Roman Catholic Parish of St James and St William of York Reading

St James Information Board: A new Information Board has been erected outside St James. It tells the story of the church with maps, diagrams, photographs. Visitors can now read about the architect A.W.N. Pugin, the location in the ruins of the Benedictine Abbey, the martyrdom of Bl Hugh Faringdon and our connection to the pilgrimage to Santiago Compostella in Spain. Click here for more details.

Reading Pastoral Area Sacrament of Confirmation Information is now available. For further details and application form please click here

Fr John writes ...


Today we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles gathered together. We mark the birthday of the Church, when a small group of fishermen and tax collectors were so transformed that they turned the Roman Empire upside down. That’s quite an accomplishment, it may be the greatest single act of transformation in history.

Today we have two accounts of Pentecost. The first is very dramatic – wind, fire and the gift of languages. The Gospel account suggests the Holy Spirit comes gently in a breath. The disciples are sent out on a mission, to reconcile people to God, to restore relationships in the world, to proclaim the Gospel.

We are the Church of today, we too are empowered to transform the world, to be a leaven in this town of Reading, to bring about the Kingdom of Love and Justice. We are given the Spirit to take Jesus’ saving mission to our family, our work colleagues and to the wider community.


Today we celebrate our different traditions, languages, customs, music etc but most of all our common faith in Jesus Christ. We are blessed to be part of a large multi-cultural community, possibly the most diverse of all the parishes in Reading. Today we name the different groups and cultures in our community. We begin with a procession of 6 flags. At the homily I will try and name each of the nations.

We present our new display board with 65 flags representing the 65 nations in our parish community. Our opening hymn is a hymn in different languages, once we have rehearsed it, I hope all of us will sing it. I hope you can remain on for our FOODS OF THE WORLD after Mass. Enjoy the day.


Welcome to our Parish 

St James

St William of York

Welcome to our parish website. We hope the list of services, activities, organisations and ministries will give you an overview of life in our parish community. We strive to promote a welcoming, loving and  prayerful atmosphere in our parish. We are blessed to have people from many different nations and cultures. On Pentecost Sunday we have an ‘International Mass’ to celebrate our diversity and faith heritages. Our two churches are the venues for Masses for the Goan (Konkani), Ukrainian, Ordinariate and Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) communities.

St James Church is built within the ruins of the great Benedictine Abbey, today we continue the practice of the monks to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy in Word and Sacrament. The church was built between 1837 and 1840, the architect was A W Pugin. On 14th December 2012 the community celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving on the 175th Anniversary of the Laying of the Foundation Stone and the recent restoration work in the church.  Bishop Philip Egan presided at the concelebrated Mass. To the locals in Reading this church is known as ‘the church next to the prison’.

St William of York Church was built in 1906. In addition to the people of this church community it is also home to the catholic students of Reading University and the  Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP).The catholic students have a full time Chaplain, Sabine Schwartz, the Chaplaincy is opposite to St Williams Church. The FSSP has two priests in their community, currently Fr Armand de Malleray and Fr Matthew Goddard who live nearby.

Thank you for reading our parish website. May God bless you now and always.