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

Diocesan Pastoral Council 

Our Parish Priest – Canon John O’Shea

Fr. John has been with us since the beginning of 2010. Prior to this he was based at the City Centre parish of St Joseph and St Edmunds in Southampton for ten years, a parish similar to our own with a large multi-cultural community. He is remembered for his work with the Southampton City Council, his involvement with the different faith communities and his loyalty to ‘The Saints’ team. Fr John was born in Cork, Ireland, ordained priest at Carlow College in 1969. Early on his ministry in the diocese took him to Guernsey, C.I. for a spell of 8 years, where he is remembered for his exploits with Guernsey Rugby Club. 

For the past few years the parish has organised an International Mass which includes readings, prayers and hymns in different languages. It celebrates the faith and culture of the community which is largely from Africa, India , Poland, the Philippines and South America. The Mass is followed by ‘Foods of the World’ . The community at St James is possibly the most diverse Catholic Community in the Reading area.


Parish Finance & Property Committer

Archives and Heritage Group 

Liturgy of the Word for Children 

Participate in prayer and worship with the following prayer groups…

  • The Good Shepherd Charismatic Group - 2nd and 4th Wednesdays 7.30pm – 9.00pm in the Dominic Barberi Room at St. James led by Liz Tanner.
  • Rosary is recited after 12.15pm Mass
  • Eucharistic Adoration - Fridays after 12.15pm Mass until 2.00pm

International Mass – Pentecost Sunday 

Parish Priest

Union of Catholic Mothers 

For 11 years he worked in the parishes and schools of the diocese. He was responsible for the introduction of the parish based sacramental programmes and RCIA in the diocese. Many remember him for the training courses for Minsters of Holy Communion when this ministry was being introduced to the parishes in our diocese. Today, Fr. John’s ministry takes him to Reading Prison and is now very much part of our parish family community. These days he has returned to following the oval ball, he is now a season ticket holder with London Irish.

Reading Pastoral Area Evangelisation Strategy Team

The parish is blessed by a number of choirs and competent musicians. The Director of Music is Marius Hopley and the organist Julia Hadariova.

The St James choir leads the singing at the 11am Mass. Choir practices are held on Sunday mornings at 10am. New members are always welcome.

The Diocesan Pastoral Council was established in 2000. In communion with the Bishop, the purpose of the council is to discern the Diocesan Pastoral Strategy required for the proclamation of the Gospel and the promotion of Christ’s Kingdom. Membership of the council consists of the Council of Priests and lay representatives from the Pastoral Areas of the Diocese.  

The Parish Archives and Heritage Group recently catalogued many archives. For the first time, they open up St James to visitors during Heritage Open Days in September each year.

The parish is served by an active Stewardship Group which recently arranged a series of six talks on Stewardship, ‘Gifted by God’, at St Williams between Easter and Pentecost. The group is committed to introducing the parish community into the Stewardship process as recommended by the Diocese in its Diocesan Pastoral Plan GO OUT AND BEAR FRUIT.

One of the members attended the International Stewardship Conference in Chicago in September 2012.

The seven parishes in Reading (including St Anne’s, Caversham) have committed themselves to working together and co-ordinating the various pastoral initiatives and projects in Reading. Our parish is represented by Cynthia Senthil and Fr John.Date of next meeting: TBC

St Joseph's Lodge
64 Upper Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5JT 

Tel: (0118) 926 8943

The aim of taking the children out of the Mass is to help them to understand the message of the Gospel in a way that is more appropriate for their age. This is done through drawing, singing and question and answer sessions. The children return for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The Liturgy is aimed at children of primary school age. Secondary School pupils are welcome to act as helpers and leaders with the group. Children under four are welcome but must be accompanied by a parent or carer.Liturgy of the Word for Children is offered at the 9am Mass at St Williams and 11 am Mass at St James. Volunteers are wanted. Contact Fr Johnor the Parish Office on 957 4171 or e-mail

“Anyone who welcomes one little child like this in my name welcomes me”. Mt, 18:5

St James and St William of York Parish is committed to living God’s word by welcoming all children, young people and vulnerable adults into our community to be cared for in a safe environment by people whom they can trust. It is, therefore, the duty of the Parish community, and particularly those who work with them, to prevent the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of all children, young people and vulnerable adults with whom they come into contact.

