Our Vision

engage in our community

The inequality experienced in the world today has left the society in a desperate state where millions are still struggling to cater for their basic human needs. The Church therefore continues to position herself as a pillar of support for the less privileged in our community, country, and also leading global initiative on serving the needs of the poor and needy in our society at large. Caring for the poor is demonstration of our faith and our response to God’s greatest commandment which is Love of God and love of neighbour. (Matthew 22: 37-39, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27).

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis on Evangelii Gaudium  states; “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid”. He goes on to admonish the Christian Church as follows; “In all places and circumstances, Christians, with the help of their pastors, are called to hear the cry of the poor. Seeing their poverty, hearing their cries and knowing their sufferings, we are scandalised because we know that there is enough food for everyone and that hunger is the result of a poor distribution of goods and income”.

In line with this, our Parish believe that caring for the poor is an essential part of our faith and practical believes. The parish continues to support this course in various ways and have set up various institutions to cater for the concerns of the poor and the needy in our Society.

Please read more on these institutions and events via the links below to understand our commitments as a Parish towards responding to this clarion call for care, love and compassion for the less privileged in our society.

  1. CAFOD: Inspired by our Catholic faith, CAFOD’s vision is to see a world transformed to reflect the Kingdom of God. A world where all have access to the same opportunities. Where the rights and dignity of each and every person is respected and upheld. We know that the issues are complex and immense but by inspiring the Catholic Communities in England and Wales to challenge global poverty, we believe we can help bring about this transformation.
2. Food to the homeless

3. Support for Refugees

4. Support for other Parishes in Africa

5. Donation to Charity

6. Bed for a night


taking care of gods creation

We are committed as a Parish  to remind our members and other interested members of the public of the responsibility we share towards preserving, nurturing and protecting God’s creation in the world we live in. Due to man’s actions and inactions, the world is now faced with insurmountable challenges with respect to the quality of life, degradation of human dignity, climate change, lack of access  to clean water, loss of biodiversity, pollution, explosion of plastic waste, society breakdown and global inequality.
This modern day challenge is encapsulated in the Pope Francis’ encyclical letter and publication; “LAUDATO SI” ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME in 2015. On this publication, the Pope gives us a very thought provoking view on creation. He stressed that creation has often suffered because of humanity’s sins and failings, stressing that we must take care of it because as Christians, we see signs of hope in Christ’s Resurrection in nature every day.

The Pope echos the reflection of numerous scientists, philosophers, theologians, civic groups, all of which have enriched the Church’s thinking on the concern the world is facing and challenges us to reflect on these issues which all of us find disturbing. The Holy Father appeals to us to accept the challenge of protecting our common home as an immediate priority and bring the the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development to protect God’s creation.

We share this vision in our Parish and have adopted measures that will constantly remind of us of the duty we owe ourselves, our fellow beings and the world at large towards making the world a better place to live. Our focus is to key in to the suggestions made by the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as highlighted by our Holy Father the Pope on “LAUDATO SI”. Bartholomew urges us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with  a spirit of sharing, and asceticism which entails learning to give and not simply give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion.

Please read more on how the Church is taking a leadership role in this initiative to support this vision in line the activities we have undertaken as listed below;

  1. “LAUDATO SI” Action group and its monthly publications on how to care for our common home”.

The first campaign focused on reducing plastics kicked off in October 2018 and will be followed by other lofty initiatives rolled out on monthly basis.


The Church continues to remain a vital institution that helps her members, believers and non-believers alike in their journey towards true discipleship. True, Joyful and Intentional discipleship has become a key focus for the universal Church in 2018 in her effort to move the Church from her current “maintenance” state to “missionary” status. Bishop Philip  (Bishop of the Portsmouth Diocese, UK) “Bringing People closer to Jesus Christ through his Church” states as the first main priority.
“That we enable immeasurably more people to hear the Gospel afresh and to come to know, serve and love Jesus Christ in the saving communion of His Catholic Church to that, persevering in faith, hope and charity, they may one day reach the happiness of Heaven”. Our Parish keys into this vision and encourage community living amongst our members in order to cater for each other’s needs and aspirations towards true discipleship. There is a call to seek out and draw in the unchurched and the unbelieving and to form and support existing and new ‘creative apostolates’ according to Bishop Philip.

Our Parish has now signed up to Divine Renovation Association which offers podcasts and regular coaching for our leadership Team and Parish EST group.

Fr John and a group will be attending the Divine Renovation conference in Birmingham on 7th– 8th February 2019. Establishing a community of joyful and missionary disciples of Jesus is very essential as we seek to to spread the Gospel to various corners of the earth as Christ commands us to do. (Mark 16: 15-16). We encourage our parishioners and other interested volunteers to be missionary focused and also urge everyone to bring people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church.

There are various events and activities the Church has instituted to promote this vision. Details are available via the links below.

  1. Alpha
  2. Connect group
  3. Name Badge Sunday: An initiative aimed at creating a sense of belonging, to strength the bond in the community so that parishioners will know each other by name.
  4. Come back for Christmas.

Bring people closer to Christ

The ultimate goal for us Christians is to maintain a healthy and good relationship with Christ. Relationship with Christ entails, accepting Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour. Knowing that Christ is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6), it is important therefore for the Church of Christ to serve as an avenue through which people can be united and reunited with Christ, our personal Lord and Saviour.

