Holy Ghost and St Michael

Welcome to our Parish

Father Sujith John Pallassery MSFS and Father Jose MSFS would like to welcome you to our Parish.  We very much look forward to meeting you after Mass or on our weekly coffee mornings. Please tell one of the Priests if you know of anyone who has gone into hospital or is sick. We regularly visit those in need, in care homes and in the nearby hospital.  We are also happy to come and visit you at home if you are unable to get to Church.


Parish Priest: Fr Sujith John Pallassery

Assistant Priest: Fr Jose Maliekal MSFS

Addresses:  Holy Ghost Presbytery, 73 Higher Kingston,Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 4AR.

St Michael’s Catholic Church, Lightgate Rd, South Petherton,

Telephone: 01935 423549.

Email: yeovil.holyghost@cliftondiocese.com


History of our Parish

When the Reformation took its full effect on England in the 16th century, the parish church of St John the Baptist in the centre of Yeovil was closed down and the furniture and decoration sold or covered up. The system of fines and punishments worked as intended, and within a few generations Yeovil had become Protestant.

A list of recusants compiled between 1592 and 1606 gives the names of just 7 people (five of them named Hawker) living in or near Yeovil. By 1887 there were six Catholic families in Yeovil. From time to time they had unsuccessfully petitioned Bishop Clifford to send them a priest, and if they wished to hear Mass or receive the Sacraments they had to travel to Marnhull, Wincanton, or Sherborne over in Dorset, which is of course in a different diocese.

During April 1887 the newly-appointed editor of the Western Chronicle came to live in the town. His name was Charles Gatty, and he was a convert to the Catholic faith who became a prominent Catholic spokesman in the political life of the time. Before long he had persuaded the Bishop to make it possible for Mass to be heard once more in the town; the Carmelite Fathers of Wincanton agreed to take on this task. This took place in Charles Gatty’s own drawing room at 137 Hendford Hill, which needed nearly six months to be transformed into a chapel.

The first Mass to be celebrated in Yeovil in the 350 years since the Reformation thus took place on Sunday, 13 November 1887 and was attended by a congregation of 16 people, 12 from Yeovil and the other 4 specially invited from the church in Sherborne. The celebrant was Fr Badger from the Carmelite mission at Wincanton, and the server was Edmund Talbot, later to become Viscount Adair of Derwent. By a great stroke of God’s timing, the Gospel for the day contained the parables of the mustard-seed and of the leaven, and the Bishop expressed in his address the hope “that the little seed planted that day would grow, in due time, into a large tree, and that the leaven of Divine Grace would gradually, in God’s own way, transform and sanctify that place.”

So great was the initial interest that within a year the expanding congregation had outgrown Mr Gatty’s drawing room, and 14 people had been converted to the Catholic faith. Mr Gatty solved this new problem by renting the Chantry, close to St John’s church in the middle of Yeovil. This pre-Reformation chapel had been converted into a school-house in 1573, and had then been moved from its original site close to the tower of St John’s to its current position in around 1854; in 1888 it ceased to be used as a school, and was left unused. Charles Gatty was given permission to rent the Chantry from 24 June of that year, and the Bishop of Clifton celebrated Mass there at 8.30am, on the feast of St John the Baptist: “The chapel and the altar had been decorated with exquisite flowers. In front of Our Lady’s statue was burning a small terracotta lamp found amongst Roman remains in the island of Cyprus, probably from an early Christian shrine, and not later in date than the second or third century. Behind this stood a small vase of dried flowers which had grown in the cave on the island of Patmos, fixed by tradition as the prison in which St John wrote the Book of the Apocalypse.”

