Through the sacrament of Baptism, God makes us His beloved children, members of His Church and sharers in His mission in the world. Baptism is also the doorway through which we enter in order to be able to participate in the other sacraments. Our parishes are like our spiritual home where we are welcomed as part of the family and nurtured and supported to grow in our Catholic faith.

Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation.  In baptism, we are “born of water and the Spirit,” we are given the ability to “walk in the newness of life,” and we fulfill the command of Christ to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

We are delighted that you are interested in your child becoming a member of the Catholic Church.  A child is baptized in the faith of the Church, a faith proclaimed for them by you, their parents, and their godparents.  Together with the godparents you represent both the local Church and the whole society of saints and believers.  St. Augustine tells us that: “The whole Church is the mother of all and the mother of each. “It is important for every child to belong to a faith community.  The people of God, namely the Church, and more directly this faith community,  have an important role to play as we welcome each new member with their family.  We are eager to make your experience a very special one.

Baptism at St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter’s-on-the-Thames

Preparation for Baptism may begin before the baby is born.  Pertinent information regarding parents and godparents is required.  Parents must be registered in the parish before their child can be baptized.  Children who are of a catechetical age before being baptized,, i.e have completed Grade 2, may be prepared for all three Sacraments of Initiation:  Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion.

If you are new to our faith community, consider walking with us for awhile.  Come to mass regularly.  Introduce yourself to the staff so you can get to know us and we can get to know you.  See if this is the community where you and your child belong.  When you are ready, review the process “Preparing for your Child’s Baptism” found below and then complete the Application Form also found below.  If you are a long time member of the community or already know you belong here, begin the process right away. In either case, by considering Baptism for your child, you are exploring the privilege to make a profession of faith on your child’s behalf.  It is wonderful that you wish to share your faith with your child in this way.  If we can help you in any way, please ask.  If you have any further questions about Baptism, please contact Father Chris at

Baptism brochure – Be sure to read this important information and bring it with you to your preparation sessions.

Baptism Application

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is where we receive and experience the infinite mercy of God who loves us more that we can ever love ourselves.  This is one of the most beautiful and unique aspects of the Catholic Church. Through the ministry of the priesthood, we can obtain forgiveness of our sins and also reconcile with God and the Church.  Through the grace of this sacrament, we also receive healing.  Here at St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter’s we have confession available multiple times a week and we hope you take advantage of this.  It is never too late to experience God’s forgiveness and healing.  To assist in preparing for Reconciliation, Preparation for Reconciliation may be useful to you.

Confession Times

Tuesday:  6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at St. Peter’s-on-the-Thames

Saturday:  4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier

By Appointment Anytime

First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion

Dear parents and children – welcome to our preparation program this year for First Reconciliation and First Communion!  These sacraments help us in our relationship with Jesus Christ – whose teachings and example we follow in our everyday life.

How to register:  

Registration is online.  Please go to If you are unable to attach a copy of your child’s birth certificate, please bring it with you to our first preparation session.   First Confession must be completed before First Communion. 

Family Catechetical Sundays:  

Your family is requested to attend Sunday Mass at St. Francis Xavier on the dates listed below.  Your child will join our Children’s Church following the first part of the Mass and return to you for the second half of the Mass.  Following the Mass there will be a short 15 min presentation downstairs in the hall on the sacrament your child is preparing for.  The whole family is welcome to attend, but at least one adult must accompany the child making the sacrament.  Each session is required.

Preparation for First Reconciliation/Confession:

February 2:  10:00 am Mass & Presentation in the hall after Mass

February 16:  10:00 am Mass & Presentation in the hall after Mass

March 1:  10:00 am Mass & Presentation in the hall after Mass

First Reconciliation:  Thursday, March 5 at 6:30 pm at St. Francis Xavier Church

Preparation for First Communion: 

March 29:  10:00 am Mass & Presentation in the hall after Mass

April 26:  10:00 am Mass & Presentation in the hall after Mass

May 17:  10:00 am Mass & Presentation in the hall after Mass

First Communion: 

Saturday, May 23, 5 pm St. Francis Xavier 

Sunday, May 24, 8:30 am St. Peter’s

Sunday, May 24, 10:00 am  St. Francis Xavier

Questions or concerns:  Please contact (Deacon Raymond) or

Pope Francis expressed the beauty of this Sacrament in this recollection by Andrea Tornielli:

