Friday Self-Denial

Self Denial Logo

We see and hear of so much tragedy in the world:

  • Poverty and disease in the 3rd world
  • HIV and Aids
  • Civil wars
  • Droughts, famine, floods and earthquakes

that it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of these needs.
But we know that we must help somehow because Christ asked us to. As we are told in St. Matthew’s gospel, He said, “In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.”
The idea for a Friday Self-denial Group comes from CAFOD. In a leaflet, they say “As individuals it is physically difficult to share our meals with the hungry. They cannot be at our table. However, if we seek voluntarily to fast one day a week we would, in a small way, be in companionship with all those throughout the world who, without any choice, fast each & everyday of their lives.”


In 1996 a group of parishioners at St. Bernadette’s decided to take a small step towards identifying with those less fortunate than us. We started a Group, then a couple of years later, St.Luke’s joined, in 2007 St. Oswald’s joined & in 2009 St. Mary’s & the Abbey joined.

How it works

There are two aims – spiritual and practical: to appreciate how fortunate we are materially and to share our good fortune with others.
There are NO meetings to attend.
Each member, couple or family is issued with a set of envelopes for a year which starts on the First Sunday in Advent.
It is suggested that once a week members practise some small act of self denial:

  • A simple meal perhaps
  • No wine
  • Only one pint of beer
  • No crisps or sweets for children
and the money saved is put into an envelope which is put into the first collection at the Offertory every Sunday. This is a council of perfection and sometimes members use the envelope as a means of making a donation, but it does mean that once a week, momentarily, members think of others less fortunate.
Some very elderly parishioners have been moved to make donations when they hear of the charity being supported and of course these are gratefully received. The charity for this year is The Church In Need. A new charity will be chosen in March 2017.
If you would like a set of envelopes for making donations, please contact the Parish Office (01189 725250).