Two Men Ordained to the Sacred Priesthood

On Saturday 23 July, surrounded by family and friends, two new priests were ordained at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham.

Steven Fleming and Toby Duckworth were ordained to the Sacred Priesthood by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

During the ordination rite, the candidates promise ‘to celebrate the mysteries of Christ, faithfully and religiously… for the glory of God and the sanctification of Christ’s people.’

In his homily, Archbishop Bernard said:

“The ordination of a priest for the service of the local church is a very special day in the life of every diocese. It is a sign of the abiding love of Jesus Christ, our great high priest, for the people of God as He continues to gather and lead us on our pilgrimage through life.

“As we journey together along along the Synodal pathway we shall now have two new pastors to accompany and guide us and to listen to the insights and the concerns of all God’s children

“The ordination of two priests to pick up the baton of service in this Archdiocese is a moment for thanksgiving and joy; it evokes our gratitude to God for providing us with this help and it strengthens our hope for the future of the Church’s Mission.”

Ordinations 2022 – recorded at St Chad’s Cathedral

Photo Gallery

Visit Fr Steven Fleming’s YouTube channel Catholic Kickstarter, which seeks to support people to discover what the Catholic faith teaches, by presenting the truth and beauty of the Catholic Faith through the form of media:

Catholic Kickstarter

Service of Praise to Welcome the Commonwealth Games

St Chad’s Cathedral was a joyous place to be as a Service of Praise took place to welcome the Commonwealth Games.

Churches across the city have worked together to organise and host the ecumenical service just days before the Games begin.

In attendance yesterday (Sun 24 July) were Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE; the High Sheriff of the West Midlands, David Moorcroft OBE and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Maureen Cornish.

The service began with a procession of church leaders.

Archbishop Bernard Longley delivered words of welcome followed by greetings from the Lord Lieutenant and the Lord Mayor.

Bishop David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, gave the opening prayer.

The service featured prayers, readings, music and song with input from the Birmingham City Council Workplace Choir and the Smile Community Children’s Choir.

The Preacher was Bishop Mike Royal, General Secretary of Churches Together in England, and Prayers of Intercession were read by children and young people from Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Aston; St Chad’s Catholic Primary School, Newtown and Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Small Heath.

During the service BBC Radio WM’s Nikki Tapper interviewed sports personalities Donna Fraser, six times, 200 metre English Schools Champion and the 1991, 400 metre European Junior Champion.

Followed by David Moorcroft OBE, this year’s High Sheriff of the West Midlands, and a former middle-distance and long-distance runner, and former world record holder for the 5,000 metres.

After the service the congregation gathered outside the cathedral and sang ‘Lean on Me’.

Let the Games begin!

To find the nearest Catholic Churches to venues hosting Commonwealth Games events please visit our dedicated webpage

Photo Gallery

Watch! Videos from the Service of Praise:

Ordination of Two Permanent Deacons at St Chad’s Cathedral

Prayerful congratulations to Andrew Lansberry and Martin Casey who have been ordained as permanent deacons to the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Archbishop Bernard Longley ordained Andrew and Martin to the Permanent Diaconate in front of their families, friends and fellow Deacons at St Chad’s Cathedral on Sunday (17 July).

The word deacon derives from the Greek diakonia, meaning “service”, thereby indicating that a deacon is called like Christ to be a servant. The Order of Deacon has three essential functions: the proclamation of the Gospel, the service of the liturgy, and the administration of charitable works.

The celebration of the Sacrament of Ordination of a Deacon is similar in form to that of a priest – by prayer and the laying on of hands, as described from the earliest days of the Church – but the beautiful Prayer of Consecration emphasises the essential nature of the diaconate, a call to service.

There are around 80 deacons serving in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Andrew and Martin were recently interviewed about their calling in the latest edition of The Sower magazine

Andrew, by profession a funeral director in Coventry, first realised that he might have a vocation while serving in the parish of St John Vianney as a young man.

His priestly formation has principally taken place at St Mary’s College, Oscott and in his own parish.

“One of the most important aspects of formation is the support network that is put in place as you begin your studies,” said Andrew, 42, who was born in Marston Green. “The seminary staff along with my formation tutor and the priests of my parish have continually encouraged and supported me for the duration of my formation.”

Martin, 36, who was born and raised in Nottingham, has been a full-time teacher at Archbishop Isley Catholic School in Birmingham for the past 11 years.

His two passions within the Church are liturgy and catechesis and a highlight of his formation at St Mary’s College, Oscott was his admission to candidacy when he heard the words spoken by the Bishop: “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfilment.”

Martin, who says he is “humbly excited” at the prospect of his ordination, said: “At Mass and during Adoration we should feel, and encourage others to feel, a sense of numinous beauty – of awe and wonder in the Presence of God.”

Find out more about Becoming a Deacon

Photo Gallery by Con McHugh

Celebrating Corpus Christi

This year’s Corpus Christi Procession in Birmingham took place on the Feast Day on Sunday 19 June.

Following Mass at St Michael’s Church on Moor Street the procession was led through the streets arriving at St Chad’s Cathedral for a small service with Benediction.

The procession returned in-person after a pause due to the pandemic. The four priests who took part in the procession were: Fr Krzysztof Kucharski, Fr Krzysztof Kita, Mgr Timothy Menezes and Fr Gerry Kelly.

Photo Gallery by Con McHugh

Dedication of the Altar at St Chads

A day of celebration and history has taken place at our Diocesan Mother Church, St Chad’s Cathedral.

The event on Saturday 18 June was organised collaboratively by the Cathedral Team and the Archdiocese of Birmingham History and Archives Commission.

It began with Mass, including the Rite of the Dedication of the Altar, celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley, on the Solemnity of the Dedication of the Cathedral.

The Mass included the Prayer of Dedication and the Anointings: Archbishop Bernard placed a relic of Blessed Dominic Barberi inside the altar which was then sealed; His Grace anointed the altar with the Oil of Chrism followed by the Incensation of the Altar and Lighting of the Altar.

Homily by Archbishop Bernard

Guests at today’s Mass included children from St Chad’s Catholic Primary School; the Diocesan Chapter of Canons; parishioners and friends of St Chad’s Cathedral and the Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber (St Chad was the first Bishop of Lichfield and Lichfield Cathedral is dedicated to St Chad).

Today’s celebration also marked the official launch of the Diocesan History and Archives Commission.

After Mass talks were given by guest speakers Dr John Jenkins from the University of York on The Life and Afterlife of St Chad: from Bede to Birmingham; and Dr Judith Champ, from the Archdiocese of Birmingham, on: Why build a cathedral? Piety, Politics, Pennies – and Pugin.

The purpose of the Commission (founded in 2021) is to enhance appreciation and understanding of the history of the Archdiocese in our parishes and communities, to support the Archdiocesan Archivist in building awareness of the archives in the life of the Archdiocese, and to offer resources and guidance to individuals and groups seeking to deepen their understanding of the history of the Archdiocese.

Any enquiries to hac@rcaob.org.uk

Welcome from the Cathedral Dean, Mgr Timothy Menezes

Welcome to St Chad’s Cathedral on this Solemnity of the Dedication of the Cathedral and as today the Altar in the Cathedral is dedicated.

The Eucharist is the heart of the Church’s life. From the altar which symbolises Christ the Chief Cornerstone, we receive the Body of Christ and we become the Body of Christ.

