If you haven’t been to church in a long time or have never been to St Alban’s
before, don’t panic! We know that joining a church service for the first time can
be a daunting experience for some people but we will do our best to make you
feel comfortable and welcome.
The following information may answer some of the questions you have before
you join us at Mass.
Where do I park?
We have a small car park at the bottom of Hall Street, opposite the church. This
can fill up quickly so many parishioners prefer to park in one of the local
municipal car parks and walk the short distance to church.
What should I wear?
We don’t have a dress code! Wear whatever you feel comfortable in – you don’t
have to wear a suit or a hat!
What sort of people will be there?
All sorts! We are proud our parish community is a diverse mix of people. You will
see people of all ages, different nationalities, families and singles. Everyone is
Can I bring my children?
Children are always welcome; you will find children at all our Masses. They can
sit with you or if they are being restless, you may want to move into ‘Calming
Corner’, at the back right-hand side of the church. During term-time, at 9:30 am
Mass, children are invited to join one of two groups for their own celebration;
they gather in church at the beginning of Mass and return later during the
What happens when I get there?
There will be someone at the door to greet you and offer you a copy of our
weekly newsletter. S/he will show you where to find the book that gives the
prayers we will be saying during Mass. At some Masses, you may also need a
hymnbook; someone will offer you one when you arrive.
Where do I sit?
You can sit wherever you like. There are no ‘special’ seats.
Will I have to sing?
No! We won’t mind if you’d rather listen. Many of us love singing at church and
you may find that you recognise some of the hymns.
Will I have to give money to a collection?
During the Masses at the weekend, there is a collection but don’t feel
embarrassed if you chose not to put anything in the collection basket. We have
many people who regularly attend St Alban’s who contribute directly through
their bank accounts, so you won’t be the only person passing on the collection
How will I know when to sit, stand or kneel?
It may be a little bit confusing the first time you join us but just follow what
everyone else is doing. If you don’t feel comfortable kneeling, it is fine to sit. If
you may find this leaflet helpful in explaining what is happening at different
parts of the Mass.
What do I do when people go for Communion?
You can find out about receiving Communion in this information sheet. If you are
not able to take Communion, you are still very welcome to join the queue up to
the altar and receive a blessing; just put your hand on your opposite shoulder to
show the priest or minister that you want a blessing. If you prefer, you can stay
in your seat and use the time for quiet reflection.
How long will Mass last?
Sunday Mass can last about an hour; during the week, it may be shorter. Don’t
feel you have to rush off afterwards. From about 10:30 am on Sunday, the parish
centre (it’s the low rise building on the left hand side of the road opposite the
church) is open for people to get together and have a catch up. It is a good way to
make new friends over a cup of tea. You will also notice that many people stand
around outside church after Mass having a natter. Don’t be surprised if someone
stops to say ‘hello’ to you.
Is it OK for me to come along if I’m not sure what I believe?
Yes, it is! By coming along to Mass you will not be pressurised into making a
commitment or quizzed about your beliefs. We are a welcoming community that
believes everyone can have a relationship with God. In time, you may be
interested in joining our Alpha Course, which introduces the basics of the
Christian faith in a relaxed, informal, setting with others exploring God for the
first time. We also have a course (called the RCIA) that runs every year for
anyone who is considering joining the Catholic Church.
We know we may have missed out something that is important to you. Please ask
someone at church or speak to one of the priests – no question is ever ‘silly’!
We look forward to seeing you soon!