Archdiocese Newsletter 16th November 2023

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Help to Break the Silence on the persecution of Christians worldwide 
  Red Wednesday Reflection: Let us Break the Silence on Christian persecution ­ On Wednesday 22 November and throughout the Autumn you are invited to join Aid to the Church in Need’s #TeamRed, taking action to help countless Christians in Africa suffering targeted violence for their loyalty to Christ.   Together with Archbishop Bernard Longley let us stand in solidarity with the millions of Christians, as well as those of other religions, who are persecuted for their faith.   Archbishop Bernard’s reflection: I am delighted to stand with you in solidarity with the millions of Christians, as well as those of other religions, who are persecuted for their faith. We are doing something remarkable, we are BREAKING THE SILENCE on behalf of those who suffer – but whose stories sadly are not known.   Aid to the Church in Need is asking us to show the world that we care about the 5,000 Christians who died in Nigeria last year because of their faith. With you I want to ask why Africa is among the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian and to ask what our government is doing to help.   I’m joining you today to encourage and thank each one of you; your prayers make a difference, your voice makes a difference, every cake sale, each sponsored walk makes a difference and on this Red Wednesday, we say that we will do what we can to ensure this world is safe and peaceful for all people of faith.   If you are already involved in a Red Wednesday event in your parish or school community I wish you much success and I also thank you for standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. We must BREAK THE SILENCE on their behalf.

  Safeguarding Sunday: This weekend ­ The Diocesan Safeguarding Team is marking both Safeguarding Sunday on 19 November, and Safeguarding Adults Week 20-24 November. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, not just that of the few. We all need to play our part to keep people safe. Parish Safeguarding Representatives (PSRs) have been invited to use Safeguarding Sunday to introduce themselves to parishioners and explain a little about their role. This event aims to consolidate the good work started in the LOUDfence week earlier in the year, the introduction of the minimum standards information for safeguarding and the Diocese’s adherence to the eight CSSA (Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency) National Standards for Safeguarding. All Church activity should provide a safe environment which promotes and supports the wellbeing of everyone and protects them from harm. 

  Lourdes Pilgrimage 2024 ­ Join us next May for the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage 2024.   Will you answer the call from Our Lady?   Applications for doctors, nurses, carers, hospitaliers (handmaid – female non-medical helper, brancardier – male non-medical helper) are now open.   You can also make booking enquiries and find out more about what the pilgrimage entails.   All welcome to take part in this special spiritual journey.

A Coach to COP28 ­ The day of action for COP28 is Saturday 9 December.   Following Pope Francis’s call to action in Laudate Deum and the announcement that he will be going to Dubai, the Columban Missionaries are trying to organise a Birmingham coach to take a group down to London.   The aim is to join CAFOD’s march in solidarity with people on the frontlines of the climate crisis and bring Pope Francis’ COP28 message to the streets of London.
The cost will be about £20 per head, leaving from St Chad’s Cathedral at 8.45am, and leaving London at 3pm.   Please fill in the form to express your interest, before 12 noon on Wednesday 22 November. If we have enough people to go ahead the Columbans will be in touch to confirm that afternoon.    If you have any questions, please contact James Trewby at [email protected].

Cost-of-Living Statement issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference ­ “The Lord hears the cry of the poor!” (Psalm 34)    The Department for Social Justice at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference has issued a new public statement on the cost-of-living crisis:   Recent events have further exposed the fact that too many people live in a position where they lack financial security and risk falling into a spiral of poverty and debt. Ahead of the Government’s 2023 Autumn Statement, the Department for Social Justice urges the Government to consider seriously policies to address these problems, whilst not neglecting our obligations to aid poorer countries or to reduce carbon emissions.The Catholic Church recognises that the promotion of the common good is the responsibility of all individuals and institutions in society. We commend the wonderful work of Catholic schools and charities that have responded to the cost-of-living crisis. Schools and charities have supported families, welcomed migrants and extended solidarity to our brothers and sisters in faraway countries who are similarly suffering at the present time. We also applaud the work of parish communities which, in a spirit of solidarity and true to the mission of the Church, must always be open to those who are in particular need of social, material and spiritual support at this time. Those in need of our support can, in turn, enrich the community with their own special gifts.

This Sunday: World Day of the Poor ­ The seventh World Day of the Poor will be celebrated by the Catholic Church on Sunday 19 November, with the theme of “Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor” (Tobit 4:7).   Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), the Catholic Bishops’ Conference agency promoting domestic social action, has produced a number of resources with Redemptorist Publications, including a novena, reflections, an activity for school or parish groups, and more.

Next week: Half-Day Ecumenical Symposium – God in Christ Reconciling ­ Thursday 23 November, 2 – 5.30pm at St Mary’s College, Oscott.   A half-day Symposium to listen to presentations on the ‘eleventh report of the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the World Methodist Council’.    It focuses on the theme of reconciliation, from the words of St Paul that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5.19) with both corporate and cosmic dimensions experienced especially in the Church.   Various speakers, including Archbishop Bernard Longley, will present and unpack the themes of the joint statement.    There will be opportunities for questions and discussion after each presentation, and during the panel at the end of the event.   Refreshments are provided.

News from our friends at CAFOD ­ Over 70,000 Catholics have called for the World Bank to protect farmers’ seeds rights, including more than 60 of our parishes.   Thousands have signed a letter from Salina, a small-scale farmer from Bangladesh, to the World Bank calling for the protection of the fundamental rights of small farmers like herself to use their own varieties of seeds.   CAFOD’s Fix the Food System campaign is urging the UK government and the World Bank to protect the right of farmers around the world to save, use, exchange and sell their own seeds.

