Welcome to St John Fisher & St Thomas More Roman Catholic Church

Whether you are a regular parishioner, new to the parish, returning to the Church, a visitor, or perhaps just interested in what we do, our parish community extends a very warm welcome – through the pages of this website – to you all.  St John Fisher & St Thomas More Catholic Church is situated between the villages of Burley in Wharfedale and Menston, our address is Bradford Road, Burley in Wharfedale, LS29 7PX.

You can read News items, weekly messages from Fr Michael and from Sue, our parish council chair and download the latest bulletins.  Please see our Youth, family & Children’s Liturgy page – it shares some thoughts and activities for our children and their families – and our Tree of Life page – on how we are responding to Pope Francis’ message in Laudato Si’, and his call to pray and work as a whole church, encouraging us to do more to care for creation.  Find out more here what our parish is doing.

Church Closure from Saturday 16th January 2021
After much careful consideration our Church will be closed after 10:00am Mass on Friday 15th January. After 2 weeks we will review the situation. Fr Michael will continue to say a daily private Mass for our intentions.
The decision to have a temporary closure has been difficult but we know we must look to the ‘Common Good’ and safe – keeping of all our Parish Family in this critical pandemic period.
Fr Michael has received a good number of concerns through emails, messages and comments from Parishioners and members of the Pastoral Parish Council. They have written helpful and balanced comments.
The Bulletin and Parish website will have Fr Michael’s weekly message of guidance based on Sunday’s Scripture readings and all the Parish Family news.
Anyone who needs help in any way can contact us through the Parish Office email or 07939063120 (Sue) Please do not be lonely or in need.

A message from Fr Michael: “Repent believe the Good News”
“Jesus began his public mission with the call. Repent and believe the Good News.” Who was this call to repentance directed to? While it was directed to sinners in the first place, it was in fact directed at everyone, even the good.
Jesus had more trouble with good people than with sinners. Why? The hardest people of all to convert are the good, because they don’t see any need of conversion. It’s hard enough to get those who are ill to go to the doctor but try getting those who are convinced they are well to go!! Sinners who openly admitted they were sinners didn’t cause Jesus the same trouble.” (a passage from the Homilies of Fr Flo McCarthy)
Fr Michael

A live streamed Mass was recorded from our church at 6pm on Christmas Eve and is available to view, see https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh6ADzOUBjXjZFevJEP2bXA Select videos, then upcoming live streams.


Christmas was very different for us this year, however we received two lovely Christmas stories from our young parishioners.  You can read Emily’s here and Alex’s here.





Diocesan Justice & Peace Commission
You can read this month’s newsletter on our Diocesan news & events page.

Attending Mass
From Saturday 16th January 2021 our church will be closed.  When it reopens, you will be able to register here to attend Mass at weekends, it allows individuals, families and groups to secure seats at Mass.  The system helps to ensure the safety of parishioners and allow us to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19. The registration simply involves selecting a date on which you would like to attend one of the 4 weekend Masses. It will also prove to be a useful tool which will help our stewards to co-ordinate visits safely on arrival. Please note you will need to bring and wear a mask when attending Mass.  Details for booking tickets are as follows:

  • individuals, or families of 2 sitting together, will require one ticket
  • families of 3 or 4 will require two tickets
  • any more than 4 members in a family will require further tickets and will be seated in a separate bench
  • please select the number of tickets at the top right-hand corner of the registration page

If for any reason you are unable to use the system, you can register by phoning the parish office: 01943 863179.

Mass and daily bulletins from Pope Francis can be read at http://www.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html

Special prayers for us to say during this time of ‘flu and illness can be found here.  Readings and prayers for all daily services including Mass can be found here.

Book your place at weekend mass here


Pray Fast Give

This Lent our parish children and their families can find out here how we can look out and help each other, thinking of ideas based on the themes of prayer fasting and giving.  Also we would like you to create an Easter garden and tell us just in a couple of sentences what you have […]

Not everything is locked down!

