Archdiocese of Birmingham 15th February 2024

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God has called people into this relationship of trust over so many years.

Ash Wednesday ­

Yesterday we celebrated Ash Wednesday, the doorway into our Lenten season of renewal. In his Homily Mgr Tim Menezes, Cathedral Dean discussed the 40 days that lay ahead of us:  

We are beginning 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving which speaks in a particular way about our relationship with God and with those who are in greatest need.  

40 days beginning today can seem like a long time ahead, but in the broad sweep of history, God has called people into this relationship of trust over so many years.  

It is good for us to consider what we might do this Lent, but it is much more to do with what God is going to do in us and through us.  

For us to turn back to the Lord is itself God’s invitation to a share in his life, and the knowledge that if we wander from the Lord, we are not expected to find our way back. God desires our faithfulness.  

And whatever it is we might seek to give up for Lent or do extra this Lent, let’s all aim to follow the spirit of the law, not the letter… in this respect:
We seek to do these good things for the 40 days ahead.

But if, through human weakness, we don’t quite manage it, or if we have a blip after the first few days…then remember the Lord’s tenderness and compassion, and remember that this is a time of renewed invitation and opportunity from a God of boundless mercy.

Reflection: First Sunday of Lent ­

The opening prayer for this Sunday’s Mass is as follows:
“Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.”  

It talks about “growing” which takes place “through the yearly observances of holy Lent”. It is not merely a question of moving forwards rather than backwards; all efforts must be aligned with that which helps us to grow to grow as followers of Christ.

In many other languages, the name for this liturgical season derives from that language’s word for “Forty”, summarizing this forty days of preparation for Easter.   

In English, however, our word “Lent” comes from an Old English word “lencten”, which referred to the season of spring. In this season the daylight grows longer, so that we can see more, and the plants start growing in response to the light. 

Our Lenten disciplines, based on the spiritual disciplines of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting are undertaken that we may “grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects”. May God bless us all as we undertake them.

Join CAFOD’s Big Lent Walk ­

Invitation to all Diocesan parishes and schools!  

Challenge yourself and take on The Big Lent Walk!  

Walk when and where you choose over 40 days. Raise money to help people as they overcome poverty.  

Let’s rally together and make this Lent a time of unity and change!

Birmingham Diocesan Trust Finance Report 2022 ­

A PDF has been created to provide an overview of the Archdiocese’s latest accounts.  

The information is based on the 2022 accounts which were finalised late last year.   

The PDF examines the finances of the whole charity as well as looking in more detail at the parish and diocesan financial positions.  

It explains where our money comes from and how the parish levy is currently spent.    

You can find the overview along with the full accounts on the Diocesan website.

Prayer and Life Workshop Taster Sessions ­

Nuneaton and Birmingham.  

Prayer and Life Workshops is an international initiative started in Chile by Fr Ignacio Larranaga, a Spanish Franciscan friar, in the 1980s, and has since spread worldwide.  

The programme consists of a weekly two-hour workshop and daily prayer resources, to help to equip people to pray interiorly, but also to apply their spirituality to their lives too.  

You’re invited to a taster session at one of the churches below:  

Our Lady of the Angels, Nuneaton, Friday 16 February 7-9pm.  

St John Fisher, West Heath, Birmingham Monday 19 February 7-9pm.

Focus on Vocations: Listening to God’s Call ­

In February, the Dudley and Wolverhampton Deanery will be hosting a series of vocations events, ‘Listening to God’s Call’.   

There will be three online sessions on Tuesdays at 7pm. Starting on 20 February.  

There will also be two special Masses for vocations during the month.  

Deanery Vocations Months provide an opportunity to focus on vocations across a month, with celebrations of Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Prayer for Vocations.

The Crucifixion ­

Join the Oxford Oratory for a performance of Sir John Stainer’s masterpiece The Crucifixion with the Oratory Choir and award-winning soloists Sebastian Hill (Tenor) and Florian Störtz (bass).   

Friday 23 February at 19:30. Standard tickets £15 (students £5). Book online.

Online Monthly Maintenance Surgery ­

Thursday 29 February: Take a break from maintenance.

Cold nights, short days. This month is a chance to brighten the day by taking a step back from maintenance and celebrating good practice in maintenance and building management across the Archdiocese.   

Come and bring your good news stories regarding building maintenance and have a virtual cup of tea together.  

To sign up to the surgeries please email [email protected]  

For a full list of the maintenance surgery topics this year please visit the Property Resources section of the Diocesan website.

Online JustPeople Workshop ­

Invitation from Pact (Prison Advice & Care Trust).  

Would you like to find out more about how you can support our brothers and sisters affected by imprisonment?  

If so, Pact’s ‘JustPeople’ online workshops may be for you. They offer an opportunity to reflect upon Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching, through the lens of people affected by imprisonment.   

Open to everyone, they are free to attend, come with no strings attached and provide a space for us to discern the Lord’s call to social justice as we join together to promote the Common Good in our communities.  

