Archdiocese of Birmingham newsletter 1st February 2024

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The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Reflection – The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord ­
Tomorrow, 2nd February, is celebrated as the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.   
The child Jesus was brought by Mary and Joseph to the temple in obedience to the Law of Moses which required every first-born son to be consecrated to the Lord and an animal sacrifice of two turtledoves or young pigeons to be made on the altar of the Jerusalem temple. 
This year at St Mary’s College, Oscott we have an extra celebration on this feast day.   
We have a new altar which will be consecrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley, and we will celebrate the sacrifice of Christ on this altar in our Feast Day Mass. Our new altar, as with every altar in all our churches, brings the perfect sacrifice of Christ at Calvary present in our midst.
How appropriate it is for us to learn from those who were there at the Presentation, the best attitudes and sentiments for our own hearts.   
As they recognised the presence of the Saviour of all in their midst the 84-year-old Anna praised God and spoke of Jesus to all she met. Simeon, who took Jesus in his arms, knew he held, in Christ, “the salvation which God has prepared for all nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans, and the glory of God’s people, Israel.”
May we be filled with that same joy, wonder and praise, not only on this feast day, but at each and every time Christ’s sacrifice is celebrated and his presence worshipped on every parish altar at every Mass.  
Fr Robert Taylerson, Spiritual Director at St Mary’s College, Oscott 

Pause for Prayer – Episode 2 ­
Episode 2 of a new series of videos to encourage us to press the pause button on our busy lives and to be present to God is available to watch now.  
This episode features Fr Simon Bishop SJ discussing and explaining the Daily Examen Prayer. With prayer intentions from students at Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, Kingstanding.  
Each episode offers teaching, testimony and something to pray for.  
Pause for Prayer is an initiative for the Year of Prayer, in preparation for the 2025 Jubilee Year ‘Pilgrims of Hope’.

‘Why Lourdes?’ video series ­
If you have ever wondered ‘Why Lourdes?’ then please take a look at our short video series.  
Some of last year’s pilgrims have shared their experiences and what it meant to be on pilgrimage, in the hope more will make the journey in the future.  
The Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage is open to all. It runs this year from Monday 27 May to Saturday 1 June 2024.  
Will you answer the call from Our Lady?

Harvington History Festival 2024 ­
Wednesday 24 July to Sunday 28 July at Harvington Hall, Worcestershire  
Tickets are now on sale for the second Harvington History Festival.  
The programme includes talks by renowned historians, authors and broadcasters plus a special concert at St Mary’s Church in Harvington.  
Snap up tickets now for the likes of Ruth Goodman, Alison Weir, Tracy Borman, Lesley Smith as Mary Queen of Scots and John White as Henry VIII.

Marriage Week, February 2024 ­
An annual celebration offering the opportunity to support and promote marriage and family life. It is celebrated this year from Wednesday 7 to Wednesday 14 February.  
A Christian marriage is rooted in faith; that means faith in God, as the giver of life and the one who promises eternal life to those who believe in him.  
The Bishops’ Conference has developed a resource which can be used to pray through the week and reflect on the vocation of marriage.

Retreat for Married Couples ­
Friday 9 to Sunday 11 February, to coincide with Marriage Week.  
The Diocese of Shrewsbury is hosting a Retreat for Married Couples on a day or residential basis at Wistaston Hall Retreat Centre, Crewe in Cheshire.  
Loving 4 Life will include presentations on both the relational aspects of the marital relationship, and the faith/spiritual meaning of holy matrimony to help strengthen, heal and enrich your marriage.

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.

Supporting the Life charity ­
The Archdiocese of Birmingham has generously supported Life for over 20 years through the Second Collection for Life, raising more than £550,000 over that time.  
Let’s support the charity again on Sunday 11 February.   Life is one of the nation’s leading pregnancy support charities.   
In the last 18 months it has helped 2,012 women in the Archdiocese of Birmingham area alone – not to mention the tens of thousands of women helped nationally, too.  
A huge thank you to all who support Life and its work.

