Archdiocese of Birmingham newsletter 14th March 2023

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I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

Dying and Rising ­

In this Sunday’s Gospel, John 12, we hear, “I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.”  

In the gospels Jesus uses the imagery of seeds on several occasions; perhaps we are most familiar with such imagery in a parable about the kingdom of God, which begins,  “A sower went out to sow” (Lk 8:5, Mk 4:3), which is about God’s word being “sown” in us, so that we, in maturity produce “seeds” of Christ to be sown in others.    

Today’s imagery points to Christ’s death, as his being “sown in the grave”. The harvest is through Christ’s victory over sin, death and every evil.

There is an important difference, however, between Christ and a seed.  

Seeds appear dead to our eyes, but they aren’t. Biologically they are alive, still breathing though very slowly. When planted in good soil, with the right mix of temperature, moisture, air and nutrients, seeds naturally  transform into seedlings then into mature, seed-producing, plants.   

But Jesus really died. His body succumbed fully to mortality, becoming a corpse. He was biologically completely dead. 

In Jesus’ ministry we had seen him bring the dead back to life (Lk 7:11-17, Lk 8:49-56, Jn 11:1-44), but for those people their journey through death was put into reverse, and each person came back from death to their normal human life, which would lead again to mortality.

Jesus’ death, however, was not put into reverse, rather his life is completed in its fulfilment, going forward into greater fullness, to eternal life and glory. And through death and resurrection he invites us and enables us to follow… and so I …
“look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

Could you or your business sponsor t-shirts for the youth teams attending Lourdes? ­

Every year our young people do us proud on the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage. They give their time to help our VIPs (assisted pilgrims) participate fully in the pilgrimage and experience the love of God through the care, love and friendship that they receive.  

Our young pilgrims show that they are part of the same journey with t-shirts and neckerchiefs and we are in need of new stock for this year’s pilgrimage.   

With your name or logo on our sleeve, we will keep you in our hearts as we come in procession to meet Jesus Christ through Our Lady.  

For more information, please contact Maria Bracken, Youth Ministry Co-ordinator:   [email protected]

Reflection: By the Wounds of Christ ­

Musical and Scriptural event at Holy Trinity, Sutton Coldfield.  

Through music and mediations, inspired also by the Stations of the Cross from the World Youth Day in 2023, all are welcome to join this preparation for the celebration of Easter.   

Friday 15 March at 7pm.

St Patrick’s Day Mass and Parade ­

Sunday 17 March in Digbeth, Birmingham.  

Mass at 10am at St Anne’s, celebrated by Bishop David Evans, followed by a parade organised by Birmingham Irish Association.

Day of Recollection, Hednesford ­

Hosted by the Birmingham Lourdes Hospitalite, Saturday 16 March, at Our Lady of Lourdes.  

An opportunity to gather as a Lourdes family and prepare for pilgrimage.  

Mass, rosary, Stations of the Cross, shared lunch.

Tabor Living – Volunteer Open Day ­

Tabor Living invites you to join us at our next Volunteer Open Day on Sunday 17 March, starting at 1pm.  

Be there for 1pm for a presentation, tour and time for questions.    

Volunteers are at the heart of Tabor Living and have helped change the lives of homeless individuals since we opened in September 2017.

Greenwashing: How the fossil fuel industry impedes climate action ­

Bromsgrove Justice and Peace Group invites you to a Zoom meeting on Tuesday 19 March at 7.30pm.  

What is greenwashing? How can we spot it and how can we call it out? Dr Aaron Pereira from Solid Sustainability Research will talk about the ways in which fossil fuel companies have misled the general public in the past and continue to do so.   

He will focus on their historic role in spreading disinformation, as well as how they continue to shape the discussion around climate change through advertising and ties with universities and cultural institutions. 

Introduction to Animal Rights from a Faith perspective: New insights into animal agriculture ­

Webinar presented by Catholic Action for Animals, Thursday 21 March, 6pm.  

Hosted by the Animal Interfaith Alliance, in collaboration with the Diocese of Salford, the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, Climate Healers, Born Vegan and In Defense of Animals.  

Introduction by Bishop John Arnold, the Bishop of Salford, a member of the Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales Department for International Affairs and the Bishops’ Conference spokesperson on the Environment.  

Barbara Gardner, from Animal Interfaith Alliance, will welcome participants and introduce the speakers: Sailesh Rao, Sarina Farb, Dr Jane Goodall, Lisa Levinson, Daniel Mascarenhas SJ, Maureen Villanueva, Virgina Bell.

Birmingham City Centre Walk of Witness ­

Come and remember the events of Good Friday with Ecumenical friends across the city.  

Friday 29 March at 10am. Starting at The Church at Carrs Lane, finishes at St Chad’s Cathedral. All are welcome!  