This momentous event for the Catholic parish of Yeovil created quite a stir in the town. There was great interest in the Mass, with people being unable to attend because the chapel was too crowded. Most of these people were not Catholic, but in the first year that the Chantry was being used, another 12 people joined the Church. There was also, however, opposition, and on the first anniversary of the opening of the Chantry a “great and bitter” anti-Catholic demonstration took place at the Town Hall. This led to an increase of religious animosity, and the Carmelite Fathers were subjected to a great deal of unpleasantness; “the rough element considered itself encouraged and started breaking the windows of the Chantry”. After a year of debate through the local newspaper, Charles Gatty compiled a pamphlet in which he “explained what the Church really is and what she teaches; he answered some objections and concluded by appealing to the common sense and spirit of fair play of his fellow townsmen”; the fact that this pamphlet was some 50 pages long may have lessened its immediate effect on some readers! This was forcefully answered by his main opponents, but they then refused to take part in an open debate to be chaired by the Mayor, and after a while the hostility died down, helped by the tolerant attitude of influential local people.

Charles Gatty was born in 1851, the son of the Rev Dr Alfred Gatty, Vicar of Ecclesfield, and sub-Dean of York; his mother was the daughter of Nelson’s chaplain on the Victory. He was educated at Charterhouse and became a convert to Catholicism, a decision showing great faith and conviction, given his background. For 12 years he was Curator of the Liverpool Museum, and for two years private secretary to John, Lord Bute. In 1892, he stood as Home Rule candidate for West Dorset and 2 years later, in 1894, he was appointed 2nd Secretary to the Chief Ministerial Whip. “Mr Gatty was a very delightful example of the many cultured Englishmen who, since the Oxford Movement, have found their spiritual home as converts to Catholicism. He was the instrument chose by God to bring back the Catholic Faith in Yeovil; his name will always be held by the parish in grateful remembrance”. He died in London on 8 June 1928, aged 76, and was buried at Eccleston, near Chester.

In 1891 the head of the Carmelite Fathers told his members who had served the Mission in Yeovil that they had to return to their community and resume the normal life of their order. Fr Badger had been praying about this, as he did not want to leave his small but blossoming flock without a pastor so soon after being re-established , and he was inspired to mention the matter to his friend Fr Scoles, then serving the parish in Bridgwater. Fr Scoles in turn was led to offer himself to the Bishop for the fledgling parish in Yeovil, and the Bishop agreed thankfully. On 26 September 1891, “the little Yeovil Mission bade farewell to its first Pastor and welcomed its new Shepherd.” It was Fr Scoles, later Canon, who was to consolidate the initial growth of the Mission parish in Yeovil, and provide it with the premises, inspiration and leadership that enabled it to begin its development to what we know and love today.

Quotations taken from: “The Catholic Church of the Holy Ghost, Yeovil” (1928)by Fr Joseph Antonioz, MSFS, BA

Focus on Youth

In Year 10-13?  Have you considered the ASCENT Discipleship Process hosted by Sion Community?

Check it out at www.theascentuk.org.uk (Places limited – book on now!)


When the doors opened at 10.30am and for the next half hour a steady stream of youngsters, aged between 10 and 16, poured into the Marian Hall eager to see what we had to offer them.  They lost no time in trying out the variety of games equipment, which included Air Hockey, Table Tennis and Snooker, which had been set out in the Hall by Paul O’Hara, who co-ordinated the event. Fr. Jean-Patrice popped in to see what was happening, when he also gave an impressive performance at Air Hockey, being the outright winner of the game.

An hour or so later, a break was called for the registration of all 23 young people who wanted to become members of the Youth Club. Care was taken to record not only the names and ages of each one, but also of course the names of their parents and a contact telephone no. They were then happy to return to the games equipment until lunch at 12.30, which they ate in the Parish Centre. This then gave them the opportunity to mix with others and chat amongst themselves.

After lunch, Margie Want produced a quiz she had devised, with some cunning clues, based on types and brands of chocolate, chocolates and chocolate bars. She couldn’t have chosen a more popular topic; competition was very keen! There were 20 or more questions, and the prize for the winner? You’ve probably guessed it – chocolates!

With one more hour to go before 3.00pm and the end of this introductory session of the Youth Club, everyone returned to the Hall for a couple of very lively ball games, refereed by Danny Want. A net goal had been set up and the group divided into two teams for a game of football and then one of handball, for which there was a netball post – great fun for both players and spectators!

