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Parish Groups and Directory


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Welcome to St. James the Less and St. Helen Parish

All the people in this Directory may be contacted via the Church Office or the website coordinator unless otherwise indicated.

You can also type your enquiry into the following form and it will email the website coordinator who will forward your enquiry: enquiry form

Altar Servers

See Guild of St. Stephen.

Association for the Propagation of the Faith and Mill Hill Missionaries

For further details contact Ron Griffin via the Church Office.


The church wants parents to take their child's baptism seriously, and to approach the day of their child's baptism fully aware of the commitment they will be undertaking to bring up their child in the practice of the Catholic faith. The courses also help parents enjoy the day of their child's baptism more fully, because they know what to expect and have had a chance to reflect on the meaning behind the ceremonies of baptism. If you would like your child baptised please contact Mgr. Chris Brooks via the Church Office for more information about Baptism Courses and preparation. Please add your child(rens) full name(s), date of birth(s) and your home address and contact number.

Bereavement Support Group

When we lose someone we have loved, a relationship where we felt safe, or a job where we felt fulfilled, we are left with grief that affects us emotionally and spiritually. Working together with two neighbouring parishes, we offer opportunities for support at a time of bereavement and loss: Group support at St Teresa’s, Lexden and St. John Payne’s Greenstead and one to one help in St James the Less, Priory St. The leaders are trained and experienced and are, or have been part of St Helena’s Hospice Counselling and Emotional Support Team. More details here:

Brentwood Diocese Pastoral Council

The Brentwood Diocese Pastoral Council is a forum for communication to, and between, representatives of the different parishes in our Diocese.

Catenian Association

To find out more please visit Catenian Website  or contact our Membership Officer: Jonathan Palmer 01206 975390 or 07850 459652 (mobile) or .

Children's Liturgy

Our Children's Liturgy takes place each Sunday in the Crypt during the 10.30 am Mass and all children are welcome.

This has now been split into two groups: the pre-school group and the pre-first communion group. The children leave Church after the entrance hymn and return during the offertory. For further information please contact Melissa Dove via the Church Office.

Children and Vulnerable Adults Protection (Safeguarding)

As a result of the Nolan Report there are now established Protection Procedures for Children and Vulnerable Adults in our Diocese. The Child Protection Officer for St. James the Less and St. Helen Parish is Theresa Higgins, a new Deputy is to be appointed later. The Protection Officer for the Diocese is Simon Moules.

If you have any concerns about the protection of children and vulnerable adults in our Parish please contact Cathy O'Connor through the Church Office.

NCSC Abuse leaflet - CO 1

NCSC Abuse leaflet SL 2

NCSC Respond Listen Support


The choir contributes significantly to music at the 10.30 am Sunday Mass and other special occasions on request. Enthusiasm is more important than a perfect voice. Singers and musicians are always welcome. Please contact the Church Office.

Christmas Cards

The Repository now has a selection of boxed sets and single Christmas Cards & 2024 Diaries available for sale in the Church Porch along with a new selection of Mass Intention cards. All monies to go into Repository Box.


Our Church cleaning volunteers keep our place of worship glorious for The Lord. Volunteers are always needed to keep our church looking clean and welcoming. If you can spare 1-2 hours approximately every 4-5 weeks to help clean the Church and would like to become a “heavenly duster” or a “hoover angel” Or form a new team with friends, community groups. As the saying goes,…Many hands make light work. Please contact Linda in the Presbytery office (01206 866317) Thanks.

Church Hall

The Church Hall can be booked for functions - email Church Office or call the Church Office on 01206 866317.

Colchester Catholic Heritage Group

We look to promote Catholic history both in Colchester and the surrounding areas of North East Essex.  We participate in the English Heritage Open Days event and Ride and Stride with Essex Churches both of which have proved very popular with the wider community.  Talks and events happen throughout the year and do come and meet us if History is 'your thing'


This group meets on Sunday afternoons to support the children being prepared for Sacrament of Confirmation. For details on next course, please keep an eye on the newsletter or our facebook page which publishes details on the next course dates. For more information contact to register for the next course.

