. I say some extra prayers at the foot of the altar every day. You can find them on the back page of the bulletin which was published for the Fourth Sunday of Lent. You are ever in my prayers and I know that you are keeping me in yours. We are praying together separately.

Details of an eight day retreat live streaming from Walsingham from 19th to 26th April.

13th April:

See a photo of our new Paschal Candle in the church.

9th April:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

Fr. Brendan writes

The weather here for the last few days has been perfect Easter weather. It has been warm and dry and comfortable. With the Super Moon the other night we had the perfect Passover Moon. Easter is a feast that is celebrated on the Sunday following the full moon after the Spring Equinox. This year it coincides with the Passover Festival exactly. Just something worth knowing.

Tonight before the Mass of the Lord's Supper I will renew my priestly commitment. The text is given below. Priests around the world usually do this at the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral. In many ways it is like a couple renewing their wedding vows on significant anniversaries. For the first time in my 37 years as a priest, 37, that is if I get to June 12 2020, which I hope and expect to achieve, I will do this on my own and in my parish church. It is a good time for reflection on the gift of our Lord to his Church of the Priesthood and the ministry of priests around the world through the ages to his people.

Like all who have been ordained priest I had no real idea of what was in front of me, of how much I had to learn and adapt to the circumstances in which I would find myself in the years ahead. All I knew was that I wanted to do it and give my life and energy in serving God's people. Tonight, because of the Coronavirus, I will renew that commitment on my own but in our parish church in Dereham. This will be significant for me because it is here that for over five years I have exercised that priestly ministry. You will be in my thoughts. I can visualise you in your places and I will pray for you at the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Tomorrow, Good Friday, at the Solemn Liturgy of the Passion at 3.00pm the Church has added a special prayer in the General Intentions for those suffering from Covid-19. This something that has never happened before in my lifetime. It says a great deal about the danger we are all in from the Coronavirus. Our faith binds us and unites us in the love of God who became Incarnate, suffered, died and rose again for our redemption. He is with us now and for all time.

May the Lord be with you to protect you. May he guide you and give you strength. May He watch over you, keep you in in care and may bless you with His peace. Fr. Brendan

View the text for the renewal of the priestly commitment

7th April:

Click here to see an article listing Catholic radio broadcasts (many also available online), including an Easter Sunday service with Cardinal Vincent Nichols

6th April:

A Prayer of Trust

Revised Hospital Chaplaincy Advice

Marriage Papers and Others Permissions/Dispensations

Matthew’s Story of the Passion - 2 talks for you to listen to

4th April:

Bishop Alan Hopes wites:

I hope this Scriptural Way of the Cross as used by Pope John Paul II in 1991 will be helpful to you all as we seek ways to observe and pray our way through Holy Week this year in our homes and families. You will see that it is different from the usual Way of the Cross but is based on the Passion Narratives of the Gospels (and especially Matthew whose Gospel we are reading throughout this year).

We can use the usual prayer before each Station :

We adore thee, O Christ and we bless thee, because by thy Holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

After each station we can spend a few moments of silence meditating on the reading.

Then we pray :

I love thee, Jesus, My Love above all things. I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee. Never permit me to separate myself from thee again. Grant that I may love thee always and then do with me what thou wilt. Amen

Our Father...... Hail Mary.......... Glory be .........

May this Holy Week be truly blessed and filled with grace for us all as we follow our Saviour to the Cross. We do so at a time when our world has changed, our lives have been turned upside down and the whole world is experiencing a time of fear and grief, great suffering, the loss of so many loved ones. Yet we bring all of this and our own fears and concerns to our Crucified and Risen Saviour as we pray the Stations of the Cross with hope and trust in Him who is our true life and hope of resurrection.

Click here to download the document relating to this.

3rd April:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

1st April:

Some online mass times:

St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham
12:15 am Daily, 11:00 am Saturday

Our Lady and St Brigid, Northfield, Birmingham
Variable Daily, 10:00 am Saturday, 08:30 am Sunday

Changes to Holy Week Rites:

The Holy Father has indicated that he will not be celebrating the Chrism Mass in Holy Week and so the Bishops of England and Wales, in solidarity with him, have decided that the Chrism Mass will not be celebrated in our country either. It will be celebrated instead at a later date in the year (possibly around September 14th, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross).

The Holy Father has also decided that the Collection for the Holy Places that normally takes place on Good Friday will now be taken up on September 13th instead.