At this point in history, and as we hope to emerge gradually from the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, the altar has taken on a new significance.

During Holy Week 2020, when the People of God could not attend the ceremonies of the Easter Triduum, they came to know very deeply what St John Paul II referred to as “a hunger for the Eucharist”.

Out of necessity, we rediscovered Spiritual Communion and saw the value of being united in prayer even when we could not be present to one another around the altar.

That longing to be present manifested itself for many people in a range of reactions to being able to participate in person once again and to receive the Body of Christ at the Mass in which they participate, fully, consciously and actively.

In celebrating this important day in the life of the Cathedral, Archbishop Bernard Longley represents the many Archbishops and Bishops of Birmingham who have fed the flock entrusted to them, under the patronage of St Chad, in this holy place.

We remember today the clergy who have served this Cathedral Church. Fr Brian Doolan was the Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral (1999-2007) and was responsible for the altar that we use day by day and which is dedicated in this celebration.

It is still remembered by many in the city that Canon Leo McCartie, (later Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham and subsequently Bishop of Northampton), during his tenure as Cathedral Administrator, established a homeless shelter in the crypt of St Chad’s Cathedral which ceased to be after a fire in the crypt.

That understanding of the connection between the Eucharist which is celebrated here and Christ’s command to feed the poor and fulfil the corporal works of mercy must never be forgotten and in our day is seen through the important welcome to refugees and asylum seekers, on Shadwell Street, by St Chad’s Sanctuary and through the recent revival of a Cathedral Parish SVP Conference.

We remember with gratitude all benefactors and parishioners of St Chad’s and we pray for the Mission of the Cathedral and its community now and in generations to come.

Today also marks the beginning of the Archdiocese of Birmingham History and Archives Commission. We pray that this venture will bear fruit for years to come because whoever values their future treasures their past.

The relic which is placed in the altar at this Mass is one of Blessed Dominic Barberi, the Italian Passionist Priest who received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church at Littlemore in Oxford in 1845.

The Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Birmingham has rejoiced in recent years at the Beatification of Cardinal Newman by Pope Benedict XVI in Birmingham in 2010 and the Canonisation by Pope Francis in Rome in October 2019.

As Birmingham has the Saint for which many prayed over so many years, so Archbishop Bernard has promoted devotion to Blessed Dominic Barberi in our Archdiocese since his installation as Archbishop in 2009, that the one who led a Saint to the Catholic Faith may now be recognised as a Saint himself.

We rejoice in the beauty and truth of our faith and we celebrate with great joy this day of the Dedication of the Altar in St Chad’s Cathedral; that it may be:

a sign of Christ,
a table of joy,
a place of communion and peace,
a source of unity and friendship
and the centre of our praise and thanksgiving.

Photo Gallery

Return to Mass at Pentecost

News from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Spring Plenary 2022 Resolution

An invitation from the Bishops of England and Wales

This is the bread come down from heaven (John 6:58)

A beautiful hallmark of the Catholic faith is the profound desire to participate in the Holy Mass and share in the Eucharist. We do so with deep gratitude and joy. The Eucharist gives the Church her identity – “The Eucharist makes the Church, and the Church makes the Eucharist.” It enables us to worship Almighty God, to support each other on our journey of faith, and to be a visible sign of faith in the world. This hallmark is supported and strengthened by the precept that our fundamental Christian duty is to worship God by participating in the celebration of Mass. Attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is the greatest of all privileges, sometimes referred to as “the Sunday Obligation.”

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, until the present time, we have shared with you our judgment that the situation of the last two years has meant that the Sunday Obligation has been impeded and has needed to be fulfilled in other ways. We thank God that this situation has now changed. The pressing challenges of the pandemic have lessened significantly. Most people have resumed the wide range of normal activities, no longer restricted by the previous Covid measures. We therefore believe that the reasons which have prevented Catholics from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation no longer apply.

We understand there will still be some members of our congregations who, for reasons of health, do not feel safe enough to return to Mass. It has always been the understanding of the Church that when the freedom of any Catholic to attend Mass in person is impeded for a serious reason, because of situations such as ill health, care for the sick or legitimate fear, this is not a breach of the Sunday Obligation.

Our Catholic people and parishes have benefitted during these difficult times from the online streaming of Mass and other services. “Virtual viewing” of Mass online does not fulfil the Sunday Obligation. It may, however, be a source of continual spiritual comfort to those who cannot attend Mass in person, for example those who are elderly and sick, for whom the obligation does not apply. In this context, we recognise gratefully the ministry of those who administer Holy Communion to the elderly, sick and housebound.

We are grateful to our clergy, religious and lay faithful who have served our parishes, schools and communities with dedication and distinction throughout this pandemic. Now we look forward with renewed faith and confidence.

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord Jesus entrusted to us the precious gift of Himself. With humility, we glory in being a Eucharistic people for whom attendance at Mass is essential. Looking forward to the forthcoming feast of Pentecost, we now invite all Catholics who have not yet done so to return to attending Mass in person.

As the Church needs the witness of the presence of each person, so too each believer needs to journey in faith and worship with their fellow disciples. Nourished by our encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus, fed with His Word and His Body and Blood in Holy Communion, and supported by the presence of each other, we receive strength week by week, to serve the Lord and glorify Him with our lives.

Approved by the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference
Friday 6 May 2022

Archbishop Bernard’s Easter Vigil Homily

Why look among the dead for someone who is alive?

As soon as the Sabbath had ended, with its restrictions on work and travel, a group of women, including Mary of Magdala, Joanna and Mary the mother of James, went to anoint the body of Jesus.  They left at the very first sign of dawn.  We can imagine the heaviness in their hearts as their eyes adjusted to the growing light of day, making their way to the burial place, not sure what they would see when they arrived.

Their journey is like ours.  We have passed through the gloom of Lent, with its welcome moments of illumination and fresh understanding.  We have witnessed the darkness that covered the land at our Lord’s crucifixion.  We have made our way to the tomb to look for him there…

Read the Homily in full here

Good Friday Walk of Witness

The ecumenical Good Friday Walk of Witness made a welcome in-person return to Birmingham.

Many people gathered to take part after two years of Virtual Walk of Witnesses because of the pandemic.

The event marks Christ’s journey to the cross and started from The Church in Carrs Lane and concluded at our Diocesan Mother Church, St Chad’s Cathedral.

During the procession through the city centre the crowds meditated on the Stations of the Cross, reflecting on two at each pause, with the final four at St Chad’s Cathedral.

Sharing the lead alongside Bishop David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, Bishop Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston and Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, the Revd Steven Faber, Moderator of the United Reformed Church for the West Midlands Synod, and the Revd Ian Howarth, Chair of the Methodist Church, Birmingham District, we welcomed Monsignor Timothy Menezes, Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, the Very Revd Matt Thompson, Dean of St Philip’s Cathedral, with Canon Josephine Houghton and Canon Andy Delmege; the Revd Cristina Cipriani, the Revd Elaine Hutchinson and Deacon Ruth Yorke from The Church at Carrs Lane, with Major Samuel Edgar (Ret’d) from the Salvation Army.

