Latest news, Our Parish Family

Changes to attendance at Mass from 25 July
With the easing of the Covid-19 regulations Fr. Michael has decided to return the church to a more normal arrangement, whilst still being aware that we are not yet in normal times and the virus is not yet beaten. Please pray that this will come soon.
We will continue to have welcomers / stewards available at each Mass.
You are to be encouraged to give other members of the congregation as much space AS THEY NEED.
Masks, whilst no longer compulsory, can be worn to protect ourselves and others within this enclosed space.
There are benches on each side of the central aisle in the main body of the church, but we will continue, for a few weeks, to use ONLY alternate benches giving parishioners more space. To minimise the moving of people once the Mass has started, Fr Michael will (for the moment) distribute communion, by using the “empty benches” and come between each alternate bench to distribute Communion.
To help to ensure that all who attend our Church feel comfortable and safe, we will ask ALL parishioners to only leave their benches when directed to do so by a steward / welcomer.
At the end of Mass, please can we leave our benches in an ordered fashion. Starting nearest the exit on the at the back of church on the right hand side and moving forward. Once the lady chapel is cleared, we can then start on the left side at the back, moving forward, until the church is empty. By this means it will ensure a minimum of passing others as we leave church.

Weekend Masses
To allow more parishioners to attend Mass, we have slightly increased the number of tickets /spaces available at the weekend Masses.
We are asking you to continue to use EVENTBRITE to book.
We are advised we should still have a record of who has attended each Mass, as part of the Track and Trace system.
We do NOT need you to name everyone who attends with you, but ask you to enter a figure to indicate the size of your party e.g. John Smith + 2 (as you would do, if you booked a restaurant table). If there is an issue of infection risk at a particular Mass, you can then make contact with the others who attended with you.

If you do not have access to the EVENTBRITE booking system, YOU ARE STILL MOST WELCOME. All we ask is that on arrival you record your attendance at that Mass, by writing your name and a contact number in the attendance register. (We are also doing this for those who attend weekday Mass)

Changes to Saturday morning Mass times
On Saturday 24th July there will be a (private) Nuptial Mass at 12:00 noon, and NO 11:00am Mass.
Starting with Saturday 31st July, we will revert to the old 10:00am time.  The Saturday Morning Mass (at 10:00am) however does no-longer need to be booked on EVENTBRITE.

Changes to weekend Mass times
We will NOT drop a Mass this year during the month of August.  We will continue throughout August with THREE Weekend Masses: 6pm Saturday and on Sunday 9:00am and 11:00am

Weekday Masses
There will be NO weekday Masses during the week of the 2nd to 6th August. The weekday Masses will then recommence on 9th of August at the normal times.
It is NOT intended to limit the numbers attending these Masses, however we do ask that you record your attendance by clicking the “track and trace phone app” as a record as you arrive OR you must write your name and a contact number in the register, which we will hold for only the minimum time, in case there is a need for Trace & Trace

The registration system is a useful tool which will help our stewards/welcomers to co-ordinate visits safely on your arrival.  Please use this system to record your wish to attend one of the THREE WEEKEND Masses.  We ask if you are attending with others, that you add a number after your surname to indicate how many extra people, if any, will be attending with you. e.g. John Smith +2

Our prayers and very best wishes for Joanna and Duncan who recently celebrated their wedding at St John Fisher and St Thomas More.
We look forward this weekend to the Nuptial Mass to celebrate the wedding of Emily and Ross who are to be married in our church at 12 noon, Saturday, 24th July.

May God bless both couples and their families as they start their married lives together.

Confirmation 2021
A small Parish Church building but a large group of youth members of our Parish Family chose to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at the end of May.
The photos show Fr Michael having Bishop Marcus’s special permission to bestow the sacrament of Confirmation on Year 6 students of the Parish Family and lifelong friends now confirmed as friends forever!
What a splendid choice of Confirmation names …… Anne, Anthony of Padua. Bridget, Cecelia, Christopher, Edward, Frances, Francis, Irene, Mark, Oscar de Romero,  Patrick, Peter, Philomena, Sebastian and Therese;  so many great saints!

First Holy Communion preparation continues on Monday 12th July
Nicola has sent parents an e-mail with the time of the rehearsal for each Mass
PLEASE check your e-mails and come along ready to start at 5:50 pm or 6: 30pm.
If you are in the second group, please do not queue on the ramp to the church until the 5:50 practise have left the church.
If anyone still wants to buy a card or a little gift I will be there at 5.50pm Sue and Nicola

Team BTFT are running the Ilkley Half Marathon
Last Sunday Tom Lally, Keith Pitcher, Chris and Tom Inglehearn and Richard & Lynne Woods all completed the Ilkley half marathon to fundraise for the Burley-Tereli Friendship Trust ( As you may know, last April Tereli was attacked by bandits, the animals were stolen, 12 people killed and grain stores burnt, so it was a tough year for them, but we were able to buy millet to tide them over. It was also a tough year for BTFT because there were few opportunities to fundraise, so any help, large or small, would be much really appreciated. You can donate online to or in an envelope in the church offertory marked Ilkley Half Marathon.  Thank you!

