|Avoid getting into debt – except the debt of mutual love.
| Reflection – St Vincent de Paul
Jesus talks of mercy in terms of cancelling debts. A servant’s debt of 10,000 talents (200 years of salaries!) is cancelled but he then cruelly abuses a fellow servant who owes him four months wages. The contrast between the compassion of the King and the ingratitude of the servant, is powerfully made.
St Paul advises us to ‘avoid getting into debt’ – ‘except the debt of mutual love.’ So, we owe it to each other to love. The Gospel is unbending on this, no allowance is made for compromise, like only forgiving someone seven times. Being made in the image of God, being disciples means we are called to reflect the compassion that God shows us.
The St Vincent de Paul society (SVP) is a good example of what the Lord asks of us. They have served God for 190 years, dedicated to tackling poverty in every form. Its beauty is that it is practical but also that it can work in every neighbourhood in different ways, if necessary.
Most importantly, it reflects the tenderness of its founder:
“Even convicts … are not won over in any other way. Whenever I happened to speak sharply to them, I spoiled everything; … when I … sympathized with them in their sufferings; when I told them they were fortunate to have their purgatory in this world, when I kissed their chains, showed compassion for their distress, and expressed sorrow for their misfortune, it was then that they listened to me, gave glory to God, and opened themselves to salvation.” – St Vincent de Paul
It is no more than what God does for us. He only asks that we pass it on. This Saturday 23 September the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Annual Festival Mass
and Gathering will be held at St Chad’s Cathedral.
SVP Annual Festival Mass and Gathering https://www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/Event/svp-annual-festival-mass-and-gathering-september-2023
| 40 Days for Life
Help save lives by praying for an end to abortion in your community September 27- November 5. 40 Days for Life is an internationally coordinated 40-day campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses. On the website you can find resources and search for vigils on the map or submit your own.
40 Days for Life website 40 Days for Life
| Online Monthly Maintenance Surgery, Thursday 28 September Looking after our buildings, the tools of our ministry.
Heating Hopefully September still has glorious sunshine, but it is also time to consider servicing and preparing the heating systems around the parish ready for colder months. This session will consider compliance and maintenance aspects related to heating systems as well as preparation for the efficient management of heating systems. This month’s online surgery is on Thursday 28 September at 2pm. 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 | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
| Harvest 2023: Family Fast Day
Family Fast Day is on Friday 6 October. Join together with your parish, friends and family so that families around the world can have access to the medical care they need to survive in increasingly challenging circumstances.
By sharing a simple meal and giving what you save, you’ll be standing in solidarity with vulnerable people who are threatened by disease and poverty, displaced from their homes and communities by the climate crisis.
Harvest 2023: Family Fast Day | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
| Booking now: Restore Autumn training course Three sessions on Tuesdays – 3, 10, 17 October. 7.15pm to 9.15pm.
This training is open to anyone who wants to find out more about refugee issues or who wants to explore the possibility of befriending a refugee or asylum seeker through Restore. (All welcome and no obligation to volunteering with Restore at the end).
The course is FREE of charge and is part of Restore’s work to raise awareness of refugee issues and motivate people for action.
Restore Training Course October 2023 – session 1 | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
| St Edith Stein: Doctor of the Church?
St John Henry Newman Research Centre for Catholic Theology Presents:
St Edith Stein: Doctor of the Church? Free Online Academic Forum: All Welcome Join us online on Wednesday 18 October at 6pm for the St John Henry Newman Research Centre for Catholic Theology’s Online Academic Forum, the latest in a series of occasional, public seminars by Maryvale academics. This time, Dr Robert McNamara, will be asking St Edith Stein: Doctor of the Church?
St Edith Stein: Doctor of the Church? | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
| National SVP 1833 Young Adults’ Retreat Fri 24 – Sun 26 November
Come and join the SVP for a weekend of meeting others who are passionate about making a difference in their local communities. It will be a weekend of prayer and reflection with times of volunteering and action, including a visit to St Vincent’s, Ely Bridge. Place: Hebron Hall Christian Centre Cross Common Road Dinas Powys CF64 4YB 25 minute train/car journey from Cardiff Cost: £50
National SVP 1833 Young Adults’ Retreat | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
| Schools Media Competition: Biodiversity Matters The Season of Creation: 1 September – 4 October
The Columban Missionaries in Britain and Ireland announce the launch of their latest Schools Media Competition 2023-2024 which has the title: ‘Biodiversity Matters’. The launch is during the first week of the Season of Creation when Christian communities around the world focus on valuing and protecting God’s creation. And a core aspect of Columban mission is justice, peace and ecology. 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.