Also joining were Fr Michael Dolman, Rector of St Mary’s College, Oscott with members of the formation staff and students of the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Walk of Witness Photo Gallery

Celebration of the Chrism Mass 2022

Diocesan clergy gathered together at St Chad’s Cathedral for the first time since the start of the pandemic to celebrate the Chrism Mass. (Wednesday 13 April)

During Holy Mass priests renewed the promises they made on the day of their Ordination to serve God and his people.

This Mass symbolises the unity of the Presbyterate as the Bishops, priests and deacons gather around the Archbishop.

His Grace also blessed the holy oils – the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick and consecrated the Oil of Holy Chrism – which will be used in the administration of the sacraments in parishes across the Archdiocese in the coming year.

This year’s Chrism Mass was for clergy only due to the continuing threat of the pandemic and the large number of people already in attendance at the cathedral.

The faithful were invited to join via the cathedral’s live stream facility.

Read Archbishop Bernard’s Homily

Photo Gallery

The Diocesan response to The Synod has been completed and sent to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

The Synodal Pathway Team met the recent submission deadline after working through hundreds of responses from parishes, schools, agencies and individuals.

During the month of March various ‘reading groups’ gathered at St Chad’s Cathedral to read through all the responses. Each one was read several times to ensure key themes, ideas, suggestions, proposals and thoughts were collated as part of this Diocesan Discernment process.

Members of the Synodal Pathway Team then met with Archbishop Bernard Longley to assist him in his role as principal discerner for the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

The synthesis has highlighted a number of themes including:

• The role of women within the Catholic Church
• Inclusion, the Church must be there for all
• The importance of schools, families and young people
• Formation throughout one’s lifetime
• The need for greater co-responsibility and an involved laity

The synthesis also includes many direct quotes taken from the hundreds of submissions received.

The overall theme for the Synod, opened by Pope Francis last year, is ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission’.

And every aspect of the Diocesan ‘Walking Together’ journey has proved to be synodal in its very nature as people have walked, talked and listened together.

Now the Diocesan synthesis is with the Bishops’ Conference it will in turn shape the national response and discernment.

The synthesis will also feed directly into our Diocesan Vision, Unfolding God’s Plan, and our own priorities for the coming years. (Evangelisation, Formation, Liturgy and Worship, Social Outreach – with co-responsibility, young people and families a focus in each of these areas).

Canon Paul Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Diocesan Synodal Pathway Committee, said: “I am delighted with the number of responses we received, which exceeded all expectations.

“It is very encouraging that so many people wanted to have their say, to be involved, to contribute to our Walking Together journey, but most importantly to listen.

“This listening and discernment will feed directly into our Diocesan Vision and priorities – which were clearly coming through in the hundreds of responses we received.”

Archbishop Bernard Longley said: “I want to thank all who took the time to contribute to our Diocesan Walking Together journey.

“Every single response received has been so important, reflecting on our current experience of the Church and what we hope it will be in the future.

“This process has given due respect to the voices of individuals and distinctive groups and we hear their own words in this synthesis. As we look beyond our immediate contribution to the Synodal Pathway at national level we need to capture these voices and insights within our own diocesan vision and planning.

“I have been heartened to see people taking such an active role and I look forward to that enthusiasm continuing as we implement our own Diocesan Vision.”

To date the Synodal Pathway Team have received submissions from:

• 189/219 Parish responses
• 104 Individual school responses – (pupils, family life, teachers)
• 29 Group responses
• 271 Individual responses.

Read Diocesan Synthesis

Palm Sunday Mass

Holy Week has started with the celebration of Palm Sunday Masses across the Archdiocese.

Archbishop Bernard Longley was principal celebrant at today’s 11.30am Mass at St Chad’s Cathedral (Sunday 10 April 2022).

It began outside, by the entrance to the crypt, with prayer, the reading of St Luke’s Gospel 19:28-40 and the blessing of palms.

A procession into the cathedral followed led by the choir and involving seminarians from St Mary’s College, Oscott, altar servers, clergy and parishioners.

Passion Sunday, or Palm Sunday as many people commonly know it, marks the beginning of Holy Week, a day we commemorate the triumphant arrival of Christ into Jerusalem just days before the crucifixion.

The Liturgical colour of the Palm Sunday Mass is red, symbolising the redemption in blood that Christ paid for the world.

Palms blessed on Palm Sunday are used in the procession of the day, then taken home by the faithful and used for personal devotion.

A Guide to Holy Week from the Bishops’ Conference

Photo Gallery

Diocesan Update on Ukraine Communication

We are pleased to say that since we sent out our last update on the response to Ukraine, Fr Hudson’s Care has received numerous offers of sponsorship/accommodation and of translation skills in Russian and Ukrainian. The evident enthusiasm for support from our parishes and parishioners is a great testament to our faith.

Since our last update, we have continued to work with Fr Hudson’s Care, with our Ukrainian communities, with local councils and with agencies such as Reset and CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) to understand how best to offer our support as a diocese.

So far, a lot of our work has been preparatory- the Coventry Catholic Ukrainian community has been supporting Coventry City Council by checking the Ukrainian translations on the council’s website and all of our Ukrainian communities are compiling lists of potential interpreters/translators ready to support potential refugees.

As we understand it only a few refugees have arrived from Ukraine so far under the families’ scheme, and they have been accommodated with family members. We are not aware of anyone yet arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, needing housing or schooling. We are expecting some more guidance from the government on the matching process over the coming days, but we are acutely aware that the matching process needs more support to ensure that refugees can safely come to the UK.

It is imperative to us that we must utilise our own Catholic network in this country and in Europe to help to identify refugees and help them find sponsors here in the UK to expedite their journey for safety and support.

To do this we are discussing whether we will need to recruit a qualified staff member to help us to build our local capacity for support, and to enable people to come from Ukraine and be housed safely within our local communities. We are also discussing how we would gain funding for this position and may be asking for donations towards this in the near future.

Father Hudson’s is happy to continue to receive offers of accommodation and language services and to support and remain in touch with those who offer their help: Your Help | Birmingham Diocesan Trust (birminghamdiocese.org.uk)

Ukraine

Our Diocesan response:

Dear All in our Archdiocese,

Many people want to help those who are having to leave their home country of Ukraine, who will be offered refuge in this country until it is safe and possible to return.

The Archdiocese and Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham have asked Father Hudson’s Care to coordinate the many generous offers of help. This is so that we can put in place a welcome that will be so important to the individuals and families in this tragic situation.

Always working with others, Father Hudson’s has been welcoming asylum seekers, refugees and migrants for over 30 years. Some of you will know of Brushstrokes, the Sanctuary, Fatima House and Sophia House and parish Community Sponsorship schemes.

Those already working with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants from all round the world and most recently from Afghanistan will share their expertise and knowledge.

Father Hudson’s will offer a diocese-wide approach, working closely with the existing Catholic Ukrainian communities based in Coventry and Wolverhampton to offer a coordinated response to any one forced to leave Ukraine due to the war.

Father Hudson’s and the Ukrainian communities anticipate being able to be the organisations that can link offers of help to refugee Ukrainian individuals and families.

Please note if you have a connection with the Ukrainian communities based in Coventry or Wolverhampton please contact them directly, rather than Father Hudson’s.

If you do not have a connection with these Ukrainian communities, please contact Father Hudson’s using the contact details below.

Your help

We know that we will need:

Accommodation in people’s own homes or homes that belong to individuals or to parishes/the Archdiocese.

