02085732544 hayes@rcdow.org.uk


Welcome to the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary


We invite visitors to feel welcome to explore the church but would also remind you that the church is a living worshiping community, which will be expressed through

  • People entering the church for moments of prayer and meditation
  • Mass at 12.15pm each day which is attended by over a hundred people.
  • On Thursday afternoon a Catholic Wedding being celebrated in Tamil between a Catholic and a Hindu.

We would ask you to respect moments when people will be praying or celebrating worship together, by not creating noise and avoiding areas of the church that would distract from the liturgy being celebrated until it has finished.  Feel free to sit and observe the celebrations taking place while you soak in the atmosphere of this building which for years has sought to offer a space for people to step away from the stresses and concerns of their busy lives for a few minutes, allowing them to return refreshed and re-energised as they continue to go about their daily business.

This booklet has been created to help you enjoy the experience and guide you around the church and the flower displays while also serving as a memento of the occasion.


The Claretian Community

Entrance - Welcome

Catholics and Non-Catholics alike are always welcome to come and visit our church. Our church is open all day so that this sacred space is available for all to retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life to encounter a place of peace and calm. Open from early morning until late evening it is rare to enter the church and find it empty.

The blue and white ceramic tile panel above the door is by William Gordon representing the crowning of Mary by Pope Pius XII as Queen of Heaven.

Weekday - Chapel


In addition to the celebration of Mass on Sundays, there is the daily celebration of the Mass on weekdays sometimes at this side altar and other small celebrations.

The crucifixion scene on the wall behind the altar depicts Mary, the sorrowful mother on the left and St. John the apostle on the right.

The stained-glass windows depict six of the sacraments: on the left representing confirmation, baptism and sacrament of the sick and on the right: marriage, confession and ordination.  The centre panel represents the whole believing community of Hayes with their bishop leading to Christ.

The Sacristy



The sacristy (vestry) is where the priests and other ministers prepare for a service and where all the items necessary for church use a kept e.g. the vestments, candles, bread and wine, etc.

St. Jude Thaddeus


St. Jude, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles, is the Patron Saint of hope and impossible causes. He preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he made profound differences in people’s lives as he offered them the Word of God.

The Gospel tells us that St. Jude was a brother of St. James the Less, also one of the Apostles. They are described in the Gospel of Matthew as the “brethren” of Jesus, probably cousins. St. Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand.

Painting of the Immaculate Heart of Mary


Painted by PIETRO ANNIGONI and installed in 1962. The masterpiece measures 5½m x 3m. Mary is depicted as the strong Mother of Mankind. The child, sleeping peacefully on her arm, represents

humanity undisturbed by the chaos of the world, shown in the blazing explosion of the background. Mary’s foot crushes the serpent (Genesis 3:16). New branches spring from the dead log. The dove with an olive branch, symbol of peace, in its beak is alighting and the pylons and factories in the distance remind us of the industrial area in which the church is situated and that Mary too, like all of us, had to work…… ‘by the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread’ (Genesis 3:19).

The painting was commissioned by the Claretian Missionaries who in 1912 founded the parish and still provide the pastoral care to the Catholics of the area.

The Claretian Missionaries were founded by St. Anthony Claret, a priest from Vic near Barcelona in Spain in 1849. The official title of the order of priests and brothers he founded is: Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At present there are about 3,000 members worldwide in over 36 countries. In England we also provide care for parishes in Leyton in East London and Buckden in Cambridgeshire.

Baptismal font


The Sacrament of Baptism is often called “The door of the Church,” because it is the first of the seven sacraments not only in time (since most Catholics receive it as infants) but in priority, since the reception of the other sacraments depends on it. It is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation, the other two being the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  Once baptized, a person becomes a member of the Church. Christ Himself ordered His disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations and to baptize those who accept the message of the Gospel.  For Catholics, the sacrament is not a mere formality; it is the very mark of a Christian, because it brings us into new life in Christ.



In a Catholic church, the altar is the table upon which the Eucharist is celebrated. The altar, centrally located in the sanctuary, is the focus of attention in the church. At the beginning of the priest first of all reverences the altar with a kiss.  The rite of dedication of a church includes that of the altar of the church and celebration of Mass on that altar is “the principal and the most ancient part of the whole rite. This altar should be an object of awe: by nature, it is stone, but it is made holy when it receives the body of Christ.”

Pascal Candle


This Paschal candle is one of the most sacred and enduring elements in Christianity. Made of beeswax to represent the purity of Christ, the candle’s wick signifies Christ’s humanity, and the flame His Divine Nature. It is adorned with one or more Christian symbols, often the cross to represent His redemptive sacrifice; the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet – Alpha and Omega – to signify that He is the beginning and the end, or any other Christian symbol.

