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|Education Sunday – ‘Where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them’
| Reflection – Education Sunday ‘Where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them’ (Matthew 18:20)
This Sunday, 10 September, is Education Sunday. At the start of the academic year the Church takes time to pray for all those in Catholic schools, colleges and universities in England and Wales. This year is particularly special as it marks the 175th celebration of this day. As one of the oldest Days of Special Prayer in the liturgical calendar, it reminds us of the importance that the Church has always placed on education. When re-establishing itself in Victorian times, the Church focused on building schools before churches and was only able to do so through the generosity of our ancestors and particularly the Irish community. In his message to Catholic schools, Bishop Marcus Stock (Bishop of Leeds and Chair of the Catholic Education Service), reminds us that ‘the mission of our Catholic schools, colleges and universities is to provide a holistic education which enables the lives of children and young people to flourish and for them to be formed into the men and women that God the Father has created them to be.’
Within the Archdiocese of Birmingham there are over 86,000 children and young people who are being educated in a Catholic school and, at the same time, are experiencing on a daily basis, life as part of a community of faith and prayer, growing in knowledge of Our Lord, Jesus Christ and of his great love for each one of them. This is only made possible by the thousands of school staff (school leaders, teachers, classroom support staff, central support teams, kitchen, office and site staff) who are dedicated to ensuring that the school curriculum, the building and its site enable the children in their care to grow and flourish as they should. Recognition must also be given to the many governors and directors who give so freely and generously of their own time and skills to take on the duties and responsibilities as guardians of our schools’ Catholic mission. In your prayers this weekend, please do ask for God’s blessing upon all those involved in Catholic Education throughout this academic year and to give thanks to all those who helped to establish Catholic schools, colleges and universities. At this time, we also need to pray for a new generation of Catholic teachers and leaders to come forward so that this story of success endures and that children and young people will continue to be inspired, nurtured and formed within Catholic school communities which hold Christ at the heart of their being.
Celebrate Education Sunday
| Intercessions and more for Creation The Season of Creation: 1 September – 4 October Intercession: 10th September: 23rd Sunday of the Year. Father, your son, Jesus Christ, promised that where two or more agreed to ask, it will be granted. We earnestly ask that we be given the wisdom to see how each one of us can alter our ways of living so that we reduce any damage we may unwittingly be causing to our environment and to the climate. Find more prayers of intercession, prayers and vigils for the Season of Creation on the Diocesan website. How we can protect our Common Home There’s still time to register for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference webinar: Call of creation: Reading the signs of the times, hosted with CAFOD and St Mary’s University on Tuesday 12 September, 7pm. This September marks a year since the Bishops of England and Wales republished The Call of Creation, a document that encourages us to repair our relationship with God’s creation. It recognises the interconnectedness of the biggest challenges of our times and urges each of us to ask ourselves how we can protect our common home.
Season of Creation
| We’re recruiting: Director of Education
At this pivotal moment for Catholic education in the Archdiocese, we are looking for a visionary Director of Education, a Christ-centred leader with the experience and skills to lead the committed education team. As Director of Education, you will:
• Promote, communicate and implement the Archbishop’s vision for Catholic education in the Archdiocese.
• Confidently and enthusiastically articulate the role of Catholic education in the mission of the Church and be an effective witness to it.
• Build capacity, trust and strong relationships within the Archdiocesan family of schools; facilitating collaboration between MACs and schools to achieve continual school improvement and raise aspirations to be the school of choice for parents and children in the local area. Applications from a MAC or school leader, for a secondment opportunity, are strongly encouraged. Closing date for applications – Monday 18 September.
Director of Education
| Hundreds Commemorate the English Martyrs
Last Sunday, 3 September, over 700 pilgrims came to venerate the shrine to the English Martyrs at Harvington Hall. The annual pilgrimage frequently attracts numbers of around 300-400 so this was a momentous event. As Harvington is celebrating the centenary of its rescue from ruin, Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Bernard. Through Harvington we remember the strength of the faith of those Catholics who were persecuted during the Reformation. You can find Archbishop Bernard’s homily and photos on the Diocesan website.
Harvington Pilgrimage 2023
| Harvest 2023: Family Fast Day
Family Fast Day is on Friday 6 October. Join together with your parish, friends and family so that families around the world can have access to the medical care they need to survive in increasingly challenging circumstances. By sharing a simple meal and giving what you save, you’ll be standing in solidarity with vulnerable people who are threatened by disease and poverty, displaced from their homes and communities by the climate crisis.
Family Fast Day: Harvest 2023
Jobs and Volunteering Opportunities Father Hudson’s Care is recruiting for an Admin Assistant to work in its Origins Service. Origins provides a service to reunite those separated by adoption and also provides access to care and adoption records. Based at Father Hudson’s in Coleshill, 25 hours a week.
Jobs and Volunteering
Year of Prayer 2024 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. On Evangelii Gaudium Sunday this year (17 Sept) parishes will be encouraged to start considering how they can mark the Year of Prayer and help parishioners grow through a renewed life of prayer.
