Category Archives: Cathedral

Parishioners gather for the Episcopal Ordination of their Parish Priest

It was smiles all round at Sacred Heart Club in Aston as parishioners gathered together to see their parish priest appointed a Bishop.

Joining via the live stream from St Chad’s Cathedral, those present at the social club were part of a Mass of Ordination which saw not one, but two men appointed as Auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Up until yesterday, Tuesday, Mgr Timothy was the Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral and parish priest of Sacred Heart and St Margaret Mary, Aston.

He is now Bishop, along with Canon Richard Walker (Vicar General), following their Episcopal Ordination.

To celebrate Bishop Timothy’s appointment his parishioners of both St Chad’s and Sacred Heart gathered together to watch via the live stream.

They participated in the Mass, listening intently to the Homily given by Archbishop Bernard Longley and following proceedings via the commemorative Mass booklet.

Those gathered waved to each other across the dance floor during the Sign of Peace and were able to receive Holy Communion if they wished.

It was wonderful to be a part of this community’s celebration.

Margaret Delaney, Kathleen Cleaver and Angela McCarthy had arrived in plenty of time to secure good seats. The friends are regulars at the ‘tea and chat’ club, which Bishop Timothy also attends when he can.

Margaret, a choir member at Sacred Heart, said: “He has been very good whilst he’s been here.”

Kathleen, also a choir member and once a pupil at St Chad’s Primary School, said: “We are here to support Mgr Tim. We wish him well.”

And Angela, a parishioner at St Chad’s and the auntie of Canon Gerry Breen, who passed away in 2019, added: “He loves his parish.”

Poonam Mistry and Sharon Craig were also very happy for Bishop Timothy.

Poonam, a teaching assistant at St Chad’s Primary School until recently, said: “He has been a real friend. This is fully deserved. He is very generous. The children love him.”

Sharon, Pastoral Lead at Sacred Heart, said Bishop Timothy had been a great support following the death of her husband. “For me, he is very kind and understanding. An amazing pastoral priest. He made things simple for the children.”

Elizabeth Tucker and Amanda Wheller are mother and daughter, and their family has been connected to both St Chad’s and Sacred Heart for many generations.

“We love these things, we love Mgr Tim,” said Elizabeth. “He has supported us during family bereavements and has been very good to my family.

“We want to support him, he is going up another step in life.”

Amanda added: “He married me and my husband and baptised our son. So a real family affair.”

John and Yvonne Bridger from Lichfield regularly attend St Chad’s.

“It is such an epic, huge day for him,” said Yvonne. “We wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We wanted to be here with other people, be part of the community.”

And parishioners Michael and William both agreed – ‘he will be missed here, a very popular priest’.

“A moment of exceptional joy” as two new Bishops ordained

We offer prayerful congratulations to our new Auxiliary Bishops, Timothy Menezes and Richard Walker, ordained today.

It was a sight to behold at St Chad’s Cathedral as a full capacity congregation, the Cathedral Choir and CJM music joined the Mass of Ordination for two new Bishops.

Hundreds of people witnessed the Episcopal Ordination of Rev Mgr Timothy Menezes and Rev Canon Richard Walker, with many more joining via the live stream, on Tuesday 16 July, the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. 

The Mass booklet, with prayers and readings an be downloaded here: Mass Booklet Episcopal Ordinations 2024

Family, friends, supporters and fellow clergy filled the pews as Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrated the Mass, with concelebrating Bishops David Evans and Stephen Wright.

Mgr Timothy was supported by Canon Jonathan Veasey and Monsignor Mark Crisp.

Canon Richard was supported by Canon Paul Fitzpatrick and Canon Paul McNally.

The Mass of Ordination was also attended by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, who was the previous Archbishop of Birmingham.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendía presented the mandates, issued by Pope Francis.

Cardinal Arthur Roche Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary (Relations with States) to the Holy See’s Secretariat of the State both came from Rome to attend.

Bishop Ken Howell from the Diocese of Toowoomba in Australia was also in attendance.

A number of ecumenical guests were in the congregation including Bishop Michael Volland, the Bishop of Birmingham, Bishop Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Lichfield, and Bishop Anne Hollinghurst, the Bishop of Aston.

Pastoral Areas

Bishop Timothy (also Titular Bishop* of Dougga) will have responsibility for the Diocesan Pastoral Area of North Staffordshire, Stafford, Lichfield and Walsall and Dudley and Wolverhampton.

Bishop Richard (also Titular Bishop of Mortlach) will have responsibility for the Pastoral Area of Coventry, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.

We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure.

In his homily, Archbishop Bernard compared the two to ‘episcopal twins’: “Today’s celebration is truly notable on several counts.  

“It is a moment of exceptional joy for the life of our Archdiocese to receive from the Holy Father the gift of two new bishops who will serve our parishes and school communities and be available to support their brother priests and deacons. 

“For bishops-elect Timothy and Richard their vocations have arisen and been nurtured within the diocesan presbyterate to which they have each belonged for twenty-nine years and twenty-four years respectively.  

“They know that they can rely upon the prayers of the clergy whom each of them has served as Vicar General and who have just presented them for ordination here in the Cathedral.

“Timothy and Richard, you will also appreciate that today you are being welcomed into the College of Bishops by Bishop William and Bishop David, alongside Bishop Stephen and your brother bishops from within and beyond England and Wales who are present here in the Cathedral, as well as Bishop Philip Pargeter who is following the ceremony online from Grove House.

“The ordination of two bishops together – like episcopal twins – in the mother church of our Archdiocese serves to emphasise the ecclesial nature of what is taking place.  

“While the grace of this sacrament will build upon the natural gifts of these two priests and shape their lives and ministry, its primary and lasting purpose is for the service, sanctification and guidance of the faithful of Christ, lay and ordained together.”

Prayer

We ask Our Lady of Mount Carmel to pray for our new bishops:

Flower of Carmel,

Vine blossom laden,

Splendour of heaven, 

Child bearing, yet maiden,

None equals thee.

Mother so tender,

Whom no man didst know, 

On all Carmel’s children 

Thy favours bestow. 

Star of the sea.

Photo Gallery

‘What will be, will be’ rings true as three new Permanent Deacons are ordained at St Chad’s Cathedral

“What will be, will be. If it’s God call…give it your best shot and leave it in His hands,” and that’s exactly what Andrew Foster did.

On Sunday 14 July Andrew was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate alongside Andrej Rusnak and Antony Hartley in front of family, friends and parishioners at St Chad’s Cathedral.

The trio have formed a strong friendship having gone through formation together and are now the latest Deacons to serve the Kidderminster and Worcester Deanery.

Andrew, 64, is a probation officer and part of the faith family at St George’s, Worcester, along with Antony, 58, a prison chaplain. 

Andrej is a 50-year-old graphic designer and worships at St Mary & St Egwin’s, Evesham.

Their individual calling to the permanent diaconate could not have been more different but all three are in agreement – listen to God’s call and see where it takes you.

By the age of 26 Andrew had spent time in junior seminary and a Franciscan order, convinced he was going to be a priest. But he left and joined the probation service, met Susanna, fell in love and got married – now celebrating their 36th year.

“My vocation to ministry – I thought that ship had sailed,” said Andrew. “Then seven years ago I was asked if I would consider the permanent diaconate. 

“I didn’t give it much consideration at first, then was asked again. I prayed the Rosary, asking Mary for guidance.  I thought I’ll give it my best shot, if it happens, it happens.

“It was not in my thinking and definitely not in Susanna’s thinking! Her initial reaction was one of shock, and disbelief. But she has been fully supportive on this whole journey. Susanna is a caring and compassionate woman who gives my life meaning.”

Antony too has found much support in his wife Linda. They too have been married for 36 years and have five children, and two foster children. All were there on their Dad’s big day.

“I was invited to apply for the permanent diaconate,” said Antony. “My name had been put forward and it led to various conversations. As those conversations flowed I released this was my calling.

“From the moment I was invited to apply my family all thought it was the right thing to do. They weren’t overly surprised.

“I feel very appreciative of the process of discernment and formation I’ve undertaken at St Mary’s College, Oscott. Appreciative of all the staff, the staff in our Archdiocese, people in our parish. People have been so gracious and kind. So giving. It is a wonderful process.”

Andrej came to England from Slovakia to join a monastery. But six months in he left “God showed me that the biggest desire in my heart is to have a family”.

He joined The House of the Open Door Community where he later met his wife, Henrietta. They settled in Evesham and had two children.

