Archdiocese of Birmingham newsletter 8th February 2024

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Pope Francis requests prayers for and a commitment to the terminally ill and their families

For the terminally ill ­
Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of February 2024, and invites everyone to pray for the terminally ill and their families.  
When some people talk about terminal illnesses, there are two words they often confuse: incurable and un-carable. But they are not the same.  
Even when little chance for a cure exists, every sick person has the right to medical, psychological, spiritual and human assistance. Sometimes they can’t talk; sometimes we think they don’t recognize us. But if we take them by the hand, we know they are relating with us. Healing is not always possible, but we can always care for the sick person, caress them. Saint John Paul II used to say, “cure if it is possible; always take care.”  
And this is where palliative care comes in. It guarantees the patient not only medical attention, but also human assistance and closeness.  
Families should not be left alone in these difficult moments.  
Their role is decisive. They need access to adequate means so as to provide appropriate physical, spiritual and social support. Let us pray that the terminally ill and their families always receive the necessary medical and human care and assistance.  
Pope Francis, February 2024.  
Watch the monthly Pope Video via our Prayer Page.

Installation of Canons ­

On Tuesday 6 February, we were pleased to celebrate the Installation of four Canons of the Metropolitan Cathedral of St Chad.  

Mgr. Mark Crisp, Parish Priest of Blessed Carlo Acutis, Wolverhampton and Fr Raymond Corbett, Diocesan Chancellor and Catholic Chaplain to Aston University were installed as Chapter Canons, the group of priests who form part of the College of Consultors, who advise the Archbishop about the life and mission of the Archdiocese.  

Two priests were installed as Honorary Canons: Fr Gary Buckby, Parish Priest of Our Lady & St Rose of Lima, Weoley Castle and St Peter, Bartley Green, Dean of the Cathedral and South Birmingham Deanery and Episcopal Vicar for Religious; and Fr Douglas Lamb, Parish Priest of St Ambrose, Kidderminster.  

As well as advising the bishop of the Diocese, the Chapter of Canons has a care for the Cathedral and for its liturgical life and so meets and prays together more or less monthly through the year at the Chapter Mass.

Rite of Election at St Chad’s Cathedral ­

Sunday 18 February at 3pm.

In every Catholic Cathedral across the world, on the First Sunday of Lent, all those adults who have been preparing for the Sacraments  – whether Baptism or Reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church – followed by Confirmation and the Eucharist, at Easter, are welcomed by the Bishop of the Diocese at this final and intense stage of preparation on their journey of faith to the Sacraments of Initiation.  

We pray for all those who are making this journey of faith.  

All catechumens (those to be baptised as adults) and adult candidates for the Sacraments this Easter are welcome to attend this service (which is not a Mass) together with their sponsor and parish clergy and catechists.  

During the ceremony, the names of the parishes from which candidates have come across the Archdiocese of Birmingham are read out.   

So it is important that the clergy of these parishes send the appropriate information through to the Archbishop’s Office as soon as possible.

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.

Life NCFE Training   ­

Life Charity has run a successful Counselling and Skilled Listening Service for over 50 years – in 2019 they launched Life Training Centre, offering unique training delivered by practicing Counsellors who work within Life’s client services and have a wealth of experience.
NCFE Cache Counselling skills courses delivered by our trained Assessors can help you start your own journey towards becoming a fully qualified and practising counsellor or simply help to improve your listening skills to help support in your work or volunteering role – our courses provide practical knowledge and skills to establish and maintain a productive and ethical helping relationship.

Online Course on Integral Ecology   ­

An Initiative of the Laudato si’ Alliance
for the Care of Our Common Home
(Pontifical Universities and Atheneums of Rome)   On 4 October 2023, on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology, Pope Francis released Laudate Deum, the apostolic exhortation that builds on the landmark encyclical letter Laudato Si’ of 2015.   

He raised again his prophetic voice for the care of Our Common Home. The unprecedented challenge facing the planet and people can only be addressed within the lens of an integral ecological vision championed by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’.  

To respond to such prophetic call, the Pontifical Universities and Atheneums in Rome created an alliance to launch the Online Course in English in partnership with many leading groups involved in the area of creation care.   

On completing the Course the students will be awarded a certificate on request.   

The participants can also become an official Laudato Si’ Animator, thanks to the Laudato Si’ Movement.   The second session of the Course on Integral Ecology will take place on 15 February, chaired by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, while admissions to the course remain open up to 31 March 2024.  

The enrolled participants will receive the presentations and recorded versions of each of the sessions as well as online resources in the area of creation care. 

