There is much to see in Saint Matthew's, not least a welcoming community of people. We inhabit the whole of our buildings, including our gardens in Summer and we are always working on them. Likewise our church, we have a Sunday School room, a gallery containing a Theological Library which is free to use as well as extra benches for the very busy days of the year. We have a kitchen which hardly cools down from one day to the next and we have beautiful shrines and stations of the cross to aid our devotion. Do come and have a look, the church is often open and nowhere is out of bounds!
On this page we show you some of the chapels and altars which we use from week to week and day to day for Mass and other devotions.
This is the High Altar, sitting under the Pentecost East Window. The red altar fall and the presence of the Paschal Candle signifies that it is ready for Mass on the Day of Pentecost. Every Sunday Mass is celebrated here at this altar as well as great feast days throughout the year. It is set in a fine sanctuary which gives plenty of space for our many altar servers.
Like all of our altars, it allows the Priest to face the same direction as everyone in the church, underlining the importance of the while community of believers facing God together, offering one prayer of thanksgiving and one Holy Sacrifice.
This is our Holy Souls Chapel, situated in the South transept. The calvary scene has been recently restored and raised up here and the chapel makes a beautiful place for the weekly Friday requiem in November as well as other regular weekday Masses. The closeness of the chairs to the altar brings a very unique and intimate feel to our services in this chapel. In the summertime with the door open to our gardens it really comes into its own. The large brass chandelier is dated 1780 and comes from a country house in Suffolk.
The Lady Chapel is named of course after Our Lady, the Mother of God. It is the largest of our chapels and thus is used often on Wednesday for the 7.30pm mass when we need the space. It contains an altar and reredos which used to belong to the Universities Mission to Central Africa, and it was used by Bishop Frank Weston their President. The altar and reredos have been beautifully and thoroughly restored back to their original splendour and we very much encourage visitors to come and have a look.
Our Walsingham Chapel is situated right by the front door as you enter the church. It is used often in Summertime when we enjoy celebrating Mass with the warm air blowing in from outside. It is a small chapel, usually we have to put more chairs outside it and it adds a charming appeal to our devotions when the sun is pushing the mercury up. It is also used very often for private prayer and devotions by the many pilgrims who pass through our doors each day and flowers are commonly left here as petitions to the great Mother of God. The Holy Water is also kept here, which is free for you to take either in the containers provided (which you can refill) or your own containers.
Finally, here is our little Fatima Chapel upstairs by the Parish Library. Tiny, hard to find and unusually situated, it makes a fine place to sit and rest and pray. Mass is very rarely celebrated here due to space constraints, but occasionally it may be for a small group of pilgrims.