If your parish is holding a Walk of Witness you’d like us to share, please contact us with the details: [email protected] 

Easter Monday Mens Masses ­

The Annual Eucharistic Gathering of missionary disciples. A Personal Commission to invite others to Christ.

An historic event going back 100 years led by grandfathers, fathers
and sons (open to all) proclaiming the Real Presence of Our Lord in
the Blessed Sacrament and how precious the Eucharist is in the mission of the Church.  

Mass will be celebrated at St Chad’s Cathdral at 10am by Archbishop Bernard Longley, St Osburg’s in Coventry at 10.30am by Canon Paul Fitzpatrick and at Sacred Heart Hanley in Stoke on Trent at 10am by Canon Paul McNally.   

A great tradition in our Diocese. All welcome.

Introduction to Sight Loss Friendly Church on Zoom ­

Sight Loss Friendly Church (SLFC) is Torch Trust’s exciting initiative to help churches to become accessible for people with sight loss.  

Thursday 9 May at 2pm (45 minutes). This session covers a brief overview of what it means to be a sight loss friendly church.  

There is an interactive element in the form of an informal quiz, personal stories and videos about sight loss and an overview of our services.   

Come along if you’re thinking of signing up your church or if you’d like to refresh old knowledge. Sight Loss Friendly Church  

Out now: Episode 3 of ‘Pause for Prayer’ ­

The latest video reflection is now available to watch on our website as we continue our Year of Prayer journey.

In this episode we take a deep dive into the ‘Our Father’.  Firstly in the context of the Mass with Fr Marco Egawhary, assistant priest at Sacred Heart and Holy Souls, Acocks Green. 
Then looking at the Our Father as a prayer of unity, with Pastor Robert Mountford of Birmingham Churches Together. 

Plus prayer intentions for the month ahead with Jane Roberts, parishioner of St Mary’s, Harborne.

Heart of England Walking Pilgrimage Worcester to Peterborough  ­

All are welcome to join the Heart of England Walking Pilgrimage from Worcester to Peterborough, 10 to 25 August.  The route takes in Worcester, Coventry and Peterborough cathedrals, Rutland Water and much splendid countryside. There are rest days in Warwick and Market Harborough.   

The organisers are the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton ecumenical walking group, all volunteers, who have run an annual pilgrimage since 1975 in different parts of England and Wales.   

Come with us for the whole journey or just an afternoon and experience walking as part of our travelling Christian community!  

The cost is £350 to walk with us all the way, or £33 per night to book a shorter spell (£31 per night for 7 days or more, 25% discount for under 21s).

Jobs and Volunteering ­

Deputy Diocesan Solicitor

The Archdiocese is looking to appoint an experienced Deputy Diocesan Solicitor to support the Diocesan Solicitor in providing high quality legal advice to the trustees of the Birmingham Diocesan Trust (BDT), colleagues and clergy.   

The work will from the outset include general property work, particularly title investigation, advice on property issues and queries, agreements relating to property and property transactions.  

Deadline for applications is Monday 8 April.  

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Volunteers The charity needs help with:

  • Sharing mailings with your parish
  • Including ACN regularly in parish prayers
  • Fundraising to support projects
  • Supporting ACN school projects
  • Leading a parish Red Wednesday event

Marriage Care Trustees

The board of Catholic Marriage Care are seeking new members to join them in enabling the vital relationship support services they provide to the Catholic Community and beyond. 

Marriage Care are the largest faith-based relationship support charity in the UK – providing marriage preparation, support, and low-cost relationship counselling to those in need and making the world of difference to couples and families.    

Pact (Prison Advice & Care Trust)

Pact are seeking a Senior Development Manager (Major Donors).  

Deadline for applications is Sunday 31 March.

Dates for your diary: the month ahead  

Tues 12 – Tues 19 Mar: Dementia Prayer Week  

Fri 15 Mar: Reflection: By the Wounds of Christ  

Sat 16 Mar: What Does It Mean to be Human? Portsmouth Symposium  

Sat 16 Mar: Birmingham Lourdes Hospitalite Day of Recollection  

Sun 17 Mar: St Patrick’s Day Mass and Parade  

Sun 17 Mar: Tabor Living Volunteer open event  

Tues 19 Mar: Greenwashing webinar  

Thu 21 Mar: Webinar: Introduction to Animal Rights from a Faith perspective  

Thu 21 Mar: Divine Renovation and Alpha event: The Future is Now: Empowering Young People in Parish Renewal   

Sat 23 Mar: Born For This: Production  

Fri 29 Mar: Walk of Witness Birmingham  

Sun 15 Apr – Fri 19 Apr: Pilgrimage to Knock and Co. Mayo  

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