Archdiocese of Birmingham Newsletter 11th January 2023

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This Sunday is Peace Sunday  

Reflection for Peace Sunday from Pax Christi ­

This Sunday is ‘Peace Sunday’ when we are invited to reflect upon how our encounter with Jesus, ‘The Lamb of God’ in the Gospel, commissions us to work for peace and justice in our world. Each year, Pope Francis gives us a theme for our prayer and reflection. This year’s theme may seem a bit too abstract or technical for us to grasp: ‘Artificial intelligence and peace’. Yet that title certainly alerts us to the new threats that are facing us on the world stage and in our own homes.  

Artificial intelligence is changing both the world around us and our own ways of interacting with it, such as the robotic voice greeting us at the call centre or various ways of ‘faking it like photo-shopping’, blurring the distinction between truth and falsehood.  

But there are other more disturbing developments such as the threat of cyber-attacks, some of them generated by ‘state actors’. There is also the military harnessing of these technologies – ‘Autonomous Fighting Vehicles’ which could decide who lives and who dies on the battlefield without any human agent being involved, and early-warning systems capable of triggering a nuclear war unless they are kept under human oversight.  

Pope Francis is calling us to wake up to the dangers around us before it is too late. After that we can flip the question around: how can AI become a servant of peace? Only by those who develop and control it programming it to seek conflict resolution. In war, as Pope Francis tells us repeatedly, everyone loses. In following the Lamb of God, peace wins.   Taken from notes prepared by Canon Rob Esdaile for Pax Christi

Peace Sunday, 14 January  ­

Pope Francis has chosen the theme:Artificial Intelligence and Peace’  

Pax Christi, the International Catholic Movement for Peace, have produced a wealth of resources to mark the day.

Three Day Pilgrimage to Walsingham  

Please book by Friday 19 January  

The Birmingham and Wolverhampton Walsingham Association is organising a pilgrimage to Walsingham this year from Saturday 6 to Monday 8 April. 

The cost is £299pp for en suite and £261pp for budget accommodation. This includes coach travel from various pick-up points across Birmingham and Wolverhampton.   

All are welcome. ­

Tabor Living Volunteer open events  

Saturday 20 January and Wednesday 14 February  

Interested in volunteering?  

Invitation to find out more information about joining the team of fabulous volunteers offering support to homeless individuals at the project in Birmingham.

Both events will be held at Tabor Living, St Catherine of Siena on Bristol Road. ­

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ­

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from Thursday 18 to Thursday 25 January.  

Resources are now available for the 2024 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, prepared by an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso facilitated by the local Chemin Neuf Community (CCN).  

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the best known passages of Scripture, yet one that never seems to lose its power to challenge indifference to suffering and to inspire solidarity.   

It is a story about crossing boundaries that calls our attention to the bonds that unite the whole human family.  

In choosing this passage of Scripture for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the churches of Burkina Faso have invited us to join with them in a process of self-reflection as they consider what it means to love our neighbour in the midst of a security crisis. 

Discipleship and mission of laity in Church today ­

Invitation from The Newman Association, Worcester circle.   Friday 19 January at St George’s Catholic Church, Worcester.   

To mark the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Archbishop Bernard Longley and Bishop John Inge (CofE Diocese of Worcester) will meet for a discussion about the role of laity in the mission of Church today.  

Our guests will lead a discussion about the future of the Church and what role laity is going to play in it, including the leadership and ministries.   

We hope to hear about the experience of synodality in the Catholic and Anglican communities and whether dividing Christians into progressives and traditionalists makes sense or not.  

This is the first event of the 2024 calendar of talks organised by the Worcester Circle of Newman Association.

#Pray24Brum is back! ­

Marking it’s 10th anniversary.  

#Pray24Brum 2024 is back this month during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  

A wonderful opportunity to pray and praise in and for the city of Birmingham. The theme is ‘Love God and Love your Neighbour’.  

This time it will be held at St Philip’s Cathedral, Colmore Row, on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 January.  

Prayers and services will take place across both days.   

Full Prayer Programme now available.  

All welcome.

Ecumenical Service at St Dunstan’s, King’s Heath, Birmingham ­

Thursday 25 January, 7pm  

An ecumenical service organised by Churches Together in Kings Heath, for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, will be held at St Dunstan’s Church followed by light refreshments in the parish conference room.  

All are welcome.

Invitation from the Redditch Carmelite Spirituality Group  ­

Meets on the third Saturday of every month at the Bridge Centre, Evesham Road, Redditch.  

We meet together to share aspects of Carmelite Spirituality, based around a contemplative approach.   Our first meeting of 2024 is on Saturday 20 January and the topic is ‘Carmelite origins’. Our guest speaker John Berry (member of the Birmingham Carmelite Chapter) will give a presentation about the history and development of the Carmelite order.  