It was in the community during their 40th anniversary celebrations Andrej heard a Deacon proclaiming the Gospel, where he heard the call. So, he reached out, spoke to people and made an application.

“My wife was not surprised by my calling and was very supportive from the beginning. I appreciate her and my family’s support on this journey very much,” said Andrej. 

“I am also very grateful to God that after ordination – we (three deacons) are not going to be like lonely islands walking with God on our own. We are brothers, we are part of a bigger family, we can call on each other’s help.”

All three will now support fellow clergy as all serve the Deanery through preaching, providing pastoral support and much more.

Andrew and Antony’s ordination takes the number of deacons at St George’s to seven, a wonderful testament to the faith community in Worcester!

And what would they say to other men considering the permanent diaconate?

Andrew: “I’d advise them to pray about it, then go for it. What will be, will be. If it’s God call…give it your best shot and leave it in His hands.”

Antony: “To love God and to love their neighbour. Be patient. Discern a genuine call.”

Andrej: “Be open to the Holy Spirit and ask for the right time for the next step. Even when we are called, God’s timing is perfect, not ours. It can be challenging during formation but trust God. If he opens the door there is a reason behind it. Don’t be scared to step into the unknown, don’t be afraid to walk on the water. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.”

Sunday’s Mass of Ordination was celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley, who opened his Homily with:

Today’s ordination of Andrew Foster, Antony Hartley and Andrej Rusnak as deacons for our Archdiocese strengthens the mission of the Church during this Year of Prayer and as we prepare for the Jubilee Year 2025.  

It is a great joy to ordain three deacons for the service of the Church and this joy is shared by the wives, families and friends of our deacons-elect, and especially by the parish communities that you are being called to serve with new commitment and a new direction from today.  

Read Homily in full

Photo Gallery by Con McHugh

Novena of Prayer for Bishops-Elect

Thank you to our friends at St John Bosco Catholic Academy for sharing this Novena, which came from the Diocesan Education Service (DES). All are invited to pray for our Bishops-Elect over the next nine days.

The Mass of Ordination of Monsignor Timothy Menezes and Canon Richard Walker will take place at St Chad’s Cathedral on Tuesday 16 July.

All are invited to join online via the cathedral’s live stream facility

In April the Holy Father Pope Francis appointed Mgr Timothy, Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, and Canon Richard, Vicar General, to be new Auxiliary Bishops to serve our Archdiocese.

Mgr Timothy has been the Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral since 2019. He is also the Vice-Dean of Birmingham Cathedral and South Deanery. He was the Vicar General for several years and also the Archbishop’s Secretary. Mgr Timothy was installed as an Ecumenical Canon at Lichfield Cathedral in July 2022.

Canon Richard has served as the Vicar General and Trustee of the Archdiocese since September 2020. In previous years he served as the Director of Ongoing Formation for the Archdiocese and Vice Rector at St Mary’s College, Oscott.

Let us pray for them both by praying the Novena:

Meet our soon-to-be-bishops, Richard and Timothy

Best friends Canon Richard Walker and Monsignor Timothy Menezes are about to embark on the next chapter of their journey of faith.

On Tuesday 16 July at 12noon in front of a full capacity congregation at St Chad’s Cathedral (and with many set to join the live stream) the pair will be ordained Auxiliary Bishops by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

Their journeys to the Priesthood couldn’t be any more different, Mgr Timothy wanted to be a priest from the age of six whereas Canon Richard was in his 20s and studying law when he answered God’s call, but here they are today about to be installed as Bishops.

In this short film, which will be shown in schools across the Archdiocese over the coming days, we all have the opportunity to find out more about Canon Richard and Mgr Timothy.

Interviewed by Yemisi Wisoba, Encounter & Evangelisation Youth Ministry Worker at the Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT), the pair recall privileged moments on their faith journeys and their experiences of sharing their faith abroad.

We get an insight into how they are feeling about the ordination next week, and their family and friends’ reaction to the news the Holy Father had appointed them to be new Auxiliary Bishops to serve our Archdiocese.

Canon Richard and Mgr Timothy also share messages with our schools and parishes, encouraging our children and young people to consider ‘What is God asking you to do?’

Photograph: Canon Richard, Yemisi Wisoba, Mgr Timothy

Watch! Getting to know Canon Richard and Mgr Timothy

Weekend of Faith and Culture celebrated at St Chad’s Cathedral

For the second year running a weekend celebration of faith and culture has taken place for the people of the parish of St Chad’s Cathedral.

All three weekend Masses focused on music, cultural dress and the ‘Our Father’ prayed in a variety of languages including Konkani, Italian, Spanish, Igbo, Swahili, Boulou, Mina, Hindi, Irish, French, Nigerian. This was particularly special as we continue to celebrate the Year of Prayer.

The two-day event (Sat 22 and Sun 23 June) was hosted as a joyous expression of the life of the parish as it is today.

Over the last 20 years there has been a huge change of demographic in the parish as more and more people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures come to worship at St Chad’s.

The aim of the weekend was to celebrate the parish’s life together and give people a greater sense of belonging.

The Saturday 4.30pm Mass was led by St Chad’s Catholic Primary School.

The Sunday 9.30am Mass was led by the Gambian Christian Association and the 11.30am Mass was led by the Cathedral Choir.

Tours of the Cathedral Crypt followed on Sunday afternoon, plus a short concert by the Cathedral Choir.

Photo Gallery, 9.30am Mass, Sunday 23 June

Watch! The Our Father prayed in various languages

Mass of Renewal and Promises

Deacons from across the Archdiocese gathered on Saturday 8 June – the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – for their annual Mass, which was celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

He was supported during the Mass by Deacon Phil Bracken, who was ordained last year, and Deacon Gary O’Brien. The Servers were drawn from the 15 men who are in Formation for the Permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese.

His Grace opened his Homily with: “It is very fitting that we come together to celebrate this Mass of thanksgiving and re-commitment on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The heart of Mary in her loving concern for others is a reflection of the Sacred Heart of her son in its capacity to pour out mercy and forgiveness on the world. So also the heart of the deacon is invited to reflect the compassion of Christ for those he sends us to serve.” 

Read Homily in full or watch below

This special Mass brings together Permanent Deacons, their wives and families, to celebrate their ministry and renew the promises of faithful service they made at ordination.

As part of the service Archbishop Bernard led the Renewal of Commitment to Diaconal Service – inviting the deacons to renew their own dedication.

There are approximately 90 Permanent Deacons across the Archdiocese, with around 60 active in ministry, and they all play a vital role within the Diocesan family and the communities they serve.

Permanent deacons are mature men, aged 35 or over, married or celibate, who by virtue of their ordination are members of the clergy. The word ‘deacon’ means servant. Their ministry is one of service to the Church, and with the Church to the world, with a special concern of the poor and marginalised. The majority are in secular employment or retired.

Deacons are ordained to the ministry of service, which from the early days of the Church has been characteristically associated with the service of those in need in society. The diaconate as a permanent Order in the Church was restored following the Second Vatican Council, and the ministry of the deacon must always respond to the needs of his time and place.

Find out more about becoming a Deacon

Photo Album by Con McHugh

OUT NOW: Spring issue of The Basilican magazine

The Spring 2024 edition (Issue 41) of The Basilican magazine is now available to buy.

The publication of St Chad’s Cathedral Association, The Basilican is published twice a year and features articles from the cathedral and across the Archdiocese of Birmingham and beyond.

Highlights in this edition include:

  • Mary, Mother of the Church in the Mother Church of the Archdiocese, by Archbishop Bernard Longley.
  • Reflections on the 30th birthday of the Walker organ at St Chad’s Cathedral with Professor David Saint, Organist and Director of Music.
  • What is the SVP, and the SVP at St Chad’s, Anne Symonds and Charlotte Conboy.

To buy a copy please contact Anne Symonds, the Editor, by emailing annets103@hotmail.co.uk The cost is £5 plus p&p.

Alternatively, The Basilican is 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

St Chad’s Cathedral Association

Celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

On Sunday 2 June 2024 parishes across the Archdiocese celebrated Corpus Christi.

As we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ we gave thanks for this most precious gift from God, the Holy Eucharist, Jesus’ abiding and substantial presence with us, veiled beneath the appearance of bread and wine.

A number of processions took place at parishes across the Archdiocese, offering an opportunity to witness to our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

This included the annual procession from St Michael’s, Moor Street, to St Chad’s Cathedral. It took place after Mass at St Michael’s, celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

The procession attracted hundreds of participants. Glorious sunshine accompanied the procession as it moved through the city centre and concluded with prayer before the Blessed Sacrament at the cathedral.