The Paschal Candle, which represents Christ himself, is blessed at the start of the Easter Vigil. The Paschal Candle remains in the Sanctuary on its special stand during the full 50 days of the Easter season, and is lit for liturgical services during that time. After Pentecost the candle is placed next to the Baptismal Font. The candle is lit during all baptisms throughout the year, passing the light of Christ to each person baptized, starting with the Catechumens at the Easter Vigil service. The candle may also be used at funeral services, and placed next to the casket during a funeral Mass. At funeral services it is a reminder that the sacrament of Baptism is itself a death and resurrection in Christ and testifies to Christian certainty in the resurrection of the dead and life with Christ in the world to come.

Pulpit/ Lectern/ Ambo


In Roman Catholic churches, the stand used for readings and homilies is formally called the ambo. Despite its name, this structure usually more closely resembles a lectern than the ambon of the Eastern Catholic churches. The readings are typically read from an ambo in the sanctuary, and depending on the arrangement of the church, the homily may be delivered from a raised pulpit where there is one. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal specifies:

The dignity of the word of God requires that in the church there be a suitable place from which it may be proclaimed and toward which the attention of the faithful naturally turns during the Liturgy of the Word. It is appropriate    that generally this place be a stationary ambo and not simply a movable lectern. The ambo must be located in keeping with the design of each church in such a way that the ordained ministers and readers may be clearly seen and heard by the faithful. From the ambo only the readings, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Easter Proclamation are to be proclaimed; likewise, it may be used for giving the Homily and for announcing the intentions of the Universal Prayer. The dignity of the ambo requires that only a minister of the word should stand at it.


Blessed Sacrament Chapel - Tabernacle


The Catholic Church believes that Christ is “truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity,” under the appearance of bread or wine. This presence continues after the consecration, so that even after Mass is concluded, the Eucharistic elements are still Christ’s real presence. A tabernacle therefore serves as a secure place in which to store the Blessed Sacrament for carrying to the sick who cannot participate in Mass or to serve as a focus for the prayers of those who visit the church. A light burns near the tabernacle when the Eucharist is present.

Window - Last Supper


The Last Supper is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper is commemorated by Christians especially on Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as “Holy Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper”.

The First Epistle to the Corinthians contains the earliest known mention of the Last Supper. The four canonical Gospels all state that the Last Supper took place towards the end of the week, after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and that Jesus and his Apostles shared a meal shortly before Jesus was crucified at the end of that week. During the meal Jesus predicts his betrayal by one of the Apostles present, and foretells that before the next morning, Peter will deny knowing him.

The three Synoptic Gospels and the First Epistle to the Corinthians include the account of the institution of the Eucharist in which Jesus takes bread, breaks it and gives it to the Apostles, saying” This is my body given to you”.  The Gospel of John does not include this episode, but tells of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles, giving the new commandment “to love one another as I have loved you”, and has a detailed farewell discourse by Jesus, calling the Apostles who follow his teachings “friends and not servants”, as he prepares them for his departure.


The Pelican


The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her chicks is rooted in an ancient legend which preceded Christianity. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in turn lost her own life.

Given this tradition, one can easily see why the early Christians adapted it to symbolize our Lord, Jesus Christ. The pelican symbolizes Jesus our Redeemer who gave His life for our redemption and the atonement He made through His passion and death. We were dead to sin and have found new life through the Blood of Christ. Moreover, Jesus continues to feed us with His body and blood in the holy Eucharist.

Lamb of God


One of the most important symbols of Christ is the Lamb. Christ as the Lamb of God is mentioned in John 1:35-36 and Revelation 5:6-14 and in the words of the Mass.

The whiteness of the Lamb symbolises innocence and purity. Lambs are often associated with sacrifice in the Old Testament. Christ, the sacrificial lamb, died for the sins of humanity.

The lamb is sometimes portrayed with a flag, symbolic of Christ’s victory over death in his Resurrection.

Sacred Heart


The Sacred Heart is a symbol of the love of Jesus for all of humanity. The heart is a symbol of love. When depicted as the Sacred Heart, it is shown as pierced with a cross and thorns twisted around it. This shows the depth of Jesus’ love. He was prepared to suffer and die for all people. His love is eternal.

St. Anthony Claret

The “spiritual father of Cuba” was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop, and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris, and to the First Vatican Council.

In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, Anthony learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers.

Anthony spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was said that his rosary was never out of his hand. At age 42, he founded a religious institute of missionaries beginning with five young priests, known today as the Claretians.

Stained Glass Windows


Historically, Stained Glass Windows with their sparkling light and radiant colours have been used by churches as a teaching tool while at the same time providing spiritual inspiration to all who view them!

