Archdiocese of Birmingham newsletter 29th February

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If I am merciful and generous then His image and likeness will be renewed in me.

The Discipline of Almsgiving ­

Perhaps, of all the disciplines of Lent, a serious commitment to almsgiving is the least popular.

We know, of course, that St Paul in his letter to Timothy said, “The love of money is the root of all evil” (Tim 6:10). This reminds us that money-love can so easily prompt jealousy, competition, stealing, cheating, lying, and other distorted emotions, attitudes and actions. 

In the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, however, we even find many indications that those who do good are blessed with riches, and those who do evil are not., e.g., Deut 28 … Where God’s chosen people are promised that if they keep his laws fully their crops and animals will flourish, their enemies will be defeated, their barns will be blessed, and so on… It is so easy to get into a mindset which prompts the thought, “I deserve blessings and riches.”

In the New Testament, one of the few places where the promise of God’s kingdom is given to some and not to others is in Mt 25: 34-36 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’    

We understand that eternal blessings come our way when we use what we have to bring blessings to others.  

A simple thought to conclude … I am made in the image and likeness of the God, who is the fullness of mercy, of generosity and of compassion. If I am merciful and generous then His image and likeness will be renewed in me. As I refrain from mercy and generosity, so I make the distance between me and God greater. Which do I choose?

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

Out now: Episode 3 of ‘Pause for Prayer’ ­

The latest video reflection is now available to watch on our website as we continue our Year of Prayer journey.

In this episode we take a deep dive into the ‘Our Father’.  

Firstly in the context of the Mass with Fr Marco Egawhary, assistant priest at Sacred Heart and Holy Souls, Acocks Green. 

Then looking at the Our Father as a prayer of unity, with Pastor Robert Mountford of Birmingham Churches Together. 

Plus prayer intentions for the month ahead with Jane Roberts, parishioner of St Mary’s, Harborne.

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.

Safeguarding in Action: Deanery Roadshow – Banbury and Warwick

The Diocesan Safeguarding team are visiting in person Immaculate Conception Church, The Causeway, Bicester, OX26 6AW 10am-2pm on Saturday 2 March. We will be available for discussion, questions and information sharing on all things Safeguarding.

Drop in anytime, for some refreshments and a chat and there will also be a talk/presentation at 12pm.

There will be an opportunity to view the ‘transformational angels’ art project and learn more about the LOUDfence initiative.

We welcome all and look forward to seeing you.   

If you cannot attend this visit, keep an eye out on your parish newsletter, Diocesan social media and the e news for future deanery visits from Safeguarding.

Focus on Vocations: Listening to God’s Call ­

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

The next online session is on Tuesday 5 March, focused on Priesthood and Diaconate.  

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.

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.

Year of Prayer: St Michael’s Sonning Common parish event ­

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:

ACTA event: Embracing the Synod in your Parish.

Tuesday 12 March 7pm: ‘Encouraging Lay and Clergy Collaboration’ with Fr Michael White.  

Fr Michael White of St John the Baptist with Sacred Heart Parish in Tamworth, Staffordshire has agreed to lead us in a Zoom meeting at which we can discuss and discover ways to build lay participation and collaboration in our own parishes.   

Fr Michael runs a very busy parish in Tamworth with much lay involvement and significant links to the wider local community. 

Grandparents’ Faith Cafe

Catholic Grandparents Association Faith Cafe: An online social and spiritual space for Grandparents.

The next Faith Cafe will be on Zoom, Tuesday 13 March at 7.30pm with special guest Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly.

Gaza Peace Pilgrimage

Birmingham to Shenstone Saturday 9 March.
In partnership with the international Gaza ceasefire pilgrimage movement, Faithjustice is organising a one-day walking pilgrimage, from Birmingham to Shenstone.

This pilgrimage will be a multi-faith event, with spiritual input from different traditions.

We will finish at the site of an Elbit Factory, an Israeli owned arms company.

More information and registration:

Jobs and Volunteering ­

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.  

Deadline for applications is Monday 18 March  

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Volunteers

The charity needs help with:

  • Sharing mailings with your parish
  • Including ACN regularly in parish prayers
  • Fundraising to support projects
  • Supporting ACN school projects
  • Leading a parish Red Wednesday event

Marriage Care Trustees

The board of Catholic Marriage Care are seeking new members to join them in enabling the vital relationship support services they provide to the Catholic Community and beyond. 
Marriage Care are the largest faith-based relationship support charity in the UK – providing marriage preparation, support, and low-cost relationship counselling to those in need and making the world of difference to couples and families.  

Dates for your diary: the month ahead  
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   Sat 16 Mar: Birmingham Lourdes Hospitalite Day of Recollection   Thu 21 Mar: Divine Renovation and Alpha event: The Future is Now: Empowering Young People in Parish Renewal    Sat 23 Mar: Born For This: Production

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