Archbishop Bernard, along with several other Clergy and representatives from Religious Orders, were involved in the procession, which saw petals scattered along the route.

Those gathered stopped for prayer along the route and were joyous in their singing.

The afternoon event was organised by the Polish community of St Michael’s, in conjunction with the cathedral.

Photo Gallery

Pilgrims’Hands Blessed for Lourdes Ministry

Pilgrims and well-wishers joined a Blessing of Hands Mass at St Chad’s Cathedral in preparation for the Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, commencing next week, Monday 27 May.

This year the Mass took place on the Solemnity of Pentecost and was celebrated by Bishop David Evans, with the Homily given by Fr Jeremy Howard, pilgrimage director.

The Mass takes place to bless the hands of pilgrims for their service and ministry in Lourdes as hundreds will join the annual Diocesan pilgrimage next week.

The pastoral theme this year is “…and that people should come in procession.”, completing the three linked themes from Our Lady’s instruction to Bernadette to go tell the priests (2022), to build a chapel here (2023) and now finally in 2024, to come here in procession.

The processions at Lourdes are always some of the spiritual highlights of any pilgrimage and taking part in them with so many other pilgrims reinforces us in our faith as we unite together with one purpose.

We thank God for the profound commitment of our volunteers and pilgrims over the years and pray that we may inspire many others to come in procession / pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes to treasure its holiness and grace.

You can find the Lourdes Programme and more information on our Lourdes page.

Lourdes Pilgrimage

Photo Gallery

Can you be a ‘Seed of Hope’?

Calling for Environment Champions to support Care for Creation in your parish, cluster or deanery.

Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si, has called for every person to undergo an ‘ecological conversion’. “Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” (Laudato Si’ 217).

Laudato Si week – 19-26 May

This Laudato Si’ Week and Pentecost, let us gather in community to contemplate and nurture seeds of hope for our “suffering planet” (LD 2). Laudate Deum is a reminder about the urgency of the Laudato Si’ message and the need for both personal and cultural transformation amidst our ecological and climate crises.

This year’s Laudato Si’ Week theme is inspired by the symbol for Season of Creation 2024, “firstfruits.” Let us be seeds of hope in our lives and our world, rooted in faith and love.

Seeds of hope: being an Environment Champion.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham is inviting enthusiastic individuals from all backgrounds to create a network of Environment Champions. To celebrate Laudato Si week, please help us get as many parish/cluster/deanery Environment Champions as we can.

Your mission is to be a channel of communication between the Archdiocese and your parish, cluster or deanery, to promote Creation Care and to enthuse others to help in responding to Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si to a spirituality which supports an ecological conversion. 

You will receive the full support of the Care for Creation Committee as part of the diocesan effort to act as stewards of creation. 

Environment Champion Role:

  • Drive forward Diocesan net zero initiatives and act as a key contact for the Archdiocese.
  • Help parishes sign up for and to achieve the LiveSimply Award.
  • Support with energy audits in your parish, cluster or deanery.
  • Help implement environmental initiatives.
  • Support your church during the Season of Creation
  • Ensure that environmental information is shared with both the parish council and the wider church community (i.e. through the bulletin, website, social media, and/or in Masses) and encourage action, and   
  • Share good news stories and events from your church with the Diocesan Care for Creation Committee to celebrate and share more widely.  

Sign up

If you want to become an Environment Champion for your parish, cluster or deanery, please make an expression of interest via the following form:

Environment Champion Form

Your data will be used only to communicate with you regarding the above role. Please refer to our privacy policy. Please note that volunteers may need to go through the Safer Recruitment process before commencing their role.

Laudato Si Week

Find morew resources for your parish on our Laudato Si week page:

Laudato Si Week

Couples Renew their Commitment at Annual Marriage Mass

On Saturday 4 May hundreds of married couples celebrating milestone anniversaries made their way to St Chad’s Cathedral for the annual Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage.

The commemorative Mass booklet listed 60 couples celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2024, all the way up to 73 years, along with one couple preparing to marry. Many other couples also participated.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley who lead couples to renew their commitment, saying:

“Dear friends, commemorating the anniversary of that celebration at which you joined your lives in an unbreakable bond through the Sacrament of Matrimony, you now intend to renew before the Lord the promises you made to one another.

“Turn to the Lord in prayer, that these vows may be strengthened by divine grace.”

Couples then made a renewal of commitment to each other, saying:

Husbands: “Blessed are you, Lord, for by your goodness I took (her name) as my wife.”

Wives: “Blessed are you, Lord, for by your goodness I took (his name) as my husband.”

Couples: “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.”

Archbishop Bernard opened his Homily with:

“I am delighted to be with you today for this celebration of Mass in thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Marriage and for the gift of married life.  Today we have a broad representation from those who are preparing for Marriage to those who have been married for 73 years and all the significant anniversaries in between!  Thank you for your witness through this Sacrament to one another and for your lived experience of married life that is such an inspiration to us today and for which I am grateful as we celebrate with you.

“Today’s gathering reminds us of the collaborative and co-ordinated effort that is needed to make God’s merciful love known in the heart of the world and within our homes and communities.  At the heart of marriage is your love, reflecting the love of Christ for his Body the Church.  Despite all the pressures to understand it differently, we regard marriage as a sacramental gift, bestowed by God for the happiness and holiness of those who enter this enriching though challenging way of life.”

Read Homily in full

Thank you to all who joined us today for this Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage. We pray for those preparing to marry, those with significant anniversaries and all married couples.

Photo Gallery

‘The Cross of the Moment’ report

A new study into how the abuse crisis has impacted the whole Catholic community in England and Wales was launched today, Tuesday 30 April 2024, at St Chad’s Cathedral. The Cross of the Moment report, led by Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies is now available here.

Pat Jones, Lead Author of the report, said: “We’re very glad to be marking the publication of the report in Birmingham, in collaboration with the Diocesan Safeguarding Team. 

“The diocese and its leaders have led the way in listening to survivors and welcoming initiatives to recognise their experience. We present the report in solidarity with the continuing work here.”

Bishop David Evans, who celebrated the Mass said: “We are pleased to be part of the launch of this important study today. The report looks thoroughly at the impact of abuse on Victim-Survivors and the communities in which abuse happens. 

“It is important to see how culture can affect a truly compassionate response to those who have suffered. This is a valuable resource, which we will share with our parishes and communities, that we might better work together to break silence and respond with compassion.”

For more information on safeguarding work in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, please visit our safeguarding page.

Full Press Release

The official press release for The Cross of the Moment report is below:

The Catholic Church should listen more to victims and survivors of abuse

  • Four-year study listened to the voices of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and others affected across the Catholic community.
  • It is the first study of how the abuse crisis has impacted the whole Catholic community in England and Wales.
  • Report finds aspects of Catholic culture were implicated in how abuse happened and how the response often lacked compassion.
  • Themes include breaking silences, clericalism and accountability.
  • Points to paths to restore trust and change Catholic culture.

The whole Catholic Church should listen more to the victims and survivors of clerical child abuse and the experience of affected parish communities and consider appropriate action, a new report says.

The Cross of the Moment report is based on research led by Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies. It is the first study of how the abuse crisis has impacted the whole Catholic community in England and Wales. 

The report suggests that aspects of the culture and practices of the Catholic Church are implicated in how clerical child sexual abuse has happened. They also partly explain how the response of the Church has often failed, causing further pain and harm, described by victims and survivors as ‘secondary abuse’.

The report invites groups across the Catholic community to listen more deeply to the voices of those directly and indirectly affected and consider what may need to change in Catholic culture and theological understanding. 

It responds to Pope Francis’ proposal that to move forward, the Catholic community needs ‘a continuous and profound conversion of hearts attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church’.

The focus of the research was to listen to the voices of victims and survivors of abuse and their families. It also listened to others either directly or indirectly affected by the abuse crisis including parish communities, laypeople, priests, deacons, bishops, religious communities and safeguarding staff. The report presents theological reflection on the experiences described.

Although the report recognises that progress has been made in safeguarding practice and in finding more compassionate ways to accompany and support victim-survivors, it concludes that more work is needed. It suggests learning from restorative justice and healing circle practices to find ways to heal relationships between victim-survivors and the Catholic community. It also suggests habits of clericalism are changed and accountability within the Church’s structures is improved.