“In this regard, the Pope spoke about a dialogue that happened in a confessional where a man, hearing this about mercy, had replied to Bergoglio:  “Oh, father, if you knew my life, you would not speak like that!  I have done very bad things!”  And he replied, “Better! Go to Jesus:  he likes it if you tell him these things!  He forgets, He has a special ability to forget.  He kisses you, He embraces you, and He says to you:  ‘Neither do I condemn you.  Go, and from now on, sin no more.’  That is the only advice he gives you.  After a month, we are in the same condition…Let us return to the Lord.  The Lord never gets tired of forgiving – Never!  It is we who get tired of asking him for forgiveness.  And let us ask for the grace of never tiring of asking him for forgiveness.  And let us ask for the grace of never tiring of asking pardon, for He never tires of pardoning.”  

In the Eucharist, Jesus offers us His very life and self, just as He did on the Cross and at the Last Supper. For us as Catholics, celebrating and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our Church life – everything else should lead to it and everything else should flow from it. We call it Communion because of Jesus’ desire for us to be one with Him through this beautiful sacrament.

Children who are baptized and are in Grade 2 usually begin preparation to receive both the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist during that school year. It is strongly recommended that children celebrate their First Reconciliation before receiving their First Communion.

Parents of children in the Catholic schools connected to our parish (St. Joseph and St. Francis in Tilbury) are contacted through the schools and informed of the upcoming sacraments in our parishes. Parents of children at other schools are asked to contact our offices to register their children.
Preparation elements include: an information meeting for parents in October; a workbook to be completed by children with help from their parents at home; in-class instruction by Grade 2 teachers at our Catholic schools which will be supplemented by class visits by our pastoral team; and special catechism sessions for the children over three consecutive weekends during the 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Francis during the season of Lent.

First Communion for children is celebrated at each of our parishes during the regular Masses of two weekends during the Easter season. Parents will be informed of the specific weekend options during the preparation time leading up to the First Communions. For those children who may not be able to be at any of those regularly scheduled celebrations, the First Communion may be celebrated at another regular parish Mass after arrangements are made with the parish.

Schedule for the Rite of Confirmation 2019

The following is a listing of the scheduled sessions that the candidates are required to attend.  Sponsors are strongly encouraged to be present with their candidate at all meetings to provide support.  All meetings are held at St. Francis Xavier Church.  

Information & Registration Meeting: Friday, September 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm at St. Francis Xavier Hall.   Students in Grade 7 are invited to attend.  At least one parent and the child/student wishing to make their sacraments in the 2019/2020 school year MUST ATTEND.  Please bring the baptismal certificate of your child with you to registration night.  

If you have a child who attends Ecole St. Francis and would prefer for your child to receive the sacraments in the French language, you may register them for the sacraments with Paroisse de la Visitation Parish in Comber or Immaculee Conception in Pain Court.  Visitation’s Confirmation information night is Friday, September 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm. For Confirmation at Immaculee Conception contact Anita at the Parish.  

You may register online for Confirmation, at  but attendance at the meeting is still required. 


These dates for Confirmation preparation can also be found on Upcoming Events page. as they become determined.

The Confirmation preparation program here at our parishes consists of: an information night for parents; working through the Decision Point video series ( either in-class at one of the Catholic schools connected to our parishes (St. Joseph or St. Francis in Tilbury) or at home; completing 10 service hours; participating in our parish-based retreat day; and completing an interview with our pastoral team; attendance at our Pentecost Sunday Masses for a special blessing and gifting ceremony.  There may be other opportunities for preparation provided by the school, parish or diocese. Parents of Grade 7 and 8 students at our Catholic schools will be notified through the schools when registration is open for Confirmation; adult candidates and parents of children outside of our schools can register at any time through our parish offices.

Please contact the Parish Office at

Marriage is the unique Sacrament which binds one man and one woman together in a covenant under God and His Church.  It is a Sacrament of Vocation, a response to a specific calling that God has placed in the hearts of a couple.  It is a bond that lasts for life which is permanent, faithful, and fruitful.  Marriage is not just about two people, but is the foundation of the family, the “domestic church”, the most basic and foundational structure, not only for the Church, but for all society.

