Archdiocese of Birmingham newsletter 14th September 2023

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Prayer doesn’t help our relationship with God, prayer IS our relationship with God!
Evangelii Gaudium Sunday and The Year of Prayer  
In preparation for the 2025 Jubilee Year “Pilgrims of Hope”, 2024 has been designated the Year of Prayer by Pope Francis.   There is a particular focus on the Our Father, and this presents us with a great opportunity to go back to the basics of prayer.
Accompanying Others in Prayer
Someone once said that “prayer doesn’t help our relationship with God, prayer IS our relationship with God!”   This dialogue of prayer opens us to the God who accompanies us, as we see in the account of the Road to Emmaus. But we often need help to pray!
Jesus thought it was a worthwhile task to teach His disciples to pray in response to the request we hear in Luke 11:1, and through this teaching we receive what we call the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father. The Our Father is not just a prayer for us to pray, it is a model for our life of prayer – the Catechism of the Catholic Church brings this out very clearly in its fourth section on ‘Christian Prayer’ (2766)
Prayer is so vital to the life of a Christian that if we don’t pray it is hard to see how we can call ourselves Christian.   Prayer can be a key way to encourage others to open themselves to an encounter with God. In repeated research, many people in the UK say that they pray – a figure which surpasses the numbers of those who might associate themselves with a particular faith or religion.   Can we help or teach another person to pray in this Year of Prayer, and accompany them on their journey more deeply to the heart of Christ?
Towards the Year of Prayer
On Evangelii Gaudium Sunday (17 September 2023) the Office for Mission would like to encourage every Catholic to reflect on their life of prayer: what we pray, how we pray, and why we pray. This is for two reasons:   To encourage us to deepen our prayer and love of God; To help someone else to pray during the Year of Prayer.   The Office for Mission will be providing suggestions and resources for how you can begin to do that. This is with an eye to Evangelii Gaudium Sunday in 2024, which I hope will be a particular focus of ‘missionary prayer’ in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
See our new Year of Prayer web page for more information and ideas, and we’d be interested to hear yours too.  
Year of Prayer
Year of Prayer 2024   In preparation for the 2025 Jubilee Year ‘Pilgrims of Hope’, 2024 has been designated a Year of Prayer by Pope Francis. It starts this Advent.   There is a particular focus on the Our Father, and this presents us with a great opportunity to go back to the basics of prayer.   On Evangelii Gaudium Sunday this year (17 September) parishes will be encouraged to start considering how they can mark the Year of Prayer and help parishioners grow through a renewed life of prayer.   Year of Prayer
Online JustPeople Workshop  
Pact (Prison Advice & Care Trust) invites you to join them at a free online JustPeople Workshop on Friday 15 September OR Wednesday 25 October, 9am – 1pm.   Discern the Lord’s call to social justice as we join together to promote the Common Good in our communities, reflecting upon Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching through the lens of people affected by imprisonment.   JustPeople Workshop
Invite to ‘Being a Welcoming Church’ Action Group Day   Could you or a group of friends represent your parish in this important project?   This year Father Hudson’s Care worked with groups and local parishes to provide online sessions to deepen our understanding of the needs of those who are homeless, refugees, older people, and individuals and families living with the experience of disability.   We focused on what the Church is doing and could do in these four areas, all to be more welcoming.   The focus remains very much on action. What can we do, and in particular what can we do together at parish, deanery and Diocesan level to ensure that all members of the Church and beyond feel welcome within the Church and can participate fully and contribute fully within the Church community.   If you are interested in being part of a group who wish to make an impact, then please join us on Saturday 16 September at St Catherine of Siena Church, Bristol Street in Birmingham.  
Welcoming Church Action Group
Introduction to Voluntary Workplace Chaplaincy   A seven-week training course running from 25 September to 13 November 2023. Monday evenings 5-7pm. Sign up required by 19 September.   Led by Workplace Chaplaincy Church and Industry Group, Birmingham & Solihull.   The course is intended for people who are interested in exploring workplace chaplaincy as an outworking of their faith life. It introduces some of the core themes and requirements to be a workplace chaplain and provides useful information and support to equip them.  
Workplace Chaplaincy
Webinar: World Day of Migrants and Refugees   This year the World Day of Migrants & Refugees is on Sunday 24 September.   To mark the occasion a webinar is taking place on Wednesday 20 September, 6pm to 7.30pm to discuss this year’s theme and how we can help people to flourish in their homelands as well as what we can do here in the UK to ensure we are supporting the stranger.   The webinar is hosted by Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).   This year’s World Day theme is ‘Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay’. It is the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.  
Webinar: World Day of Migrants and Refugees
National Justice & Peace Network Networking Day, Birmingham    
On Saturday 23 September National Justice & Peace Network will be holding a Networking Day in Birmingham.   This is an opportunity for all those involved or interested in working for social justice, peace and care of creation in the light of their faith to come together to share information and gain mutual support.   In this year of the Windrush 75 anniversary our speaker, Rev Canon Eve Pitts, will speak of the experiences of people from the Caribbean and the issues of racial justice that we still need to address today. Rev Eve was the first black woman vicar in the Church of England and is a longstanding campaigner for racial justice.   There will also be a chance to hear about upcoming events and campaigns from national organisations such as CAFOD and Pax Christi, and what is happening around the dioceses in England and Wales.  
Justice and Peace Networking Day
A Tent of Learning: Synodality and Receptive Ecumenism   Saturday 23 September. London Jesuit Centre, W1K 3AY.  
Following on from a recent Durham University symposium, speakers from seven Christian traditions reflect on how a Church can be truly synodal.   Hosted by The Society for Ecumenical Studies, in conjunction with the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University, and the London Jesuit Centre.  
A Tent of Learning
Quarant’ore Eucharistic Festival  
St Thomas More, Coventry is holding a Quarant’ore: Eucharistic Adoration Festival from Thursday 5 – Sunday 8 October.   During the Forty Hours of Exposition all are welcome to come and spend time before the Lord.   This Eucharistic Festival will be a wonderful opportunity for us to grow in love of the Lord himself, in the most precious gift of the Blessed Sacrament and to echo those words of Fr Frederick Faber: ‘Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore; O make us love Thee, more and more.‘  
Eucharistic Festival
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.  
Family Fast Day: Harvest 2023
Justice and Peace Assembly: 
Responding to the climate crisis in our homes, parishes and communities
This year’s annual assembly takes place on Saturday 28 October in the Grimshaw Room at St Chad’s Cathedral.   It is hosted by the Birmingham Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission.   The guest speakers are Tom Piotrowski, Diocesan Trustee, and Fr Robert Taylerson, Spiritual Director at St Mary’s College, Oscott.   Find out what action the Archdiocese is taking on the climate crisis, and how you can play your part.  
Book for Annual Assembly
Two funding opportunities for wildlife  
The Archdiocese has been made aware of two funding opportunities for wildlife in our parishes and communities.   If your parish or community is eligible, please do apply for funding.   The UK-wide Coronation Woods funding aims to create a wide variety of wooded spaces which will allow communities to connect with nature on their doorstep. Applications for this fund close on Tuesday 26 September.   In Worcestershire, the Natural Networks Programme offers grants and advice to projects which aim to create or restore wildlife-rich habitats.
There’s not a deadline for applications but there are only limited funds available so apply soon.  
Funding for Wildlife

