Archdiocese of Birmingham newsletter 22nd February 2024

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Preparing our hearts, minds and spirits for the journey of salvation 

A Time of Preparation … Lent ­

In the Eucharistic Prayer, each time we attend Mass, Christ’s Last Supper, Passion, Death and Resurrection are made present to us. It is these same events that we grow towards in our Lenten journey each year. It is for these events that we are now preparing anew.  

The priest who celebrates Mass gives us three simple, yet profound sets of words, to prepare our hearts, minds and spirits for the journey of salvation which we take with Christ in the Eucharistic Prayer. These are worthy of reflection for our Lenten journey too:  

“The Lord be with you”  

All the spiritual disciplines of Lent, fasting, almsgiving and prayer, should chip away at our self-reliance. In so doing they enable more aspects of my life to be bathed in the presence of Christ. May Christ be with us and fill us more deeply this Lent.  

“Lift up your hearts”  

An early Christian writer on prayer, St Cyprian, reminds us that, when we pray, God is not listening to our words, but rather to the cry of our hearts. In this, our time of preparing, good words are never enough. Preparing with holy thoughts is never enough. Preparing with pious actions is never enough. The heart, as centre of my power to love, needs to arise and, of all human faculties, the loving heart needs to be pre-eminent.   “Let us give thanks to the Lord, Our God”  

The self-giving love of Christ, the redeeming power of his passion, death and resurrection, and the freedom from all evil brought about by the salvific victory of the risen Christ, are the central events of love. They shine through and beyond all time and space. In our very desire to continually express our thanks to God for these events, lies the beauty of our recognising the magnitude of the gift and our treasured acceptance of it.  

Fr Robert Taylerson, Spiritual Director at St Mary’s College, Oscott

Year of Prayer: ‘We Dare to Say’ ­

A great new resource to use during this Year of Prayer is now available to parishes across the Archdiocese.  

The Birmingham Edition of We Dare to Say, which looks at the petitions of the Our Father, is available on our website.  

We hope this resource will be used by small groups within your parish to encourage you to take part in a five-week programme focused on the Our Father. Download We Dare to Say now, to share in your parish or community.

Year of Prayer: Parish events ­

Parishes across the Archdiocese are hosting various events to mark this Year of Prayer.  


Sacred Heart, Henley-on-Thames  

A seven-week course on the ‘Our Father’ has just started.   The talks will take place in the church on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm to 8.30pm and will also be live streamed and recorded.    

St Christopher, Codsall and St Thomas of Canterbury, Tettenhall   We Dare to Say – During this season of Lent we will be holding a five-week, faith-sharing programme focusing on the Lord’s Prayer.  

Each session will be held every Tuesday at 7pm in St Christopher’s Church Hall.  

Session 1 – Tues 27 FebOur Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.    

St Michael’s, Sonning Common  

Exploring Prayer – A Lenten Retreat  

Led by Deacon Brian Theobold and parishioners. 9.45am – 2.30pm on Saturday 9 March, beginning in the parish hall.  

A day to discover or rediscover traditional forms of prayer and an opportunity to explore new ways of praying.  

Please let us know of events your parish is hosting via [email protected] and we can promote here:

Mass for People with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties: Our Lady and St Brigid ­

Last month we began our first service on a 4th Sunday of the month here at Our Lady & St. Brigid, Northfield, for people with disabilities and learning difficulties.  

Our next on is this coming Sunday, 25 February at 16:00.  

The Liturgy lasts for 20 minutes, and those present have time afterwards to enjoy refreshments, and share time together.   

Last month was a very moving and wonderful experience, and the parents and carers felt particularly welcomed and encouraged.

Birmingham Diocesan Trust Finance Report 2022 ­

A PDF has been created to provide an overview of the Archdiocese’s latest accounts.  

The information is based on the 2022 accounts which were finalised late last year.   

The PDF examines the finances of the whole charity as well as looking in more detail at the parish and diocesan financial positions. It explains where our money comes from and how the parish levy is currently spent.

You can find the overview along with the full accounts on the Diocesan website.

Running the St Chad’s Way for charity ­

Five dads from St Nicholas Catholic Church in Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield, are preparing to run the St Chad’s Way for charity.  

