Baptism

The Sacrament of Baptism
We would like to congratulate you on the birth of your child. We also want to welcome this new born child into our Parish Community. Your child’s Baptism will be a special moment for you and your family. It will also be a special moment for our parish as we welcome your child into the Christian Community.

baptism
Celebrating the Gift Of Baptism

Baptism is the most wonderful gift that you can give a child.  To enable parents to appreciate more fully the gift they ask of God, through the Church, for their child we have introduced Baptismal Programme.

The programme begins during pregnancy when the expectant parents are invited for blessing for themselves and their unborn baby.  Parents are asked to come to the sacristy after the weekend Masses. After this blessing the parents will receive a prayer that they can say during the pregnancy.

When the baby is born the parents will be invited to an evening of celebration before arranging the Baptism ceremony. Baptisms take place on Saturdays at 4.30pm. The number of baptisms that take place on a Saturday is limited to four.

Confirmation

oil of chrismConfirmation in the faith

Confirmation celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit.

We become members of God’s family at Baptism.  At Confirmation, our Baptism is completed or “sealed” by the Holy Spirit and we are called to be Christian witnesses, just like the apostles. The whole of our Christian living and the life of the Church, too, are sustained by the same Spirit.

Who Can Receive?

Any baptised Catholic wishing to advance on the path of developing their faith. For young people, this is usually part of the 5th/6th class primary school programme.

For adults who were not confirmed as children, it means taking part in the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)

Sponsor

A sponsor stands behind the candidate for Confirmation at the Confirmation ceremony and places their hand on the shoulder of the candidate as a sign that they will support them in living out their baptismal promises. However, the role of the sponsor is not just for one day. The sponsor undertakes to assist the confirmed person in growing in the fullness of their faith and in their membership of the Catholic Church.

A person qualifies as a sponsor by being a reasonably mature adult, who is at least 16 years old, and has already received the Sacraments of Initiation, (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) themselves. The Confirmation sponsor may be one of the people who was a sponsor at Baptism (subject to the notes here).

Choosing a sponsor

(Ref. Code of Canon Law §874) To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:

  • be appointed by the candidate, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
  • be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made;
  • be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;
  • not labor under a canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared;
  • not be either the father or the mother of the candidate.

Name

The tradition of taking a new name at Confirmation emphasises the new identity of a Christian being called to witness to their faith. People are encouraged to take the name of a saint or a person from the Bible who inspires them in some way.

Oil

The oil used is called the Oil of Chrism. It is olive oil mixed with balsam that is blessed by the bishop and priests of the diocese in the Cathedral at the ‘Chrism Mass’ on Holy Thursday. The Sacrament is conferred with the anointing with this ‘Oil of Chrism’ on the forehead as the Bishop says ‘Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit’.

First Communion

Preparation for First Holy Communion

Gifts Top

Children prepare to receive First Communion in Primary Four. This is an important step in your child’s journey of faith, it is also an important year for their class, their teachers, and also for you the parents/guardians. It is also a special time too for the Long Tower Parish community. Along with the Sacrament of Baptism, First Holy Communion is one of our three sacraments of initiation. It is through these sacraments of initiation that we become full members of the Church.

Parents

Ideally the best preparation for the Eucharist is taking your child to Mass regularly and helping your child understand what it is all about. As part of our preparation for First Penance and First Holy Communion, we run in tandem with the local primary schools, a parish based programme, ‘Do This in Memory’. This programme is a continuous programme, connecting the classroom with the home and the parish.

Funerals

candles

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled,
Trust in God still, and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
If there were not I should have told you,
And after I have gone and prepared you a place,
I shall return to take you with me;
So that where I am you may be too.’

John 14:1

 

Celebrating the Funeral Liturgy

The Readings are a central part of your loved one’s funeral Mass.  You may choose one Old Testament and one New Testament reading or two New Testament readings.  The Responsorial Psalm comes after the first reading.  If you prefer to use different readings do not hesitate to ask the priest to help you.

 

Choosing the first Reading (Old Testament)

Book of Wisdom 3:1-9

The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace.

If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessing be. God has put them to the test and proved them worthy to be with him; he has tested them like gold in a furnace, and accepted them as a holocaust.

When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they. They shall judge nations, rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king forever. They who trust in him will understand the truth; those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.

The word of the Lord.

Book of Wisdom 4:7-15

The virtuous, though they died before their time, will find rest.  Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life; understanding, this is our grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age.