Congratulations to:

  • Dennis Thibodeau & Laura Carroll who were married at St. Peter’s on October 6;

  • Scott Parent & Angela Quenneville who were married at St. Francis on October 13;

  • Scott Lewis & Jessica Wills who were married at St. Francis on October 20

Any Catholic who is presently a member of the parish cluster, and who is free to marry, can be married at St. Francis Xavier or St. Peter’s-on-the-Thames.  Couples intending to be married are asked to please contact the pastor before making any other arrangements.  One year notice is required so that the proper preparation can take place.  Please contact the Parish Office at 519-682-1102 or contacting the pastor directly at


You are planning to spend the rest of your lives together.  Every step must be taken to ensure your happiness and a good knowledge of your duties and responsibilities and of the requirements of Christian marriage.  All couples, before entering into marriage, must attend a preparation course which has been designed to assist you in your new life together and address various issues of married life.  This is in addition to the meetings you will have with the parish priest/ deacon/ or pastoral minister. If you have been away from regularly practicing your faith – welcome home ! We will be offering a variety of  programs to help you spiritually prepare for the reception of the sacrament of marriage. Programs like ALPHA or Catholic Update may be part of your preparation after mutual agreement between yourself and the celebrant. Your parish priest will provide you with the appropriate dates and times.

Attendance at our Family Gatherings (Sunday Mass) is not only encouraged but required. Perfection is not required – but a willing heart is!

There are several preparation options available to couples who are planning to be married in our parish cluster.  

Chatham Family of Parishes – no Marriage Prep in 2019

Wallaceburg – Holy Redeemer Cluster – February 23 & 24, 2019

Blenheim – no Marriage Prep in 2019

Good Shepherd Marriage Preparation

       May 24 & 25, 2019

Visitation Parish Preparation Course (call 519-687-3118)

Belle River – St. Simon and St. Jude – no Marriage Prep in 2019

Essex – Holy Name of Jesus – March 29 & 30 AND November 22 & 23, 2019

Leamington – no Marriage Prep in 2019

Living our Faith in Love online course

A Weekend course in London through the Diocese of London

There is quite a bit of confusion and mystery surrounding the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.  In many cases, this was once called “extreme unction” or “last rites”.  In recent years, the Church has moved away from this language, because it suggested that the Sacrament could be received only once and that it was to be received only in the last moments of life.  Neither of these suggestions are true.

The Catechism puts it this way:  “Anointing of the Sick” is not a sacrament for those who are the point of death.  Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly arrived.”

This Sacrament is celebrated communally twice a year at Tilbury Manor and Hudson Manor.  We celebrate it as a parish on the Sunday closest to the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes – World Day of Prayer for the Sick (at all Masses).  It is also celebrated individually by appointment or in emergencies by contacting Fr. Christopher Bourdeau at 519-682-2256 (the rectory).

This year, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be celebrated at St. Francis Xavier on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at the 5:00 p.m. Vigil Mass and Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Mass and at St. Peter’s-on-the-Thames on Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.

God continues to call people to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to preach His Gospel, bring the grace of the sacraments and lead His people to greater holiness.

We’re blessed to have St. Peter’s Seminary within our diocese in London. It works at forming priests, permanent deacons and lay ministers to serve the Church throughout Canada.

If you feel you may be called to a religious vocation or know someone who may be, please contact our diocesan vocations director, Fr. Patrick Beneteau at or visit our vocations website.

A list of the various Religious Communities of Consecrated Life for men and women can be found on the Diocese of London website

Are you interested in becoming Catholic?  Want to know more about the Catholic Faith?  Considering becoming Catholic or receiving your confirmation?  Want to help journey with those asking questions? 

Do you know someone who has questions about the Catholic Faith?  Maybe that person is you!  Or maybe you are someone who has a kind heart that would like to journey with someone who is considering the faith?  Contact our Pastoral Minister about registering for RCIA – the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.  Even if  you are already Catholic and would like an “update” or “refresher” on your faith – joining this year’s RCIA team might just be for you!  Typically members meet once a week for an hour and a half to learn and discuss the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic faith. 

Explore the faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

RCIA is a journey of conversion on the living community of faith.  It is an ongoing process in which adults and children prepare for initiation through prayer, rituals, reflection on the Word of God, teachings of the Church, community activities and support from and service to others.

RCIA culminates in the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist)

RCIA is for:

-Adults who have not received any of the Sacraments of Initiation

-Adults who have been baptized Catholic but have not been Confirmed and/or not received their First Communion

-Children who attend public or Catholic school or are being home schooled, who are 8 years old (in Grade 3) or older and who have not been baptized or received First Communion





First Holy Communion


Matrimony:  Why Make it Catholic

Anointing of the Sick