When we see a stain glass window in a church, we are struck by the beauty of the story it tells. The window usually depicts a story from scripture or an aspect of our faith. Taken as a whole, the window gives a complete picture of a particular story or inspiring moment. Stain Glass windows can also be viewed as not just a representation of our faith but also a symbol of the reality that the Christian community itself with its flaws and the need for its members to recognise their responsibility for presenting the message of Christ in the world.  When we approach the window and look closely at the art, we see that the window is made up of many pieces of glass. The pieces have different shapes and sizes, some are large and some are tiny. We see that the pieces are made of different colours. Upon closer inspection, we see that the pieces have flaws in them, some have lines or cracks, other have tiny air bubbles in the glass. But taken together as a whole, the unique pieces, big and small, of various colours, with all their flaws transcend their individuality and come together at the hand of the artist to give a dynamic story of faith. But what happens if part of the window is missing? What if we were to remove all the brown pieces of glass, or remove the large pieces, or the ones with bubbles in them? The picture would be incomplete. We would not get the whole story.

Communion of Saints

The biblical Greek and Hebrew words in Scripture most often translated as “saints” literally mean “holy ones” (Acts 9:13) or “faithful ones” (1 Sm 2:9). In Catholic tradition, the word saints can be used in several ways, which are all reflected in Scripture.

St. Paul sometimes addressed his letters to “the saints” in a particular city (see Eph 1:1; Col 1:2). In this case, he was speaking of all Christians as the “holy ones,” because they have now been made holy by their baptism and are striving to become more holy.

The Catholic Church affirms, then, that all faithful Christians are “saints” in this sense. The vocation, the calling, to holiness is universal; God is speaking to all Christians when He says in Scripture, “Be holy because I [am] holy” (see 1 Pt 1:14-16).

Why is it important for the Church to designate certain individuals as “saints”? In this case, “saint” is actually much more than just a title of honor. Because the Church is confident that these “holy ones” are now in heaven, Catholics are urged not only to imitate their holiness, but also to ask for their assistance.

Those who have been perfected and are now face to face with God in heaven — that is, the “saints” in the latter sense of that word — have a share, Scripture tells us, in His divine nature (see 2 Pt 1:4). This insight helps us understand the Church’s teaching about what we call the Communion of Saints — that is, the fellowship, the sharing, of the saints.

The perfected saints, having a share in God’s own nature, have a share in His perfect love. They love those of us still on earth as God loves us. They want to help us; they want to see us reach heaven as well. So they have the desire to assist us in any way they can.

The Organ


Music has always played an important part in Catholic Liturgy. Traditionally the congregation was led in its worship by Organ Music.

St Peter


St. Peter the Apostle, original name Simeon or Simon, (died 64 CE, Rome [Italy]), disciple of Jesus Christ, recognized in the early Christian church as the leader of the 12 disciples and by the Roman Catholic Church as the first of its unbroken succession of popes. Peter, a Jewish fisherman, was called to be a disciple of Jesus at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He received from Jesus the name Cephas (from Aramaic Kepa [“Rock”]; hence Peter, from Petros, a Greek translation of Kepa).

Peter led the Twelve Apostles in extending the church “here and there among them all” (Acts 9:32). He went first to the Samaritans (Acts 8:4–17), “who received the Holy Spirit”; in Samaria he encountered the magician and faith healer Simon Magus. Then he went to Lydda, in the Plain of Sharon (Acts 9:32–35), where he healed the paralyzed Aeneas. Then, at the Mediterranean coastal town of Joppa (Acts 9:36–43), he effected the cure of Tabitha (Dorcas) in the name of Christ. He went farther north on the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea (Acts 10:1–11:18), where, through the conversion of Cornelius, “a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort” (Acts 10:1), Peter introduced Gentiles into the church.

St Patrick


St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain and when he was fourteen or so, he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep.  Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain and was reunited with his family.  A vision prompted his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years, and was later ordained a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. After an intervention from God, Patrick was able to convert the chieftain of the native druids and preach the Gospel throughout Ireland. There, he converted many people -eventually thousands – and he began building churches across the country.  Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

Book of Donations


This is a book that records the names of all the families of the parish and beyond who donated £50 or more at the time of the planning and building of this church.  There are over 500 families mentioned.

The Pieta


The Pietà is a subject in Christian art, most often found in sculpture, depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus. As such, it is a particular form of the Lamentation of Christ, a scene from the Passion of Christ found in cycles of the Life of Christ. When Christ and the Virgin are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament, the subject is strictly called a Lamentation in English, although Pietà is often used for this as well, and is the normal term in Italian.

Pietà is one of the three common artistic representations of a sorrowful Virgin Mary, the other two being Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows) and Stabat Mater (here stands the mother). These other two representations are most commonly found in paintings, rather than sculpture.

Our Lady

Mary was a 1st-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Quran.

The gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament and the Quran describe Mary as a virgin.  According to Christian teaching she conceived Jesus while a virgin, through the Holy Spirit. The miraculous conception took place when she was already betrothed to Joseph.  She accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.

