August Book of the Month – The Alchemist

On Tuesday we had our third book club meeting and chose yet another book for the month ahead. This month we will be reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It’s a bit shorter than previous selections but is a still a big hitter in terms of book sales.

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide.

“Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book – a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is more to life than his humble home and his flock. One day he finds the courage to follow his dreams into distant lands, each step galvanised by the knowledge that he is following the right path: his own. The people he meets along the way, the things he sees and the wisdom he learns are life-changing.

With Paulo Coelho’s visionary blend of spirituality, magical realism and folklore, The Alchemist is a story with the power to inspire nations and change people’s lives.”

Lockdown Diaries – Episode 1

On Monday evening Father John presented the first instalment of our Lockdown Diaries. Dawn, Nick, Sandra, Johanna and Kieron gave us some insight into how life has been for the last two months. Dawn’s story is particularly powerful.

We do hope you enjoy and we plan to do these every week. We have got a few people lined up for the coming weeks but if you’d like to take part, let us know by messaging us on Facebook or emailing:


Connecting with friends & family


Sunday saw the first of our live transmissions of mass live on Facebook – albeit with one or two hiccups which we are confident will be rectified for next week. The week before we even streamed mass live on YouTube. For all of us these are very difficult times and for many of us it means that we cannot meet up with friends and family. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t get to see them. In many ways we are very fortunate to be living at a time when we have very advanced technology to help us connect with friends and family around the world – all we need is a laptop or iPad or phone and the technology does the rest.

With that in mind we thought we would compile a list of applications that you can use to stay connected via both audio and video.


WhatsApp is one of the most popular mobile applications out there and it allows individuals to send messages (text, image and video) to friends, family and even work colleagues. You can use it to message individually or as part of a group. So, you may have a family group or a confirmation parents group or even a book club group.

WhatsApp can be used on a iPhone or Android device, a laptop/desktop, iPad/ tablet or on the new Facebook Portal device. It’s deal for sending messages and connecting to friends and family via video. For video calls with one or two or even a few this app is ideal.

More information:


Facetime is a great application to use if you’re looking to connect with people on Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iMac or Macbooks). As the name implies it is usually used for making face-to-face video calls but you can also make audio calls. It is without doubt the simplest app to use and just requires you to add in a person’s telephone number (Apple obviously) or email address and click 📞.


More details: Facetime


Zoom is definitely one of the better platforms for video meetings and especially if you want to connect to more than 2 or 3. How about arranging to meet up for a bible study session? Or take your book club online? Or how about doing a pub quiz? Or just arrange to have a virtual beer or coffee online with friends? Zoom is fantastic for all this and much more. Though you can use it on smartphones and tablets (like the iPad), the quality/experience is better on a laptop or desktop computer.

The free version offers people the ability to speak to others for up to 40 minutes. All you do is set up a meeting and send your friends an invite 40 minutes not long enough? Just set up another meeting! As with all of these applications always exercise caution in terms of who you send invites to and don’t publicise this invite.

More details:

Other applications you can check out are Skype, Google Hangouts and House Party.

If you have any questions, just send us an email.

Share the Journey

Photo: L’Osservatore Romano

cafodWar, persecution, natural disaster and poverty force millions of people from their homes. Most come from poor countries and seek safety in poor countries nearby.

We cannot turn away. These are human beings, with hopes, fears, desires and stories to share, just like each one of us.

The Church worldwide is committed to sharing the journey of people on the move. World leaders must be moved to do the same as they negotiate two global agreements on refugees and migration between now and autumn 2018.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ special concern for migrants and refugees, we invite you to join the Share the Journeycampaign. Alongside Catholics worldwide, we call on governments to agree on two global ‘compacts’ which place the human dignity of people on the move at their heart.

You are invited to the hall this Thursday, June 7th, at 7pm, to discuss and become part of a proposed walk in support of the refugees and to respond to the ongoing Crisis of which Pope Francis is calling us, and all the world, to become aware.

Further information can be found on the Cafod site.

Remembering Genocides – and the Power of Words


Once a year we remember those who suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of the Jewish holocaust. Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 falls on Saturday 27 January.

In the UK and around the world, 27 January has become known as Holocaust Memorial Day, a day when we remember all those countless numbers of people who have been affected by genocide. Why 27 January? This is the date when, in 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the concentration camps, was liberated from the Nazis. Six million Jews were known to have been murdered by them, but the actual number could far exceed this. However, Holocaust Memorial Day is even more than remembering with sorrow the countless numbers of Jews as well as gypsies, gays and mentally and physically handicapped people who were killed by the Nazis. It is when we remember also all the genocides that have taken place since the second World War. On this day we call and pray for an end to racial violence.

To mark 27 January, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust chooses a different theme each year, relevant to the Holocaust and subsequent genocide. This year the theme is The Power of Words. In these days of “fake news”, it is important to acknowledge the potency of words, both for evil and for good. It is important to remember those who have perished and to flag up a warning for the future, so that such atrocities will no longer disfigure humanity.

The national event to mark the Holocaust Memorial Day will be held in London, but all around the country thousands of events will be held locally – in town halls, schools, churches. See the interactive map for an activity near you on the website of The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.


The Power of Words 175.88 kB<
Resource produced by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust exploring the the theme "The Power of Words"


Catholic-Jewish relations

St Helen’s Church Website Has An International Reach

When we consider our website we think that it appeals primarily to people from Caerphilly and possibly the Diocese. And largely this is true. However, a close look at our stats reveals that people are looking at our website from all over the world. If we look at the last 3 months, we can see that we have received visitors from 41 countries. And a look at the stats for the past year indicates that we have reached 62 countries. So, you could say that we are trying to take the Gospel to all parts of the world!

Last Quarter
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Past Year
World Stats for Past Year

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