Online Grandparents Faith Cafe ­
Tuesday 13 February  
Hosted by the Catholic Grandparents Association.   
Guest Speaker: Kimberly Hahn  
Theme: Grace-Filled Grandparenting – How to Share Our Love and God’s Love with the Next Generation.

Join CAFOD’s Big Lent Walk ­
Invitation to all Diocesan parishes and schools!  
Challenge yourself and take on The Big Lent Walk!  
Walk when and where you choose over 40 days.
Raise money to help people as they overcome poverty.  
Let’s rally together and make this Lent a time of unity and change!

John Henry Newman and the English Sensibility – Online Academic Forum ­
Thursday 15 February, 6pm.   
Presented by the St John Henry Newman Research Centre for Catholic Theology, Maryvale Institute.  
The latest in a series of occasional, public seminars by Maryvale academics.   
This time Professor Jacob Phillips will be discussing the subject of his latest book, John Henry Newman and the English Sensibility.
Focus on Vocations: Listening to God’s Call ­ In February, the Dudley and Wolverhampton Deanery will be hosting a series of vocations events, ‘Listening to God’s Call’.    There will be three online sessions on Tuesdays at 7pm. Starting on 20 February.   There will also be two special Masses for vocations during the month.   Deanery Vocations Months provide an opportunity to focus on vocations across a month, with celebrations of Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Prayer for Vocations. Listening to God’s Call

The Crucifixion ­
Join the Oxford Oratory for a performance of Sir John Stainer’s masterpiece The 
Crucifixion with the Oratory Choir and award-winning soloists Sebastian Hill (Tenor) and Florian Störtz (bass).   
Friday 23 February at 19:30. Standard tickets £15 (students £5). Book online.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! ­
Applications welcome for the following positions:  
Safeguarding Advisor, Archdiocese of Birmingham  
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)  
For full details visit our website.

Protect yourself from frauds and scams ­
A reminder to examine how we defend ourselves from fraudsters, strengthen our protection and do all we can to avoid being a victim of the scammers.  
1. Use strong and separate passwords for each of your online accounts. Three random words with at least eight characters and a combination of upper and lower case, numbers and symbols.  
2. 2 Step Verification (2SV) – Also known as 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) for your online accounts adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code or PIN to confirm your identity when you log in.  
3. Take time to stop and think before continuing a phone call or clicking on a link from an unknown source. Never be pressurised into making a quick decision. Always check the email address before opening emails claiming to be from bona fide organisations such as your bank, government organisations or other businesses.  
If you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via: Action Fraud
Dates for your diary: the month ahead  
Wed 7 Feb: Restore Training Course, Session 3  
Wed 7 Feb: Dominus Illuminatio Mea:  Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Future of the University – Oxford   Wed 7 – Wed 14 Feb: Marriage Week  
Thu 8 Feb: Catholic Union Webinar  
Fri 9 – Sun 11 Feb: Retreat for Married Couples  
Sat 10 Feb: Pre-Lent Reflection Day  
Sat 10 Feb: Singing Day at St Chad’s Cathedral  
Sun 11 Feb: Deadline to apply for 13-18 Worship Course, Warwick  
Wed 14 Feb: Tabor Living Volunteer open event  
Thu 15 Feb: Online: John Henry Newman and the English Sensibility  
Sat 17 Feb: The Trinity Conference 2024  
Tue 20 Feb: Annual Meeting of Ethnic Chaplaincies, Eparchies and Missions  
Tue 20 Feb: Listening to God’s Call, online session  
Fri 23 Feb: CAFOD Family Fast Day  
Fri 23 Feb: The Crucifixion, Oxford  
Sat 24 Feb: Annual Intercultural Mass  
Wed 28 Feb: Divine Renovation event: Health or Burnout?  
Thu 1 Mar: Ampleforth Lecture: Gospel Imperative for Climate Action   
More Events

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