The Easter Triduum

On Holy Saturday, after a day in the tomb with Christ, the Church gathers for the great Easter Vigil and Mass. If you cannot join in, in person or live-stream, try to gather as a family with a large candle, the children’s Baptismal candles, and a candle each for the adults. By their light, read some of the old
testament readings, at least the 3rd one, Exodus 14:15 – 15:1; then the Mass reading, Romans 6:3-11. Then sing a good Alleluia and read the Gospel, Mark 16:1-7. And have a late night party!

And on Easter Sunday, if you don’t get to the Morning Mass, then after
the Easter Egg hunt, or just before your Easter meal, read together the
disciples’ race, discovery, and joy: John 20: 1-9.

Here are the service sheets for each of the three-days of the Triduum. You can download and print off or simply click and view them on your iPad or Smartphone.

The first document below contains the Maundy Thursday liturgy  for the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper (7.30pm). At the end of that liturgy it says that compline will be celebrated at 9.45pm, so you will need the last, large document, for compline tonight, and for the office of Readings and Morning Prayer tomorrow and on holy Saturday. The second document is the service sheet for the good Friday celebration of the Lord’s Passion (3.00pm). The third document is for the great Vigil and Mass of Easter, Holy Saturday, 8.30pm. And the fourth document for the Mass of Easter in the day (10.30am).

Maundy Thursday (PDF)

Good Friday (Word, PDF)

Easter Vigil and Mass (Word, PDF)

Easter Morning (Word, PDF)

The Prayer of the Church for the Easter Triduum (PDF)

March Book of the Month – The President is Missing

Last month’s book of the month was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and we had a very good discussion about the book on Tuesday. This month we have gone for a political thriller and Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s The President is Missing just pipped John le Carré’s Agent Running in the Field.

Book blurb

Here’s a bit of blurb about the book:

In an unprecedented collaboration, James Patterson and President Bill Clinton have joined forces for an incendiary thrill-ride, told with gripping factual accuracy only a former President can bring.

An unprecedented collaboration between former US President Bill Clinton and bestselling thriller writer James Patterson. The President is Missingbrings together first class fictional credentials, with unique inside information on the workings of the White House and the president’s inner circle.

The President is Missing.

Amid an international crisis, the impossible has happened. A sitting U.S. President has disappeared.

What follows is the most dramatic three days any president has ever faced – and maybe the most dramatic three days in American history. And it could all really happen.

Full of details only a president could know, Bill Clinton and James Patterson have written the most authentic – and gripping – presidential thriller ever.

What people are saying

The dream team delivers big time … Clinton’s insider secrets and Patterson’s storytelling genius make this the political thriller of the decade.’ – Lee Child

A bullet train of a thriller.The Day of the Jackal for the twenty-first century.’ – A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

‘This book moves like Air Force One. Big and fast.’ – Michael Connelly, author of the Harry Bosch series

“Working on a book about a sitting President — drawing on what I know about the job, life in the White House, and the way Washington works — has been a lot of fun. And working with Jim has been terrific. I’ve been a fan of his for a very long time.”

— Bill Clinton

Our next book club

Please remember that anyone can join our Book Club. The next one will be held on Tuesday 6th April at 7.30pm. At this event we will discuss The President is Missing and select our next book.

Buying the book

  • You can buy this book from Waterstones, WHSmith or other bookshops in Cardiff
  • It can be purchased quite cheaply on Kindle (around £3.99 I believe)
  • If you type the title in to Google and click the Shopping tab, you can find quite a few sellers (New and used)
  • If Amazon is out of stock, check Amazon “New” or “Used” options from other sellers through Amazon. Kindle is another option. Waterstones and Blackwells sell it as do many suppliers on eBay.

Can anyone join the Book Club?

Of course! To join the St Helen’s Book Club, please click this link. You can then enter your details and you will be sent joining instructions. Alternatively, you can always email Canon John on

Ash Wednesday

A Liturgy for the Home

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a day on which Catholics traditionally observe fasting and abstinence. This means resisting eating between meals (fasting) and avoiding eating meat (abstaining). Many Catholics also attend Mass or have special prayer liturgies when they receive ashes on their foreheads. This year you may be celebrating a liturgy with your family at home.

Please follow the service by opening (downloading) the Ash Wednesday Service or even printing it off.

Preparing for Mass Online

St. Helen’s streams Mass on Saturday at 6.30 pm and Sundays at 10:30am and on other days, please refer to the Newsletter for details, dates and times.

First, please be minded that there is no obligation to watch a streamed Mass given the restrictions associated with COVID-19; however, watching and praying with us is a wonderful way to stay connected to your Catholic community here in Caerphilly and the surrounding area.

A word of caution: Attending Mass online is really hard since we are not in our usual sacred space and without all of its beautiful elements. So be patient with yourself; it is worth the effort!

How to prepare to have the best possible experience


Dress as you normally would for Mass. Try to distinguish between your normal about the house/odd job clothes as this will help identify this time as a special time.


  • Prepare a special place on which to set your phone, tablet, or computer
  • Set out a crucifix or other religious imagery.
  • Light a candle or two if you have one.
  • Spread a little tablecloth on which to set your device.
  • It might be helpful to sit on something more like a dining room chair rather than dad’s recliner or the family couch.
  • Create a still and quiet environment as much as possible.

Mind and heart

  • Use a service book if you have one or an app like Magnificat or iBreviary to follow along with the readings. Or simply google “catholic mass readings.”
  • Whilst challenging, avoid distractions as best as you can just as you would do at Mass in the chapel.

Attending Mass

Switch off all radios, TVs and block incoming calls to mobile phones, maybe consider taking the landline phone “off the hook.”

  • Participate just as you would when attending Mass (stand, sit, kneel, repeat the proper responses, etc.)
  • Instead of receiving Holy Communion, make an act of spiritual communion such as this one composed by the 18th century saint, St. Alphonsus Liguori:

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

  • Once Mass is completed, spend a few moments in silence trying to recall something from the scripture readings or the homily, something you can take with you and even share with others.

Celebrating Advent as a Family

The Family Life Worker and the Family Life Commission for the Archdiocese of Cardiff have created a booklet booklet to inspire you to celebrate the full season of Advent and that this in turn brings you joy whilst creating shared memories that your family will treasure.

Advent means ‘arrival’ or ‘presence’. In the season of Advent we prepare to celebrate not only Jesus’ birth but his presence in the family, in the love we share.

We recall the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future with hope. We await the coming of the light that will shine in the darkness, shining light on our path of peace.

In prepration for Advent

In preparation for Advent

These activities could form a family fun weekend to ‘kick start’ Advent, whilst creating some shared family memories; though you can also dip in and out of these during Advent…. Whatever suits your family.

  • Making an Advent wreath
  • Making of the empty manager
  • Making an Advent paper chain
  • Preparing a Jesse tree

Have you liked our Facebook Page?

Our St Helen’s Facebook page now has over 500 likes and over 600 followers. Of all the digital channels we use, it is without doubt the one with the most regular activity.

We use it for the following:

👍 To let people know that Mass on a Sunday is about go live

👍 To let you know the latest guidelines about attending church

👍 So Canon John can offer up his daily reflections

👍 Where Canon John can share photos

👍 Where we can notify you of online events: Book Club, Bible Study and Coffee Mornings

👍 Where we can let you know about news from the diocese and even further afield

👍 To let you know that the parish newsletter has been added to this site

👍 And much more

Like our page today: