Sacrament of Penance

The sacrament of Confession is normally available on Saturdays at 10:00, upon request after weekday Masses or by appointment. Special services of Reconciliation are celebrated during Advent in preparation for the Christmas feast and during Lent in preparation for Easter.

Sacrament of Baptism

“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt.28: 19)

The wonderful sacrament of Baptism is much more than a private ceremony for your baby, for you, your family and your friends. Baptism is a sacrament of Christ and of his Church. Through Baptism, God the Father brings your baby into His royal family, adopting your child as His own beloved daughter or son. Your baby becomes the brother or sister of other Christians. Baptism is very much a family affair: a special day both for your family but also for the family of the Church.

Through Baptism, the Risen Jesus unites your baby to Himself in a special way, making him or her a member of His Body, the Church. Baptism is the beginning of a journey; it looks forward to being completed through receiving First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Baptism leads to the Mass, which is why the ceremony finishes at the altar.


We make careful preparations for the birth of a baby, and we should take as much care in making preparation for Baptism, a second birth into God’s great family. When your child is baptised you are undertaking the responsibility to bring him or her up in the practice of the Faith and to help him or her to grow in that Faith. The Church recognizes that this is primarily your responsibility but wishes to work hand in hand with you in every way that it can. In an ideal situation, the Church sees that there are three parts to a child’s Faith development – parents, parish and school: this is a partnership in which all three are involved in that order.

Baptism is not about ticking boxes, something to “get done”. It is a Sacrament of the Church, a sacred rite through which Jesus reaches out to touch their life. In fact this is the foundation of all other sacraments. It involves a commitment from the parents and godparents to bring the child up in faith which includes bringing them to Mass on Sundays in the parish community, the true home of the Church and attending children’s liturgy of the word when they are old enough. Yes! It is demanding and it is important. Be truthful, if you never, or only rarely, come to church, maybe you and your child are not ready for Baptism. Your commitment to Sunday Mass and the Baptism preparation sessions are vital. It is very important that you are honest about this, if you are baptizing your child, this is what you are committing to do, are you ready to do it?

Here at St Mary Magdalen, we will try to help you in every way but your part is THE most important and without your support it will be impossible for your child to grow in Faith. Your role is at home in teaching your child to pray, helping them to meet Jesus and know Him, as well as knowing about Him from the Bible. We help and support you through Baptism preparation sessions, Sunday Liturgy of the Word and by inviting you to join the children’s pilgrimage to Walsingham and the annual buggy masses.

Preparation for Baptism at St Mary Magdalen involves meeting the priest once or twice on a mutually convenient date. It will be a 45 minute session. It will be wonderful if the Godparents too can join you at the meeting. The atmosphere is relaxed, informal and friendly. You are welcome to bring your baby and other children for the session. Expectant parents too are welcome to the sessions.


Ideally all the Godparents must be confirmed, practicing adult Catholics who will take an active interest in the spiritual growth of the child. That is not possible for all of us. The minimum requirement is that at least one of the godparents must be confirmed, practicing Catholic aged 16 or over. You may also have non-Catholic Christians who are technically known as “Christian Witnesses”.


The norm of the Church is that the baptism be celebrated during the Sunday Mass in the presence of the worshipping community. This is not always possible as several other things are often incorporated into the Sunday Mass. Often we encourage parents to join the Mass at 10.00 am so that we can welcome the baby in the presence of the community and do the baptism immediately after the Mass. If this not convenient we offer Baptisms on Sundays at 11.30am or on some Saturdays. There is no such thing as private Baptism: that would contradict the whole meaning of Baptism. Therefore it would be wonderful to baptise several babies together when it is done outside the Mass. If your baby is not baptised during, or immediately after, Mass we would like to publicly welcome your child into our parish community at Mass the following Sunday. Please arrange that with the priest.


This will normally be the parish priest, unless you have a priest friend or relative whom you would like to perform the ceremony.


There is no fee for Baptism or for any other sacraments. But it is an occasion for you to make an appropriate donation to the church as we depend on such donations for the daily running and upkeep of this beautiful church. Your donation is not a payment to the priest but a donation to the church. To be completely truthful, Yes! There is an expectation of a donation from the worshipping community that looks after the building. However, we do not want financial concerns to be an issue when you prepare to celebrate this wonderful event of being born into the family of God. The parish will be happy with whatever donation you make.

A baby is a new opportunity to appreciate the meaning of Baptism, as well as your responsibilities towards this wonderful new life that God has placed in your care. Often it is an opportunity for parents to re-discover their own faith. Our parish community looks forward to welcoming your child as a member of our family, as a member of the Body of Christ and as a young parishioner. We promise to give you the support of our prayers and all the help we can give. May God bless you and your child!