We’ll also be celebrating the 8th anniversary of the establishment of the Redditch Carmelite Spirituality group.  

Meetings are from 11am to 2pm and include a shared lunch.  

We would be delighted to welcome anyone who wants to find out more about Carmelite spirituality and the January meeting is an ideal opportunity to ‘come and see’.  

If you would like more information, or would like to be added to our email circulation list to receive a copy of our 2024 programme, please contact Dr Susan Porter (group convener), email [email protected]

Date for your diary! Anniversary Organ Recital at St Chad’s Cathedral ­

Thursday 1 February at 1.15pm.  

The 30th anniversary of the Walker organ will be celebrated, featuring performances by regular organists David Saint, Paul Carr, Nigel Morris and John Pryer.  

Come and Study at Maryvale Higher Institute of Religious Sciences ­

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If you want to learn more, please contact us for a chat: To book a Zoom call with Deacon Dr Harry Schnitker: [email protected] 

Or to speak to him (Office Hours Only): +44 121 230 6259  

Or for an enquiry pack:
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Columbans Schools Media Competition deadline approaches ­

The Columban Missionaries in Britain and Ireland latest Schools Media Competition 2023-2024 is titled: ‘Biodiversity Matters’.  

The competition is aimed at students aged between 13-18 years old who are invited to explore Biodiversity – the richness of life forms on Earth and which humanity relies on for health, food and well-being. It is looking for pieces of writing and images that demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the issue of Biodiversity and highlight people, communities and/or organisations trying to build a sustainable future.

Encouraging creativity and faith engagement with issues in the world today, this year’s competition welcomes both written and image entries until the closing date of 17 February 2024. Winners will be announced on Columban media on 21 March 2024, the International Day of Forests. Columbans Schools Competition

New Job Opportunities  ­

Exciting New Opportunity at the Catholic Union 
The Catholic Union, which promotes the lay Catholic viewpoint to the Government, Parliament and in the Public Square, is seeking a new Director to join its team in the New Year. After seven years of significant growth, Nigel Parker, the first Director of the Catholic Union, is stepping down and a worthy successor is being sought.

Those wishing to find out more about the role should visit the Catholic Union’s website for a full job description for this important role. The deadline for applications is Monday 15 January.

Catholic Union Chairman, Richard Collyer-Hamlin comments: “Our busy and productive year ends with a farewell to Nigel Parker. Nigel has helped put the Catholic Union on the map and we are grateful for all that he has done with such dedication over the last seven years. The role of the Director is varied, exciting and dynamic and we look forward to a catholic new phase in our development in 2024”.  

Catholic Union Jobs

Kenelm Youth Trust Opportunities  

The Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT) are recruiting for several positions for 2024.  

  • Apprenticeship in Catholic Youth Ministry
  • Programme Leader, Soli Centre for Youth Ministry
  • Programme Leader, Alton Castle (x2)

Full details can be found on the Diocesan jobs page. Closing date for applications is Monday 29 January.

Trustee Vacancies: St Mary’s College Oscott  

St Mary’s College Oscott CIO is the registered charity which is responsible for running Oscott College.  

Oscott College is the diocesan seminary which forms men for the priesthood and the diaconate from England, Wales, Scotland and further afield.  

The College is looking for up to 10 additional trustees over the next couple of years, due to imminent retirements and also to help increase the expertise and diversity of the board.

No experience of trusteeship is necessary, and the successful candidates would be invited to attend a board meeting as a guest (in February 2024), before being appointed.  

Find out more via our Jobs and Volunteering page.  

Deadline for Applications: Wednesday 31 January.

Dates for your diary: the month ahead  
Sun 14 Jan: Peace Sunday  
Wed 17 Jan: Modern Slavery – What Is It? And What You Can Do To Help Survivors  
Thu 18 Jan – Thu 25 Jan: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024  
Fri 19 Jan: Discipleship and Mission of Laity in Church Today  
Fri 19 – Sat 20 Jan: Pray24Brum  
Sat 20 Jan: Tabor Living Volunteer open event  
Wed 24 Jan: Restore Training Course, Session 1   
Thu 25 Jan: Ecumenical Service, Kings Heath  
Fri 26 Jan: 100th Anniversary of the charity Lepra  
Wed 31 Jan: Restore Training Course, Session 2  
Thu 1 Feb: Anniversary Organ Recital, St Chad’s Cathedral  
Wed 7 Feb: Restore Training Course, Session 3  
Sat 10 Feb: Pre-Lent Reflection Day  
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