The researchers carried out 82 interviews and four focus groups. The participants were drawn from 14 of the 22 Catholic dioceses and 16 religious orders across England and Wales. 

All the research participants who had experienced sexual abuse in a Catholic setting had also experienced being treated inadequately by a representative of the Church when they came forward with an allegation or sought support around a disclosure. Many disclosures were met by denial, disbelief or a lack of compassion for the person and their pain. 

A survivor explained this as “how the institution treats you, how the institution ignores you, how the institution doesn’t want to know you”. Another survivor said that “you want belief more than anything or any financial compensation, before anything whatsoever, for somebody to say that they believe you means everything”.  

Some victim-survivors had also later experienced sensitive support and solidarity but there were not enough of these ‘glimmers of hope’.

In the research, people from directly affected parishes described the pain and grief when a priest disappears or is found guilty and imprisoned for sexual offences. Fellow priests, deacons and bishops talked about the burden of sadness and fear they experience and the complex responsibilities they carry. 

Lead author of the report, Dr Pat Jones from the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, said: “It is transformative to listen deeply to those whose lives and faith have been affected by abuse. We hope this research will enable many more people to approach this painful area of our common life and become part of a redemptive response.”

The aspects of Catholic culture explored in the report include clericalism and the lack of practical structures of accountability. Many research participants spoke about how priests are seen as superior, ‘God-like’, untouchable and assumed to be holy by default. One participant said: “We’ve put people on this pedestal and we’ve left them there”. 

Discussing accountability, one priest said: “I think we’re the least monitored, least controlled, least supervised group of people in the whole world”.

The report discusses areas of Catholic teaching and theology which underpin or influence how these aspects of Catholic culture and practice have developed and draws out different interpretations. In relation to clericalism for example, the report points to the theology of the priesthood of the whole baptised community which needs greater emphasis.

The report also highlights the importance of the current development within the global Catholic Church of practices of ‘synodality’. Synodal processes can help Catholic communities to reflect on the abuse crisis and recognise what needs to be healed and changed.

One victim-survivor said: “This is a practical, compassionate and honest document revealing that victims’ cries for justice, healing and transparency were possibly silenced by structures within the Church itself.  As we move forward, we are reminded that a conversion of hearts is advocated by Pope Francis – without this, no real change can be affected.”   

Baroness Sheila Hollins is a cross-bench life peer in the House of Lords and a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. She commented: “This is an excellent report which discusses most of the issues in a convincing way. It will be a valuable resource for the continuing work we need to do at every level. That work of healing needs to be led by survivors, whose voices and insights are prominent in the report.”

Antonia Sobocki is the director of the charity, LOUDfence, which aims to work with churches to actively foster a culture which is pro-safeguarding and truth telling. She commented: “The Cross of the Moment Report has captured with great clarity and objectivity the same observations as the ‘on the ground work’ of LOUDfence UK activists. 

“I commend the report for equipping the whole church with a diagnostic resource which will be invaluable in its mission of collective healing, restorative justice and care.”

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, support is available from Safe Spaces on 0300 303 1056 or visit www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk 

Two New Auxiliary Bishops Appointed for the Archdiocese

Pope appoints Monsignor Timothy Menezes and Canon Richard Walker to be the new Auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese

The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Mgr Timothy Menezes, Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, and Canon Richard Walker, Vicar General, to be new Auxiliary Bishops to serve our Archdiocese.

Mgr Timothy has been the Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral since 2019. He is also the Vice-Dean of Birmingham Cathedral and South Deanery. He was the Vicar General for several years and also the Archbishop’s Secretary. Mgr Timothy was installed as an Ecumenical Canon at Lichfield Cathedral in July 2022.

Canon Richard has served as the Vicar General and Trustee of the Archdiocese since September 2020. In previous years he served as the Director of Ongoing Formation for the Archdiocese and Vice Rector at St Mary’s College, Oscott.

Information regarding the Episcopal Ordination of Bishops-Elect Mgr Timothy and Canon Richard will be shared in due course.

Archbishop Bernard said: “I am very grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for appointing Mgr Timothy Menezes and Canon Richard Walker as Auxiliary Bishops to serve the Archdiocese of Birmingham. 

“With their long experience of pastoral ministry, their contributions to priestly formation and their dedicated service as Vicars General I know that they will assist me and Bishop David Evans in caring for our clergy and in carrying out our diocesan vision and mission in the years ahead. 

“I ask the prayers of Our Lady and St Chad, St John Henry Newman and Blessed Dominic Barberi for our two bishops-elect as they prepare for their episcopal ordination in the coming weeks.”

Bishop-Elect Mgr Timothy said: “A vocation to the priesthood is one of my earliest memories and my faith has been nourished by my family. For us, Parish life and Sunday Mass were always so important.

“It has been a privilege to have served as a priest for 29 years. I am grateful to those who have shaped my life through every pastoral experience and I ask those who have been part of the journey of life to pray for me now.

“I have always tried to encourage the young to know the importance of their place in the Church and to value their joyful witness of hope.

“In this new role as a Shepherd, I will continue to serve the Lord, encouraging the People of God, the Religious and my fellow Clergy to know God’s love for them and together to build the Kingdom of God beginning with the needs of those whom we might have left behind: those who are homeless, the asylum seeker and those for whom the Church owes a special duty of care.”

Bishop-Elect Canon Richard said: “It was a surprise to be appointed an auxiliary bishop of Birmingham, but with humility and hope I have accepted.

“It is a privilege to be asked to serve the people of God in this manner and I look forward to continuing to work with Archbishop Bernard and the priests, deacons and people of the Archdiocese to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“Please keep me in your prayers that, with God’s grace, I may be a faithful shepherd and servant of the Gospel.”

The Bishops-Elect will join Bishop David Evans as Auxiliary Bishops serving the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Biographical information:

Mgr Timothy Menezes SLL

  • Born 18 July 1970
  • Formation for the Priesthood at St Mary’s College, Oscott, and the Venerable English College, Rome
  • Ordained Priest at St Dunstan’s, Kings Heath, 22 July 1995
  • 1995-96 Further Studies, Rome
  • 1996-98 Assistant Priest, St Michael’s, Wolverhampton
  • 1998-2000 Assistant Priest, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Redditch
  • 2000-2004 Archbishop’s Secretary
  • 2004-11 Parish Priest, St Thomas More, Coventry
  • 2011-19 Vicar General
  • 2019-Present. Dean, St Chad’s Cathedral
  • 2022-Present. Parish Priest, Sacred Heart and St Margaret Mary, Aston.

Canon Richard Walker STL

  • Born on 24 October 1960
  • 1985 Qualified as a solicitor
  • Formation for the Priesthood at St Mary’s College, Oscott, and the Venerable English College, Rome
  • 2000 Awarded Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology from the Gregorian University, Rome
  • Ordained Priest at St Francis, Kenilworth, 22 July 2000
  • 2000-2003 Assistant Priest, Christ the King, Coventry
  • 2003-2014 member of the Formation Staff at St Mary’s College, Oscott, for the majority of which time he was Vice Rector
  • 2014-2020 Parish Priest, St John the Evangelist, Banbury
  • 2015-2020 Director of Ongoing Formation for the Archdiocese
  • 2017-2020 member of the Archdiocesan Safeguarding Commission
  • 2018-2020 Parish Priest, St Joseph the Worker, Banbury 
  • Trustee of St Mary’s College, Oscott 
  • September 2020 appointed Vicar General and a Trustee of the Archdiocese.

Celebration of Stella Maris Mass

News from Stella Maris

We had a beautiful and uplifting Stella Maris Mass last week (Wed 10 April) in St Chad’s Cathedral. Archbishop Bernard Longley was the main celebrant.

Huge thanks to Archbishop Bernard, the Cathedral clergy, the wonderful parishioners and all in the Diocese for making us feel so welcome.

Many thanks also to our amazing supporters and friends who attended the Mass, which was followed by a convivial reception afterwards.

A great chance for us to share about our work supporting seafarers, fishers and their families and to thank our friends and supporters! 

Stella Maris (formerly known as Apostleship of the Sea) is the official maritime charity of the Catholic Church, and provides spiritual, practical, and emotional support to seafarers and fishers, through its network of 19 chaplains and 66 ship-visiting volunteers in the UK.

Photo Gallery

Stella Maris Maris at St Chad's Cathedral

New Course Launch: The Way of Communion

The Way of Communion – an opportunity to deepen knowledge/skills in Catholic Liturgy, Worship and Prayer

‘Liturgy and Worship’ is one of the four priorities singled out in Archbishop Bernard’s Pastoral Vision that informs and guides the current work of looking at how we work now to prepare more solid foundations for the Church in Birmingham in coming decades. 

