Welcome to the Catholic Community at the University of Derby

 University of Derby Chaplaincy  |  Diocese of Nottingham  |  Union of Students

Who we are

University of Derby Chaplaincy

Father Jonathan, Deacon Richard, and Sister Sneha, work as part of the wider University of Derby Chaplaincy, offering pastoral support, advice on faith and belief, and an environment to practie and deepen your own faith. Please visit the webpage of the university chaplaincy to learn more.

St Joseph's Catholic Church

Situated to the south of the city centre, St Joseph's is a short walk from town. Sunday Mass is celebrated at 11.00am and is popular with students. It's also the Church at which many of our student and young adult events take place throughout the academic year. Find out more about St Joseph's by visiting our webiste.

Derby US Catholic Society

The Catholic Society is an affilate society of the University of Derby Union of Students. It organises social and faith based events for students throughout the year, and works together with the Chaplaincy to facilitate pilgrimages, retreats, trips and talks. Please visit the society webpage to take up your membership.

What's on

Christus Vivit

6.15pm in St Joseph's, 3rd Thursday of the month

A young adults initiative in partnership with Diocese of Nottingham Adult Formation, we meet on the 3rd  Thursday of the month for Adoration, prayer, an opportunity for confession, a talk and discussion, and some social time.

Monthly Mass n Meet

6.00pm in St Joseph's, 1st Thursday of the month

A Mass for students and young adults, followed by a shared meal and some social time. Sometimes we order in, other times we bring and share food, but most importantly we spend quality time with other Catholic students and young adults.

Charity Lunch

12.00-2.00pm in the Multi-Faith Centre, Wednesdays in term time

A free vegetarian, fairtrade, lunch provided by the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, during which there are opportunities to socialise, speak with the chaplains, or join the 'Get Real' Philosophy discussion group that runs concurrently from 12.00-1.00pm

Weekly Mass

1.15pm  in the Multi-Faith Centre, Tuesdays  in term time

An opportunity for Mass during the day on the Kedleston Road Campus. Feel free to pop in between your lectures, or if you have more time join Fr Jonathan and Sr Sneha for a coffee afterward.


Meet the team

Father Jonathan Whitby-Smith

Father Jonathan joined the Chaplaincy team in 2020 and is Catholic Chaplain to the University of Derby as well as Parish Priest to the Parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes, Mickleover, with St Joseph's, Derby. He is also the Universities Coordinating Chaplain for the Diocese of Nottingham

He was ordained priest in 2018 and served as assistant priest in the Mansfield area before moving to Derby in September 2020. He found his faith while studying at the University of Nottingham, and his vocation while working as a lay chaplain in the same institution. No stranger to higher education, he has undertaken studies in theology, philosophy and psychology across the universities of Nottingham, London and Westminster.

You can contact Fr Jonathan at J.Whitby-Smith@derby.ac.uk

Deacon Richard Walsh

Deacon Richard joined the University in November 2002 as Catholic Chaplain. He also lectures on the Foundation Pathways Programme. Although he now lectures in Business, he has also lectured in Chemistry. This stems from his original career as a chemist and bacteriologist in the public water supply industry. 

Deacon Richard is also a director of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, which runs 25 schools, mainly situated in Derbyshire. He is the Chaplain to the Civil Defence Association and Provincial Chaplain to Province 9 of the Order of the Knights of St Columba.

You can contact Deacon Richard at r.walsh@derby.ac.uk.


Sister Sneha UMI

Sr Sneha Jose UMI is a native of Kerala state in India belonging to the pontifical congregation of the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate (UMI). By profession she is a teacher, holding a degree of TTC, completed her bachelor's and master's degree in History and English, and has a professional degree in B-ed as well. 


Sister Sneha has worked as a teacher, Vice Principal and Principal of UMI schools in the northern part of India, which was a pleasure and privilege to work with young students and help to bring out the best in them. She has spent time ministering in Kenya as deputy principle of a UMI school for 5 years. Having recently moved to the UK Sister Sneha is here with a new mission, working as a Catholic University Chaplain. Sister enjoys visiting families in the parish, patients in the hospital, and getting involved in all manner of parish, school, and university activities - all aimed at helping others grow in the spiritual life, and deepening her own faith, day by day.