They have sought to please God, so God has loved them; as they were living among sinners, they have been taken up. They have been carried off so that evil may not warp their understanding or treachery seduce their souls; for the fascination of evil throws good things into the shade, and the whirlwind of desire corrupts a simple heart. Coming to perfection in so short a while, they achieved long life; their soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has taken them quickly from the wickedness around them. Yet people look on, uncomprehending; it does not enter their heads that grace and the mercy await the chosen of the Lord, and protection, his holy ones.

The word of the Lord.

The Prophet Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food. On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death forever. The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so. That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped. We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us.

The word of the Lord.

Choosing the second Reading (New Testament)

A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans 5:5-11

Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger?

When we were reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans 6:3-9

When we were baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death; in other words, we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the father’s glory, we too might live a new life. If in union with Christ we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection.

We must realise that our former selves have been crucified with him to destroy this sinful body and to free us from slavery sin. When a man dies, of course, he has finished with sin. But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him: Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again. Death has no power over him any more.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans 8:31-35. 37-39

With God on our side who can be against us? Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift, that he will not refuse us anything he can give. Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen? When God acquits, could anyone condemn? Could Christ Jesus? No! He not only died for us- he rose from the dead, and there at Gods right hand he stands and pleads for us.

Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes. Or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.

For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word of the Lord.

A Reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans 14:7-12

The life and death of each of us has its influence on others, if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord.  This explains why Christ both died and came to life; it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.

We shall all have to stand before the judgement seat of God; as scripture says: By my life- it is the Lord who speaks- every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall praise God. It is to God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Philippians 3:20-21

For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians 4:13-18

We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive to the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died.  At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds together to meet the Lord in the air.  So we shall stay with the Lord forever. With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

The word of the Lord.

A reading of the first letter of St John 3:1-2

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are. Because the world refused to acknowledge him, therefore it does not acknowledge us. My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.

The word of the Lord.

Marriage

wedding ringsCongratulations on the decision to make your love a sacrament.  Marriage is a gift from God.  We will do our best to help you prepare for your wedding and for your married life together.

Church Requirements:

Please make contact with one of the priests of the parish in which you LIVE so that Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Forms can be completed and the relevant pre-marriage preparation arranged.  Please note that the priest of the bride’s parish has the responsibility of preparing the couple for marriage.

Request a Baptismal Certificate and if necessary a Confirmation certificate from the parish in which you were Baptised/Confirmed.  This certificate must be issued within six months of the date of your wedding.

Confirm the arrangements with the priest who is officiating at the wedding.  If he is from another diocese or from a religious order, you must forward details of his name, address and telephone number to the parish secretary, so that he can be registered as a temporary officiant in the Derry Diocese.

The priests of the parishes within the city have agreed that to fully prepare for the sacrament of marriage all couples must participate in a pre-marriage course with ACCORD within six months of the marriage date.   To book a course visit www.accord.ie or email derry@accordni.com.

If an ACCORD Pre-Marriage Course is unavailable in your area, please contact the Parish Office on 7126 2301 before booking a course with another provider. It is mandatory that all couples intending to celebrate their marriage here in St Columba’s Church complete a recognised Pre-Marriage Course.

Civil Requirements

Collect a Marriage Notice Application Form from the Registrar of Birth, Deaths and Marriages in the Guildhall.  This can be obtained at any time from one year to 28 days prior to the wedding.  The minimum period is twenty eight days before the date of the proposed marriage, but if you leave things as late as this you could be faced with the need to postpone your wedding.

Complete and ask the officiating priest to sign the Marriage Notice Application Form.  Return the duly completed form to the Registrar.  When the Registrar is satisfied there is no legal impediment to the marriage, a Marriage Schedule will be prepared from the information which the parties have supplied.  The Schedule is a most important document – no marriage can proceed without it.

The couple must produce their Marriage Schedule to the Long Tower Parochial House at least 3 days prior to the wedding.

It is important to stress that compliance with these regulations is the sole responsibility of the couple not the priest.  If these civil requirements are not met NO WEDDING CAN TAKE PLACE.  We would advise you therefore to make contact with your local Registrar’s Office and they will instruct you on the necessary procedures.

Wedding Rehearsals

Rehearsals usually take place 2 to 3 days prior to the wedding at a time that is mutually agreeable between the couple, the priest and the church.  The wedding rehearsal can be booked by telephoning the Parochial House and usually takes place immediately before (i.e. 6pm) or directly after (i.e. 8pm) evening Mass on a weekday.