It is also the focus of the ‘Prayer and Liturgy Directory’ recently issued for Catholic schools, academies and colleges in England and Wales.

Ordained ministers have had the opportunity to be introduced to what the Liturgy and Prayer of the Church asks of them. It is rare for anything very much to be made available to lay ministers – yet in our changing circumstances lay ministers are likely to be invited – or simply need – to take more responsibility for the preparation and leading of times of prayer, acts of worship, and celebration of the Liturgy in their communities – parishes, schools, religious communities, etc.

The Way of Communion is offered to help ministers be introduced to the Church’s tradition and expectations in this area – and provide a simple, safe and relaxed forum for discussion and learning.

The course runs from May to December (with August off!) with an online meeting from 7.30 – 8.30pm on the first two Mondays of each month – with those who wish welcome to stay on beyond the hour to continue and broaden the conversation, with nothing off limits!

The course is FREE. Participants will only need access to Zoom, and their own copies of Catholic Liturgy and the Prayer and Liturgy Directory – and are asked to read the relevant chapter/sections in advance of each online meeting.

For more information and to register please contact the course leader, Fr Allen Morris, at fr.allen.morris@rcaob.org.uk

Fr Allen is parish priest of St Nicholas, Boldmere, a member of the Birmingham Liturgy Commission, and former Secretary of the Department for Christian Life and Worship of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

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Detailed course description

Out Now: The Spring Issue of the Basilican Magazine

The Spring 2024 edition (Issue 41) of The Basilican magazine is now available to buy.

The publication of St Chad’s Cathedral Association, The Basilican is published twice a year and features articles from the cathedral and across the Archdiocese of Birmingham and beyond.

Highlights in this edition include:

  • Mary, Mother of the Church in the Mother Church of the Archdiocese, by Archbishop Bernard Longley.
  • Reflections on the 30th birthday of the Walker organ at St Chad’s Cathedral with Professor David Saint, Organist and Director of Music.
  • What is the SVP, and the SVP at St Chad’s, Anne Symonds and Charlotte Conboy.

To buy a copy please contact Anne Symonds, the Editor, by emailing annets103@hotmail.co.uk The cost is £5 plus p&p.

Alternatively, The Basilican is 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

St Chad’s Cathedral Association

The Easter Vigil

The greatest and most noble of all Solemnities, celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

Beginning outside of the Crypt at St Chad’s Cathedral with the Blessing of the Fire and Preparation of the Paschal Candle. 

A procession into the cathedral with lighted candles for the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet). 

The Easter Vigil consists of four parts: The Service of Light, The Liturgy of the Word, The Blessing of Water (includes the Renewal of Baptismal Promises / The Rite of Reception / The Rite of Confirmation), The Liturgy of the Eucharist.

In the Liturgy of the Word, Holy Church meditates on the wonders the Lord God has done for his people from the beginning. 

In the Baptismal Liturgy we welcome new members into the Church; and with the Renewal of our Baptismal Promises the Church is called to the table the Lord has prepared for his people, the memorial of his Death and Resurrection until he comes again.

In his Homily Archbishop Bernard said: You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here.

In this telling of the Easter story three women who have been close to Our Lord point the way to us.  On the day after his death, the Gospel of St Mark tells us, they waited until the sabbath was over before preparing the burial spices and then coming together to plan what they would do next.  They were pragmatic – asking who would move the stone for them to enter the tomb of Jesus.  

In common with all the Lord’s disciples they must have felt utterly defeated – devastated that the Master had been arrested at the dead of night, condemned with no-one to offer a word in his defence and executed like a criminal.  For the disciples who had built their lives and their hopes on the promises of Christ, his death on the cross must have shattered their trust and left them dazed and bewildered about what to do now.

This year the besieged people of Ukraine and of Gaza are also dazed and bewildered – so are the families in Israel who still hope for the return of their loved ones taken hostage.  They long for some signs of hope – for an end to conflict and suffering.

Good Friday – The Passion of the Lord

After the Walk, Arcbishop Bernard celebrated the Good Friday Solemn Liturgy. Mgr Tim Menezes, Cathedral Dean, gave the homily:

“As the crowds were appalled on seeing him so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human…

“Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly,

“He never opened his mouth.

“There is something about this day that is effortlessly dismal.

“It is as though we are in a tunnel where we cannot quite see back to the joyful entry into Jerusalem of Palm Sunday.

“And standing at the foot of the Cross with Mary, witnessing her Son’s agony and unable to protect him, even with our Christian knowledge of the Paschal Mystery which leads beyond Good Friday, the Church’s liturgy envelops us in the solemnity and shadow of this day… and it is important for us to accept it.”

Good Friday’s Walk of Witness – The Way of the Cross

Our Ecumenical Walk of Witness for Birmingham City Centre once again started from the Church in Carrs Lane and finished at St Chad’s Cathedral.

This year we meditated on the Stations of the Cross during our walk together, reflecting on two each time we paused, until reaching St Chad’s where we concluded with the final four stations. This was a wonderful time of prayer, contemplation and reflection on the Stations of the Cross, with our ecumenical brothers and sisters in Birmingham.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday

During this Mass we recall the Institution of the Eucharist and Priestly Orders. 

After the Homily, delivered by Fr Andrew Allman, Archbishop Bernard Longley washed the feet of seminarians from St Mary’s College, Oscott and congregants in imitation of and representing Christ.

The Washing of the Feet reminds us all that we should imitate the Lord who came among us in love to serve and not be served. 

Following Mass, Exposition of The Blessed Sacrament took place in the Lady Chapel for silent prayer and contemplation – watching with Christ on the night before his Crucifixion. 

Concluding with Night Prayer of the Church (Compline).

Mass Participation Sheet

Holy Oils Blessed and Vows Renewed at Chrism Mass

Hundreds of diocesan priests gathered at St Chad’s Cathedral on Wednesday 27 March to renew their vows at the annual Chrism Mass.

At the Mass, the oil of Chrism, used for baptisms, confirmations, ordinations and consecration, the oil of catechumens, used for the baptism of adults and older children being received into the church, and the oil for the sacrament of the sick were blessed.

These oils are distributed into our parishes to be used throughout the year. 

The Chrism Mass is also a celebration of priesthood, with Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrating with our Diocesan priests the renewal of the priestly promises they made on their day of Ordination.

As the Easter Triduum starts tomorrow on Maundy Thursday, let us reflect on our Lent. Did we achieve what we set out to do? If we have, let us thank God for his help, but if we haven’t then we need not be despondent but take the opportunity of the Triduum to get close to God.

Let us also give thanks for our priests- let us pray for their ministry and that there may be more vocations to the priesthood.

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me.

“Those words of the Prophet Isaiah resonate with special significance when we hear them during Holy Week.  We remember that this was the scripture reading chosen by Our Lord at the Synagogue in Nazareth.  

“There in his home-town he tells the congregation on the Sabbath day that he is the anointed one, the Messiah, who has been sent to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken.  

“The same anointed one, the Christ, became the crucified one whose passion and death we shall commemorate solemnly this Friday.

“His sharing of the Eucharist with the twelve, and through them with all of us, is the historic moment which we shall recall in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper tomorrow evening, at the beginning of the Easter Triduum.

“In this Mass of Chrism we thank Our Lord for having called us to share in his priesthood through baptism and as ministers of his Church through priestly ordination.

“The anointed one anointed us when we were ordained so that we in turn may go out and bring his strengthening, healing and sanctifying touch into the lives of others.”

Read full homily 

Heavenly Father, we ask you to send labourers into your harvest.

Inspire, in the hearts of your people, vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.

Bless our families with a spirit of generosity, so that those whom you call have the courage to give themselves to your Church in faith.

Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Vocations in the Archdiocese

Rite of Election 2024

On the first Sunday of Lent our church family met at St Chad’s Cathedral for a special event called the Rite of Election. This is where people who are becoming part of our Catholic community get introduced to Archbishop Bernard Longley.

During this event, family, friends, sponsors, and godparents all gathered with those preparing for Baptism (called catechumens) and those joining the Catholic Church fully (called candidates). 

It’s an important step in their journey towards receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

This year nearly 130 candidates and catechumens from 31 parishes came with their families to the Cathedral to take this significant step in their faith.

