Archdiocese of Birmingham Newsletter 23rd November 2023

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Christ the King  … Who reigns in my life?
Reflection: Feast of Christ the King, Sunday 26 November ­ Christ the King  … Who reigns in my life?  
St Bernard of Clairvaux realised that there was a battle taking place in his inner self. Who would reign in his heart? In one of his Advent sermons he pondered on what was really going on inside himself…
“Greed comes along and claims its throne in me; arrogance would dominate me; pride would be my king. Comfort and pleasure say: We shall reign! Ambition, detraction, envy, and anger struggle within me for mastery and seem to have me entirely in their power… I resist as far as I am able.
 … I call on my Lord Jesus; for His sake I defend myself, since I proclaim that I am completely His possession. He is my God ; He alone do I cling to. I proclaim Him as my Lord ; I have no other King than my Lord Jesus Christ. Come, then, 0 Lord, and disperse these enemies by your power, and you will reign in me, for you yourself are my King and my God…” (St Bernard of Clairvaux, 4th sermon on the “Missus Est”)  
In the preface of today’s Mass the alternative Kingdom is described as:
…an eternal and universal kingdom,
a kingdom of truth and life,
a kingdom of holiness and grace, 
a kingdom of justice, love and peace.   This is what Christ brings! This is his reign! And he calls each of us to share in the building-up of his kingdom, to each take responsibility.   Today, especially, we celebrate the kingdom-building call to you who are young.   But which do you choose?   Are we to be ruled by unruly passions, or by the Lord of love?   Come, Lord Jesus, and reign in our hearts. Show us the ways that we may help transform all we see into your eternal kingdom. 

Advent and Christmas Resources  ­ Our Advent and Christmas resources page is now live on our website. Access Advent calendars; prayers, reflections and readings; resources; music; retreats and more.   Advent is a time of preparation and joyful expectation. In 2023 the First Sunday in Advent is Sunday 3 December. As we prepare for the birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, these weeks provide a wonderful opportunity to slow down and reflect.   We look forward to the coming of Christ: celebrating His birth, His renewed coming into our lives this Christmas, especially through the Eucharist, and His second coming at the end of time.

Volunteer for the Lourdes Pilgrimage 2024 ­ Join us next May for the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage 2024. Will you answer the call from Our Lady? Applications for doctors, nurses, carers, hospitaliers (handmaid – female non-medical helper, brancardier – male non-medical helper) are now open. You can also make booking enquiries and find out more about what the pilgrimage entails. All welcome to take part in this special spiritual journey. Lourdes Pilgrimage 2024

Starts soon: The Year of Prayer ­ 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. Every Catholic is encouraged to reflect on their life of prayer: what they pray, how they pray and why they pray. This is for two reasons:
1 To encourage Catholics to deepen their prayer life and love of God;
2 For each Catholic to help at least one other person to pray during the Year of Prayer.   Resources are already available to help you, your family and your parish community take the next steps towards a deeper devotion of prayer. These resources will continue to grow over the coming months.

FURTHER REMINDER FOR PARISHES:  Completion of general risk assessment by Friday 15 December ­ Trustees require an update of our current risk profile.  As such we need each parish to complete their general risk assessment and upload this to xCenta.   A general risk assessment has been provided covering the main hazards within a parish environment.  Please use this assessment to record your current risk control measures and any further actions required.     To access the General Risk Assessment, click on the ‘Documents’ module. Click on the ‘General Risk Assessment Template’ folder. In this folder, you will see the document you need. Click on ‘Actions’, then ‘Download’. The document will then be downloaded to your local desktop where you can save it and complete it.   Video help: A short video has been created which covers how to download and upload your risk assessment, how to access the eLearning and how to log accidents and incidents using the system.  To access this video, go to: E-learning > Allocate courses > ‘Essentials System Training Video’ > assign to yourself by clicking ‘Allocate’    Please upload your general risk assessment by 15 December 2023 in order we can collate and analyse responses and report back to Trustees.  Your help and support are very much appreciated.   If you require any assistance with the system, including getting copies of old reports, please contact [email protected]

Dates for your diary: Ethnic Chaplaincy celebrations in our Archdiocese ­ The Annual Meeting of Ethnic Chaplaincies, Eparchies and Missions 2024 will take place on Tuesday 20 February, and will be attended by Archbishop Bernard Longley. The Annual Intercultural Mass 2024 will take place on Saturday 24 February at St Mary the Mount, Walsall. A wonderful opportunity to bring together all the ethnic communities situated across the Archdiocese. The programmes for both events are being finalised and will be issued in due course, so for now please save the dates!   There are 22 Chaplaincies represented across the Archdiocese. You can find out more on the dedicated website.  Ethnic Chaplaincies