CTS Books

There are a good selection of booklets available for sale not loan in the church porch, all items have prices marked on rear of books – all monies for purchases to be put in CTS Box in Church porch.


We have many Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in our Parish helping with taking Communion to the sick and also taking Eucharistic Services in the Church and assisting with the distribution at the Masses. If you know of anybody who is sick and cannot make Mass through illness, or is housebound, please contact Mgr. Chris Brooks or Cathy O'Connor via the Church Office.

First Holy Communion

We have a First Holy Communion programme for the children of the Parish each year. This group meets on a Saturday morning to support the children being prepared for First Confession and First Holy Communion, together with their parents. Contact Church Office for details on next course.

Flower Group

We are a small group but would welcome new members. Experience is not necessary but enthusiasm and a willingness to learn are essential, as is physical fitness since a certain amount of lifting and carrying is involved.

Members must be able to make a regular commitment to the church flower rota. Volunteers should leave their name and contact details at the Church Office addressed to the 'Flower Group'.

Gift Aid

This scheme allows the Parish to reclaim the taxable part of your offerings from the Inland Revenue, at no cost or inconvenience to yourself. There is no commitment to a specific amount of money for a given period of time. The donor uses numbered envelopes supplied by the parish Gift Aid organiser, or a standing order. The envelopes enable you to plan your contribution in advance. Alternatively, a standing order can be organised for a monthly contribution to the Parish, which saves on cash handling/administration and means your payment is never missed.

The Parish can gain a further 28p for every £1 contributed under this scheme. The Declaration can run indefinitely, but can be cancelled at any time if personal circumstances change.

The requirements of the scheme are :

·         The completion of a simple form - A Gift Aid Declaration

·         The donor must pay income tax equal to the amount being reclaimed each year.

Please contact Mariamma Thalany through the Church Office if you would like further details, or to join the scheme, or if you wish to organise a standing order. 

Guild of St. Stephen

Altar Server’s are required at all masses and in all mass centres. The only qualification required to serve on the altar is that you have taken your first holy communion.

There is training which will take place at the 10:30 mass at St. James the Less and St. Helen church Priory St.

The initial training lasts for about 3-4 weeks or you feel confident about the roles.
After 1 year you take your vows as a member of the guild and receive your Bronze medal.

You are able to serve at any mass or mass centre or parish you are visiting.
Contact: MC Andrew Johnson on 01206-861360 for details.

A useful link : Guild of St. Stephen, Brentwood Diocese


All hospitals have a Catholic Chaplain. If you would like a Priest to visit you the hospital can arrange this for you. Or contact the Church Office.

Interest Groups

If you would like to be involved in any of the Interest Groups in our Parish, or you feel there are any areas for development or new groups to be set up, please contact Mgr. Chris Brooks via the Church Office who will be pleased to discuss your ideas and suggestions.

Knights of Saint Columba

The Knights of Saint Columba is a Catholic fraternal service organisation and the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom. Founded in Glasgow in 1919, it is named in honour of Saint Columba, a Christian missionary from Ireland who helped to introduce Christianity to people in Northern Britain. They are dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity and Fraternity and have more than 4,000 members in over 300 Councils across England, Scotland and Wales. Membership is limited to practising Catholic men aged 16 or older. They exist to support the mission and doctrine of the Catholic Church and at the same time to work for the "spiritual and
material good of its members and their families".


For information or to get involved in the Colchester area, please contact George Johnson: 



If you are thinking of getting married, please contact Mgr. Chris Brooks via the Church Office for details of marriage preparation. Please be aware that 6 months notice of intention for Marriage is required especially if marrying outside the Parish. Couples who are planning to get married should contact us at least 6 months in advance.

Meditation Group

Newcomers are invited to join the group which meets to meditate in the Christian tradition.

The group meet each Wednesday evening in Cardinal Bourne Hall from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.. People start gathering in silence from 7.30pm onwards. After 30 minutes of meditation, we break the silence and have time to share our experience, or simply to socialise.