If you wish to offer accommodation, please contact Father Hudson’s on (01675) 434000 between the hours of 8.30 – 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.30 – 4.30pm on Friday.

Or, within or outside of these hours please email Maria Gallagher on mariagallagher@fatherhudsons.org.uk  providing a phone number that you can be contacted on.

Or ring, text or WhatsApp 07966 935533 outside of these hours, please leave a voicemail and number if unanswered.

There are three important steps regarding accommodation:

Your offer – Father Hudson’s will be the point of contact for this.

Matching – where the offer of accommodation is matched to a Ukrainian refugee family or individual. The national body, Caritas Social Action network, is recommending the use of an organisation called Reset, which has worked for a number of years supporting the Community Sponsorship scheme for refugees. Father Hudson’s will assist you in contact with Reset. It is also possible as time goes on that Caritas organisations in Ukraine, Poland and other European countries will assist.

Support once a Ukrainian refugee individual or family is matched – at the moment it is unclear to what extent Local Authorities and other agencies will be able to assist. Father Hudson’s, from its experience, knows that this ongoing support matters greatly. As central government, local government and other agencies clarify the nature of this support we will keep you fully informed.

Language help – if you speak Ukrainian or Russian these skills will be of incredible value, even if you live a long way from where the individuals/families will live (phone/Zoom etc.) – contact as above.

Other skills – as time goes on, some or all families will value support with developing their English-language skills (Esol), and possibly professional help, such as counselling – contact as above.

A local parish community contact – whilst the host individual or family will do much to provide a welcome it is important that they are supported in this by their parish community and we are looking for one or more parish members to offer to be a point of  contact.

We are not asking you to contact Father Hudson’s or the Ukrainian communities yet, only when we have a clearer idea of where those seeking refuge here will actually live. We do not want to raise expectations only to find that offers of help are not used because there is no Ukrainian refugee individual or family living nearby. Once we know, we will communicate further.

Please note regarding the donation of goods, neither Father Hudson’s nor the Ukrainian community in Coventry have the facilities to manage the donation of goods.

The Ukrainian community in Wolverhampton is involved to some extent in this and you may wish to contact them to see what goods they most need, if you have some links there.

However, once families and individuals do arrive in this country they will undoubtedly need the donation of goods and it is hoped that parish communities where these individuals and families will be offered a temporary home will be able to support them in this way. Our parish communities have a great tradition in doing this.

Donations

Donate to the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal via CAFOD

CAFOD : Donation to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

CSAN and CAFOD  have issued a joint statement which you may find helpful.

One last push on Nationality and Borders Bill 

Secondly, Together With Refugees says that we still have a short time to secure some concessions before the Nationality and Borders Bill passes into law. Over the next week, parishioners can demonstrate the depth and breadth of support for a more compassionate approach to refugees by writing to your MP. The Together with Refugees website gives some background and campaign support- needed before 21 March

One last push on Nationality and Borders Bill – Together With Refugees

Rite of Election Celebration

The pathway that you are walking is a life-long search for holiness and it
will lead you towards perfect holiness in the Kingdom of God.
(Archbishop Bernard Longley)

Candidates and catechumens from across the Archdiocese gathered to celebrate the Rite of Election to make a significant step towards their reception into the Catholic Church.

Five celebrations of the rite took place on Sunday 6 March, the first Sunday of Lent, at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham, St George’s in Worcester, St Michael’s, Penn in Wolverhampton, Holy Trinity in Newcastle-under-Lyme and the Immaculate Conception, Bicester.

The celebration of these liturgies marked the beginning of the final period of preparation for the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. Catechumens and Candidates are now encouraged to follow our Lord Jesus Christ with great generosity.

The presentation of the elect took place after the Homily and saw the catechumens, candidates and sponsors meet the Archbishop and Auxiliary bishops who were presiding at the celebrations.

Archbishop Bernard’s Homily

Photo Album

Ash Wednesday, the Season of Lent begins

Today is Ash Wednesday, the doorway into our Lenten season of renewal.

Masses at churches and schools across the Archdiocese will take place throughout today.

At St Chad’s Cathedral the first Mass of Ash Wednesday was aimed at schools, which were invited to join via the cathedral’s live stream.

Archbishop Bernard celebrated the Mass at 12.15pm and the 6pm Mass will also feature the cathedral choir.

As part of the blessing and distribution of ashes, clergy will make a sign of the cross with ashes on the forehead, accompanied by the words: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

For this year’s Ash Wednesday Pope Francis has made a heartfelt appeal for peace in Ukraine and urged Catholics everywhere to make today a day of fasting and praying for peace.

During his General Audience last week the Holy Father made an appeal for peace in Ukraine, saying that the threat of war had caused “great pain in my heart”.

“I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war,” he said.

Lent is traditionally a 40-day fast — a reference to the time Jesus spent being tempted in the desert.

It is a time when we can prepare our hearts for the solemn remembrance of Jesus’ death.

It concludes and is followed by the Easter Sunday celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

The six-week period (excluding Sundays) is dedicated to prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for the great celebration of Christ’s Paschal Mystery in the Easter Triduum.

Ash Wednesday is a penitential service that uses ash to mark the sign of the cross on the believer’s forehead, symbolising our sinful nature and need for salvation.

The Catholic Church usually uses the ashes of Palm Sunday branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service.

Photo Album from the 12.15pm Mass

St Chad’s Walk Against Hunger Team | CAFOD

St Chad’s Team: Beryl, Mary, Thomas and Hanh, are fighting malnutrition by taking part in the Walk Against Hunger challenge. The money raised will go to help the world’s most vulnerable women, men and children.

£12 can buy the basic ingredients for a new mum to make sesame seed paste for her malnourished baby.
£20 can pay for expert food and healthcare classes for new mums and dads in rural communities.

QR code to donate:

Synod 2022 Discussion Paper, Sacred Heart Parish and St Chads Cathedral, 7th Feb 2022 at 7pm

Here is the Participation Sheet for our Parish Zoom Gathering on Monday 7th February at 7pm based on a small number of the questions from the original Synod Walking Together document.

In this Participation Sheet you will see that we will only address Q. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14 & 16.

Participation Sheet

The outer pages of the Sheet form the framework of the Zoom Gathering and the inner 4 pages can be pulled out and returned to Church for compiling.

In the Poster below you will find instructions for obtaining a link to the Zoom meeting.

Poster

Peace Sunday – 16th January 2022

The Pope writes a message on Peace each year which is here:

LV World Day of Peace 2022 – Dialogue Between Generations, Education and Work: Tools for Building Lasting Peace | Francis (vatican.va)

Peace Sunday focuses on the importance of the active promotion of peace and non-violence. The organisation Pax Christi has prepared the following resources and the Second Collection on this day is for its work:

Peace Sunday 16 January 2022 – Pax Christi England and Wales

CURSILLOS IN CHRISTIANITY: SUPPORTING THE DIOCESAN VISION

‘Cursillo’ began in Spain in the 1940’s,  and the name simply means ‘a short course’.  It has become a world-wide, tried and tested method of adult faith development.  It is a way of making our discipleship effective and furthering the mission of the Church.  The movement has papal approval and the support of our Archbishop.