This Saturday: Baroque Fest of Great Catholic Music ­ On Saturday 25 November, on the eve of Christ the King, Sutton Coldfield Choral Society will be performing three works of great Catholic Music by two of Baroque’s most famous composers.   The concert, which takes place at Emmanuel Church, Sutton Coldfield, will feature Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater” and his stupendous arrangement of the “Magnificat”.   Also in the 7.30pm programme is Vivaldi’s famous “Gloria” which will be sung in its entirety.

This Saturday: Gospel Invasion Breakfast  ­ An invitation to pastors, church leaders, evangelists. Time4Brum alongside Rise for Christ International, in partnership with Christ for All Nations School of Evangelism, warmly invite you to a significant and inspiring Birmingham Gospel Invasion Breakfast Meeting. Our shared goal, in collaboration with the local churches of Birmingham, is to organise an impactful “Nights of Freedom” gospel campaign from May 29 to June 2, 2024. This campaign aims to lead many individuals to Christ and build their connection with the local church for meaningful discipleship.

The breakfast event will take place on Saturday 25 November, from 10am to 12 noon at Mount Zion Community Church, Birmingham.    We are pleased to offer a complimentary breakfast during the gathering.

Pact’s Birmingham Advent Carol Service ­ This very special event will take place at 7pm on Thursday 7 December at Our Lady and St Brigid’s, Northfield, and you are warmly invited.   Fr Cecil Rogerson and Fr Gary Buckby will be presiding at the service alongside wonderful ecumenical friends. The St Brigid’s School Choir will lead us in song as we prepare for Christmas and bring prisoners and their families before the Lord in prayer.   Hear from someone with lived experience of the criminal justice system. Pact is the national Catholic charity supporting prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. It works in 11 prisons across the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Mary’s Meals Christmas Concert   ­ Saturday 9 December 7.30pm, doors open 6.30pm   St Martin in the Bullring, Birmingham B5 5BB Step in from the winter chill and join us for an evening of joyful music featuring Lichfield Gospel Choir.  
Hear from Mary’s Meals founder and Sunday Times best-selling author, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, browse seasonal stalls and enjoy mulled wine and mince pies. 
All proceeds help Mary’s Meals serve nutritious school meals to children living in some of the world’s poorest countries. 
Tickets £10.

Online Monthly Maintenance Surgery: November 30 – Preparing for Winter ­ Looking after our buildings, the tools of our ministry.   This month’s online surgery is on Thursday 30 November at 2pm.   With the clocks having gone back in October there is the feeling that winter is on its way.  To ensure the continued resilience of parish buildings it is important that they are prepared for the winter.     This session will look at the different things to consider to aid parish buildings during winter months and ensure that they and parish sites can remain open and usable for the parish and the community.   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.

Friends of the Holy Land host Christmas Concert ­ Invitation to the charity’s festive fundraiser to help our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, Thursday 14 December in London.   This concert features the well-known London Welsh Male Voice Choir with renowned soloists Margaret Keys and Anthony Stuart Lloyd and compere Mal Pope.

Chaplaincy Commissioning Service ­ The Annual Thanksgiving and Commissioning Service of the ‘Churches and Industry Group Birmingham-Solihull’ (CIGB) will take place at Solihull Methodist Church, Blossomfield Road, Solihull, at 3.30pm this Sunday, 26 November.   At Sunday’s service the work of CIGB’s chaplains will be celebrated and 10 new chaplains commissioned.   Revd Nick Parker, Rector of Solihull, will be the guest preacher.

Dates for your diary: the month ahead   Fri 24 – Sun 26 Nov: National SVP 1833 Young Adults’ Retreat   Sat 25 Nov: Baroque Fest of Great Catholic Music   Sat 25 Nov: Rivers of Living Water – Mini Retreat on Zoom   Thu 7 Dec: Live Organ Recital at St Chad’s Cathedral   Thu 7 Dec: Pact’s Birmingham Advent Carol Service   Thu 7 Dec: Thriving or Closing? Divine Renovation   Sat 9 Dec: Mary’s Meals Christmas Concert   Thu 14 Dec: Friends of the Holy Land Christmas Concert     More Events  

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