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Frequently asked Questions


Following the government regulations and the advice of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Westminster Cathedral will remain closed until further notice. This is an unprecedented situation and we are all learning to cope with a new ‘normality,’ to save lives, stop the spread of coronavirus and protect the most vulnerable in society.

Christian faith and worship have survived many pandemics and plagues, occasionally prompting churches to close, such as Milan in 1576. During this period, St Charles Borromeo, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, brought the Eucharist to the plague-ridden streets for people to venerate from their windows. In 2020 we have the Eucharist on camera.

Mass continues to be celebrated in Westminster Cathedral each day, along with daily exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and SundayVespers. To join in the liturgical services, scroll to the end of the homepage or visit: www.churchservices.tv/westminster

Let us use this time to pray for an end to coronavirus, for those who are suffering from grief, ill health, loneliness or financial difficulty, for the NHS and all who are working on the front lines to protect and feed the nation.

Please be assured of our prayers.


If you wish to speak to a priest on the telephone, please call 073 4028 8978 between 9.30am and 4.30pm, or at any time in the case of emergency.

For those in need of material support, the Society of St Vincent de Paul are here to help. Please call the number above and we can assist you in getting the support required.

Some Practical Points


The Eucharist is the ‘source and summit’ of our Christian faith but, as Catholics, we are only obliged to receive the Eucharist once a year during the Easter season. Due to the current pandemic, Pope Francis has dispensed the faithful from their ‘Easter duty’ and urges us instead to make an act of spiritual Communion.

Spiritual Communion is not a new concept; it has been the practice of the Catholic faithful and many great saints for centuries. It has only fallen out of common use since the pontificate of Pope Pius X (1903-1914), who encouraged frequent, even daily, Communion which has been the norm since. For many in the world, who do not have regular access to the sacraments, spiritual Communion is a vital act of faith.

In her Way of Perfection St Teresa of Avila notes:
‘When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual Communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.’

God does not abandon his people in a time of distress, nor is he bound by the sacraments. Each time a Mass is offered, the whole Church is united into one and shares in the outpouring of grace. By uniting ourselves spiritually with Christ’s sacrifice we are nourished with the same graces received through the Eucharist.

Prayer for Spiritual Communion by St Alphonsus Liguori:
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in this Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come spiritually into my soul so that I may unite myself wholly to you now and forever. Amen.


The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation has been removed until public services can resume.


As with the Eucharist, reception of the sacrament is not available for the time being. The recommended practice when one is unable to receive God’s forgiveness sacramentally is to:

1. Feel remorse for the sins you have committed
2. Resolve to change your behaviour
3. Make an act of contrition:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.
4. Go to Confession when it possible to do so


Funeral services should take place at the graveside or at a crematorium. A memorial Mass can then be celebrated when it is possible to do so.


All marriages have been deferred until public liturgies can be celebrated again.


Baptisms and Confirmations are also deferred until public liturgies can be celebrated again. In an emergency, such as danger of death, anyone can baptise. If possible there should be a witness and the act must be recorded in the local parish as soon as is safe to do so.


Live stream services:

Catholic Bishops’ Conference guidelines:

Diocese of Westminster :

Westminster Cathedral social media platforms:

Help the homeless:


Art and daily reflections:

Faith in isolation:

‘Click to pray’:


How can I get a name added to the Sunday Intercessions?

If you wish to have somebody included among the sick or dead prayed for on a Sunday please contact Clergy House reception and leave details with the receptionist.

Where can I find out more about becoming a priest in the Westminster diocese?

Please visit the website of the Seminary of the Diocese of Westminster Allen Hall, or visit www.ukpriest.org

How can I have Mass said for my intentions in the Cathedral?

If you wish to book a Mass intention please call at Clergy House reception. Masses to be said on a specific date require at least ten weeks notice. It should be noted that it is not our usual custom to read out a Mass intention at the beginning of a Mass unless this is pre-arranged.

How do I contact a priest if someone is ill?

In an emergency, when someone is gravely ill or has died, and a priest is required please contact Clergy House reception on 020 7798 9055. Outside reception opening hours please call 07340 288 978.

If you or someone you know is going into hospital it is important to remember that hospital staff will not inform the Catholic Chaplain of your presence unless you specifically ask them to contact the Catholic Chaplain and request a visit. Saying you are Roman Catholic is not enough to secure a visit.

A new Healthcare section on the Diocese of Westminster's website provides information about the work of the Hospital Chaplaincy Service and a full listing of Catholic Hospital Chaplains. Click here for more details.

Who should I contact about arranging a funeral?

Usually the undertaker engaged by a family or next of kin will contact the Cathedral to arrange a time and date. The undertaker should not commit to any time or date before consulting with the duty priest or another chaplain.

How do I become a Catholic?

When someone wants to become a Catholic, the normal procedure is to make an appointment to go and see your local Catholic priest. You are free to approach any priest anywhere, but it makes sense to go to your local Church, which will be most convenient for you. You can try and get him after Sunday Mass, but he might be busy then, so it is probably better to telephone. When you see him, he will make you welcome and invite you to talk about your desire to become a Catholic.

What happens next depends partly on local circumstances, partly on how much faith background you have and of what type. Many parishes have a small group of Catholics and “enquirers” meeting together once a week for several months or longer to explore what being a Catholic means. At the end of this process, known as the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) those who wish and are ready become Catholics, usually at Easter.

Who can be baptised at Westminster Cathedral?

Through the Sacrament of Baptism one becomes a member of the Catholic Church. Parents who would like to have their child baptised will need to take part in the preparation programme for this sacrament. To have your child baptised at the Cathedral, you must either live within the parish boundaries, or attend Mass here. Otherwise, we may require written permission from your parish priest. Click here for more details.