There are two events taking place in the next few weeks:

An Encounter Day on Saturday 22 January at St. Mary’s the Mount Pastoral Centre, Glebe Street, Walsall.  It runs from 10.30am to 2.30pm.  Please contact the parish priest, Fr. Jobin Kollappallil, SDV to book (or see below)

A three day Cursillo Weekend from the evening of Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 March in the afternoon.  This will be at Shallowford House, near Stafford.

If you would like to be involved in either or both of these events and for further information please contact:

Canon Michael Leadbeater: email: canon.michael.leadbeater@rcaob.org.uk or, 07734 681 060.

Season of Christmas Video

Christmas Explained: Why the Season of Christmas is important in our Christian life, when it is and what richness does it hold for us? With Mgr Tim Menezes, Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral Birmingham.

As the Synod asks us to take a greater part in the life of the Church, these seasonal videos remind us of things that are basic but important or teach us things we didn’t know and so enhance the faith of ordinary people.

The Liturgy and Worship Group’s second video is on the season of Christmas and its importance in our Christian lives.

Christmas Video

Season of Advent Video

This video is about the Season of Advent and is produced by the Liturgy and Worship group as part of the Diocesan Vision. 

As the Synod asks us to take a greater part in the life of the Church, these seasonal videos remind us of things that are basic but important or teach us things we didn’t know and so enhance the faith of ordinary people.

The Liturgy and Worship Group’s first video is on the season of Advent and its importance in our Christian lives.

Please watch the video, learn a bit more about Advent and share the link as widely as possible with friends and family.

https://www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/blog/diocesan-vision-the-season-of-advent

Bishops’ Statement: Honouring Sunday

During the pandemic, public worship was suspended for a time and there have been restrictions on parish life. As a result, people have been exploring other ways to practice their faith including Spiritual Communion via live streaming.

As people begin returning to more regular patterns of parish life and following the first face to face meeting of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in Leeds, the bishops have issued the following statement about the importance of honouring Sunday:

Honouring Sunday

As the Synodal Pathway of listening and discerning unfolds, we the bishops of England and Wales, are paying particular attention to the hopes and fears, the joys and anxieties of all who are sharing their thoughts and feelings with us.

Longing for our Lord

We are attentive to the experience of the last year or so, when we have lived our faith through the limitations of the pandemic. We have heard of the longing which some express as a “homesickness”. We want to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We yearn to celebrate the sacraments together, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We desire to be nourished by our Lord in Holy Communion. The live streaming of the Mass and the remarkable response of our Catholic communities to those in need, have provided comfort, sustenance and resilience.

The Eucharist, source and summit

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our spiritual and pastoral life. Many people have said to us that they have appreciated the noble simplicity of the Mass at this time, which has allowed the mystery and majesty of our Lord’s sacrificial love to shine through.

The central appeal of the Mass, its beauty and its transcendence, raises our minds and hearts to God in an unambiguous and compelling manner. Our Lord Jesus invites us to receive anew the gift of Sunday as the preeminent day, the day of the Resurrection, when the Church gathers to celebrate the Eucharist. Here we stand together before our heavenly Father, offering our thanksgiving and prayer, through our Saviour in the Holy Spirit. Here we receive Christ in his Word. Here we are nourished by Christ in his precious Body and Blood. This is our primary joy, for which there is no substitute, and from which we draw our strength.

The Gift of the Sunday Eucharist

The Sunday Eucharist is a gift; as God’s holy people we are called to praise and thank God in the most sublime way possible. When the Church speaks of the Sunday obligation, it reminds us that attending Mass is a personal response to the selfless offering of Christ’s love.

At this time, we recognise that for some people there may be certain factors which hinder attendance at Sunday Mass. The pandemic is clearly not over. The risk of infection is still present. For some, there is legitimate fear in gathering together. As your bishops, we recognise that these prevailing circumstances suggest that not everyone is yet in the position to fulfil the absolute duty to attend freely Sunday Mass.

Responding to the Gift

We now encourage all Catholics to look again at the patterns which they have formed in recent months with regard to going to Mass on Sundays. This would include consideration and reflection about what we might do on Sundays, such as sports or shopping, or other leisure and social activities. This review, and the decisions which arise from it, fall to every Catholic and we trust this will be done with honesty, motivated by a real love for the Lord whom we encounter in the Mass.

The Sunday Mass is the very heartbeat of the Church and of our personal life of faith. We gather on the “first day of the week,” and devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). The Eucharist sustains us and spurs us on, renewing our gratitude and our hope. When we say “Amen” to Christ in receiving his Body and Blood, we express the love of God which is deep within us, and at the end of Mass, when we are sent forth, we express our love for our neighbour, especially those in need. These two dimensions reveal the full meaning of our faith. We are gathered together and sent out, we pray and are fed, we worship and we adore; these are intrinsic to our lives as those baptised into Christ.

Approved at the Plenary Assembly of Bishops in Leeds.

Thursday 18 November 2021

Civic Mass 2021

The annual Civic Mass took place at St Chad’s Cathedral on Saturday 20 November, on the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Bishop David Evans was the Principal Celebrant and Preacher at the Mass, which is a special occasion in the Cathedral calendar as a number of civic dignitaries, members of the Judiciary, Service Chiefs and representatives from Ecumenical and Faith groups gather to celebrate the great and diverse City of Birmingham.

Homily for Civic Mass

Due to the ongoing pandemic it was a smaller congregation than usual but still a wonderful opportunity to share a moment of prayer for all those who contribute and continue to work together for the common good.

Amongst the guests were Cllr Mohammed Azim, Deputy Lord Mayor, and Professor Deirdre Kelly, a Diocesan Trustee and Deputy Lord Lieutenant, who gave the first reading.

There were also representatives from the Church at Carrs Lane, Birmingham Council of Faiths, Her Majesty’s Judges and Magistrates, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and the Birmingham and Warwickshire Royal British Legion.

The guest list also included representatives from Fr Hudson’s Care, the Diocesan Education Service, a number of schools, the Inter Religious Commission, St Chad’s Cathedral Association, the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage and several Diocesan Trustees.

Photo Album

The Rite of Installation of a Canonry

On 11 November 2021, on the memorial of St Martin of Tours, Canons Paul Fitzpatrick and Jonathan Veasey were installed into the Chapter of Canons at St Chad’s Cathedral. Mass was celebrated by the Very Reverend Canon Mervyn Tower in the presence of Archbishop Bernard Longley and the Auxiliary Bishops of Birmingham.

Canons Paul and Jonathan are now part of the Chapter of Canons, who form the governing body of the Cathedral, caring for it and for its liturgical life.

They are also the College of Consultors who advise the Archbishop about the life and mission of the Archdiocese.

Canons Paul and Jonathan join Canon Richard Walker and Canon Gerard Murray who were both installed on 5 October.

Photo Gallery

Couples Celebrate Marriage

On Saturday 9 October, couples celebrating milestone anniversaries came to St Chad’s Cathedral for the Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage. Several others joined via the St Chad’s Cathedral live stream from as far as New Zealand.

The Mass, celebrated by Bishop David Evans, featured a renewal of commitment for the couples:

The husband:
Blessed are you, Lord, for by your goodness I took N. as my wife.
The wife:
Blessed are you, Lord, for by your goodness I took N. as my husband.

The couples say together: Blessed are you, Lord, for in the good and the bad times of
our life you have stood lovingly by our side. Help us, we pray, to remain faithful
in our love for one another, so that we may be true witnesses to the covenant you
have made with humankind.