Columbans launch Schools Competition: ‘Biodiversity Matters’ | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
| Diocesan Schools Singing Programme launches with two new Choral Directors
The new Diocesan Schools Singing Programme has been launched with two new Choral Directors appointed by the Archdiocese. Victor Wong and Theodora Sharp started work at the beginning of September and other Choral Director appointments are expected to follow to cover more of the Archdiocese. This exciting new Programme is an integral part of the Diocesan Vision, helping young people to develop a deeper and lasting relationship with their Christian faith. Thanks to funding from the Hamish Ogsten Foundation, other external funding, and support from the relevant schools, the Programme is largely self-funding and sustainable. It is affiliated to the National Schools Singing Programme, launched in 2022.
This will be one of the largest diocesan programmes of its type in the UK.
Through this Programme we aim to bring our young people and those who hear them closer to Jesus Christ and more fully into the life of the Church.
First Choral Director appointments get Diocesan Schools Singing Programme underway | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
| Look out for your login to our new online risk management system Be ready! If you work in a parish, keep an eye on your email inbox for login instructions to the new, simpler and more streamlined version of xCenta which will be accessible from 27 September 2023. On the new system you will find a short video covers how to use the system. To access this video, log in and go to:
> E-learning > Allocate courses > ‘Essentials System Training Video’ > assign to yourself by clicking ‘Allocate’
| Birmingham Archdiocese invites pilgrims to explore holy route
A new collection of Catholic walking pilgrimages has been launched online, encouraging people of all faiths and none to explore some of the holiest sites in England and Wales.
‘Hearts in Search of God’ is a three-year project mapping out 22 pilgrimages, with each route starting at one of the 22 Catholic Cathedrals in England and Wales, before going on to at least one of the local Shrines, with the shortest route being 10 miles.
One of the newest routes is the St Chad’s Way, a 21.4 mile Pilgrim Way for the Archdiocese of Birmingham from the Cathedral of St Chad in Birmingham to St Chad’s Well and the Shrine of St Chad in Lichfield Anglican Cathedral. On the website you can find walking guides, GPX files, prayers and other resources, including a downloadable ‘Pilgrim Passport’, and a certificate at the end of your walk.
Birmingham Archdiocese welcomes pilgrims to explore holy route | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
| Jobs and Volunteering Opportunities
Father Hudson’s Care is recruiting for an experienced Family Support Worker to join their well-established schools-based family support team, which works with a variety of primary and secondary schools across the Newcastle Under Lyme/Staffordshire area.
Salary: £28,177-£32,238 (pro rata for part time)
Closing Date: 29 September 2023
Jobs & Volunteering Opportunities | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)
|Dates for your diary: the month ahead
Sat 23 Sept: SVP Annual Festival Mass and Gathering
Sat 23 Sept: National Justice & Peace Network Networking Day, Birmingham
Sat 23 Sept: A Tent of Learning: Synodality and Receptive Ecumenism
Fri 29 Sept – Sun 1 Oct: Praying with the Saints Retreat
Sat 30 Sept: Online lecture: St Therese of Lisieux – her final September
Tues 3 Oct: Restore Training Course, Oct, Session 1
Wed 4 Oct: Fit for Function event, Worcester
Thu 5 Oct: Quarant’ore Eucharistic Festival
Fri 6 Oct: CAFOD Family Fast Day
Sat 7 Oct: Annual Mass of Thanksgiving, Guild of St Stephen
Tue 10 Oct: Restore Training Course October 2023 – session 2
Thu 12 – Sun 15 Oct: Cursillo Weekend – October 2023
Tue 17 Oct: Restore Training Course October 2023 – session 3
Wed 18 Oct: St Edith Stein: Doctor of the Church?
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