There are many ways to become involved in life at St. Aelred’s. Take a look through the following list, and get in touch if you would like to know more…
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Temporarily Suspended due to Coronavirus regulations
This service can be offered by any young person in the parish who has made his or her First Holy Communion. The servers support the parish priest at the celebration of Holy Mass. They also offer their support on feast days. New servers are offered basic training before they serve at a Mass.
The Banner Group has been meeting for more than ten years, and have made banners for all liturgical seasons. The liturgical banners hang on either side of the altar, and for each set there is a co-ordinating altar cloth. A variety of materials and media are used in making the banners. We welcome newcomers and new ideas. News of future projects will appear in the bulletin.
Brownies meet every Wednesday during term-time in the church hall from 6pm - 7.15pm. The meetings are for girls aged between 7 and 10 years old. During the meetings the Brownies learn new skills, make new friends and have fun.
The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development is the response of the Bishops of England and Wales to the growing need of people in the Third World. CAFOD has two family fast day collections in all parishes, one during Lent and the other in October. St Aelreds group seeks to support the work of the national organisation and to raise awareness of the many needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Each year a campaign is launched to raise funds for a variety of long-term projects. Prayer and raising awareness of the many injustices, that affect the lives of so many people throughout our world, are our main aims; raising money, while important, is secondary. As a group, we organise a Christmas card campaign for prisoners of conscience using information provided by ACAT (Action by Christians Against Torture). We meet five or six times a year and welcome anyone who would like to be involved.
During the Sunday 10am Mass in term-time, we hold a liturgy for children between the ages of 4 and 8. Each group is led by two or more catechists who prepare and lead the liturgy on a rota basis. The children are invited to the liturgy at the beginning of Mass and go out of church with the catechists into the hall. They return to the church in time for the Offertory. We welcome new catechists and offer help with training.
The Folk Choir celebrate and lead the congregation on Saturdays at the 6.30pm Vigil Mass. Our music is based on the Scriptures for that particular day, which we read and discuss before selecting appropriate hymns. The players include keyboard, violin, flute and guitars and a choir of singers. We welcome anyone interested in joining us.
St Aelreds Choir is small but enthusiastic when it comes to providing music for the Mass. We hope that by our lead the congregation will be encouraged to join in singing the praises of God. We are looking for new members, old or young, to ensure that the choir and its music continue at St Aelred's. Accompanied by the organ, the hymns and Mass settings chosen reflect the liturgy of the day. We lead the congregation in song on each Sunday at the 10am Mass, at the Christmas Midnight Mass; the Easter Triduum; and on Holy Days of Obligation. When requested, we sing at weddings and funerals. We meet regularly and would be only too pleased to see new members. To sing is to pray twice.
Church cleaners work on a rota basis, cleaning the inside of the church - not including windows or walls - and spend 1-2 hours per their session which occurs about 5 times per year. There are currently around twenty-three cleaners.
St Aelreds belongs to Starbeck and Woodlands Churches Together. There are currently five churches in the group: Christ Church (C of E); St Andrews (C of E); Starbeck Methodist; Woodlands Methodist and St Aelreds. These groups belong to the umbrella organisation: Churches Together in Harrogate. Churches Together is an ecumenical group, working towards greater Christian unity and understanding. Every year we plan Lenten and Advent groups and days of reflection. We carry a cross together through the area on Good Friday as a Christian witness. In recent years we have produced a joint Christmas card. Other events may take place with an ecumenical theme. There are planning meetings three or four times a year. Many parishioners attend events. All are welcome.
The St Aelreds Coffee group provides coffee, tea and biscuits in the church hall after the 10am Mass on Sunday. Everyone is welcome for a drink and chat. There are currently eleven teams of two people offering this service and each pair is generally asked to provide these refreshments five times per year. The time commitment on each occasion is approximately two hours. No skills required above the ability to plug in the water boiler! All new teams welcomed.
The Remembrance Garden and Book
The Remembrance Garden first came into being in late 2000 as a millenium project. A group of parishioners headed by Joe Cassell were the first to cast a turf and begin gardening. The garden quickly took shape and in 2003 wrought iron gates and railings were added. A Remembrance Garden sub-comittee was set up in 2005 consisting of Thomas and Tony Buck, Mike McCann, Helen Mailloux and Father Jim. The committee is responsible for design, maintenance and fund raising and in their time have slowly developed and added variety to the garden. We now have many more beds and 4 benches for parishioners to sit on. The work of the committee goes on. If any Parishioners or Friends of St Aelred's wish to stroll or sit awhile in the garden, a key is available hung on a plate on the library wall at back of Church. Please just return the key after use, thank you. Following the wish of parishioners, and to complement the Remembrance Garden, a Remembrance Book was purchased in 2006. The book is housed in a glass cabinet in the Adoration Chapel and the pages are turned each month. Any deceased parishioner or other persons who have been connected to St Aelreds may have their names inscribed in the book. If you would like to request an inscription, forms are available in a tray in the library at the back of church or you may contact Deacon David or Tony Buck.