Online Monthly Maintenance Surgery   Looking after our buildings, the tools of our ministry.
This month’s online surgery is on Thursday 28 September at 2pm.

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.   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
Health and Wellbeing Information Day  
Following on from our enjoyable and informative celebration of the Windrush generation, Their Journey Our Legacy, the West Indian Chaplaincy would like to invite you to a Health and Wellbeing Information Day on 16 September 2023.   Health experts will be available for information and advice on health conditions such as diabetes, prostrate and other cancers, hypertension and more, so come along to learn or have your questions answered.   Refreshments will be available as well as a Tombola and other stalls.   This will be a Drop In event running from 11am to 4pm and will take place at the Chaplaincy Centre in the grounds of the Sacred Heart School: West Indian Chaplaincy, Our Lady of the Caribbean Chapel Centre, Bayswater Road, Birchfield, Birmingham B20 3AE.   Health and Wellbeing Day
OHCT Roadshow: Guidance on planning work in churches and raising funds   Tuesday September 26, St Mary & St Nicholas, Littlemore  
Oxford Historic Churches Trust is organising a Roadshow open to any who would value guidance on planning repairs or improvements to their churches.    The host church has recently completed a major refurbishment to the tower, reconfiguration of the vestry to create a new space for the Junior Church, and the installation of a new organ gallery with a kitchen and lavatory facilities. The heating and lighting were renewed at the same time.
As well as hearing from the architect, Christian Randall, about how best to work with professional consultants, and from the Vicar, the Revd Margreet Armistead, about planning and completing the works, we shall hear from officers of the Anglican Diocesan Advisory Council (DAC) and from our own Grants Officer. The DAC will introduce some of the topics that are currently concerning churches, and our Grants Officer will provide information about sources of funding.  
Oxford Historic Churches Trust Roadshow
Dates for your diary: the month ahead  
Fri 1 Sept – Wed 4 Oct: Season of Creation  
Fri 15 Sept: Online JustPeople Workshop, hosted by Pact  
Sat 16 Sept: Being a Welcoming Church Action Group Day  
Sat 16 Sept: Heritage Open Day – St Chad’s Cathedral (Fully Booked)  
Sat 16 Sept: Cursillo Encounter Day, Walsall  
Sat 16 Sept: Health and Wellbeing Information Day, hosted by the West Indian Chaplaincy  
Tues 19 Sept: Registration closes for Course: Introduction to Voluntary Workplace Chaplaincy  
Wed 20 Sept: Webinar to mark World Day of Migrants and Refugees  
Wed 20 Sept: 3 Ways to Kill Evangelisation in your Parish  
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 (London)  
Monday 25 Sept – 13 Nov: Introduction to Voluntary Workplace Chaplaincy  
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 – Sun 8 Oct: Quarant’ore, Eucharistic Adoration 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 Session 2  
Thu 12 – Sun 15 Oct: Cursillo Weekend    
  More Events  

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