So, calling all 10 – 16 year-olds in  our Parish who enjoy fun and friendship, you are very welcome to come and join us at our next Youth Club meeting on Saturday, 6th February, 10.30 – 1.00pm.  We’ll look forward to seeing you then.


Children's Liturgy

The sessions of Children’s Liturgy now only occur twice each month. Since many of the children who attend have not yet made their First Holy Communion, attendance at C. L. is all the more important, nurturing in them a love of Jesus and a sense of involvement in the Mass. There are some useful resources available to aid leaders and helpers in this valuable and rewarding work

First Holy Communion.

Seven children from the Holy Ghost Church, Yeovil made their First Holy Communion on Saturday 13th June 2015 at a special Mass followed by a celebration ‘breakfast’ in the Marian Hall. It was a very memorable occasion. One child received the Holy Eucharist for the first time when she went to Poland at half term and two more will receive the Sacrament in India during the summer holiday.

Three children from South Petherton also made their First Holy Communion on Sunday 14th June.

Margaret Want.

The First Communion preparation group is for children in Key Stage 2. The classes normally begin in January and we meet each Wednesday, after school, in term time.

Instruction takes place in the library of St. Gildas School between 3.30 – 4.30 pm. Every alternate week, one of the parish priests will meet with the parents.

The celebration of the Sacrament of First Holy Communion usually takes place in June, close to the feast of Corpus Christi. The classes are run by Mrs. Margaret Want.

 If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact Margaret on 01935 427572 

Have you ever wondered what our young children do after trooping into the Presbytery with their catechists at the beginning of Mass? 

As you will have noticed, they are always led back into the church in time to take part in the Offertory. This part of the Mass is very important to the children, who are always eager to take a turn in carrying the bread and wine, as well as the collection and basket of gifts for the Lord’s Larder. They also carry in a board displaying in words and pictures their interpretation of the story of the Gospel. The Offertory usually takes place after an interval of about 20 minutes, depending upon the length of Father’s sermon!

It would be quite easy to conclude that this is the sum total of their activities, but this is not so. The children actually take part in a simplified form of the Liturgy, leading up to the Offertory. as summarised below. 

*We begin with a brief introduction to the Gospel story.

*Catechists and children make the Sign of the Cross.

*A candle is lit and then one of the children reads out a ‘Sorry’ prayer that they have chosen.  This prayer is then repeated so that all the children can join in.

*We all sing the ‘Alleluia’ and say the Gospel acclamation.

*The Gospel is read out to the children.

*This is followed by questions and a short discussion to ensure that the children understand the Gospel message.

It’s almost a year now since the Children’s Liturgy was set up by Sarah Palmer. Since then she has continued to organise the rota for catechists, distributes resources and has always been open to suggestions for new ways of working with the children. Many of the catechists are parents of children in the parish and work in a small groups of three – four persons. They each make their contribution towards Children’s Liturgy once a month. Yes. It is a commitment, but is one that is highly appreciated by the clergy, parents and the children themselves, who are the future of our parish.

If you would like any further information about Children’s Liturgy or would like to join the team of catechists then please contact Ros via Webmaster@rc-churchyeovil.org

Music Ministry

On the second Sunday in the month at the 10.30am Mass, Ray D’Inverno leads the Music Ministry with an excellent singing groups leading us in a range of traditional and modern hymns.

Ray started his involvement in church music in his teens as a member of a very fine four-part choir in the Sacred Heart Church, Kilburn and he has continued this involvement for most of his life. He ran an excellent choir and group of instrumentalists for over 25 years at St Joseph’s, the mother church of Southampton. During this time he was encouraged to compose, and has now written, more than 100 pieces of church music that include ten very different Mass settings, one of these being a new one written especially for our parish.  He has had a number of his compositions published, including the first piece he ever wrote – an anthem entitled, “Holy Spirit of God”. For this work, as well as his long involvement in charity work, he received a papal medal (a  Benemerenti) from Pope Benedict in 2006. 