If your child is four or above we need to arrange some sessions with our children’s Catechists to make the child aware of the meaning and importance of what happens to him or her at the baptism celebration. This will require at least 3 months notice. If your child is eight or above, we would like him or her to join the First Holy Communion classes from November and get baptised at the Easter Vigil the following year and then make their First Holy Communion with others in May/June. Anyone above sixteen will join the RCIA programme (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) which we run every year from November to Easter. They will be baptised, Confirmed and make their First Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil.

Please download the form below and complete it to book the baptism of your baby. Return the form to the Fr Mathew at the church or electronically by email. Address details can be found on the contact page.

Baptism Form.pdf

Sacrament of Marriage

Getting Married at St Mary Magdalen Church

For most people, marriage is one of the most important decisions and realities of their life: in it they form a community of love. For Catholics, marriage is not merely a civil contract but is a covenant between a man and a women before God. If both are baptised, the marriage is a sacrament, a symbol of the unity of Christ and the Church. A sacramental marriage is a means of grace, giving strength to the husband and wife to live out their commitment and to help each other to holiness.

As you prepare for marriage, you will be asked to reflect carefully and prayerfully on the nature of this sacrament. Before we look at some of the steps of that preparation process, consider some of the points made in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • (1660) The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptised to the dignity of a sacrament.
  • (1661) The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love which Christ has loved His Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.
  • (1662) Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves , each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful fruitful love.

Any marriage involving a Catholic is subject to Church norms known as "Canon Law". Catholics are obliged to marry in the Catholic Church, following a marriage rite of the Catholic Church. Their exchange of vows must be witnessed by either a priest or a deacon and two other witnesses.

Preparing for marriage

Most couples reserve a reception location a year or even more in advance. Before you do that, or contract with a photographer, think about invitations or make any other arrangements, you need to talk to your parish priest. Diocesan guidelines say you should do so at least 6 months before the time you would like to get married. Be sure to allow extra time - usually more than a year - if either of you require an annulment. Once you speak with your priest, you will begin a formal process of marriage preparation. This involves a process of discernment which is meant to be an affirming experience as you become more aware of your readiness to enter Christian married life.

Your parish priest has the responsibility for your marriage preparation. The preparation will consist of participation at one or two diocesan marriage preparation sessions usually organised for all the couples in Ipswich along with a series of meetings with the priest depending on the need of the couple. You will have an opportunity to plan the ceremony during one or more of these sessions. The meetings contain some formal input, some discussion and a time of prayer, and the content of this preparation course can be adapted to suit any specific needs of the couple.

You will have to provide copies of your baptismal certificates, an affidavit of free status, annulment papers, divorce papers in some cases or death certificate of previous spouse. You will need to contact the local Registrar's office and make an appointment for a licence to get married at this church. This licence should be given to the priest at least 6 weeks before your wedding and will then in turn be given to the authorised person who acts as registrar at the wedding service. Without this licence we will not be able to celebrate your wedding at St Mary Magdalen church.

The Wedding Ceremony

There are a number of options available from which you can chose. The priest will assist you in understanding the nature of the liturgy and the various options and choices regarding music, readings and the ritual. The wedding liturgy should be planned to encourage the participation of the assembly through hymns and prayers.


You may like to book an organist for your wedding - please discuss your wishes with the priest. The church is equipped with a sound system incorporating a Bluetooth receiver allowing pre-recorded music to be played too.


You are welcome to arrange your own florist to decorate the church for your wedding. Please discuss this with the pries however, to arrange a suitable time for access to the church to be given to the florist to carry out their work. If you want to keep costs down, our parish flower ladies will be happy to arrange flowers for you for a small donation plus the cost of the flowers.

The Wedding Rehearsal

This will be conducted by the priest near the day of your wedding. This is part of the preparation process and offers an excellent opportunity for the wedding party to join together in prayer. It is important that all parties involved in the ceremony - the bride's father, best man, bridesmaids, readers, ushers and those who bring up the offerings - participate.

On the day, we understand that is is often the practice, or at least an acceptable custom, for the bride to be late for her wedding! Please remember however that it will prove to be inconvenient for a number of people if any delay is more than a few minutes.

How Much Do I Pay

Neither the priest nor the Church charge a fee for celebrating a sacrament. However, since a lot of time and resources are put into making your wedding day a wonderful occasion, you are invited to make a donation in the region of what you would spend on your wedding cake. The authorised person (Registrar) charges a fee set by local government (currently £86 in Suffolk County Council area). Your organist will inform you of the charge to be made - typically in the region £100-150 depending on distance of travel).