Ceremony

The Ceremony will begin at the time arranged so it is important that everyone arrives on time.  This allows for maximum time for your wedding.  There may be other events in the Long Tower after your wedding e.g. another wedding, baptisms etc.  Your booking is from 15 minutes before the time of the wedding to 1 hour afterwards e.g. 1.00pm wedding – 12.45 pm to 2.00 pm.  The Long Tower has a busy schedule with many events each day.  Late arrival causes a knock-on effect that upsets everyone.

Photographs

Most wedding photographers and videographers are professional, reverent and discreet.  We simply ask that they refrain from using extra lights or delaying the arrival of the bride, and that they limit their movements during the Mass.

Flowers

Long Tower Church is very ornate and does not require flowers to make it beautiful; therefore we encourage simplicity in floral arrangements.  If you wish to have some flowers you may contact our parish flower arranger, Patricia McCormack (7135 4606). She will advise and give details of the cost.  Floral decorations which are attached to the seats (by tie-bows not sticky tape or tacks) should be remove immediately after the ceremony.

Music

The Wedding Ceremony takes place within a liturgical context. Liturgy is public worship before God and so the music you choose for your wedding must reflect the sacredness of the event and be fitting for worship. It is important, therefore, that the music you choose is worthy of such a celebration and that the lyrics acknowledge the presence of Christ, the Unseen Guest, at your wedding. No secular music. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to contact the priest.

Money

The amount of money you spend on your wedding day is your own choice. The Church only asks that the couple and two witnesses be present with the priest. However, it is customary to make a donation to the celebrant, sacristan and the altar servers.

Care for the Church

Please note that the following items are not permitted in the church or its grounds: cigarettes, chewing gum, flower petals, confetti, candles on the aisles, rice, balloons, bubbles etc.  When issuing invitations we encourage you to draw the attention of your guests to these guidelines. Mobile phones must be switched OFF in the church.

Finally, we celebrate your love for each other. We very much encourage you to pray together daily and attend Mass every Sunday. This will be the sustenance of your engagement and your marriage. We wish you God’s choicest blessings all the days of your life.

Click here to download Marriage Booking Enquiry Form

Wedding Readings

You may choose one Old Testament and one New Testament reading or two New Testament readings.  The Responsorial Psalm comes after the first reading.  If you prefer to use different readings do not hesitate to ask the priest to help you.

Choose A First Reading

A reading from the Book of Genesis

God said, ‘Let us make a man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth’.

God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.

God blessed them. Saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it.  Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth’.  God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.

This is the word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Genesis

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone.  I will make him a helpmate.’ So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven.  These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it.  The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts.  But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him.  So the Lord made the man fall into a deep sleep.  And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in the flesh.  The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into woman, and brought her to the man.

The man exclaimed:  ‘This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh!  This is to be called woman, for this was taken from man.’

This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.

This is the word of the Lord

A Reading from the Book of Tobit

On the evening of their marriage, Tobias said to Sarah, ‘You and I must pray and petition our Lord to win his grace and his protection’.  They began praying for protection, and this was how he began:

“You are blessed, O God of our fathers;

blessed, too, is your name

for ever and ever.

Let the heavens bless you

And all things you made

For evermore.

It was you who created Adam,

You who created Eve his wife

To be his help and support;

And from these two the human race was born.

It was you who said,

‘It is not good that the man should be alone;

Let us make him a helpmate like himself’.

And so I do not take my sister

for any selfish motive;

I do it in singleness of heart.

Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me

And bring us to old age together’.

And together they said, ‘Amen, Amen’.

This is the word of the Lord.

A reading from the Song of Songs


I hear my Beloved.
See how he comes
leaping on the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My Beloved is like a gazelle,
like a young stag.
See where he stands
behind our wall.
He looks in at the window,
he peers through the lattice.
My Beloved lifts up his voice,
he says to me,
‘Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come.
My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock.
In the coverts of the cliff,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet
and your face is beautiful.’

My beloved is mine and I am his.

Set me like a seal on your heart,
like a seal on your arm.
For love is strong as Death,
jealousy relentless as Sheol.

The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of the Lord himself.
Love no flood can quench,
no torrents drown.

This is the word of the Lord.

Choose A Second Reading

A Reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans

With God on our side who can be against us?  Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift, that he will not refuse anything he can give.  Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen?

When God acquits, could anyone condemn?  Could Christ Jesus?  No! He not only stands and pleads for us – he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hands he stands and pleads for us.

Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked.  These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.

For, I am certain of this: neither death or life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor anything created thing can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus Our Lord.

This is the Word of the Lord.