Columbans Schools Media Competition CLOSES NEXT WEEK ­

The Columban Missionaries in Britain and Ireland’s latest Schools Media Competition 2023-2024 is titled: ‘Biodiversity Matters’.  

The competition is aimed at students aged between 13-18 years old who are invited to explore Biodiversity – the richness of life forms on Earth and which humanity relies on for health, food and well-being. It is looking for pieces of writing and images that demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the issue of Biodiversity and highlight people, communities and/or organisations trying to build a sustainable future.
Encouraging creativity and faith engagement with issues in the world today, this year’s competition welcomes both written and image entries until the closing date of 17 February 2024. Winners will be announced on Columban media on 21 March 2024, the International Day of Forests.

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.

Single Friendly Church Workshop 1: Language and Welcome ­

Tuesday 20 Feb 11:00am – 12:00pm. Online, Zoom
An event from Single Friendly Church. This is the first of two webinars on becoming a Single Friendly Church, focussing on Language and Welcome.  

This will be an interactive session with opportunities to discuss and share ideas with others.  

We’ll be discussing:

  • How to adapt church language to ensure everyone feels valued
  • Using the word “family”
  • How to welcome people coming on their own
  • Making the social life of the church inclusive of all
  • Mother’s Day

This is the first of two workshops. A second workshop on Teaching and Leadership will take place on Tuesday 27 February.   

This webinar is completely free and will last for one hour, with group discussions and a time of questions at the end. It is aimed at those in church leadership but anyone is welcome to attend. 

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.

Lord Deben to give Ampleforth lecture ­ Lord Deben, former Chairman of the UK’s independent Climate Change Committee, will deliver a flagship lecture at Ampleforth College in March.

The lecture is a joint initiative between the Catholic Union, The Ampleforth Society and Ampleforth College. It will take place on Friday 1 March.

Lord Deben has been a Conservative peer since 2010. He served as Environment Secretary under John Major and until June 2023 was Chairman of the Climate Change Committee.

He will use his lecture to talk about the Gospel Imperative for Climate Action.

The event will bring together a wide section of the Catholic community with a passion for saving the planet as highlighted in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical on caring for our common home.

The event will be held at Ampleforth and will also be live streamed.

Divine Renovation event – Health or Burnout: Where are your leaders going? ­

Online event, Wednesday 28 February  

At the pace you’re going, are you headed to health or burnout?  

The work of parish renewal needs healthy leaders. People count on you. How can you ensure that you’re serving out of abundance, not burnout and frustration?  

Join Sr Miriam James Heidland and Will van der Hart for an evening discussion.

Meeting at the Crossroads: how do faiths work together to impact the world. ­

A day conference at Birmingham Newman University, Saturday 2 March, 10am – 4pm.  
Too often we hear stories of conflicts between religious groups.  But there are also remarkable examples of how people of different faiths work actively together to improve their local communities.  

‘Meeting at the Crossroads’ is a chance to learn from practitioners from the UK and South Africa and to be inspired to consider how in your own locality you can use faiths as a powerful force for good and for social cohesion.   

The conference is run in partnership with the Denis Hurley Centre, located between the cathedral and the main mosque in Durban South Africa, who for 10 years has been bringing people of all faiths together to serve some of the poorest people in the city.  
The conference is free to attend and our cafe will be open on the day for those who wish to purchase hot drinks and sandwiches.

Theology Symposium – Authority and the Church ­

St Mary’s College, Oscott is holding its annual Spring Theology Symposium on Saturday April 27 (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.

Register now for this year’s Diocesan Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage ­

Saturday 4 May, 12noon at St Chad’s Cathedral  

Are you celebrating a significant wedding anniversary in 2024? Are you engaged to be married this year? Or would you simply like to give thanks to God for your marriage, and ask for His ongoing blessings?  

If so, we would like to invite you to attend this year’s Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage.  

Registration is now open.

KYT Summer Camp – booking now open! ­

Every summer, the Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT) and Life Teen UK host a summer camp for young people aged 12-18 from across the country.   

This year the camp runs from Sunday 21 to Thursday 25 July and prices start at £195.  

It will be held at Alton Castle in North Staffordshire.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! ­

Applications welcome for the following positions:  

Safeguarding Advisor, Archdiocese of Birmingham  

Chief Executive Officer position at Father Hudson’s Care – DEADLINE Friday 9 February   For full details visit our website.

Dates for your diary: the month ahead  
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: World Day of the Sick  
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   
Fri 2 Mar: Meeting at the Crossroads: how do faiths work together to impact the world.  
Wed 6 Mar: Online JustPeople Workshop, March 2024 (Prison Advice & Care Trust)  
Fri 8 – Sun 10 Mar: Altar Servers Retreat ‘Called to Serve’  

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