Couples celebrating milestone anniversaries, from their 1st and every five years up to 60 years, as well as every married year over 60, were listed in the commemorative Mass booklet.

Marriage Mass 2021 Booklet

Photo Gallery

New to the Chapter of Canons

Tuesday 5th October 2021 St Chad’s Cathedral held the Capitular Mass of  the Venerable Metropolitan Chapter and the Rite of Installation to a Canonry of Very Reverend Canon Richard Walker Vicar General and Very Reverend Canon Gerard Murray.

Canons Richard and Gerard are now part of the Chapter of Canons, who form the governing body of the Cathedral, caring for it and for its liturgical life.

They are also the College of Consultors who advise the Archbishop about the life and mission of the Archdiocese.

The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Stephen Wright in the presence of His Grace Archbishop Bernard Longley.

Mgr Tim Menezes, Cathedral Dean and Secretary of the Chapter read the nominations for the two Canons who then made the promise of Obedience and the Profession of Faith.

In turn, the new Canons ascended the sanctuary and knelt before the Archbishop as they were dressed in the cappa parva (small hooded cape). The Archbishop presented them with a copy of the Chapter Statutes and formally admitted them saying:

 I now admit you as a member of the Chapter of our Cathedral Church of St. Chad with the rights and duties of that office in the name of ✠the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Photo Gallery

The New Basilican is out now!

The Autumn edition (Issue 36) of The Basilican magazine is now available to buy.

The Basilican is the magazine of the St Chad’s Cathedral Association and is published twice a year, keeping readers updated with news from the cathedral, and across the Archdiocese of Birmingham and beyond.

Highlights in this edition include:

Diocesan Schools at the heart of the Cathedral life and mission, by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

The conservation treatment of Station Eight in the Cathedral by Naomi Cox, who carried out the restoration for Hirst Conservation Ltd.

Eighteenth century chapels in the diocese by Michael Hodgetts. Michael is a well-known historian who has had many books published and is a regular author for The Basilican.

Uncle Curro (foster father of J R R Tolkien) by Sean Organ, artwork consultant for The Basilican.

Copies of the magazine can be purchased from Anne Symonds, Editor, by calling 0121 249 1487 or emailing: annets103@hotmail.co.uk  The cost is £5 plus £1.75 p&p.

Alternatively, copies are available from St Paul’s Bookshop, next door to St Chad’s Cathedral, for £5. Call 0121 236 6336 or email: birmingham@stpauls.org.uk 

Find out more about St Chad’s Cathedral Association

Two New Deacons Ordained at St Chad’s Cathedral

Two men were ordained as permanent deacons on Saturday 4 September.

Mark Paine (pictured left) and Gary O’Brien (pictured right) were ordained to the Permanent Diaconate by Archbishop Bernard Longley (centre) at St Chad’s Cathedral.

The pair were ordained in front of family and friends and the celebration was also live streamed.

They join Jim Brannan, Peter Crosby and Krzystzof Wasilewski – ordained in July – as new Permanent Deacons this year.

The word deacon derives from the Greek diakonia, meaning “service,” thereby indicating that a deacon is called like Christ to be a servant. The Order of Deacon has three essential functions: the proclamation of the Gospel, the service of the liturgy, and the administration of charitable works.

The celebration of the Sacrament of Ordination of a Deacon is similar in form to that of a priest – by prayer and the laying on of hands, as described from the earliest days of the Church – but the beautiful Prayer of Consecration emphasises the essential nature of the diaconate, a call to service.

The new deacons will be serving the following parishes:
Gary O’Brien – St Nicholas, Boldmere
Mark Paine – Our Lady and St Rose of Lima, Weoley Castle

Please pray for all our permanent deacons.

Read Archbishop Bernard’s Homily

Becoming a Deacon – find out more

Photos by Con McHugh

St Chad’s Cathedral Left Generous Legacy

The incredible generosity of a parishioner of St Chad’s Cathedral is set to kickstart the redevelopment of the site’s crypt.

Mr Michael Hake, who died earlier this year, left a legacy of almost £1m to St Chad’s Cathedral with a specific wish that money be used to support the restoration of the cathedral fabric as well as the development of an Education and Heritage Centre.

Mr Hake, of Solihull, was inspired to leave this generous monetary gift after responding to a diocesan legacy leaflet.

He held several conversations with Steve Baylis, diocesan Head of Development, to understand the detail of leaving a legacy and ensuring his wishes would be followed. A legacy was then legally drawn up.

The legacy generously left will be focused on the redevelopment of the crypt, which Mr Hake had read about on St Chad’s website Project page online

Included in that will be accessibility improvements to the wider cathedral site, something which Mr Hake noted when he visited with his elderly father who could not access the crypt in his wheelchair.

There will also be an overhaul of the cathedral sound system and a brand new public display of two key vestments.

The first, now a relic of Saint John Paul II, is a red vestment he wore on Pentecost Sunday during his Pastoral visit to Coventry as part of his week-long tour of the UK in 1982.

The second is a white vestment worn by Pope Benedict XVI when he celebrated Mass for the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, at Cofton Park, Birmingham, in September 2010.

Monsignor Timothy Menezes, Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, described the legacy left as ‘overwhelming’.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be remembered by Mr Hake in this way. He was part of the cathedral family and had a great devotion to Saint John Henry Newman.

“His generosity will make an enormous difference to improving the cathedral site, and the experience of all those who visit. It is a testimony to his humility and his faith being handed on to generations after his life.

“Leaving a legacy is a very personal decision and we are honoured that Mr Hake has chosen the cathedral as his beneficiary. His wishes will be honoured carefully.”

• This week is ‘Remember a Charity Week’ which aims to raise the profile of charitable gifts in Wills.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham, which includes your parish, is a charitable organisation and one you could consider leaving a gift to.

The Archdiocese has recently relaunched its legacy programme and associated materials, and these are now available from your parish and online here

St Chads Primary School come together to present LIVE Go Green assembly

Primary school pupils from Birmingham are the presenters of a national harvest assembly encouraging schools to explore how they can help to protect the Amazon rainforest and support communities who live there.

At 9.30am on Thursday 16 September, year 3 and 4 pupils at St Chad’s Catholic Primary School will be coming together to present the LIVE Go Green assembly, in collaboration with overseas development charity CAFOD.

The harvest assembly encourages pupils to get involved in the Go Green challenge by taking part in green themed fundraising activities, which includes dressing green for the day, baking green cakes or making a pea green soup for lunch.

One pupil from St Chad’s Catholic Primary School shares why their school is getting involved in the harvest campaign:

“We are an international school with over 20 languages spoken by children and staff! Our school is made up of many languages and cultures and our love for God unites us every day.

“This Harvest we want to celebrate and support all the people who look after the world and protect nature.”

Ahead of climate conference COP26 in November, Go Green invites children to fundraise to support communities who are protecting the Amazon – and speak up for people affected by climate change all around the world.

The assembly will also feature Luana, a 14-year-old girl from the Brazilian Amazon who sends a powerful message of how the climate crisis is affecting people all around the world, and what she and her community are doing to protect the rainforest. When fires destroyed the crops and trees that Luana’s community rely on to survive, CAFOD’s local experts helped them to replant using sustainable methods so that they would have food to eat and to sell.