Still Unlocked! Thanks to Mary we have this video to share… Our church may be closed for just a little while but our prayers, like many other beautiful things, are not locked down. Let’s all use this one minute video to pass on the 3 wishes we have for each other in the last chapter […]

Tree of Life – Work with nature

In 2015 Pope Francis signed his landmark encyclical Laudato Si’: On the Care of Our Common Home, it asked us to think about the things we value most, how could we start to change what we do in our lives at home and in the parish to better protect and enhance our beautiful, but fragile […]

Advent appeal – St Anne’s

Our Advent appeal this year went really well despite the restrictions of Covid. The picture shows a Volunteer at St Anne’s accepting some of the items we collected. The generous donation of this box of warm items came from the Factory shop at Ben Rhydding, thanks to the initiative of one of our parishioners. This […]

Advent 2020 Charities

Wow!!! Even when Church was closed during the week we were able to collect and send loads of baby toiletries and nappies, creams, wipes, dummies etc. to the Catholic Care Baby Bank Plus Gianna project. The pram was very gratefully received. In the New Year if anyone has a pushchair please could you ring me. […]

Sacraments 2021

6th December 2020 Dear Parent or Carer, Below you will read the letter from the Diocese, this is different to previous years for 2 reasons. Firstly, the Diocese of Leeds have produced their own programme of materials including books to help you as the parent to play a main role in the preparation and learn […]

Tree of Life – Reduce, reuse, recycle, renewable

Reduce, reuse, recycle, renewable – or not wasting resources Examples include buying only what we need, lowering temperatures a little in our homes, installing solar panels on roofs, changing lights to LEDs, carshare or walk to church, use showers rather than baths, insulate our homes better, stop single use plastic & waste, recycle more and […]

Tree of Life – Petition & educate

Examples of what we can do include asking supermarkets to stop using single plastics, petition for better & cheaper public transport, come to an extra mass each week, work to save animals that are in danger, and publicise and share what we are doing.  Our Parish Council thought engagement with our students and children should […]

Diocesan Justice & Peace Newsletter

You can read this month’s newsletter here.  Features include: John Battle on UK Poverty Church Action on Poverty ‘Reset the Debt’ Campaign Jews Step Forwarded – The film sponsored by J&P Leeds reviewed

Advent booklet for our young people

This Advent we invite you to spend time preparing for Christmas with the Gospel readings for each day. We would like to thank our 25 contributors who are from all over the Diocese of Leeds. These include members of the youth leadership team, The Twelve, as well as clergy, young people and adults from parishes […]

Church reopens for daily Mass

Last Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent and happily our Church has reopened for daily Mass from Thursday 3rd.  Looking forward for us being together again. Please don’t forget to book a place for weekend Masses and also if you would like to celebrate Mass on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day or Sunday […]

Churches Together

Churches Together wish everyone in our village communities a very Happy Christmas. I hope you like our Christmas banner in place of Christmas cards this year.

Laudato Si – Climate Change

Pope Francis calls on fossil fuel bosses to switch to renewable energy Pope Francis has directly appealed to oil and gas companies to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy in order to prevent climate change pushing the world’s poorest people deeper into poverty. The Pope issued the call at a meeting held in the Vatican […]

Connect2 & HandsOn programmes

Our parish supports CAFOD and its Connect2 projects.  This began with the Puentecitos community in El Salvador in 2016.  Read here about the amazing projects have been completed, helping to improve people’s income and food production in this very poor region of the country.  From January 2019 we have supported people in Magdalena Medio, Columbia through CAFOD’s […]

Attending Mass

On Wednesday 4th November we had a FULL socially distanced church as we celebrated our last parish family Mass on the Feast of St Charles Borromeo.  At the end of Mass Fr Michael asked us to remain happy during the next 4 weeks of Lockdown. He reminded us we had many things to be happy […]

Climate change

Climate change is hitting the poorest countries hardest. Severe weather events are undoing decades of development. World leaders signed a promise in 2015 to try and keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees. In 2018 scientists said that this target must drop to 1.5 degrees. Pope Francis asks us to listen carefully to those times […]

