Signed Mass

One of our signers interprets for a priest celebrating Mass

Most sign-language users in the UK use BSL (British Sign Language). This is a language in its own right, with its own grammar; it does not always follow the structures of the English language.

When we celebrate Catholic Liturgy (Mass and other religious ceremonies), we use a mixture of BSL and Sign-Supported English. When the priest himself is signing the liturgy, he follows the structure of the spoken English rather than the grammar of BSL. Signing a liturgy also needs a number of specialist signs for religious concepts, some of which may be unique to Catholic liturgy.

The Parish Priest of St Philip Evans, Pastor Gareth Leyshon, has learned to sign the simplified Eucharistic Prayer for Deaf People, authorised for use in Wales in 1992. This is the prayer normally used on Sunday mornings at St Philip Evans. Other prayers are taken from the accompanying Roman Missal for Sign Language. Occasionally, if a supply priest is covering Pastor Gareth's absence, another Eucharistic Prayer may be used with an intrepreter signing alongside the priest.

The following services are always signed at St Philip Evans:

  • 10.30 am Mass every Sunday
  • Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday
  • The 3 pm Liturgy on Good Friday

    At Christmas we will either sign the Midnight Mass or the Morning Mass; at Easter we will sign the Easter Morning Mass but may not also sign the Easter Vigil. Please consult the Parish Newsletter on these occasions.

    A group of volunteer parishioners assist in signing the readings at these Masses and interpreting the sermon for the priest or deacon preaching. New volunteers are always welcome, and the Catholic Deaf Service will run courses in Liturgical Sign Language as the need arises.