Catholic Parish of Sacred Heart, Southend-on-Sea and St. John Fisher, Prittlewell

The Sacraments

Celebrating Children’s Baptism in Our Parish

Baptism (sometimes known as “christening”) is the sacrament by which a baby, child or adult becomes a member of the Church.

To help parents to understand the importance of Baptism for their children, we offer a short programme of preparation, over the course of two evenings. The course will usually run four times a year in January, April, July and October.

Please pick up a registration form from either church porch to enrol on the course.

Children of 7 years or older must be prepared personally for baptism, and the usual Baptism preparation programme for parents is not suitable. Older children will normally be enrolled on the parish’s First Communion programme or Confirmation programme, depending on their age and personal situation.


First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion

In Holy Communion we receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as he promised at the Last Supper.

Our First Communion programme prepares children – and their parents – for the moment when they first celebrate this most important part of their lives as Christians. The programme normally runs from December each year and is open to children in school year 3 and above.

The timetable for this year’s programme is now available to download. Applications for this year’s programme are now closed.

The First Communion programme also includes preparation for the children’s first celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Due to the current pandemic restrictions, we have had to re-evaluate how we can proceed with First Holy Communion preparation for 2021; for example, numbers will have to be limited. We have also taken the opportunity to formalise how we cater for non-Catholic/non-baptised children. Please be assured that we are not trying to stop anyone from making their First Holy Communion but trying to ensure that families are committed to the Faith.

  • At least one parent must be a practising Catholic.Even in these difficult times we would ask the parent and child to attend Mass whenever possible.In order to help with this, Father Graham is willing to provide a special Mass after school on a Monday for those who still feel unable to attend on Sunday/Saturday.
  • If neither parent is a Catholic, at least one must follow the Sycamore course (to start in January 2021) in order to be received into the church at Easter 2021. An unbaptised child can be baptised with that parent. That child will then be able to join the First Holy Communion programme for the following year i.e. 2022.
  • Families need to live in the Parish of Sacred Heart and St John Fisher or have been attending either church on a regular basis before making an application.
  • This year we are capping the number on the course at 36.This is so that we can divide the children into 3 groups of 12 so that we can ensure social distancing in the Hall. Children should be in Year 3 or above.
  • When application forms are available there will be a date on for the return of that form that must be adhered to. First come -first served.
  • Your application will be acknowledged and you will be told if you have been accepted for the course.
  • Only those accepted will be required to attend the first Parents’ Meeting on November 16th. This, and subsequent meetings, will be in Sacred Heart Church due to numbers.
  • The first Parents’ Meeting is deemed to be the beginning of the course. If a parent misses this meeting their child will not be able to attend.
  • There will be two further Parents’ Meeting.
  • Attendance at lessons with catechists will be reduced to four. This means that the parents will have more of a responsibility to work through the booklets with their child.
  • The lessons with the catechists will reinforce the work in the books and give the children an opportunity to ask questions. These groups are limited to 12 children and will be on Sunday mornings at 9.30.
  • The lessons for children will start in January.
  • All dates will be given at the November meeting.

No latecomers will be accepted.N.B. All dates and arrangements are subject to change according to Government/Church guidelines


In Confirmation we receive a sacramental gift of the Holy Spirit. For young Catholics, Confirmation is the moment when they become full, adult members of the Church.

The next Confirmation will be open to young people in school year 10 and above.

For information and timetables please contact us.


In marriage, a man and a woman commit themselves to a life-long partnership of mutual love and faithfulness, open to the gift of children.

We offer marriage preparation for engaged couples and may celebrate wedding services in either of our two churches. Normally, at least one of the partners must be a baptised Catholic living in the parish, or have a strong connection with the parish. In some cases (especially when one partner has previously been married, either in a church or in a registry office ceremony), a Catholic marriage service may not be possible. Please contact us for advice.

Because of the time needed for preparation, we normally require at least six months notice of a wedding. We also offer marriage preparation for couples who plan to marry in a Catholic church ceremony in another country. Again, at least six months notice is needed.


In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God welcomes the return of the repentant sinner and offers the grace of forgiveness. This sacrament is also known as Confession (because it involves the sinner making a spoken confession to God through the ministry of a Priest) or Penance (because it requires an attitude of genuine repentance for wrong-doing).

Sacramental Reconciliation is available every Saturday, at St. John Fisher after the 9.00am Mass and at the Sacred Heart from 10.00-10.45am and at other times by appointment. In Lent we celebrate a Parish Reconciliation Service of music, readings and individual confessions.

Further enquiries about Baptism should be made to the Parish Priest or Parish Secretary at the Presbytery (01702 465720). Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.