Raised beds & insect friendly flowers

We have a great new raised bed on the gravelled area just outside the church hall.  Thank you to the children who have grown insect friendly flowers this year and planted them in the planter. Frances has added a few flowers soon too, we have started to build-up a wildlife haven for insects and birds. […]

Bug Hotel

We hope to be making a bug hotel soon to put in the church grounds, Items needed to help make this are: old wooden pallets, bamboo tubes/canes, twigs, pine cones, bark, old terracotta pots, pipes, old roofing slates and tiles​. Please start collecting these now and let Frances know if you would like to help […]

Sacred Heart school Ilkley, applications for entry to Reception in September 2021

Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Valley Drive, Ilkley LS29 8NL Tel: 07943 609 578 Email: office@sacredheart.bradford.sch.uk We are open for applications for entry to Reception in September 2021 The online admissions system is available for reception applications from 9 November 2020 until 15 January 2021 for children born between 1 September 2016 and 31 August […]

Catholic Care launches its Community Market initiative. 

At Catholic Care we know that many people are struggling with financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have over the last 8 months spoken to many parents who have sadly lost their jobs. The impact of this has been devastating, leaving many feeling unable to feed their families for the first time. Supporting […]

Children’s Christmas Story Competition

Christmas is going to be very different for us this year. Regardless of whether we are still in lockdown or not, we will not be able to have a children’s Mass on Christmas Eve but we still would like to do something special with and for our children. We are therefore inviting the older children […]

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Marcus

Bishop Marcus has sent us a Pastoral Letter for this Sunday, day of prayer for prisoners and their families. It is aimed to raise awareness about the criminal justice system and explore different approaches to Restorative Justice.  Please see our Diocesan news & events page for more information. We can read Bishop Marcus’ letter here and […]

Changes to our church

You will see from these photos the layout of the benches has had to be changed in order to ensure distancing of 2m. • in the lady chapel we have individual seats and these should NOT be moved • if the Mass you want is full, you may be able to choose one of the other […]

Volunteer stewards THANK YOU

Thank you and well done to all the Stewards, Cleaners and Organisers of the Church and its services over the last few weeks. You have been doing a great job keeping our Parishioners as safe and protected as you can. Many of you will be away with your families over the next few weeks. Travel […]

Please remember the people of Tereli in your prayers

On Tuesday 21st April, the village was attacked by as many as 300 well-armed bandits who arrived on motorbikes to loot the village and take all of the cattle. For three hours a few young people tried to hold them off with hunting rifles, while others hid in their houses or fled to the caves […]

Parish Offertory

If you would like to, and only if your circumstances allow, you can now make a donation to the Parish Offertory, either by this online page: https://donor.secure-operations.com/detailed/donate?charity_id=1086222&type=2&reference=10154&amount= or, to contribute £5, please text CHURCH SSFM to 70500

Leeds Cathedral live-streaming of Mass & devotions

Mass is being live-streamed on Sundays at 11:00am.  Weekday Masses Monday to Friday are now live-streamed usually at 12:30pm (12noon on Saturdays) and preceded by the Angelus and Rosary which will be prayed at 11:50am (11:20am on Saturdays).  To participate online, please access the Leeds Cathedral Live YouTube channel www.leedscathedrallive.org.uk where the words of Prayers, […]

Yorkshire lad parts with his brass!

We had thought about Solar panels ever since they first came on the scene, as our home does not have a gas supply. But the cost was well beyond our pockets. What with the mortgage, the financial outlay, it was well out of our reach. 10 years ago solar panels were expensive. We could have […]

Anne Judge

ANNE JUDGE – REFLECTIONS 20th February 1928 – 19th March 2020 Anne was born on the 20th February 1928 in Granard, County Longford in the Republic of Ireland and after a lifetime of loving service, this smiling and gracious servant of God, returned peacefully to the Lord on 19th March 2020. She was the last […]

Parish Family Events

Today was the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord and the children spent time finding out about the Sacrament of Baptism, which most of them received when they were too young to remember !! Robyn the baby doll proved the perfect baptismal candidate.