Online Forum: Laudate Deum ­ On Tuesday 21 November the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission is hosting its latest online forum on Laudate Deum.    Pope Francis recently released his Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum, ‘Praise God’, to “clarify and complete” what he started in 2015 with his Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ on how we care for our common home.   Join the online session from 7pm.

Baroque Fest of Great Catholic Music ­ On Saturday 25 November, on the eve of Christ the King, Sutton Coldfield Choral Society will be performing three works of great Catholic Music by two of Baroque’s most famous composers.   The concert, which takes place at Emmanuel Church, Sutton Coldfield, will feature Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater” and his stupendous arrangement of the “Magnificat”.   Also in the 7.30pm programme is Vivaldi’s famous “Gloria” which will be sung in its entirety. Baroque Fest of Catholic Music

Gospel Invasion Breakfast  ­ An invitation to pastors, church leaders, evangelists.   Time4Brum alongside Rise for Christ International, in partnership with Christ for All Nations School of Evangelism, warmly invite you to a significant and inspiring Birmingham Gospel Invasion Breakfast Meeting.    Our shared goal, in collaboration with the local churches of Birmingham, is to organise an impactful “Nights of Freedom” gospel campaign from May 29 to June 2, 2024.    This campaign aims to lead many individuals to Christ and build their connection with the local church for meaningful discipleship.

The breakfast event will take place on
Saturday 25 November, from 10am to 12 noon at Mount Zion Community Church, Birmingham.    We are pleased to offer a complimentary breakfast during the gathering.

Pact’s Birmingham Advent Carol Service ­ This very special event will take place at 7pm on Thursday 7 December at Our Lady and St Brigid’s, Northfield, and you are warmly invited.   Fr Cecil Rogerson and Fr Gary Buckby will be presiding at the service alongside wonderful ecumenical friends.    The St Brigid’s School Choir will lead us in song as we prepare for Christmas and bring prisoners and their families before the Lord in prayer.   Hear from someone with lived experience of the criminal justice system.   Pact is the national Catholic charity supporting prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. It works in 11 prisons across the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Mary’s Meals Christmas Concert   ­ Saturday 9 December 7.30pm, doors open 6.30pm   St Martin in the Bullring, Birmingham B5 5BB Step in from the winter chill and join us for an evening of joyful music featuring Lichfield Gospel Choir.  
Hear from Mary’s Meals founder and Sunday Times best-selling author, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, browse seasonal stalls and enjoy mulled wine and mince pies. 
All proceeds help Mary’s Meals serve nutritious school meals to children living in some of the world’s poorest countries. 
Tickets £10.

Online Monthly Maintenance Surgery: November – Preparing for Winter ­ Looking after our buildings, the tools of our ministry.   This month’s online surgery is on Thursday 30 November at 2pm.   With the clocks having gone back in October there is the feeling that winter is on its way.  To ensure the continued resilience of parish buildings it is important that they are prepared for the winter.     This session will look at the different things to consider to aid parish buildings during winter months and ensure that they and parish sites can remain open and usable for the parish and the community.   To sign up to the surgeries please email [email protected]   As always, Tom and Tarnia from the Diocesan Property Team are on hand to help. Just email them at:
Tom – [email protected]
Tarnia – [email protected]   For a full list of the maintenance surgery topics this year please visit the Property Resources section of the Diocesan website.. Property Resources

PARISHES REMINDER: Completion of general risk assessment by Friday 24 November ­ Trustees require an update of our current risk profile.  As such we need each parish to complete their general risk assessment and upload this to xCenta.
A general risk assessment has been provided covering the main hazards within a parish environment.  Please use this assessment to record your current risk control measures and any further actions required.     To access the General Risk Assessment, click on the ‘Documents’ module. Click on the ‘General Risk Assessment Template’ folder. In this folder, you will see the document you need. Click on ‘Actions’, then ‘Download’. The document will then be downloaded to your local desktop where you can save it and complete it.
If you are having problems logging onto the new system contact [email protected] with your name. email address and parish.
Please upload your general risk assessment by 24 November 2023 in order we can collate and analyse responses and report back to Trustees.  Your help and support are very much appreciated.

Friends of the Holy Land host Christmas Concert ­ Invitation to the charity’s festive fundraiser to help our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, Thursday 14 December.   This concert features the well-known London Welsh Male Voice Choir with renowned soloists Margaret Keys and Anthony Stuart Lloyd and compere Mal Pope.

Dates for your diary: the month ahead   Fri 17 Nov: Mass of Thanksgiving for Bishop Stephen Wright   Sat 18 Nov: Day of Renewal, Coventry   Sat 18 Nov: #RedWednesday Day for University Students, Harvington Hall   Sun 19 Nov: World Day of the Poor   Sun 19 Nov – Fri 24 Nov: Safeguarding Sunday and Safeguarding Adults Week   Tue 21 Nov: #RedWednesday Annual Schools Mass   Tue 21 Nov: Engaging the Disengaged with Sherry Weddell   Tues 21 Nov: Online Forum: Hosted by the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission   Tue 21 Nov: Intentional Invitation: From Good Experiences to Life-Changing Encounter   Wed 22 Nov: #RedWednesday Schools Live Stream event   Thu 23 Nov: Symposium on the 11th Joint Catholic – Methodist Ecumenical Statement   Fri 24 – Sun 26 Nov: National SVP 1833 Young Adults’ Retreat   Sat 25 Nov: Baroque Fest of Great Catholic Music   Sat 25 Nov: Rivers of Living Water – Mini Retreat on Zoom   Thu 7 Dec: Live Organ Recital at St Chad’s Cathedral   Thu 7 Dec: Pact’s Birmingham Advent Carol Service   Thu 7 Dec: Thriving or Closing? Divine Renovation   Sat 9 Dec: Mary’s Meals Christmas Concert   Thu 14 Dec: Friends of the Holy Land Christmas Concert     More Events

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