Under Canon Law, the Parish Priest is required to appoint a Finance Committee to advise and assist him in the proper use of parish funds. There are also various requirements set down by the Diocese with regard to administration, levies and particular funds to be supported.

Offertory collections

Offertory collections at Sunday Masses are the main source of income for the running of the parish, including the maintenance of the Parish Priest. it is possible to donate to Offertory Collections by GADS (Gift Aid Declarations). This enables the Parish to reclaim Income Tax paid by the donor.

33% of Sunday Offertory Collections is payable to Diocesan funds for the support of activities affecting the Diocese as a whole. The Diocese also requires that parishes support a number of charities on a regular (usually annual) basis.

Fabric Fund

The Parish has established a capital fund to provide for the proper and regular maintenance of the church, presbytery, hall and centre. There is a retiring collection for this once a month, and various other activities as announced from time to time in the Parish Newsletter.

Simple ways of adding to Parish Funds

Apart from offertory collections, there are several ways of increasing contributions to Parish funds without undue strain on the donor. The principal methods are Gift Aid Declaration and the 100 Club.

Catholic Schools quota

There is a requirement for all parishes to support Catholic schools in the Diocese. The amount to be contributed by each parish is set by the Diocese: ours is 24% of the offertory collection.

Overseas Aid

In Stowmarket, the parish has undertaken to support charities in developing countries. In the main this is achieved by retiring collections for approved charities, individual donations and APF collecting boxes.

We are committed to support the Parish of Siem Reap, Cambodia, with which our Deanery is twinned.

Other collections

The collection on Maundy Thursday is traditionally for the poor and needy, and a number of other collections are taken up for a range of home and overseas charities, national disaster funds etc. Notice of these is given in the Parish Newsletter.

Collections required by the Diocese

The Diocese requires that parishes support the following charities on a regular (usually annual) basis:

  • Apostleship of the Sea
  • Association for the Propagation of the Faith
  • Catholic Association for Racial Justice
  • Catholic Communications Service
  • Catholic Education Service
  • Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD)
  • Day for Life
  • Diocesan Youth Service
  • The Diocese of East Anglia Dependent Priests’ Fund
  • Holy Land Shrines (on Good Friday)
  • Training our Future Priests
  • Missionary Appeal
  • Pax Christi
  • Peter’s Pence
  • St Edmund’s Fund

100 Club

A club (limited to 100 persons) exists whereby members by £2 monthly. Every three months a draw is made for four cash prizes with profits to Parish funds. Contributions to this club may also be included in Gift Aid.

Gift Aid Declaration

If you pay income tax and sign a Gift Aid Declaration form, the parish is able to recover the tax you have paid on your weekly offertory and certain other contributions. There is only one form to sign and envelopes are provided in which to put your offerings. 20% of tax reclaimed on Gift Aid is retained by the Diocese which, as the registered charity, handles the administration of the scheme.

Pastoral Group

In our scattered parish it is difficult to create a true feeling of ‘one family’. In an effort to overcome this, a Pastoral Group has been established. The Group has an Administrator. The parish is divided into a number of larger areas, each with a designated Coordinator.

Each Co-ordinator works with a number of parishioners who have agreed to be Contacts for their smaller areas. Together they make up the Pastoral Group, and are responsible for maintaining two-way communication between their areas and the rest of the parish. They look out for new parishioners and visit them, contact families with new babies, the bereaved, and any who are sick or housebound. They bring to the attention of the Parish Priest any specific problems that may arise. They are also encouraged to organise functions such as House Masses and social gatherings, all of which contribute to the development of a feeling of community. This system also helps to ensure that the sick or housebound who wish to be visited can be kept in touch with parish life on a regular basis.

The rural part of the parish is divided into eight areas, and Stowmarket town has ten districts. The Group Administrator represents the Pastoral Group on the Parish Pastoral Council.

Religious Education

Classes for Children not attending Catholic Schools

Groups of children between 5 and 10 years meet in the Parish Centre on Sunday mornings from 9.15 am to 10.10 am.

Ms Debbie Kerry (Head Catechist) can supply more information about classes or using books at home.

Dates for Catechism 2016-17

Sun 25 Sep Catechism starts
Wed 5 Oct First Parents’ Meeting at 7.30 pm in the Centre
Sun 23 Oct Half term week – no Catechism
Sun 6 Nov Children’s Mass-celebration of harvest festival/food bank/enrolment Mass at 10.15 am for all parents with children on the First Holy Communion programme.
Sun 18 Dec 10.15 am Children’s Mass and last Catechism before Christmas holidays
(Thu 22 Dec 4.00 pm, Family Crib Service)
Sun 8 Jan Catechism recommences
Wed 25 Jan Second Parents’ Meeting at 7.30 pm in the Centre
Sun 12 Feb Half term week – no Catechism
Sun 26 Feb 10.15 am Children’s Mass and World Food  Day celebration
Sat 18 Mar 11.30 am-First Reconciliation in the church
Sun 9 Apr Palm Sunday – end of term.
Sun 23 Apr Catechism recommences
Wed 26 Apr Third Parents’ Meeting at 7.30 pm in the Centre
Sun 30 Apr NO CATECHISM-bank holiday weekend
Sun 28 May NO CATECHISM-bank holiday weekend
Sat 10 Jun 3 pm practice for First Holy Communion Children & preparing the Centre for the party.
Sun 11 Jun 10.15 am First Holy Communion Mass.


Transport to and from Mass is often needed. For further information please contact the Pastoral Group Administrator.

Stowmarket and District Food Bank

Our parish was involved with other local Churches in setting up the Food Bank for Stowmarket and the surrounding area. Donations of food and other items can be placed in the red boxes in the Narthex at Our Lady’s Church or in the blue shopping trolley at St Mary’s Woolpit. Cash donations can be made through the parish. Updates are regularly provided in the parish newsletter.

Schools and Religious Education

There are no Catholic schools in the parish, and there is therefore a need to provide Religious Education for those attending non-Catholic schools. Details of classes will be found under Religious Education. There are three Catholic schools in Bury St Edmunds:

St Edmunds First School
Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds,
Tel: (01284) 755141
Head: Mrs Maria Kemble

St Louis Middle School
St Andrew’s Street South, Bury St Edmunds,
Tel: (01284) 753495
Head: Mrs Rose Heap

St Benedicts Upper School
Beeton’s Way, Bury St Edmunds,
Tel: (01284) 753512
Head: Mr Hugh O’Neil

There are also schools in the Ipswich Deanery, and information regarding these may be found on the Diocesan website.