Fr. Brendan writes

.... the voice of prayer is never silent, nor dies the strain of praise away.' These words from the hymn: The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended came to mind as I was setting the altar for Mass the other day. I have always been impressed by the fact that the Church all over the globe is praying 24/7. And sometimes when we cannot pray there are others who pray for us and support us just as we support them when they cannot pray. I discovered many years ago that the sick and housebound parishioners often have a truly marvellous ministry of pray because it is the contribution they can make to the community of the Church. In these strange days of isolation and lockdown we can all be part of that prayerful community. Say the prayers you know off by heart. Join with me at the times when I am at the altar celebration Mass. Nurture your spiritual life by prayer and reflection of the Scriptures.

We are going in to Holy Week, the Great Week, when we recall the events of our Saviour's Passion, Death and Resurrection. We cannot do it in our usual way. The whole Church around the world is affected by the Coronavirus and as Pope Francis has decided not to celebrate a Chrism Mass in Rome, the bishops of England and Wales have decided to follow suit and we will do it later in the year. I will celebrate Holy Week at the times advertised in the Parish Bulletin, please join me in spirit.

I miss seeing you all, listening to you all, singing and praying with you all, but '...the voice of prayer is never silent, nor dies the strain of praise away.

26th March:

The latest newsletter is available in the usual place (click Newsletters in the red bar above.)

Gospel reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent

Act of Entrustment of England to the Virgin Mary

The Angelus Promise

ON FRIDAY MARCH 27TH 5.00PM (London time)

In order to offer intercession and consolation during this time of exceptional discomfort, the Holy Father will preside over a time of prayer and Eucharistic Adoration in St Peter's Square, without a congregation, on March 27th. During this time Pope Francis will impart the Urbi et Orbi Blessing and will grant a plenary Indulgence to all those who share in this prayer via the media.

This will be broadcast on mondovision and streamed by Vatican News.

25th March:

Another prayer

Fr. Brendan writes...

Since last weekend there have been momentous changes in the way we live our lives. Every single one of us is affected by the new and developing situation. All Catholic churches are now closed, all places of worship closed. Funerals now have to be graveside services or cremation services only. There is no congregational worship.

We are a very dispersed parish covering many square miles and including many villages. Our gathering for Mass on Sunday is very special and we have three celebrations of Mass each weekend. WE come from all over the place to Sacred Heart to worship together and for the moment we cannot do that. It makes me think that for the moment we are very much a domestic church with prayers at home, live streaming of Mass on television and reading Scripture nourishing our spiritual lives. WE cannot come to Mass but we can do what we can.

I will continue to celebrate Mass in our church every day at midday and at 11.00am on Sunday. I would like to invite you to set a few minutes aside at these times to join me in prayer. Why not say the Angelus at noon. It is in the bulletin week after week. Say the Rosary or a decade of it. It recalls the mysteries of our redemption and we know it off by heart. Use the internet for access to the Divine Office, daily Mass Readings or Mass on TV from Walsingham or EWTN. We have resources to nourish our spiritual lives.

When, at the age of 11, I was Confirmed I was taught that the Confirmed Christian became '....a soldier of Christ and was prepared to die rather than deny him.' As soldiers of Christ we are now confined to barracks, as it were. However we are still the people he has chosen and the people he has redeemed. We are Christian; we are called by his name.

Stay safe; stay well.

24th March:

Video of Cardinal Vincent Nichols: Closing churches is the right thing to do to save lives

Prayer of St Brendan

See the altar prepared for daily mass

21st March:

A Prayer for Help & Healing

A Coronavirus postcard allowing you to offer help to those who are self isolating

Dereham Churches Emergency Response note, with a phone number for people who need help whilst self isolating

20th March:

A message from CAFOD

18th March:

A letter from the President and Vice-President on behalf of all the Bishops of the Conference.

Liturgical Advice for the Bishops of England and Wales in the light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Fr. Brendan writes: These are strange and challenging times for us all. For us the Mass means so much. In the 19th century it was said: 'For Catholics, it is the Mass that matters.' That is still true today and not being able come together for Mass is a strange experience. However, we are still a community of prayerful people and I thoroughly recommend that parishioners use The Prayer of the Church, The Divine Office, as the centre of their spiritual life. Next to the Mass it is the second most perfect prayer we have. You have access to it through http://www.universalis.com

You can have the Readings and the prayers from the Mass available to you too through this wonderful service. We may have to be a bit more contemplative for while before public masses can be celebrated again. Meanwhile I will be offering a daily Mass for us all at this time. Can I ask you to keep all our public servants in the NHS, care home staff, the Ambulance Service, Fire and Police and Prison Service personnel in your prayers.

Useful Links:

Diocesan Website: http://www.rcdea.org.uk
Notre Dame High School, Norwich Website: http://www.ndhs.org.uk


Parish News

Parish Group News