Having this close relationship with Christ not only strengthens our beliefs but keeps us rooted in His teachings and precepts as we strive to gain eternal redemption in His Glory. As a Parish and one body in Christ, aligning our actions to fulfill this mission is a call to duty and various activities have been undertaken to help our members and interested members of the public respond to this clarion call to embrace Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. We are constantly reminded of the difference Christ’s presence in our lives can make and we encourage everyone to seek this deeper relationship with God in their day-to-day lives.

According Bishop Philip (Bishop of the Porthsmouth Diocese, UK) on the Portsmouth People Magazine, July – September 2018 edition; “ Each person, each School and every Ministry within the Dioceses is called to [help Catholics] develop life-long discipleship, spiritual growth and a living relationship with Jesus Christ, above all, in the Holy Eucharist” unquote.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Ephesian 4: 13) and in His presence, there is Joy and fullness of redemption (Psalm 16: 11).

Please read more on the events organized by the Parish in support of this vision below;

  1. Alpha Course: This is a significant event that is aimed at moving practicing Catholics into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to supporting them in responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Connect Groups: This is an ongoing initiative aimed at forming small intentional communities led by 2-3 leaders to support people in journey of faith.
  3. The Homily: Fr John our Parish priest usually reflects with us on the Sunday Gospel and then moves on to share some insights  and exhortation in line with the Vision and Strategy for change in the Parish.


eucharist celebration

Celebrating the Holy Eucharist is one the sacrament central to our Christian beliefs and dates back to the very early days of the Christian Church, when Christ celebrated the Passover feast with the disciples at the last Supper. The Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist is our response to Christ call as he enjoins us to do this in remembrance of HIM, (Matthew 26: 26-28, Mark 14: 22-24, Luke 22:18-20).
Canon John O’shea, the Parish priest of St James and St William of Yok on the letter written for the First Holy Communion parents states; ”The Eucharist, the Mass, is the Thanksgiving meal of the Catholic community. When we gather around the ‘table of the Lord’, we recall the great things God has done for his people, the greatest being the gift of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

‘The Eucharist, the Mass is a memorial of the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection. This Holy sacrifice is both a commemoration of a past event and a celebration of it here and now.

The Eucharist, the Mass is central to our Faith and the heart of our Church, for it is, above all Christ – with – us personally.  Christ is in the midst of us, teaching us, as he taught those gathered around him at the table of the Last Supper in the upper room. It is therefore an event of God’s people today gathered around Christ.” unquote.

As a Parish, we are committed to providing our Parishioners the needed support to commune with the Lord through the celebration of our daily and Sunday masses, and we encourage all Christians, (Catholics and non-Catholics alike) to celebrate the Eucharist with us during the daily mass celebration. As a measure of support, the Parish continues to promote this vision through the propagation of the good news about the Living Bread (Eucharist) John 6:58-59 and we encourage everyone to be involved through these activities;

  • Preparation for Holy Communion: 

Discern your talents

We are all called as Christians to demonstrate our faith in all spheres of life. This involves taking practical steps towards contributing our quota for the common good of mankind, at the family level, the Church and even the Society at large. As every human creature is unique, we are blessed with various talents that we all can harness to aid our worship, impact positively on our fellow humans and build a society where love, peace, harmony and prosperity abounds.

As St. Paul puts it in Romans 12:5-8 “ in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully”

The Parish therefore encourages her members to go through a self-discovery process, that will help us in our continuous search for self identity, self acknowledgement, self-development and self actualization. The following programmes are therefore accessible to our Church members and other interested members of the public who are eager to know about their identity in God’s Kingdom here on earth and in heaven and are willing to do their best to help God’s creature using their God’s given talents.

Please read more on these events organised by the Parish of St. James and St. Williams of York in support of these vision.

1. Senior Leadership Team: This is the decision-making team, focused on excellence and transforming lives.
2. Parish Evangelisation Strategy Team (The Parish Council): This group consists of 12 members and meets each month with focus on strategic planning for the long term and they try to discern what is the will of the Holy Spirit for the Parish and identify programmes (internal and external) that our members can attend to help discern their personal gifts and talents.

Called and Gifted is a process that helps people to understand better what God wants them to do with their life. It helps people grow in their personal relationship with Christ through discerning their personal charism that they have been given for the service of others. A charism is a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit to give us power to represent Christ and to be a channel of God’s goodness to others.

Called and Gifted has three stages:

FIRST STAGE: Teaching.

SECOND STAGE: One-to-One Spiritual Conversations.

THIRD STAGE: Launch Meeting, First small group, Second small group, Third small group, Take Stock, and What next meeting.

If you would like to know more about Called and Gifted please visit the Diocesan website at;

Website: www.portsmouthdiocese.org.uk/calledandgifted

Email[email protected]



Get In Touch

St James Reading Church

Forbury Road,
Reading, RG1 3FD,
Tel: (44) 01189 574171

St William of York Church

46 Upper Redlands Road,
Reading, RG1 5JP,
Tel: (44) 01189 574171

St James and St William of York, Reading Parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust Registered charity 246871