Archdiocese of Birmingham newsletter 18th January 2024

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity          

Reflection on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ­

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place from 18 to 25 January each year, 25 January being the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul.  

Christian Unity has a particular meaning for us in this country with the history of how Christians have at times been so divided.  

Each year Churches Together in Britain and Ireland chooses a theme for the Week of Prayer. This year, the theme – based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan – is “Go and do likewise” and is written by Christians in Burkina Faso. You can read more about it here  

On this theme, Pope Francis’ thought-provoking and challenging reflection on the same parable can be found in Chapter Two of his October 2020 teaching document Fratelli Tutti, which followed the first lockdown.   Christian Unity is as much about building of personal relationships as it is about the teachings of different Christian traditions. At a local level, fellowship between clergy and people; within our own families, members of different Christian communities.  

In a world so greatly in need of peace, we pray with all those who profess faith in Jesus Christ for a peace that the world cannot give.   As this Sunday is the Sunday of the Word of God, we can recall the words of the great Biblical Scholar, St Jerome, who asserted that Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. In marking this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, may our shared faith in Jesus Christ be rooted in a knowledge of Christ through our greater familiarity with the Scriptures, through prayer and through the Sacraments.

Invitation from Archbishop Bernard: Join the Year of Prayer ­

Archbishop Bernard Longley is inviting everyone to join in this year’s Year of Prayer ahead of the Jubilee Year 2025.  

In a short video, recorded at Archbishop’s House, His Grace introduces the Year of Prayer and invites all to pray the ‘Our Father’ with him.

Music for Lent and Easter ­

Invitation to a ‘singing day’ at St Chad’s Cathedral, Saturday 10 February  

Aimed at singers and parish music leaders from all around the Archdiocese, the day will offer a chance to explore music old and new, to accompany us on our journey through Lent and Holy Week, and on into the joyful season of Easter.  

The day will include music, reflections and exploring the Lectionary.  

Registration now open.

Looking ahead to Lent and Easter with Deacon Sean ­

Deacon Sean Loone, of Our Lady of the Wayside parish in Shirley, has published his latest work on Scripture.

‘A Cup of Cold Water: Finding Christ in the Sunday Gospels of Lent and Easter’ is now available to buy.  

The book comprises of a series of reflections taking the reader on a journey through Lent and Easter, Sunday by Sunday, with an accompanying Gospel passage and questions.  

It is suitable for individual, or study group use.  

All profits from the sale of the book will support children at Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Primary School whose families are struggling financially.

Starts tomorrow: #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.

Sunday of the Word of God, 21 January ­

On 30 September 2019, Pope Francis, by the Motu Proprio Aperuit Illis, declared the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time to be the Sunday of the Word of God.

This year the Sunday of the Word of God falls on 21 January. It is devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God.

The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions has created some resources to help mark the day.

Available for booking: Dupuis Retreat and Conference Centre ­

Sisters of Charity of St Paul the Apostle at St Paul’s Convent, Selly Park, Birmingham  

Our facilities include a residential centre with 10 en-suite bedrooms, two meeting rooms, chapel and dining room and a day conference centre which can hold up to 100 people.

We can offer quiet days for individuals or groups as well as retreats.

The venue is also suitable for ‘Away Days’ and conferences.

We are hosting a six-day Individual Guided Retreat, 18 – 25 March, with Sr Una Coogan IBVM and Sr Pauline Myers SP.

For more information please see our website (link below) or contact Sr Margaret Mattison via email: [email protected] or call: 0121 415 6100.

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.

Three Day Pilgrimage to Walsingham ­

Please book by tomorrow, 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.  

Online Monthly Maintenance Surgery: Wednesday 31 January  ­ Winter checks – pipe work, stop cocks, leaks
Looking after our buildings, the tools of our ministry.

This month’s online surgery is on Wednesday 31 January at 2pm.   While the winter months remain, it is a good time to make sure that you know where your stop cocks are and that all pipe work is as best protected from freezing and possible leaks as possible.   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.  

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

  • Want to Learn More About Your Faith? Working for the Church? Working in Catechesis or Chaplaincy? Simply Curious? We have the courses for you. We offer:
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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:
[email protected]

Mini-Retreat, hosted by ADoRE ­ Saturday 27 January, online from 10am to 1pm  

An internationally acclaimed author, conference speaker and Catholic Renewal Leader will be the keynote speaker at a free mini-retreat to show how relying on the power of the Holy Spirit is vital in enabling us to respond to God’s call to be holy.  

The meeting is hosted by ADoRE (Alton Day of Renewal), one of the longest-running charismatic days of renewal in the country, and includes Mass, adoration, praise and worship, inspired teaching and prayer for all participants to receive the anointing and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

Guest speaker is Charles Whitehead KSG, who worked closely with Pope St John Paul II for many years as President of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Council. He also founded the popular Celebrate Family Conferences. 

Charles’s talk is entitled ‘Chosen to be holy – transformation by the Holy Spirit’ and it will be an introductory overview of the year’s theme of holiness through the Holy Spirit.  

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! ­

Applications welcome for the following positions:  

Chief Executive Officer position at Father Hudson’s Care  

Befriending Coordinator and Lead Befriending Women’s Worker at Restore  

Head of Faith in Action at Pact (Prison Advice & Care Trust)  

Several positions at the Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT)  

Trustee Vacancies at St Mary’s College, Oscott  

For full details visit our website:

Dates for your diary: the month ahead  
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  
Sun 21 Jan: Sunday of the Word of God  
Tues 23 Jan: Online discussion forum – How do we make the climate crisis a priority election issue?   
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  
Wed 7 – Wed 14 Feb: Marriage Week  
Sat 10 Feb: Pre-Lent Reflection Day  
Sat 10 Feb: Singing Day at St Chad’s Cathedral  
Wed 14 Feb: Tabor Living Volunteer open event  
Sat 17 Feb: The Trinity Conference 2024    

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