The next one is on Wednesday 6 March, 9am – 1pm, via Zoom.

Exploring Prayer – A Lenten Retreat ­

St Michael’s, Sonning Common (South Oxfordshire)

Exploring Prayer – A Lenten Retreat

9.45am – 2.30pm, Saturday 9 March beginning in the parish hall.

A day to discover or rediscover traditional forms of prayer and an opportunity to explore new ways of praying.

The day will be between you and God. Resources, Retreats and more for Lent

Online Course on Integral Ecology   ­

An Initiative of the Laudato Si’ Alliance for the Care of Our Common Home
(Pontifical Universities and Atheneums of Rome)  

The unprecedented challenge facing the planet and people can only be addressed within the lens of an integral ecological vision championed by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’.  

To respond to such prophetic call, the Pontifical Universities and Atheneums in Rome created an alliance to launch the Online Course in English in partnership with many leading groups involved in the area of creation care.   

On completing the Course the students will be awarded a certificate on request.   

The participants can also become an official Laudato Si’ Animator, thanks to the Laudato Si’ Movement.  

Admissions to the course remain open up to 31 March 2024.

Pilgrimage to Knock and Co. Mayo ­

Pilgrimage to Knock and Co. Mayo for parishes in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.  

Departing Sunday 14 April from Birmingham, returning Friday 19 April 2024  

Package includes:

  • Flight with 10kg Check In Hold Luggage.
  • 5 night’s Dinner Bed & Breakfast basis in 4* Castlecourt Hotel, Westport.
  • Lunch on 3 Days. All entertainment, excursions and guided tours.
  • £899 sharing, £250 single supplement.

Theology Symposium – Authority and the Church ­

St Mary’s College, Oscott is holding its annual Spring Theology Symposium on Saturday April 27 (from 8.30am-5.30pm) on the topic of Authority and the Church.   

We shall be exploring the relationship between Ecclesial authority and Revelation in light of the emerging theology of Synodality and a postmodern culture. 

Speakers include: Prof Emeritus Fr Vincent Twomey (member of the Ratzinger Schülerkreis), Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP (former Master of the Dominican Order), Prof Jacob Phillips (St Mary’s, London), Mr John Stayne (Durham), Dr Mary McCaughey (Oscott).
We look forward to seeing you there.

Register now for this year’s Diocesan Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage ­

Saturday 4 May, 12noon at St Chad’s Cathedral  

Are you celebrating a significant wedding anniversary in 2024? Are you engaged to be married this year? Or would you simply like to give thanks to God for your marriage, and ask for His ongoing blessings?  

If so, we would like to invite you to attend this year’s Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage.   Registration is now open.

Wolverhampton & Birmingham Summer Pilgrimage to Walsingham ­

The Wolverhampton and Birmingham Walsingham Association Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham will take place from Monday 8 – Friday 12 July.  

Cost is £415 for a budget room and £492 for an en suite. Costs include 4 nights half-board accommodation, coach travel, and two half-day trips.  

All ages welcome.

Symposium: What does it mean to be Human? Medical Ethics and Social Care Today ­ Invitation from the Diocese of Portsmouth. Saturday 16 March.  

The aim is to bring the Christian Tradition and its values into a constructive and fruitful dialogue with those of other viewpoints.  

The Symposium features presentations from well-known experts and is led by David Wells, the popular motivational speaker.   

It is open to people of all faiths and none, specialist and lay, to students and to anyone with an interest in medical and social care.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! ­

Safeguarding Advisor, Archdiocese of Birmingham  

Following a period of significant change and improvement, now is an exciting time to join this friendly and creative team.  

As a Safeguarding Advisor you will, along with the Head of Safeguarding and other colleagues, be responsible for providing effective safeguarding advice and training across the Archdiocese of Birmingham.  

Deadline for applications: Sunday 18 February

For full details visit our website.

Dates for your diary: the month ahead  

Thu 15 Feb: Online: John Henry Newman and the English Sensibility   Fri 16 Feb: Prayer and Life Workshop Taster Session Nuneaton   Sat 17 Feb: The Trinity Conference 2024   Mon 19 Feb: CAFOD Birmingham Lent Spiritual Reflection   Mon 19 Feb: Prayer and Life Workshop Taster Session West Heath Birmingham   Tue 20 Feb: Annual Meeting of Ethnic Chaplaincies, Eparchies and Missions   Tue 20 Feb: Listening to God’s Call, online session   Fri 23 Feb: CAFOD Family Fast Day   Fri 23 Feb: The Crucifixion, Oxford   Sat 24 Feb: Annual Intercultural Mass   Wed 28 Feb: Divine Renovation event: Health or Burnout?   Thu 1 Mar: Ampleforth Lecture: Gospel Imperative for Climate Action    Wed 6 Mar: Online JustPeople Workshop, March 2024 (Prison Advice & Care Trust)   Fri 8 – Sun 10 Mar: Altar Servers Retreat ‘Called to Serve’   Sat 16 Mar: What Does It Mean to be Human? Portsmouth Symposium

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