A Reading from the First Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians

Be ambitious for the higher gifts.  And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them.

If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or symbol clashing.  If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all.  If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful.  Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.

Love does not come to an end.

This is the Word of the Lord.

A Reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Colossians

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins.  The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.  Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love.  And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body.  Always be thankful.

Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.  Teach each other, in all wisdom.  With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This is the Word to the Lord.

A Reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans

Think of God’s mercy, my brothers, and worship him I beg you, in a way that is worthy of thinking beings, by offering your living bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God.  Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you, but let your behaviour change, modelled by your new mind.  This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do.

Do not let your love be a pretence, but sincerely prefer good to evil.  Love each other as much as brothers should, and have a profound respect for each other.  Work for the Lord with untiring effort and with great earnestness of spirit.  If you have hope, this will make you cheerful.  Do not give up if trials come; and keep praying.  If any of the saints are in need you must share with them; and you should make hospitality your special care.

Bless those who persecute you; never curse them, bless them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow.  Treat everyone with equal kindness; never be condescending but make real friends with the poor.  Do not allow yourself to become self-satisfied.

Never repay evil with evil but let everyone see that you are interested only in the highest ideals.  Do all you can to live at peace with everyone.

This is the Word to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

Choose Your Declaration of Consent

Priest:

I invite you then to declare before God and his Church your consent to become husband and wife.

Bridegroom:

Name, Do you consent to be my wife?

Bride:

I do.  Do you, Name, consent to be my husband?

Bridegroom:

I do. I take you as my wife and I give myself to you as your husband.

Bride:

I take you as my husband and I give myself to you as your wife.

They join hands and say together:

To love each other truly

For better, for worse,

For richer, for poorer,

In sickness and in health,

All the days of our lives.

When the bride and bridegroom have given their consent the priest says:

What God joins together man must not separate.

May the Lord confirm the consent that you have given and enrich you with his blessings.

Priest:

I invite you then to declare before God and his Church your consent to become husband and wife.

They join hands

Bridegroom:

I, Name, take you, Name, as my wife,

For better, for worse,

For richer, for poorer,

In sickness and in health,

All the days of our lives.

Bride:

I, Name, take you, Name, as my husband,

For better, for worse,

For richer, for poorer,

In sickness and in health,

All the days of our lives.

When the bride and bridegroom have given their consent the priest says:

Priest:

What God joins together man must not separate.  May the Lord confirm the consent that you have given and enrich you with his blessings.

Priest:

I invite you then to declare before God and his Church your consent to become husband and wife.

They join hands.  The priest then asks the bridegroom:

Priest:

Name, do you take Name, as your wife,

For better, for worse,

For richer, for poorer,

In sickness and in health,

All the days of your life?

Bridegroom:

I do.

The priest then asks the bride:

Priest:  

Name, do you take Name, as your husband,

For better, for worse,

For richer, for poorer,

In sickness and in health,

All the days of your life?

Bride:

I do.

Priest:   

What God joins together man must not separate. May the Lord confirm the consent that you have given and enrich you with his blessings.

Priest:

I invite you then to declare before God and his Church your decision to become husband and wife.

Bridegroom:

Name, do you consent to be my wife?

Bride:

I do.  Name, do you consent to be my husband?

Bridegroom:

I do.

They join hands and say together:

We take each other as husband and wife and

promise to love each other truly

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health, all the days of our lives.

Priest:    

The Lord has joined you together.  May he fulfill his blessing in you; may he keep you in his love.

Prayer of the Faithful

  1. For N. and N. that the Lord who has brought them to this happy day will keep them forever in fidelity and love.

          Lord hear us.

  1. For the parents of N. and N., for their friends and all who have helped them to become husband and wife.

          Lord hear us.

  1. That the Lord may bless the world with his peace and the protection of his love.

           Lord hear us.

  1.  For married couples everywhere that their lives will be an example to the world of unity, fidelity and love.

           Lord hear us.

  1.  For the faithful departed and especially for those who we, ourselves, have loved, (remembering in particular ……..)  that God will one      day unite us again in the joys of our eternal home.

           Lord hear us.

Prayer of the Newly Married Couple

We thank you, Lord, and we praise you

for bringing us to this happy day.

You have given us to each other.

Now, together, we give ourselves to you.

We ask you, Lord:

make us one in our love,

keep us one in your peace.

Protect our marriage.

Bless our home.

Make us gentle.

Keep us faithful.

And when life is over

unite us again where parting is no more

in the kingdom of your love.

There we will praise you

in the happiness and peace

of our eternal home.

Amen.