Meditation is an ancient form of contemplative prayer that seeks God in the silence and stillness beyond word or thought. We are part of the World Community for Christian Meditation, led by Fr Laurence Freeman OSB.

Further information: Valerie Quinlivan tel. 07941903227

Mercy Associates

Mercy Associates are lay people who are seeking to deepen their prayer life and spirituality in the Mercy tradition and to remain open to their apostolic call and the challenges of our time, in association with the Sisters of Mercy.

The Associates in Colchester meet as a group monthly in prayer, reflection on the life and spirituality of Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, and friendship, as they support each other in trying to bear witness to the loving mercy of God in their lives.

There are about 1000 Associates in England, Scotland and Wales, in over sixty groups. All are engaged in a relatively new venture of lay association with a religious community. Groups are kept in touch with each other through Regional Assemblies, pilgrimages, a twice-yearly magazine and spiritual reflections from the National Commission which oversees the movement.

The local contact is Frances Galvin (01206 369568).

The website is


A selection of Catholic Newspapers is available in the porch of the Church.


‘OREMUS’ is the name coined for parish events which focus on spiritual renewal. See Oremus. For more information contact Valerie Quinlivan via the Church Office.

Parish Football Team

The Parish Football Team plays in the Colchester Inter Church League on alternate Saturdays. We always need players 16+ please contact Chris Nolan on 07771-828751.

Parish Newsletter

Each week we produce a Parish Newsletter which keeps us up-to-date with what is happening in our Parish. If you would like any events or special occasions mentioned, please contact the Church Office.

Parish Pastoral Council

The Parish Council consists of a group of Parishioners led by our Priest. The aim is to provide support to those who are active within the Parish. Parish Pastoral Councils are becoming increasingly commonplace within the Church and provide valuable assistance to the Parish Priest, enabling him more free time for his pastoral work, as well as providing cohesion and direction for parishioners working within the Parish.

The Council will endeavour to fairly represent all aspects of Parish Life.

Please contact any member of the Parish Council or the Church Office.

Parish Secretary

We're delighted to welcome Linda Ferpozzi as our new Parish  Administrator. Linda started in the role in June 2017 - she can be contacted in the Church Office.

Parish Social Activities

We always enjoy Parish celebrations. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can celebrate and have more fun activities please contact Frances Galvin via the Church Office.

Pastoral Care

If you feel you have anything to offer in being supportive please contact Mgr. Chris Brooks via the Church Office.

Pilgrimages (Diocesan and Others)

The contact is Theresa Higgins (Tel. 01206-523501).


Please contact Elspeth Johnson via the Church Office.

Repository Shop

A wide range of pamphlets, religious items, cards for all special occasions and Mass cards are available from the Repository Shop located in the Church porch at Priory Street. The Church is open daily. Please put monies for items purchased in Repository box in Church Porch. .


St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School
Priory Street,
Colchester, CO1 2QB

T: (01206) 865 722
F: (01206) 868 745

Soup Run

Our Church provides soup, sandwiches and hot drinks to disadvantaged and homeless people in Colchester . Our slot is 8 - 9 pm on alternate Saturdays. Volunteers to make sandwiches, or help on the night welcomed. Contact: Church Office.

St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVP)

This active group meets regularly throughout the year and helps families in need, visits the sick and housebound and offers a variety of practical support. New members are always very welcome. To join or find out more, please call Mobile: 07493 439427 or email:

Contact: Church Office.

The society is grateful for all the money raised at the 2019 Race Night and Maundy collection. Here is the financial report.

Join us on Facebook:

Tea and Coffee

Anyone who has half-an-hour to spare after Mass is most welcome to stay for coffee and biscuits after 10.30am Mass on Sundays. All are welcome.

Ministry of Welcome

We are the people who greet you as you come into our church and assist you with any queries. We always need more people to help and a 3-month rota is posted in the lobby of the church. Contact is Paul Horwood via the Church Office.

Ministry of Welcome Rotas Available in Church Porch

Youth Group

Contact Cathy O'Connor via the Church Office.

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