This recently formed Group offers a warm welcome to anyone who wants to broaden their social circle or is new to the area. Meetings are held monthly on the third Wednesday from 1.45 to 3.15pm in St Aelred's Church Hall. Speakers talk on a range of general topics of interest to men and women of all ages and there is also tea and chat and more.
Canon Law requires that a parish should have a Finance Committee. At St Aelreds there are normally four committee members: Finance Secretary, Collections Co-ordinator, Gift Aid co-coordinator and Accounts Liaison Officer, plus the serving chair of the Parish Council. The four committee members are invited to the position by the parish priest. The team is responsible to the parish and the diocese for the management of the parish accounts.
The church flowers are bought and arranged each week (apart from the weeks of Lent and Advent) on a rota basis by a group of five parishioners. Anybody who would like to join us on a regular or occasional basis is very welcome.
St Aelred's parish provides the Catholic chaplain for the Harrogate District Hospital. Fr Jim relies on messages from patient's family and friends informing him of their presence and location in the hospital. To assist Fr Jim in this ministry there is a lay chaplaincy team drawn from St Aelred's and St Robert's parishes. Most of these visitors are Eucharistic ministers and, working singly or in pairs we visit one area - typically 4 to 6 wards - of the hospital every three or four weeks on a rota basis. Because we visit only a part of the hospital we each see relatively few patients and so are able to spend time with those, especially the elderly, who often just want to talk to someone.
In the church hall generally during term-time: Mondays 7.30-9pm for ladies over 16, with a KFA qualified instructor. Tuesdays 9.30-10.30am, gentle exercises to cassette music for the over-50s.
The luncheon club has been running since July 1995 and provides a monthly lunch, at low cost, open to any adult members of the Harrogate community. Our ethos is to provide a relaxed environment where food and friendship can be enjoyed. All are made welcome. Our menu is printed in the bulletin. The Club runs on the second Friday of the month, serving from 12-2pm. A booking form is at the back of church.
There is a group of approximately twelve Money Counters divided into pairs on a six-week rota and who count all monies taken in the Church. Counting entails counting and recording parish monies according to a set procedure, the process taking about an hour and a half per session. Most counters count on Sunday after the 10am Mass. This is a nice, quiet, behind-the-scenes job for anyone wishing to help in the parish or to act as reserves when others are away. We also have the role of the co-ordinator who collects the counted money, enters it onto a spreadsheet and pays it into the bank each week. If you are interested in the role, or to join the counters, please contact us after mass.
Parish Garden Maintenance
About six families maintain the flower beds and hedges in the grounds of the church and presbytery. The grass-cutting is done fortnightly by contractors. New green fingers always welcome.
Parish Pastoral Council
The Parish Pastoral Council exists to advise the parish priest and assist him in the pastoral care and general maintenance of the parish. Members have a responsibility for effective communication between the people of the parish. The Council generally meets on the first Thursday of every alternate month. Members of the Council are normally elected to serve for a three-year term, and are instrumental in developing the life of the parish in a variety of ways. All confirmed members of the parish who are on the parish register, are eligible to take part in the election.
Catholic Charismatic renewal; Prayer group meets every Wednesday evening in the adoration chapel from 7pm to 8.30 pm. Everyone is welcome to join in our lively praise, thanksgiving and worship. We also have a day of Renewal on the second Saturday of each month. Everyone is welcome to come away from their busy lives for an afternoon and be refreshed by the Holy Spirit. We have some really great speakers both local, national and international. For further details ring Dolores Omand 01423870789 or visit the Catholic Charismatic Diocesan web site for details of our group and what is going on in the diocese. ccrleeds.org.uk
St Aelreds Repository is open after every Sunday Mass, both morning and evening, and alternate Saturdays after the vigil Mass. It stocks a range of cards, prayer books and other small items. At special times items can be ordered, for example for 1st Holy Communion.
The St Vincent de Paul Society in England and Wales makes over 3000 visits daily to the aged, the lonely, the sick and the deprived, at home, in hospital or in prison. St Aelreds has a small, dedicated team who carry out locally the work of the Society. We are twinned with the Holy Cross Parish in Karamoodu Vellarada in Southern India, for whom we raise funds. We welcome new members. If you can spare an hour or two weekly, or even monthly, please make yourself known to us. There is a collection box at the back of the Church, where you can make donations.
Volunteers are often needed to befriend and provide transport to and from Mass for elderly or visually impaired Parishioners. Term-time transport is organised on a rota basis.
Youth Music Group
St Aelreds Youth Music group have a range of musical instruments, the majority woodwind, and some strings. We are always looking for new youth members, singers as well as players.
The 200 Club is a fund-raising enterprise, involving a monthly cash prize draw and two major draws every six months. Maximum membership is 200; there are currently about 140. Funds raised are shared between the parish and St Roberts School. Our typical income is about 3000 per annum, of which just over half is returned in prizes.