Year of Prayer
| This month: Invite to ‘Being a Welcoming Church’ Action Group Day Could you or a group of friends represent your parish in this important project? This year Father Hudson’s Care worked with groups and local parishes to provide online sessions to deepen our understanding of the needs of those who are homeless, refugees, older people, and individuals and families living with the experience of disability. We focused on what the Church is doing and could do in these four areas, all to be more welcoming. The focus remains very much on action. What can we do, and in particular what can we do together at parish, deanery and Diocesan level to ensure that all members of the Church and beyond feel welcome within the Church and can participate fully and contribute fully within the Church community. If you are interested in being part of a group who wish to make an impact, then please join us on Saturday 16 September at St Catherine of Siena Church, Bristol Street in Birmingham.
Welcoming Church Action Group
SVP Annual Mass and Gathering Supporters of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) across the Archdiocese are invited to attend this year’s annual Mass and gathering. It will take place on Saturday 23 September at St Chad’s Cathedral. The principal celebrant is Bishop David Evans. Mass will be followed by lunch and talks. The SVP is committed to turning concern into action.
SVP Mass and Gathering
| Justice and Peace Assembly:
Responding to the climate crisis in our homes, parishes and communities This year’s annual assembly takes place on Saturday 28 October in the Grimshaw Room at St Chad’s Cathedral. It is hosted by the Birmingham Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission. The guest speakers are Tom Piotrowski, Diocesan Trustee, and Fr Robert Taylerson, Spiritual Director at St Mary’s College, Oscott. Find out what action the Archdiocese is taking on the climate crisis, and how you can play your part. Book for Annual Assembly
|Can you support the ‘Let the Children Live!’ charity? Raymond Barber, from St Ambrose parish in Kidderminster is the National President of the Catholic Men’s Society of Great Britain and is appealing for your help: To date the Society has raised over £3.6m for the Let the Children Live! charity, which helps the street children and families of Colombia. But now the charity is facing the results of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. Donations are down by 30% and in Colombia inflation is running at 20%. That makes a difference of 50%; in other words our money only goes half as far as it did. Supporting Let the Children Live!
| Webinar: World Day of Migrants and Refugees This year the World Day of Migrants & Refugees is on Sunday 24 September. To mark the occasion a webinar is taking place on Wednesday 20 September, 6pm to 7.30pm to discuss this year’s theme and how we can help people to flourish in their homelands as well as what we can do here in the UK to ensure we are supporting the stranger. The webinar is hosted by Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW). This year’s World Day theme is ‘Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay’. It is the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
Webinar: World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Booking now: Restore Autumn training course Three sessions on Tuesdays – 3, 10, 17 October. 7.15pm to 9.15pm. This training is open to anyone who wants to find out more about refugee issues or who wants to explore the possibility of befriending a refugee or asylum seeker through Restore. (All welcome and no obligation to volunteering with Restore at the end). The course is FREE of charge and is part of Restore’s work to raise awareness of refugee issues and motivate people for action.
Book for Restore
Online: Grandparents’ Faith Cafe The Grandparents’ Faith Café will open again online on Tuesday 12 September, at 7.30pm, via Zoom. Father Svetozar Kraljevic OFM from the Shrine at Medjugorje will be the guest speaker. The Faith Cafe is hosted by The Catholic Grandparents Association. Register for Faith Cafe
| Dates for your diary: the month ahead
Fri 1 Sept – Wed 4 Oct: Season of Creation
Thu 7 Sept: Cursillo Encounter Evening, Stafford
Fri 8 Sept: Heritage Open Day – St Chad’s Cathedral (Fully Booked)
Sat 9 Sept: ‘Monastery Day’ hosted by YouCAN
Sat 9 Sept: LOUDfence Ribbon Workshop
Sat 9 Sept: Heritage Open Day – St Chad’s Cathedral (Fully Booked)
Sun 10 Sept: Education Sunday
Sun 10 Sept: Pilgrimage for the Planet, Oxford
Tues 12 Sept: Call of Creation:Reading the signs of the times
Fri 15 Sept: Online JustPeople Workshop, hosted by Pact
Sat 16 Sept: Being a Welcoming Church Action Group Day
Sat 16 Sept: Heritage Open Day – St Chad’s Cathedral (Fully Booked)
Sat 16 Sept: Cursillo Encounter Day, Walsall
Sat 16 Sept: Health and Wellbeing Information Day, hosted by the West Indian Chaplaincy
Tues 19 Sept: Register by today for Course: Introduction to Voluntary Workplace Chaplaincy
Wed 20 Sept: Webinar to mark World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Wed 20 Sept: 3 Ways to Kill Evangelisation in your Parish
Sat 23 Sept: SVP Annual Festival Mass and Gathering
Sat 23 Sept: National Justice & Peace Network Networking Day, Birmingham
Fri 29 Sept – Sun 1 Oct: Praying with the Saints Retreat
Sat 30 Sept: Online lecture: St Therese of Lisieux – her final September
Tues 3 Oct: Restore Training Course, Oct, Session 1
Wed 4 Oct: Fit for Function event, Worcester
Fri 6 Oct: CAFOD Family Fast Day
Sat 7 Oct: Annual Mass of Thanksgiving, Guild of St Stephen
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