The Gospel of Luke begins its account of Mary’s life with the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced her divine selection to be the mother of Jesus. According to canonical gospel accounts, Mary was present at the crucifixion and is depicted as a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem. According to Catholic and Orthodox teachings, at the end of her earthly life her body was assumed directly into Heaven; this is known in the Christian West as the Assumption.

Mary has been venerated since early Christianity,  and is considered by millions to be the most meritorious saint of the religion. She is claimed to have miraculously appeared to believers many times over the centuries. The Eastern and Oriental OrthodoxCatholicAnglican, and Lutheran churches believe that Mary, as mother of Jesus, is the Mother of God. There is significant diversity in the Marian beliefs and devotional practices of major Christian traditions. The Catholic Church holds distinctive Marian dogmas, namely her status as the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her perpetual virginity, and her Assumption into heaven. Many Protestants minimize Mary’s role within Christianity, based on the argued brevity of biblical references. Mary also has a revered position in Islam, where one of the longer chapters of the Quran is devoted to her.

Stations of the Cross - Main Aisle


The Stations of the Cross are a 14-step Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man. The 14 devotions, or stations, focus on specific events of His last day, beginning with His condemnation. The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as the individual moves from station to station. At each station, the individual recalls and meditates on a specific event from Christ’s last day. Specific prayers are recited, then the individual moves to the next station until all 14 are complete.

The Stations of the Cross are commonly found in churches as a series of 14 small icons or images. They can also appear in church yards arranged along paths. The stations are most commonly prayed during Lent on Wednesdays and Fridays, and especially on Good Friday, the day of the year upon which the events actually occurred.

The Claretian Missionaries


The Claretians, a community of Roman Catholic priests and brothers, were founded by Saint Anthony Claret in 1849. They strive to follow their founder’s “on fire” example and help wherever they are needed. Their ministries are highly diverse and vary depending on the needs of the area. They focus on seeing life through the eyes of the poor and respond to the biggest need at the time. They have a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Their formal title is  “Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”,

Youth Work


The phrase Catholic youth work covers a wide range of activities carried out with young people, usually in the name of the Catholic Church and with the intention of imparting the Catholic faith to them and inviting them to practice and live out the faith in their lives. Activities in the field range from small scale youth groups attached to parishes or Catholic schools, to large international gatherings, such as World Youth Day.



As a parish run by a Congregation of Missionaries there has always been an international element to our pastoral vision. In addition to the Claretian’s missions in Guatemala (1968-1995) and Belize (2002 – 2014), the parishioners have been encouraged to support areas of need around the world especially in times of crisis such have been experienced in Asia in recent years.

Working with the Community


An important dimension of the work of the Claretians is that of building communities that work for the common good. Helping those in need be they members of the faith or not.  In recent years the community has tried to encourage people of different faiths and of no faith to come together and build relationships that strengthen the local community.

Care of the Homeless


For over 20 years, members of the Parish have worked together to provide food for people living on the streets of London every Friday evening.  Given the increase in homelessness in the local area in recent years, the parish is looking to see how we might better help those sleeping in our streets and doorways here in Hayes.



The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), is a process developed by the Catholic Church for prospective converts to Catholicism who are above the age of infant baptism. Candidates are gradually introduced to aspects of Catholic beliefs and practices. The basic process applies to adults.  The parish in Hayes was one of the first in the country to introduce the process into its life.  Each year people who are interested in finding out about the Catholic Church and its faith and welcome to come and explore the questions that they have.  After a period of enquiry those who wish to, are welcome to enter into a more intensive period of preparation which culminates in their Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion at the Easter vigil.



Official Church teaching has repeatedly and consistently reaffirmed the vital importance of Catholic schools and school choice.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Parents have the right to choose a school for their children which corresponds to their own personal convictions. This right is fundamental,” and “public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and ensuring concrete conditions for its exercise”.  Church documents spanning more than 125 years acknowledge the critical role of Catholic schools and school choice.  Here in Hayes we have Botwell House Catholic School which opened its doors in 1931.  There was also for many years the secondary school Our Lady and St Anselm/Walsingham which was established in 1956 and closed in 1990’s

Care of the Sick


Not many people realise that the Roman Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health care services in the world. It has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals, with 65 percent of them located in developing countries. In 2010, the Church’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers said that the Church manages 26% of the world’s health care facilities. The Church’s involvement in health care has ancient origins.  While we may not be responsible for any clinics and hospitals here in Hayes, the Clergy are often called out to local hospitals and care homes to support people that are sick and dying, and their families.  The Parish also tries to arrange for members to regularly visit the sick and housebound.

Our Address:

Botwell House,
Botwell Lane
Hayes. Middlesex

Tel: 020 8573 2544

E-mail: hayes@rcdow.org.uk

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