Praise in the Park, Burley in Wharfedale
Please pencil Sunday 22Aug 2021 10:00 a.m. at Grange Park into your diaries for a joint praise and worship event. Congregants are also invited to join in the planning and putting together of this joint ‘Churches Together’ Praise in the Park service. Please email:

A new course, exploring Catholic faith, education, and spirituality, will be offered by the Diocese and Leeds Trinity University from Autumn 2021. An online information evening, on 22nd June (7-8pm), will introduce the course in detail. For links or more information, email

The Diocese Justice & Peace May 2021 newsletter can be found here, it includes:

    • Bishop Marcus’ Pastoral letter for Pentecost on the challenge of Climate Change
    • How we can respond to the Climate Crisis
    • How CAFOD needs your help for their work in Gaza
    • Join Caritas for two workshops on Criminal Justice
    • John Battle introduces the J&P Annual Report of 2020/21

Please keep our children and their parents in your prayers by joining in the Our Father which is the first prayer they are saying together.

Sunflower Seedlings have all been Collected


We would like you to nurture a seeding plant, water it, love it and name it! (can be any name- your own, someone else’s, just a name you like, or any made up name). Then, in a few weeks’ time, we will invite you to bring it back (it could be planted into another larger pot if needed…) and place it next to, or near the raised bed at the front of the church steps. This will hopefully be in time for the sunflowers to grow and start developing their Beautiful Bright Yellow Sunny Flowers!
We hope that this will coincide with the building and habitation of the new Insect Hotel (Bug House) which we hope to build together with anyone who is interested. We aim to create and develop lots of Insect friendly plants, and a house/home for the insects, encouraging and nurturing nature in our community and helping it grow.
This will be of ongoing interest alongside any activity in the Bird and Bat Boxes made by some of our children – which have been put up on trees in the Church Grounds. We intend to have a little competition for the Best Sunflower Plant Name, the Tallest Plant, and the Plant most visited by Insects!

I hope as many people as possible will join in the fun and enjoy Nature in the world around us.

P.S. Still WANTED: Small pallets, old tiles, bits of bricks, wood off-cuts, bamboo sticks, dry branches/sticks, pine cones – for the Bug House.
Can leave anything like this just behind the raised bed, under the bushes there, or contact me on if further questions

Appeal to younger children on behalf of the little ones who listen to Catholic Care Story-times, especially during lock down.
Have you any story books which you could donate to Catholic Care to help them with their story time sessions? Unusual titles [not the well-known Fairy Tales] which you enjoyed but have outgrown.  If Mum or Dad could drop me a text 07939063120 [Sue] we could arrange legal pick up or drop off in the next couple of weeks.

When you cannot come to Mass here are some activities on our Youth, family and children’s webpage which will help you follow the Church’s Year and Feast Days.

  • ICHTHUS weekly sheet – to help us think about this week’s Mass readings & prayers
  • LOOK –children’s weekly activity sheet

“Not everything is Locked down”
If you have one spare minute you might like to view a video in the News section. In just 1minute and 17 seconds it reassures us “Not everything is Locked down”.

This weekend completes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021, 18 – 25th January. Sadly, our usual celebrations and events cannot take place but do pray especially for our Churches Together in Burley and Menston.
Give thanks to God for the spirit of love and cooperation we have as we try together to witness to God’s love.


  • Zoom Coffee Morning. Friday mornings at 11am starting on 22nd January. A place to have a chat, become part of a community and have some fun! Meeting ID: 882 6618 1071; Passcode: Hello21
  • Relax and Revive. Join Janet Kent every Monday afternoon at 4pm for a friendly online relaxation group. Meeting ID: 820 5307 5411; Passcode: 655300


Throughout October we celebrated First Holy Communion, Covid style. Our children who had been waiting for several months had happy celebrations in a very safe way with a few of their First Holy Communion group friends. They were all wonderful occasions despite the limitations of only bubbles of parents and siblings, and no group photos with families on the Sanctuary steps. The children prompted teary eyes among their parents and Catechists as they received their First Holy Communion in the most reverent way. It was so very special to each family as these snapshots portray. Congratulations to the children and their parents who with Nicola’s guidance prepared their children under the new programme of Parental Catechesis. Thank you to Gabby for her help and to Fr Michael for his extra special guidance.


Burley churches are praying together….
Praying in Burley is a Facebook page, located at for anyone to post something they would like prayers to be said for.  Each day at 4pm a person from one of the village churches will pray live using those prayers.  Everyone is encouraged to join in prayer at that time for each other’s needs.

