A celebration of carols and a confirmation at Caritas St Joseph’s


On Saturday 9 December, students, family members, carers, and supporters, gathered at the chapel at St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre in Hendon, for an extra special carol service. The service was led by Students at Caritas St Joseph’s, our Lifelong Learning Centre for adults with intellectual disabilities, together with Bishop Paul McAleenan, Fr David Knight, our chaplain and Deacon Neville Dyckhoff, our deacon.

There was a festive mood, despite it being more than two weeks before Christmas – Advent is certainly seen as a time of joyful expectation at Caritas St Joseph’s. On this Saturday evening there was an extra reason to celebrate, as a member of the Caritas St Joseph’s community was to receive her sacrament of Confirmation.

The service began with a procession which included the all the main characters from the Nativity story – Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds and wise men.  The students involved took up their places in a tableau on the altar and were there as a visual focus throughout the service.  They also helped lead the carols that were sung throughout the service.

Then the focus turned to Kayleigh McHale, the young lady who had prepared for her confirmation with the support of the family link worker at St Joseph’s, Paul Christian.

Kayleigh had decided not to take up her reserved seat at the front, preferring instead to stay at the back of the chapel. After she answered “I do” to all the statements of our faith, Bishop Paul took the sacramental oil of Chrism to where she was sitting, and confirmed her there. At Caritas St Joseph’s we always meet people where they are, just as Jesus does. 

Kayleigh celebrating with the Bishop, and with service manager Gail Williams, after her confirmation.

After a joyful conclusion to the service, all were invited into the Lifelong Learning Centre for mulled wine, juice, and mince pies. There was also the opportunity to buy crafts made by the students in their classes, such as wreaths and table decorations.

Caritas St Joseph’s currently has 203 students on its courses, from all faiths and none. But for those who are part of the Catholic church, we also support their faith journey and celebrate all the feasts and milestones of our faith. 

Our outreach team has supported 23 young people through their journeys to the sacraments this year. You can read more about this here



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