Team St Nicholas – Chris, Stephen, Matteo, Andrew and James – are gearing up for this remarkable journey on Saturday 2 March.  

Their challenge will kick off at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham (the Diocesan Mother Church) where they will set out on the demanding 21-mile run, culminating at Lichfield Cathedral.  

This initiative aims to generate funds for the St Nicholas World Development Group (WDG), the parish charity dedicated to enhancing the lives of those in need.

World Day of Prayer, Friday 1 March ­

A women led, global, ecumenical movement of informed prayer and prayerful action observed traditionally on the first Friday in March.  

This year’s theme is “I beg you, bear with one another in love”, based on Ephesians 4:1-7.  

In the parish of Blessed Carlo Acutis in Wolverhampton two services are planned on Friday 1 March.

Focus on Vocations: Listening to God’s Call ­

This month the Dudley and Wolverhampton Deanery is hosting a series of vocations events, ‘Listening to God’s Call’.   

The next online session is on Tuesday 27 February, focused on Marriage and Single Life.  

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.

Tomorrow night: 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.

Online Monthly Maintenance Surgery ­ Thursday 29 February, 2pm: Take a break from maintenance.
Cold nights, short days. This month is a chance to brighten the day by taking a step back from maintenance and celebrating good practice in maintenance and building management across the Archdiocese.   

Come and bring your good news stories regarding building maintenance and have a virtual cuppa together.  

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.

Beginning Experience Weekend ­

Beginning Experience is a special residential weekend programme for widowed, separated and divorced people, which helps participants with natural feelings of grief and loss.    

The weekend is led by trained volunteers, who have experienced having to adjust to life as single people again.  

This next programme will be held on 12-14 April in Essex.  

For further details please contact: Mary: 0208 647 4760, or Maura: 07795 498445, or email [email protected]

Online JustPeople Workshop ­

Invitation from Pact (Prison Advice & Care Trust).  

Would you like to find out more about how you can support our brothers and sisters affected by imprisonment?  

If so, Pact’s ‘JustPeople’ online workshops may be for you. They offer an opportunity to reflect upon Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching, through the lens of people affected by imprisonment.   

Open to everyone, they are free to attend, come with no strings attached and provide a space for us to discern the Lord’s call to social justice as we join together to promote the Common Good in our communities.   The next one is on Wednesday 6 March, 9am – 1pm, via Zoom.

Jobs: 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.

Theology Symposium – Authority and the Church ­

St Mary’s College, Oscott is holding its annual Spring Theology Symposium on Saturday 27 April (from 8.30am-5.30pm) on the topic of Authority and the Church.   

We shall be exploring the relationship between Ecclesial authority and Revelation in light of the emerging theology of Synodality and a postmodern culture. 
Speakers include: Prof Emeritus Fr Vincent Twomey (member of the Ratzinger Schülerkreis), Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP (former Master of the Dominican Order), Prof Jacob Phillips (St Mary’s, London), Mr John Stayne (Durham), Dr Mary McCaughey (Oscott).
We look forward to seeing you there.

Dates for your diary: the month ahead  

Fri 23 Feb: CAFOD Family Fast Day  

Fri 23 Feb: The Crucifixion, Oxford  

Fri 23 Feb: Prayer and Life Workshop: Nuneaton  

Sat 24 Feb: Annual Intercultural Mass  

Mon 26 Feb: Prayer and Life Workshop: West Heath, Birmingham  

Tues 27 Feb: Listening to God’s Call, online event  

Wed 28 Feb: Divine Renovation event: Health or Burnout?  

Fri 1 Mar: Ampleforth Lecture: Gospel Imperative for Climate Action   

Fri 1 Mar: World Day of Prayer  

Tues 5 Mar: Listening to God’s Call, online event  

Wed 6 Mar: Online JustPeople Workshop, March 2024 (Prison Advice & Care Trust)  

Thu 7 Mar: Organ Recital at St Chad’s Cathedral  

Fri 8 – Sun 10 Mar: Altar Servers Retreat ‘Called to Serve’  

Sat 9 Mar: Gaza Peace Pilgrimage  

Tues 12 Mar: Online discussion – ‘Encouraging Lay and Clergy Collaboration’  

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

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

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