How do we discover the church in a time of social distancing?
John Sullivan has shared his thoughts about this, you can read John’s article here.

 Our page for children
A page for the YOUNGER MEMBERS of the Parish Family, a wonderful way to help everyone feel our Parish Family is alive and still growing together. 

Mary  and the Children’s Liturgy Leaders have designed a new Children’s Liturgy page which brings the Gospel story and activities to celebrate Sunday Mass themes. It will bring smiles between parents and children, and a with one extra click as directed a range of activities which children can choose from according to the age and interests , from colouring to a  wordsearch. 

CAFOD continues to offer a CHILDREN’S LITURGY at 10am EVERY SUNDAY MORNING. It is quite short, see

Please do send in any items you think we could include on this website …it is good to have different items of interest!

During live streamed Masses it is possible to make a Spiritual Communion.  This is a special opportunity which is so valuable in these most unusual and stressful times.  Here is a summary and prayer to help us. 

 There are times when people are unable to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, through illness or due to their personal disposition. Even though some may not receive ‘sacramental’ Communion, all are united in some way by the Holy Spirit. The traditional idea of ‘spiritual’ Communion is an important one to remember and reaffirm. A deep spiritual communion is possible even when we do not share together the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

(cf. Celebrating the Mass 212)

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in this Holy Sacrament of the altar.
I love you above all things and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come spiritually into my soul
so that I may unite myself wholly to you now and forever.
based on a prayer of St Alphonsus Liguori

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 to care for your family with love. Let us bear witness to the Good News, and be faithful followers of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen


Janet & Kevin’s new solar panels

The Crottys are over the moon with their new addition to the garage and house roofs and would like to offer a short explanation as to why we decided to purchase our solar panels. So here we go dear readers! Firstly the time to reflect that lockdown has prompted, twinned with the increased concern, awareness and […]

Under the Gaze of God

Fr David Williams C.P. (who lives in Otley) has written a book which may be of interest to our parishioners.  It is available from Amazon books.

Fr Michael – “A Golden Priest”

Fr Michael – “A Golden Priest” We at SS John Fisher and Thomas More are one of the lucky ones. We have the privilege and joy of celebrating a priest’s Golden Jubilee. Congratulations Fr Michael! Fr Michael as an altar boy at St Patrick’s,            Fr Michael at his Ordination Mass […]

A poem to celebrate Fr Michael’s golden jubilee

From Us to You The Lord asked you to follow Him and serve with grace and love To minister to those in need of blessings from above To watch His flock and guide us and to teach us how to pray To understand the Gospels and to follow in His way This task accepted graciously […]

Youth take part in Father Michael’s Golden Jubilee Mass celebration

At Mass, on Sunday 7th March at SS John Fisher & Thomas More church Burley-in-Wharfedale, we gave thanks for and celebrated the Golden Jubilee of a Golden priest. Exactly 50 years ago, Father Michael Mahady was ordained a priest at St Patrick’s Church, Leeds on a wet Sunday in Lent. Father Michael celebrated his Golden […]

Catholic Care – Annual Review

Catholic Care’s 2020 annual review has been published, you can read it here.  This is Bishop Marcus’ summary of its amazing work. “Despite all the phenomenal challenges and restrictions of the last year, the leadership, staff and volunteers of Catholic Care have diligently continued to provide an outstanding range of services and support to people […]

Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight starts on Monday 22nd February. Unfortunately, this year we will not be able to have a stall as we would usually do but can I encourage you to change one of your store cupboard items to Fairtrade, whether it is your tea/coffee, biscuits, honey, rice or toilet roll and there’s more!! This year […]

World Day of Prayer Service – 5th March 2021

The World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical woman led movement. This years’ service, written by women from Vanuatu (a group of islands in the South Pacific) should have been held in the Salem Church. As we are not able to meet together the Burley/Menston committee have compiled a service on-line. To participate, log […]

Lenten Activities

It’s always hard to think of things to do for Lent and, if you are struggling, we have attached some ideas for you here. You can cut them up and put them in a jar and draw one out each day or each week. There is something there for everyone. Don’t worry if you can’t […]

CAFOD – A special Lenten fast

Give up harsh words: use generous ones. Give up unhappiness: take up gratitude. Give up anger: take up gentleness and patience. Give up pessimism: take up hope and optimism. Give up worrying: take up trust in God. Give up complaining: value what you have. Give up stress: take up prayer. Give up judging others: discover […]

New benches around the Round House

There are now four benches and lots of lovely extra planting around the Round House. This has been a lovely collaborative project, and each of the four churches has supplied a bench. Each bench will have a little plaque on it.  It is hoped the renovated gardens and comfortable seating will cause many friendships to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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: 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 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 […]