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An introduction to our Parish Life at our Lady and St. Joseph, Kirkwall

Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

For Catholics, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the whole Christian life. It is the vital centre of all that the Church is and does, because at its heart is the real presence of the crucified, risen and glorified Lord, continuing and making available his saving work among us.

In celebrating the Eucharist we are showing our communion with the church and each other in the love of Our Lord. It is the public face of our faith in which we come together as God’s people to witness the priest, ‘in persona Christi’, transforming the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. This is called transubstantiation and can only be performed by validly ordained priests who invoke the Holy Spirit during consecration by speaking the words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper: “This is my body which will be given up for you …. This is the cup of my blood…”.

Guidelines for receiving Holy Communion

Father Bala Celebrating Mass

For Catholics
The climax of participating in the Mass is receiving Holy Communion, in obedience to Christ's command. "Take this...and eat it. This is my Body, which will be given up for you... ". In order to be properly disposed to receive Holy Communion communicants should not be conscious of grave sin, should have fasted for one hour (or 15 minutes if sick) and seek to live in peace and charity with their neighbours. Those conscious of grave sin must first be reconciled to God and the Church through the sacrament of Penance. A frequent reception of this often neglected Sacrament is recommended to all.

For other Christians
Other Christians are welcome to attend Mass and other Catholic Services and join in the prayers. It is however a consequence of the sad divisions in Christianity that we cannot share Holy Communion with you. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is an action of the celebrating community expressing its oneness in faith, life and worship with the Catholic Church throughout the world. Reception of Holy Communion by Christians not fully united with us would imply a oneness which does not yet exist, and for which we all of us must pray.

Those who are not able to receive Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with Jesus, the Lord, and with one another.

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

Exposition of The Blessed sacrament is intended to acknowledge Christ’s marvellous presence in the sacrament. Exposition invites us to the spiritual union with Him that culminates in sacramental communion. Thus it fosters well the worship which is due to Christ in spirit and in truth. Devotion to the Eucharist has its origin in the sacrifice of the Mass, where bread and wine are truly changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Such devotion should lead the faithful back to the Mass with renewed, invigorated and increased spirituality. The faithful thank God for the gifts given to man through Jesus Christ, and are thus drawn further into the life and love of the Body of Christ which is the Church. From this they can also draw help and inspiration as they continue to strive to follow Christ more closely in their daily lives.

In our Parish, Exposition takes place once per week, 30 minutes prior to a weekday Mass. Please check the Parish Newsletter for day and time.

Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist

Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist

Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are trained and commissioned to assist the priest at Mass.

In exceptional circumstances, for example when the priest is not available, these Ministers take Holy Communion to our sick, housebound and hospitalised parishioners.

Liturgy of the Word

The Lectionary

Parish members assist in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass by reading the appointed scriptures and by leading the Parish in offering the Prayers of the Faithful.

Children's Liturgy

St Joseph and Our Lord

The children have their own Liturgy of the Word during Sunday Mass led by our Catechists.


For he who sings praise, does not only praise, but also praises joyfully; he who sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him whom he is singing about/to/for.

"Qui enim cantat laudem, non solum laudat, sed etiam hilariter laudat; qui cantat laudem, non solum cantat, sed et amat eum quem cantat". (attributed to St. Augustine)

Do you love to sing God's praises? So do we. Hymns and the Ordinary of the Mass (main parts) are usually sung each Sunday.


The Rosary is the story of the New Testament. Through the beads we follow the life of Jesus and Mary. We follow Jesus from the moment the Holy Spirit came down on Mary, through His childhood, His cruel death on the cross, the joy of Easter when He rose from the dead, to the day He ascended to Heaven in glory. We follow Mary from the day the Archangel Gabriel came to ask her to become the Mother of Christ, to the day she was crowned Queen of Heaven.

" ... At the same time our heart can embrace in the decades of the Rosary all the events that make up the lives of individuals, families, nations, the Church, and all mankind. Our personal concerns and those of our neighbour, especially those who are closest to us, who are dearest to us. Thus the simple prayer of the Rosary marks the rhythm of human life." Pope St. John Paul II.

In our Parish, we pray the Rosary together once per week, 30 minutes prior to the Mass (usually on Monday). Please check the Parish Newsletter to confirm day and time.

Care of the Sanctuary and Church

Our Lady & St. Joseph Church & Sanctuary

A parishioner looks after the altar linens; a team looks after the floral decorations and church cleanliness.


Parishioners and visitors alike are invited to enjoy tea, coffee and biscuits in the Parish Room after Sunday Mass.

This is your opportunity to catch up with news from other parishioners. If you are a visitor, enquire of the locals what to see and do during your stay. We are always happy to help make your stay enjoyable.

Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service

"Safeguarding is a duty that is rooted in the message of Jesus and in the mission of the Church. The Catholic Church in Scotland aspires to the highest standards with regard to the care and protection of children and vulnerable adults, and actively promotes justice for, and provides assistance to, those who have been abused. We are committed to respecting, protecting and nurturing the dignity of all people. We are determined that the Catholic Church in Scotland will offer a safe place in all Church premises and activities, and with all Church personnel......"

For further information on safeguarding issues or if you have any concerns about a child, young person or adult at risk, contact

Our Parish Safeguarding Coordinator can be contacted through the church - details on church notice board.