He joined our parish in the summer of 2010 and the following year set up the Singing Group. The idea from the outset was to form a small group of singers to encourage the faithful to sing and also to let them hear, on occasions, the beauty of four-part singing. The Group does not hold any regular rehearsals apart from ten minutes or so before the 10.00 am Mass. The Singing Group has a central core of six singers who regularly attend, consisting of one soprano, two altos, two tenors and one bass (Ray), but expands to more singers on occasion. 

Ray has recorded   “The Singing Group … Sings,” and copies of the CD can be obtained from Ray for a small contribution to church funds. Ray says, “The Singing Group may be small in number, but we are big in heart and pray that our music may help to bring the faithful in our parish closer to God”

Ray can be contacted on 01300 321024

The Singing Group... Sings!

14 Tracks of music from the Mass and selected Hymns are available on CD from Ray d’Inverno 01300 321024

Complied by the talented parish musician, Ray d’Inverno; these settings to the people’s Mass parts  express our involvement in the Sacred Liturgy as a parish community. These parts often feature at the 10.30am Mass in Yeovil, but are sometimes borrowed by the other choirs too! Have a practice at home, and you can be ready for next Sunday to worship God boldly through the Holy Mass!

01 Lead me, Guide Me (Doris Akers).mp3

02 Kyrie.mp3

03 Gloria.mp3

04 Holy Holy.mp3

The Parish Prayer Group

We have an ecumenical Parish Prayer Group, with ten regular members from our church and a number from other churches in the town. We meet every week for prayer and worship and together we try to learn more about God’s love, and how we are to bring about his love and healing to the world around us.

Over the years, we have organised several ‘Life in the Spiritseminars and Alpha courses, both in and outside Yeovil. We also assist with arranging ecumenical services in our own church as well as in other churches and venues in the town.

Meeting Mondays at 8pm in the Parish Centre

Confirmation Group

We are always very pleased to welcome young people of Secondary School age into this group, since our aim is to continue their Catholic education.

We cover all aspects of our Faith and encourage the young people to take part in prayer and discussion, and to ask questions. In the run up to Confirmation (every 2-3 years).  The next Confirmation date is in 2024 and we have 16 candidates.

The group is led by Kaoene


If you are a Catholic, then you are very welcome to apply to become a Reader. There are just one or two points, though, to bear in mind. Although there is a microphone, you will need to have a clear voice and to be able to convey the true meaning of the readings to the congregation, so enabling them to develop in their hearts a warm and living love for sacred Scripture. That is why it’s advisable to read the mass texts and take a look at the readings in the Missal beforehand to familiarise yourself with their content and context.

At both the 10.30 am and 6.30pm Sunday masses, there is a rota of readers. If you would like to learn more about the role of the reader, please see contact details:

Ernie Jerzykowski, 01935 706493. (10.30 am Mass).


RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is a course which explores all the key aspects of the Christian faith in order to allow individuals to learn more about Catholicism to help them discern whether they wish to become Catholic. The ultimate aim is to prepare catechumens and candidates to receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion). As this program provides ongoing formation, it may be of great benefit to Catholics who wish to gain a greater understanding of the fundamental beliefs of the Church. The sessions are informal in nature to give you the opportunity to ask any questions that come to your mind throughout the preceding week.

We tackle key areas of Church teaching, or doctrine, piece by piece. We intend to visit the broad areas of Sacred Scripture, bioethics, Sacraments, prayer, and Christian living. We provide an opportunity for group and individual discussion about the Catholic faith. Challenging questions and struggles are welcome, as a group we are open to help people with their faith journey wherever they may be. 

For more information, please speak to the Parish Priest.

Altar Servers

Altar Servers assist at mass/other liturgical functions to aid the priest. At Holy Mass they may carry candles, incense, books, cruets, the processional Cross and other items, which they use as requested by the Priest. 

The ‘Altar Servers’ Mass’ is celebrated on the feast of St Stephen and is always well attended by servers and parishioners. The gathering in the Marian Hall afterwards is a good time of fellowship for all present.


If you are interested in helping as an altar server, please speak to the Parish Priest.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is chaired by Colin Young.  The current members of the Finance Committee are: Andrew Batchelder (Treasurer), Marlene Harrison and Father Sujith John Pallassery