Sharing why the Amazon should be protected, Luana says:

“Without nature, people wouldn’t have anything. From nature comes our food and fruits – and it also protects our waters. Without nature there wouldn’t be any water, it would end. It’s very important we protect it.”

The Archbishop of Birmingham, Archbishop Bernard Longley, joins the assembly to thank children and young people in Birmingham and Catholic schools across England and Wales for taking action with CAFOD and raising their voices on the important issue of the climate crisis.

“Congratulations to the children of St Chad’s who’ve joined with children all over the world to present this very powerful assembly to encourage others to pray, raise money and speak out for a better world,” he said.

Sharing why the Go Green assembly is a great educational moment for her young pupils, headteacher at St Chad’s primary school, Martina Parker says:

“It is a privilege to be part of CAFOD’s national assembly and we are very excited to be part of the team driving very important messages about taking care of our world and supporting others ahead of COP26.”

CAFOD representative for the Birmingham region, Sylvester Mutsigwa concludes:

“We are proud to see St Chad’s presenting the Go Green assembly and show how unified this school community is in sharing and listening to others on the climate crisis. As well as my involvement through CAFOD, I am also a Foundation Governor at the school and know that all the pupils, teachers and everyone involved have worked hard to put the assembly together.

“The schools within the Birmingham Archdiocese are a wonderful support to CAFOD and we very much appreciate everything they do for us.”

Find out more about the Go Green assembly

Pictured are St Chad’s group (main picture) and presenters (above)

Pilgrims Blessed for COP26 Climate Relay

Pilgrims from the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) and friends were given a moving send off from St Chad’s Cathedral this morning (Friday) as they continue their journey north.

Members of the Relay to COP26 have been in Birmingham for the last four days.

Walkers will now continue their journey, which started in Cornwall, to Glasgow arriving in time for the November meeting of World Leaders at the Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Along their route the pilgrims are being joined by local walkers and are drawing attention to the climate crisis.

During the last few days a number of events have been held in Birmingham city centre to raise awareness of the pressing environmental situation.

At St Chad’s this morning the pilgrims gathered for a short service led by Mgr Tim Menezes, Cathedral Dean, which was also live streamed.

Hymns, prayers and the blessing all carried an environmental theme.

Walkers were presented with a prayer stone and all those present at the service received a prayer bracelet.

Prayers at St Chad’s Cathedral

Find out more about the Relay to COP26

Photos at St Chad’s Cathedral

Love is in the Air!

Are you celebrating a milestone anniversary this year, or preparing to tie the knot in 2022?

Then please join us at this year’s Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage at St Chad’s Cathedral.

It will take place on Saturday 9 October 2021 at 12noon, celebrated by Bishop David Evans.

The search is now on to find the longest married couple in the Archdiocese (over 70 years in both 2019 and 2020), as well as making a compilation video like last year.

All couples celebrating a milestone anniversary, from their 1st and every five years up to 60 years, as well as every married year over 60, will be listed in the commemorative Mass booklet.

Lianne Pap, diocesan Marriage and Family Life Co-ordinator, is once again organising the celebration and is now encouraging all married couples to contact her.

“Unlike last year when the Mass was celebrated virtually, this year we are able to gather in person,” said Lianne.

“For many couples celebrating their milestone anniversary earlier in 2021 restrictions limited their plans to mark the special occasion. The annual Mass will provide the opportunity for families to come together and give thanks to those who bear witness to the Sacrament of Marriage.

“The Mass is open not just to married couples but to all those who are preparing for marriage.

“It provides the opportunity for engaged couples to see the richness of the vocation they are preparing for and seek the wisdom from those who have been married for many decades.”

During the Mass married couples will be invited to make the Renewal of Commitment.

To register your place at the Mass please contact Lianne via email marriage.mass@rcaob.org.uk

The closing date to register for the Mass is Friday 1 October.

Meet some of our 2020 milestone marriage couples

FLORILEGIUM: A festival of Scripture, Art and Flowers. Volunteers needed!

For the first time the Archdiocese of Birmingham is to host a unique festival celebrating the Word of God, and we want everyone to be a part of it.

FLORILEGIUM: A festival of Scripture, Art and Flowers will be held at Carrs Lane Centre and St Michael’s Catholic Church, which are next door to each other in the city centre, between Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 September.

The word Florilegium means a compilation of excerpts from other writings, from the Latin literally meaning a gathering of flowers, or collection of fine extracts from the body of a larger work, and so provides the perfect name for this year’s very special event.

An annual Flower Festival is normally held at St Chad’s Cathedral in June, but this has not been possible for the last two years due to Covid-19.

Instead this year’s event has developed into something much bigger as it incorporates the God Who Speaks national Scripture campaign, led by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and Bible Society.

Over three days FLORILEGIUM: A festival of Scripture, Art and Flowers will be open to the public.

Highlights will include free Scripture resources; a flower trail between the two venues; artwork; workshops; school visits, a lecture and Q&A session; a choral concert by the well-known choir of St Mary’s Church, Moseley and celebrations of Mass.

A ‘developing flower display’ in the form of a ‘Tree of Life’ will be a key feature, commemorating all those who have died of Covid-19 across the Archdiocese.  Visitors will be able to choose a leaf on which to write the name of a loved one, followed by a short prayer, to place on the tree.

Flower displays by schools and churches will be on display drawing inspiration from the autumn season, preparation for COP26 and climate action.

To make this Festival a great success we need volunteers! Budding flower arrangers, stewards, and people to help with refreshments, are all needed.

If you are able to help please contact Anne Symonds on annets103@hotmail.co.uk

Full details of the Festival programme will be released in due course.

Ordination at St Chad’s Cathedral

Deacon Eugene Joseph was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood for the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, USA, last night (Thurs).

The Archdiocese of Birmingham hosted the Ordination at the request of the Diocese of Columbus, and Bishop Stephen Wright (formerly the family’s Parish Priest in Burton-upon-Trent) ordained Deacon Eugene at St Chad’s Cathedral.

Deacon Eugene trained for the priesthood for the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, and will fulfil a priestly ministry here (at St Teresa of the Child Jesus Parish in Trent Vale, Stoke-on-Trent) until he returns to the United States.

Last night’s service was attended by Deacon Eugene’s family, friends and priests from the Syro Malabar community, along with representatives from the Diocese of Columbus. It was also live streamed via the cathedral website.

Watch the live streamed Ordination

Read Bishop Stephen’s Homily

Picture Gallery

Three New Permanent Deacons Welcomed

Three men were ordained as permanent deacons on Sunday 4 July.

Jim Brannan, Peter Crosby and Krzysztof Wasilewski were welcomed into the Diocesan family by Archbishop Bernard Longley at St Chad’s Cathedral.

The trio were ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in front of family and friends and the celebration was also live streamed.

The word deacon derives from the Greek diakonia, meaning “service”, thereby indicating that a deacon is called like Christ to be a servant. The Order of Deacon has three essential functions: the proclamation of the Gospel, the service of the liturgy, and the administration of charitable works.

The celebration of the Sacrament of Ordination of a Deacon is similar in form to that of a priest – by prayer and the laying on of hands, as described from the earliest days of the Church – but the beautiful Prayer of Consecration emphasises the essential nature of the diaconate, a call to service.