In his homily, Archbishop Bernard said:

“I am delighted to welcome you to the Cathedral, the Mother Church of our Archdiocese, for the Rite of Election as we begin the season of Lent.  

“At the culmination of these forty days of Lent, when we come to celebrate Easter, you will be baptised or received into full communion with the Catholic Church.  

“You have reached a solemn moment on your journey of faith when you are ready to make a heartfelt commitment to continue on the pathway of faith where our Lord has been leading you now for many months.

“Today’s proclamation of the Gospel has a special meaning for us:  The time has come…and the Kingdom of God is close at hand.  

“The Church recognises this time as a moment of solemn decision when we wish to accept your commitment and to enrol your names.  

“Today Holy Mother Church embraces you as her own children and claims you for Christ so that His sacraments can begin to change your lives for ever.”

Read full homily

Parish priests, together with their catechumens, candidates and sponsors, then met with Archbishop Bernard, Bishop David Evans and Canon Paul Fitzpatrick, Episcopal Vicar.

Candidates and Catechumens represented the following parishes:

St Chad’s Cathedral 

St Mary of the Angels, Aldridge

St Catherine of Siena, Bristol Street

St Peter’s, Bloxwich 

St Peter’s, Bromsgrove 

St Mary and St Modwen, Burton-on-Trent

The Precious Blood and All Souls, Coventry 

St Osburg’s, Coventry

Corpus Christi, Coventry 

Sacred Heart and St Catherine of Alexandria, Droitwich Spa 

Our Lady of Lourdes, Hednesford and St Mary and St Thomas More, Cannock 

Sacred Heart, Henley-on-Thames 

English Martyrs, Hillmorton 

St Dunstan’s, Kings Heath 

St Joseph’s, Malvern 

St Augustine’s Parish, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent 

Holy Trinity, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Sacred Heart, Silverdale 

Our Lady and St Brigid, Northfield

Our Lady of the Angels, Nuneaton 

Holy Ghost and Mary Immaculate, Olton Friary 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Redditch 

St Edward’s, Selly Park 

Holy Family, Small Heath 

St Austin’s, Stafford  

St Joseph’s, Thame 

Sacred Heart and All Souls, Tipton and Our Blessed Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury, Dudley 

St George’s, Worcester 

Our Lady of Lourdes, Yardley Wood 

St Wulstan’s, Wolstanton  

Photo Gallery

Ash Wednesday – The Start of the Lenten Season

On Wednesday 14 February we celebrated Ash Wednesday, the doorway into our Lenten season of renewal.

Masses at churches across the Archdiocese took place throughout the day.

At St Chad’s Cathedral the first Mass of Ash Wednesday was celebrated at 12.15pm by Archbishop Bernard Longley and concelebrated by Monsignor Timothy Menezes, cathedral Dean. There was also a sung Mass at 6pm.

In his Homily Mgr Menezes discussed the 40 days that lay ahead of us:

We are beginning 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving which speaks in a particular way about our relationship with God and with those who are in greatest need.

40 days beginning today can seem like a long time ahead, but in the broad sweep of history, God has called people into this relationship of trust over so many years.

It is good for us to consider what we might do this Lent, but it is much more to do with what God is going to do in us and through us.

For us to turn back to the Lord is itself God’s invitation to a share in his life, and the knowledge that if we wander from the Lord, we are not expected to find our way back. God desires our faithfulness.

And whatever it is we might seek to give up for Lent or do extra this Lent, let’s all aim to follow the spirit of the law, not the letter… in this respect:
We seek to do these good things for the 40 days ahead.
But if, through human weakness, we don’t quite manage it, or if we have a blip after the first few days…then remember the Lord’s tenderness and compassion, and remember that this is a time of renewed invitation and opportunity from a God of boundless mercy.

Read Homily in full

Ash Wednesday is rich in associations and symbolism. It marks the beginning of Lent – a time for turning again to the practice of our faith, in prayer, self-denial (fasting) and practical generosity (almsgiving).

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 Good News” or “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

Lent is traditionally a 40-day fast — a reference to the time Jesus spent being tempted in the desert, as well as the 40 years that the Israelites spent in exile.

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.

Access Lent and Easter Resources

Photo Gallery

The Walker at 30

Celebrating the Cathedral’s J.W. Walker Organ

On Thursday 1st February 2024 St Chad’s Cathedral welcomed people from across the Archdiocese and beyond to a special organ recital, part of the monthly Thursday Live series, which on this occasion marked 30 years since the inauguration of the Cathedral organ.

The inaugural recital on Thursday 3rd February 1994 had been played by Nicolas Kynaston, organ consultant for the installation of the then new J.W. Walker organ in the newly constructed gallery at the back of the cathedral.

Thirty years later the anniversary recital was given by the four regular organists. Professor David Saint opened the programme with a piece by Classical French composer Louis Marchand – the same piece which began the recital in 1994 – demonstrating from the first arresting pedal note this instrument’s wonderful ‘clang’ which was a key characteristic in Nicolas Kynaston’s vision for this organ. 

Other pieces from the 1994 inaugural recital programme were included: César Franck’s Choral no.3 in A minor, played by David Saint, and J.S. Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor, along with Marcel Dupré’s Final from Sept Pièces, played by Paul Carr.

Nigel Morris played Jan Zwart’s Toccata on Psalm 146 and demonstrated the organ’s ability to crescendo from ethereal whisper to grand roar in Lionel Rogg’s La Cité Céleste.

During the recital David Saint spoke to the audience about the recent installation of an organ in the gallery at the front of the Cathedral; an instrument built by Lloyd of Nottingham which has come from a redundant church in Scotland. John Pryer then demonstrated this instrument with an improvisation on a theme by Sidney Campell.

At the conclusion of the recital Mgr Tim Menezes, Cathedral Dean, thanked the organists and other members of the music team and presented gifts. Everyone present at this wonderful celebration was given a commemorative bookmark which included a picture of the organ’s beautiful case.

Photos: courtesy of Andrew De Valliere

Installation of Four new Canons to the Chapter of the Cathedral

On Tuesday 6 February 2024, 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 more 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 both Cathedral and South Birmingham Deaneries 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 – usually the 2nd Tuesday of the month.

Mass was celebrated by Mgr Canon Tom Farrell and in the presence of Archbishop Bernard Longley.

Mgr Tim Menezes, Cathedral Dean and Secretary of the Chapter, read the nominations for the four 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 liturgical garments appropriate to their appointment as Chapter Canons and Honorary Canons.

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”

Monsignor Mark Crisp gave an excellent and beautiful homily about St Chad’s Cathedral, and on the whole question of the prayerfulness of the temple of God and God’s presence with us always.

HOMILY

PHOTOS

Religious Communities renew their commitment to God at the annual Mass for Religious and Consecrated Life

On Saturday 3 February, St Chad’s Cathedral hosted the annual Day for Religious, at which religious brothers and sisters from across the Archdiocese renew their commitment to the service of Jesus Christ, Light of the World.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley with Fr Justin Karakadu, SDV delivering the Homily. As ever the Mass involved a Nigerian offertory procession and music from the Sorelli Minori at communion.

Eight jubilarians were also celebrated for their lives of service. The jubilarians met with Archbishop Bernard ahead of the Mass and shared their vocation stories. Of those in attendance they have so far given 270 years of dedicated service.

After Mass the guests enjoyed lunch before guest speaker, Austen Ivereigh, spoke to the gathering.

Dr Ivereigh is a journalist, author, commentator and biographer of Pope Francis.

He was one of the theological advisors at last year’s Synod in Rome and is a close friend of Pope Francis. He has written several biographical books about the Holy Father.

Dr Ivereigh is also a former deputy editor of The Tablet and a founder of the media project Catholic Voices. 

During his talk Dr Ivereigh discussed his role at the Synod and ‘why synodality at this moment?’ He touched on the crisis/collapse in vocations and outlined ‘the coming era of Christianity is going to look very different’.

He shared with the audience that ‘Synod is about a spiritual conversion’ and we are ‘in transition to a new era’ and embarking on a ‘transformation of culture’.

Dr Ivereigh referenced the words of Pope Francis that we ‘must rediscover the word ‘together’’…we are ‘listening, hearing and feeling the voice of the Spirit’…we are ‘a Church that embraces everyone’.