In our Parish community, we do this by ensuring that:

  • The Parish Safeguarding Team has overall responsibility for Safeguarding issues within the parish and reports to the Parish Priest.
  • Children’s and Young People’s groups are properly staffed by adults who are aware of the correct procedures and that parental permission is obtained for participation where appropriate.
  • All groups working with children and young people will be registered with the Safeguarding Team and will follow the guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults as laid down by the Diocese and the Parish.
  • Everyone who works with children, young people and vulnerable adults will complete an application form in which they agree to screening by an appropriate body and that all forms are held securely by the Parish Office.
  • All volunteers, paid workers and anyone who works with children, young people and vulnerable adults know that they should bring any concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Person or, in their absence, a member of the Parish Safeguarding Team.The name and contact details of the Designated Safeguarding Person are displayed on the notice boards of both churches, and are thus available to all members of the parish. 

As part of our parish commitment, it is the responsibility of the Parish Priest and the Parish Safeguarding Team to safeguard the welfare of the adults who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults in our parish, by ensuring that they receive appropriate guidance, support and training.It is a diocesan requirement that each parish have a designated and trained Safeguarding Officer and also a Safeguarding Policy. Ginika Okoya & Kate Shah are the Parish Safeguarding Officers. Any parishioner wishing to speak in confidence about the protection of children is advised to contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Commission  on 023 9281 6396 or by phoning the Parish Safeguarding safe line on 07906 073025.

The Parish Repository at St James is run by a team of volunteers and is open after all Masses.

In stock are Rosaries, statues, medals, water fonts, holy pictures, Crucifixes and other religious items. We have a good selection of books, bibles, missals, prayer books, CTS pamphlets, various occasions' cards and Mass cards. Greetings cards for various occasions are also on sale.For more information contact Carol Wood via the Parish Office on 957 4171 or e-mail

This group offers their professional expertise to advise on financial and administrative affairs of the parish including management and maintenance of parish properties.

The members of the Parish Finance & Property Committee are freely appointed by the Parish Priest to use their professional expertise to advise him on any and all financial and administrative affairs concerning the parish, including the management and maintenance of parish properties.Date of next meeting: TBC

Parish Choirs 

Altar Serving

Chris Knollys from English Martyrs Church and Fr John  are active members of Reading Interfaith. 

Parish Stewardship Group 

The ministry of assisting the Priest and congregation at Mass is of ancient origin. In our parish, this ministry is open to any adult who has received the Sacraments of Initiation or any child who has received his or her First Holy Communion. Those who have completed one year of serving in our parish are invited to be enrolled as members of the Archconfraternity of St Stephen. Training sessions for altar-serving are offered once a year.For more information contact Fr John.

The UCM is open to all women, married or single. Meetings of an educational nature are open to all parishioners, men and women. The group meets fortnightly on a Thursday at St James after the 12.15pm Mass.

For more information contact Carole Van de Velde via the Parish Office on 957 4171 or e-mail​

Reading St James Foundation
St James' Foundation meets roughly every fortnight during school term time. Most meetings take place after the 12:15 on a Thursday, but from time to time, meetings are changed either to an evening meeting to enable non-members to come, or to a different location for a special purpose. For more details or to join the St James Foundation please click here.

For more information contact Maggie Burton or Carole Van de Velde via the Parish Office on 0118 957 4171.

Prayer Groups 

Disclaimer & Copyright       Privacy         Terms and Conditions       

The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871

Parish Safeguarding Officer 

People & Groups

Every year the parish raises funds for an overseas charity and another charity in the local area.  To make a donation or support the Parish Project or to join the co-ordinating group, contact Fr John or the Parish Office on 957 4171 or e-mail 

Parish Project 

Sisters of St Marie Madeleine Postel 


The Folk Group leads the singing at 9.00am and 11.00am Masses on 1st Sunday of the month. The Filipino choir leads the singing at St James at the 6.00pm Mass on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.

St Williams choir leads the singing at the 9am Mass. Choir practices are held after Mass.  New members are always welcome.For more information contact Fr John, Marius Hopley or the  Parish Office. Tel: 957 4171 or e-mail