Sacrament of Reconciliation 2019

Eleven younger members of the Parish Family made their First Confession on Saturday 23rd March. Canon Michael thought them the best group ever! The children told their Catechist James, helped by Gabby and other parents, they had had a lot of fun in their preparation sessions. After receiving the Sacrament the celebrations continued in the […]

Christmas vigil mass for children

The mass was directed at our children, our young parishioners did the readings and the bidding prayers. Children read the Gospel story whilst others gathered on the altar steps when their part was mentioned. We had Mary and Joseph, lots of lovely angels, shepherds and lambs—plus the kings. Fr Michael blessed the crib and then […]

Special mass for altar servers

On 21st September Bishop Marcus celebrated a special mass for the altar servers of the diocese. About 80 attended with their families. 3 of our servers represented our parish family. Bishop Marcus thanked the servers for their loyal service to God.  It was a wonderful way to show the servers how important they are to us all.

Parish family walk 2019

A very happy and chatty bunch gathered after the ‘Back to School’ 11am Mass  for a picnic in the Parish Hall.  Next a short walk led by Martin, was enjoyed by all from 2 years old to where “80 years young” has been celebrated!!  As the walkers ran back across the car park  the heavens opened!  […]

First Holy Communion

Congratulations to all of our children celebrating their first holy communion on 15&16 June.  Fr Michael said, ‘It has been a wonderful occasion for our whole parish family. I am hoping that many of the children will now wish to train as altar servers and many take part in the Children’s Liturgy of the Word […]

Ilkley half marathon

Sunday 14 July was a great event, the weather was fine, not too hot, and our runners were cheered on throughout the route. We would like to thank all the Burley churches, families and friends for your generous support, both on the day and your donations to support Zakari and his colleagues as they strive to […]

Celebrating Mothering Sunday

Children of the Parish Family presented all the ladies with daffodils galore. Thank you to this year’s Flower Fairy Godmother Pat for preparing all the lovely daffodils!

DAY OF REFLECTION: Caring for the Earth – Our Common Home:

The Justice & Peace Commission held its Day of Reflection on 30 March at our church.   It was a day of prayer and personal reflection about our place in God’s creation and our responsibilities towards looking after our common home. We discussed some main themes in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si.  We heard about what […]

Sacrament of Confirmation 2019

On 28th February 2019 26 year 6 & year 7 students received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Canon Michael. Our Catechists Rachel and Liz thoroughly enjoyed the preparation sessions. It was wonderful to hear Saint John Paul being chosen as her Confirmation name by one of the students. Laughter was the keynote of each session […]

Bishop of Leeds’ annual appeal for Catholic Care

Bishop Marcus has asked us to support our diocesan charity Catholic Care.  You can read Bishop Marcus’ letter here.

Bishop of Leeds’ letter to the clergy and faithful of the diocese

Bishop Marcus has responded in his capacity as Bishop of Leeds to the publication on 20th August 2018  of the Holy Father’s Letter to the People of God on the need for ‘…combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience’.  You can read Pope Francis’ letter here and […]

Our parish prayer

God our loving Father, You made us your children in baptism. Pour out on us the gifts of your Holy Spirit. Help us as a parish to know the paths we must follow so as to build up your kingdom. Teach us to grow in faith, to encourage one another with words of hope, and […]

Catholic Care

Catholic Care is one of the charities we support.  A link to a short video describing its work can be found here and further information is given on our charities webpage.

Catholic Care Bulletin Spring 2019 – SS John Fisher & Thomas More parish family receives a mention … Bags of Dignity

A huge thank you goes to Parish Family of SS John Fisher and Thomas More Parish, Burley-in-Wharfedale; who had the novel idea of filling used handbags with toiletries, ladies products and men’s personal hygiene and shaving necessities for those in need.  Six bags have been given to Sheila Pickles from St Monica’s Housing to give […]