Those celebrating Silver Jubilees
Sr Maris Stella Igwe, DDL
Sr Loretto Okwaji, DDL
Sr Ewa Pliszczak SSpS
Sr Roseline Ezeifo, DDL 

Golden Jubilees
Sr Pauline Myres, SP

Diamond Jubilees
Sr Marie Joynes, SP
Sr Therese Browne, SP
Sr Christine of St John the Divine who is an Anglican Religious

Main photograph: Jubilarians pictured with Archbishop Bernard Longley, and Fr Gary Buckby and Sister Una Coogan, Episcopal Vicars for Religious.

Photo Gallery

Watch! A Nigerian offertory procession by religious Sisters from across the Archdiocese at today’s Mass:

Civic Mass 2023

St Chad’s Cathedral hosted the annual Civic Mass on Sunday 26 November 2023, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Many of those engaged in public life in Birmingham were invited to the 11.30am Mass including the Lord Mayor, members of the Judiciary, The High Sherriff of the West Midlands, MPs and Councillors.

The civic guests represented the cultural, political, religious and academic life of the city.

Mass was celebrated and Homily given by Archbishop Bernard Longley. READ HOMILY

As World Youth Sunday was also marked this weekend Ellen Turner, part-time chaplain at Bishop Challoner Catholic College, Kings Heath and Yemisi Wisoba from the Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT), gave talks on youth ministry.

Main photograph (above): Civic Dignitaries with faith leaders and city councillors

Front Row L-R: Mgr Timothy Menezes, WMP Cadet Samina Iqbal, WMP Cadet Sahib Gahir, Lady Mayoress Vidya Wati, Lord Mayor Cllr Chaman Lal, Bishop Anne Hollinghurst, Archbishop Bernard Longley, High Sheriff Wade Lyn CBE, Vice Lord Lieutenant Louise Bennett OBE, Liam Byrne MP, Cllr Muhammad Afzal, Mr Arvinder Jain, Commander Ambrose Hogan .

Back Row L-R: Judge Aspinall JP, District Judge Bristow, Prof Peter Childs, Chief Supt North, Mr Justice Keehan, LL Cadet Corp. Cronin, Dean Matt Thompson, Judge Rochford, Judge Gosling.

Photo Gallery by Con McHugh

Thanksgiving Mass for Bishop Stephen Wright

Hundreds welcomed Bishop Stephen Wright back to the Archdiocese today, Friday 17 November, for a Mass of Thanksgiving at St Chad’s Cathedral.

Bishop Stephen, a former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese, was installed as the Fifteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in July.

The Mass of Thanksgiving was attended by Bishop Stephen’s fellow clergy, family, friends and former parishioners from parishes he served in Stechford, Banbury and Burton upon Trent, along with a group from his home parish of St Austin’s, Stafford.

School children from St Modwen’s Catholic Primary School, Burton; St Chad’s Catholic Primary School, Birmingham; Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, Stechford; St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School, Stechford; St Austin’s Catholic Primary School, Stafford; Blessed Mother Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, Stafford; Blessed William Howard Catholic School, Stafford and Blessed George Napier School, Banbury were also in attendance.

Archbishop Bernard Longley warmly welcomed Bishop Stephen back to the Archdiocese and gave an introduction to the congregation.

Today felt extra special as people were able to gather and celebrate in person with Bishop Stephen. He was ordained Bishop at St Chad’s Cathedral in October 2020 with a limited congregation because of Covid restrictions, and not many people were able to travel to his installation in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

During his Homily Bishop Stephen talked about his new home in the North and how he was settling in, including regular walks and bird watching in Northumberland and discovering places of pilgrimage.

He also shared his thoughts on the Northern Saints, and how they were a continual inspiration – especially St Cuthbert, who is widely revered today.

Bishop Stephen said he was very privileged to wear the cross of St Cuthbert and be the Bishop of his homeland.

He said there was much to learn from his style of ministry – that being 7th century synodality.

He concluded his Homily with: “Respond with generosity to the Lord’s call to serve His people”.

Photo Gallery

Bishop Stephen Wright, Mass of Thanksgiving

Prayer

A Prayer for Bishop Stephen Wright:

Lord, rock of our hearts,
from a sea swept island
you sent Aidan and Cuthbert
to sow your Word fruitfully
throughout our Northern Land and
you inspired Bede to understand and speak your truth
reflected in our lives and in our history.

Grant your servant, Stephen,
whom you have called to follow them,
a rich share in this heritage –
to speak your Word courageously
to teach wisely
and to lead with love.
Amen.

Monsignor Kevin Nichols 1929-2006

Installation of Bishop Stephen Wright, July 2023

Safeguarding Sunday 2023

An important message to Cathedral Parishioners from Fr Tim

Safeguarding is something that has become a very important part of the life of the Catholic Church for reasons that need little explanation. But perhaps I can give you some background to how this is implemented today:

  1. Every parish is called to have a Parish Safeguarding Representative who has a role and who can be contacted independently of the Parish Priest. In this role, the Parish Safeguarding Representative meets with any adult who seeks to take a greater role in the life of the parish, which can include a DBS check.  Our Safeguarding Rep is Mrs Margaret Harrold and you can find her contact details on the newsletter at all times.
  2. Every priest and deacon of the Archdiocese of Birmingham has a responsibility to fulfil safeguarding training every 3 years in a formal manner, but with regular updates on developments in safeguarding.
  3. We have a strong Safeguarding Department in the Diocese with people with expertise in policing, adult safeguarding and child protection. In its work, the Department seeks the advice and feedback of a Survivors Forum: those who have suffered abuse giving the Church real insight into how its work of Safeguarding is considered effective by people who matter most.
  4. In my own work as a Foundation Governor in two schools, I do a separate safeguarding training every year as well as further training on Safer Recruitment for the purposes of interviewing new staff.
  5. But I want to say this very clearly: every member of the Catholic Church has a responsibility for Safeguarding. If you see or experience anything when you come to Mass that gives you cause for concern, you are not so much invited to do something about it or speak to somebody. I would suggest that you have a responsibility to speak to somebody. That would normally be our Parish Safeguarding Representative. And you don’t have to have concerns. Safeguarding began as reactive, but building a culture of safeguarding requires talking about it, asking questions about it, deepening our understanding of the issues, and being clear that the issues change over time.
  6. I hope I don’t need to explain to anybody why – in the life of the Church – this is not something of the past, and the very nature of safeguarding is that if we ever stop thinking about it and talking about it, the problems arise.
  7. Please pray for and be active in fostering this ongoing and current culture of safeguarding. Let us not be afraid to talk about it, or allow it being an uncomfortable subject to avoid it. I don’t avoid it and I ask you not to avoid it. Children, young people and adults in vulnerable circumstances deserve the best of trust and safety and we are all responsible for it.

Mass of Thanksgiving for Bishop Stephen Wright

We welcome Bishop Stephen Wright back to the Archdiocese on Friday 17 November for a Mass of Thanksgiving at St Chad’s Cathedral.

Bishop Stephen, a former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese, was installed as the Fifteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in July.

All are welcome to his Mass of Thanksgiving, to be celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

It starts at 12noon and will also be live streamed.

#RedWednesday Annual Schools Mass

Invite from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)

Join schools from the ACN Central Area on Tuesday 21 November for the first of our Annual #ACN Red Wednesday Schools Masses. Our celebrant is Mgr Timothy Menezes, Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral.

Primary and Secondary Schools are invited from across the ACN Central Area (Archdiocese of Birmingham, Dioceses of Leeds, Hallam, Nottingham, Northampton) to join together in praying for persecuted Christians and those in pastoral need.

Staff and students are invited to wear red for the Mass. 

St Thomas Aquinas Catholic School & Sixth Form, Birmingham, are providing the music.

This will be our first ACN Annual Mass for Schools in support of #ACN Red Wednesday and an ideal time to link your prayers, learn about those we at ACN help and fundraise to support them in their times of extreme need.

Following the Mass at 12.15pm there will be refreshments in the Grimshaw Room and a chance to learn more about #RW and ACN’s work.

Let us stand in solidarity with the millions of Christians, and those of other Religions, who are persecuted for their faith.

#RedWednesday: Break the Silence on Christian Persecution.

More information and register your school

More information on #RedWednesday: Break the Silence

Photograph: St Chad’s Cathedral lit red for #RedWednesday 2018

Celebrating the Commitment of our Altar Servers

The hard work, dedication and commitment of altar servers across the Archdiocese has been celebrated at St Chad’s Cathedral, the Diocesan Mother Church.

The annual Mass of Thanksgiving for the Guild of St Stephen was celebrated by Bishop David Evans on Saturday 7 October and included the renewal of servers’ promises.