The new deacons will be serving the following parishes:

Jim Brannan, St John’s, Banbury
Peter Crosby, St Mary of the Angels, Aldridge
Krzysztof Wasilewski, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Worcester

A further ordination of two more permanent deacons is set to take place at St Chad’s Cathedral in September.

We also remember in our prayers Toby Duckworth, who was ordained deacon, alongside other seminarians, at the English College Rome on the morning of Sunday 4 July.

Photos

Pentecost Sunday, Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales

Pastoral Letter


CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES

Pastoral Letter for Pentecost 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Solemnity of Pentecost reminds us that everything which exists, every person and the whole of creation, is a gift of “God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” God our loving Father creates and continues to give life to the world through His Word, Jesus Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church, which we celebrate at Pentecost, is not something separate from Creation. God’s revelation of himself in Creation is inseparable from the revelation of his love for us in Christ and in his desire to live in us through his Holy Spirit.

‘God’s Spirit is always and everywhere “the Lord, the Giver of Life”, and the voice of Pentecost is echoed in the voice of creation being transformed into the glorious liberty of God’s children.’  In this liberty, as God’s children, we call on the Spirit to ‘renew the face of the Earth’, and as his children, we are called, in turn, to use this liberty for the good of creation and for the good of all that brings life. Our world, God’s creation, is a precious gift to us. It is our common home entrusted to each generation. But how have we used that glorious liberty? How do we honour this precious gift? Are we really demonstrating love, care and respect for our common home?

As we celebrate Pentecost this year, we are acutely aware of the damage that continues to be inflicted on the Earth, and the repercussions for the well-being of our brothers and sisters, both here in our own countries and, more especially, in the poorest countries of our world. Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have both taught us that everything is interconnected and interdependent. The way we live our everyday lives has an impact on everyone and on the earth.

The urgency of the situation, and the enormity of the challenges we face, have spurred us to speak out together this Pentecost Sunday, as bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, about the role that the Catholic Church and our faith must play in our shared care for God’s gift to us.

For all too long we have either been ignorant of, or ignored, the systematic exploitation of our planet and the unsustainable consumption of its resources. While accepting the crucial need and demand for energy for the benefit of the poorest of our brothers and sisters, the provision of our energy must, nonetheless, be by means which radically reduce the use of carbon-based fuels.

In our political thinking, there must be a new global understanding of our world, where nations recognise our common responsibility for the dignity of all people and their rights to sustainable livelihoods, in authentic freedom. Pope Francis speaks of a global politics that looks beyond our own needs to the needs of all, most especially the poor and the marginalised.

But we cannot leave the healing of our common home and the wellbeing and care of our brothers and sisters merely to a response from industry and governments. Our own local concern and action is necessary and has far-reaching consequences. We all have a part to play, each and every one of us, in the routines, choices and decisions of our everyday lives and our aspirations for the future. The actions of parishes, families, schools, and individuals will have a significant impact on our efforts to restore our common home. There are now many resources, freely available, to advise us on our choice of food, saving of water and electricity, suggestions about travel, waste, and re-use. These are measures that everyone can employ, in some degree, with minimal inconvenience and change. They are effective ways in which we can each reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation.

This Pentecost comes at a time of remarkable challenge and opportunity. We are gradually emerging from the tragedies and restrictions of the pandemic. We have the ability to make changes. Our countries are also hosting two most important meetings this year, the G7 in June and COP26 in November. These meetings will gather together men and women who have the power to make defining choices and policies which will help us build back better, provide for our brothers and sisters, and take care of our common home.

In all our human endeavours, we need the presence of the Holy Spirit, “the Lord, the Giver of Life”, whose gift to the Church and the world we celebrate again at Pentecost. Let us keep this Feast with that enduring hope that we can begin to repair the damage we have done and provide a healthy home for future generations. Our hope will be strengthened by our prayer. May our constant request be that the Holy Spirit guide us, strengthen our resolve and ‘renew the face of the earth’.

Birmingham Faith Leaders Group

13th May 2021.

Birmingham’s Faith Leaders call on people of faith in the City to work and pray for peace in Israel, Palestine and across the Israel-Gaza border

From the Executive Secretary Jonathan Gurling, 36 St Stephen’s Road, Selly Park, Birmingham B29 7RP Tel: 0121 472 1593   Mobile: 07980 127628  Email: jonathangurling@yahoo.co.uk

We watch with increasing dismay and sorrow, the escalating situation of conflict in Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem and across the Israel-Gaza border. As this region, so sacred to many of the great world faiths, drifts perilously towards all-out war, we call on all people of faith in Birmingham to pray that peace may prevail.

It is particularly abhorrent that this destruction is taking place at this moment, which is among the most sacred in the whole calendar, for the major religions of that region and this city. Today, Muslims mark Eid-ul-Fitr and the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, whilst Christians mark Ascension Day. In a few days’ time, Jews will celebrate the Feast of Shavuot. It will be difficult for any of our faithful to celebrate, knowing that the current conflict is growing remorselessly.

We implore all people of faith in Birmingham to pray for repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. We call upon all to recognise injustice, terrorism and inhumanity where they have occurred and contributed to the building of conflict, and to seek instead to build bridges of hope and understanding.

We call upon everyone here in Birmingham to not allow situations abroad to infect and undermine the good relationships which we have carefully built in this city. We give thanks for the good and life-giving inter-faith relations, exercised, day-in, day-out, by people of faith, in Birmingham. We denounce any attempts to attack or harass anyone here because of the faith they profess, or events taking place elsewhere, and completely outside their control.

We have always opposed and rejected the singling out of people on the basis of their faith, and we continue to do so even more strongly in this most difficult of periods. The true sense of religion is mercy, compassion, love, forgiveness, honesty, humility and accountability. We must seek global religious solidarity.

Guidance Notes

This statement has been prepared by the Birmingham Faith Leaders’ Group for immediate circulation to media outlets, partner agencies, the city’s faith communities and others with whom we work.

The Faith Leaders’ Group was formed in 2001 in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York, when the leaders of the city’s principal faith communities came together to show solidarity, proclaiming that religious faith is a unifying, not a dividing force. They have continued to meet together on a regular basis (normally every second month) to build positive connections between people of faith across the city.

The Faith Leaders’ Group currently has members from each of Birmingham’s six major world faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. On this occasion, because of time restraints, we have not received specific approval from all members, but at least one principal leader from each of the six faiths has approved the text.

The membership of the Faith Leaders’ Group is:

  • Rabbi Yossi Jacobs, Singers Hill Synagogue (Orthodox Judaism) – Chair, BFLG
  • Mr Amrick Singh Ubhi, Nishkam Centre (Sikhism) – Vice Chair, BFLG
  • Mr John Beard, Mahayana Buddhists (Buddhism)
  • Rt Rev David Urqhart, Bishop of Birmingham (Church of England)
  • Most Rev Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham (Roman Catholic)
  • Cllr Muhammad Afzal, Birmingham Central Mosque (Islam)
  • Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi, Progressive Synagogue (Progressive Judaism)
  • Imam Muhammad Asad, Birmingham Central Mosque (Islam)
  • Bhai Dr Mohinder Singh, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (Sikhism)
  • Rev Ian Howarth, Birmingham Methodist Church (Free Churches)
  • Mr Dinesh Chauhan (Hinduism)
  • Ven Dr Ottaranyana, Birmingham Buddhist Vihara (Buddhism)