Around 300 people, made up of altar servers and their families, gathered for the occasion.

The Guild of St Stephen is an international organisation of Altar Servers founded in England in 1904 by Father Hamilton McDonald when he formed a Society of Altar Servers at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in London.

The objectives of the Guild are:
•    To encourage, positively and practically, the highest standards of serving at the Church’s liturgy and so contribute to the whole community’s participation in a more fruitful worship of God.
•    To provide altar servers with a greater understanding of what they are doing so that they may serve with increasing reverence and prayerfulness and thereby be led to a deepening response to their vocation in life.
•    To unite servers of different parishes and dioceses for their mutual support and encouragement.

Altar servers aged from seven to in their 80s attended Saturday’s event.

Serving on the Sanctuary were altar servers from Our Lady of the Angels, Nuneaton, and the largest group of altar servers (20) represented SS Mary and Benedict, Coventry. 

In his Homily Bishop David spoke of Our Lady of the Rosary:

Today’s gospel and the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles relate the first and last occasions in the New Testament when Our Lady is mentioned by name. There are other places later in the bible that mention a woman, whom the Church interprets as being Our Lady.

The first texts record events that happened during Our Lady’s life on earth – the Annunciation and her being united in prayer with the Apostles after Jesus’ Ascension. The later texts point to what happened at the end of Our Lady’s life – her Assumption and her being crowned Queen of Heaven. These also provide us with the early and later Mysteries of the Rosary.

In between we meditate on Mysteries of Our Lord’s birth and public life, especially now that the Rosary includes the Mysteries of Light.

Read Homily in full

In the accompanying Mass booklet the number of Guild of Saint Stephen Medals awarded in 2022 is outlined:

Silver Medals – 23
Silver Medals of Merit – two
Gold Medals of Merit – two

Along with Anniversaries of Affiliation to the Archconfraternity of Saint Stephen:

Ruby (40 yrs) – Six churches
Gold (50 yrs) – Four churches
Diamond (60 yrs) – Four churches
Platinum (70 yrs) – Six churches

Huge congratulations to all!

The Archdiocese of Birmingham Guild of St Stephen is administered by the Diocesan Vocations Office.

Together with the Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT) the Vocations office will be hosting a retreat for altar servers – Called to Serve – in March 2024.

This is the first ever weekend retreat for altar servers in school years 5-13, and their parish leaders, and will be held at the diocesan youth retreat centres Alton Castle and Soli, in North Staffordshire.

More details will follow in due course.

Photo Album by Con McHugh

Evangelii Gaudium Sunday

Celebrating a letter to the Church published by Pope Francis in November 2013 soon after he was elected Pope.

We are now encouraged to reflect on our life of prayer, to deepen our own and help and encourage others with theirs.

Highlights of Evangelii Gaudium

Cathedral Weekend of Faith and Culture

Music, song and prayer have filled St Chad’s Cathedral in celebration of a Weekend of Faith and Culture.

The two-day event (Sat 24 and Sun 25 June) was hosted for people of the St Chad’s Cathedral parish as a joyous expression of the life of the parish as it is today.

Over the last 20 years there has been a huge change of demographic in the parish as more and more people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures come to worship at St Chad’s.

The aim of the weekend was to celebrate the parish’s life together and give people a greater sense of belonging.

Throughout the weekend there have been opportunities to join short tours of the cathedral; parishioners have been invited to attend in their national/cultural dress and enjoy food prepared by the many different nationalities.

The 4.30pm Vigil Mass on Saturday was an African Mass, animated by the Gambian Christian Association and the Daughters of Divine Love Religious Order.

The Hail Mary was prayed in multiple languages.

On Sunday the 9.30am Mass was led by St Chad’s Catholic Primary School and the 11.30am Mass featured St Chad’s Cathedral Choir.

At both Masses the Hail Mary was prayed in different languages.

Monsignor Timothy Menezes, Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, said: “This weekend has celebrated all the people who make up our wonderful parish community, which is so rich in diversity.

“An opportunity to come together and learn about each other’s backgrounds and cultures, and altogether praising God for the community we are building.”

Photo Gallery

Three New Canons Appointed and Installed to the Metropolitan Chapter of Canons

Three new Canons have been installed and appointed to the Metropolitan Chapter of Canons.

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 Michael Dolman, Very Reverend Canon Brian McGinley and Very Reverend Canon Paul McNally.

Canons Michael, Brian and Paul 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 the Very Reverend Canon Michael Neylon in the presence of His Grace Archbishop Bernard Longley.

Archbishop Bernard welcomed the parish of St George Worcester, and the other Worcester parishes, and the parishes of Holy Trinity in Newcastle Under Lyme and Sacred Heart in Silverdale who came in support of Canon Brian and Canon Paul, as well as Oscott staff and seminarians who came in support of their Rector, Canon Michael.

Mgr Tim Menezes, Cathedral Dean and Secretary of the Chapter read the nominations for the three 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”

The Provost, Bishop David Evans said: “The Lord in his mercy has appointed you to be joined to our Chapter.

“We welcome you and pray for you that you may ever keep true love for your brothers and after this life receive the reward of your labours.”

Photo Gallery

Blessing of Hands ahead of the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes

A special Mass was held at St Chad’s Cathedral on Sunday 21 May to celebrate the forthcoming Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

People representing the various groups which are travelling to Lourdes attend the Blessing of Hands service to have their hands blessed for whatever ministry they may be involved in.

The annual Diocesan Pilgrimage is returning to Lourdes from Saturday 27 May to Friday 2 June under the leadership of His Grace, Archbishop Bernard Longley and Bishop David Evans.

Around 500 pilgrims are joining the Diocesan Pilgrimage with many other groups meeting up there, taking the numbers up to around 600.

Those attending include children and young adults from schools, parishes and youth groups, called to serve. Plus a team from the Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT).

The pilgrimage theme this year is “…to build a chapel here…”.

Sunday’s Mass was celebrated by Bishop David Evans and Fr David Hartley, Chaplain of the Sick whilst in Lourdes, delivered the Homily.

“Surely our Lourdes pilgrimage helps us to express all the pillars of our Diocesan Vision – Evangelisation, Formation, Liturgy and Worship and Social Outreach – and Young People – yes! This is biggest event in the life of our diocese and we’re all glad to be part of it – we live the life of the Church in a concentrated way – we will journey together and build each other up in love.

“And that journeying together is how the Church works all the time even when we are not seeing it so clearly- it’s how Synodality needs to work- walking together- and all that goes with that- we’ll be driving together or even flying together, sharing rooms (sick pilgrims and helpers), helping and encouraging- walking together.

“There will be lots of doing, but also time for sharing- reflecting, opening up. Make the most of the gaps- the times when even if you hardly know how to pray other people are praying with you and for you and carrying you along. Be aware of the prayers of Our Lady, and St Bernadette, and many pilgrims who have travelled to Lourdes before us.”

Read Homily in full

Music at the Blessing of Hands Mass was led by Jo Boyce, of CJM Music. She was thanked and applauded for 25 years of leading music on the Lourdes pilgrimage as she now steps back.

Please pray for all those involved in this year’s pilgrimage to Lourdes, as they will be praying for you.

Follow the Lourdes Pilgrimage on our website and by using the hashtag #Brum2Lourdes on social media.

Photo Gallery

LOUDfence has drawn to a close but its impact will remain

A LOUDfence at St Chad’s Cathedral may have come to an end but there is much to be gained from the experience.

Brightly coloured ribbons and messages of support adorned the railings inside and outside St Chad’s Cathedral last week as many people contributed to the survivor-led initiative.

Support for all those who have suffered abuse was evident with messages coming from across the Archdiocese and as far afield as France and the USA.

The visible LOUDfence ended on Saturday 13 May, but the legacy it has left behind is just the beginning.

The Diocesan Safeguarding Team organised the event together with the cathedral team, Antonia Sobocki, the UK Project Manager for LOUDfence UK, friends at St Philip’s Cathedral in Birmingham and members of the Survivor Engagement Panel.

They will now review the event and consider next steps as part of the Archdiocese’s ongoing commitment to safeguarding.

One follow-up event already taking place is a day of creativity in September, where the ribbons from St Chad’s LOUDfence, together with those from a LOUDfence at St Philip’s last year, will be used to create a memorable piece of art. 

A survivor who attended last week’s LOUDfence said: “It has been very encouraging to see the Archdiocese host a LOUDfence.

“The ribbons tied to the cathedral railings are a moving testament to the suffering of those who have been abused by the Church and it is an important step in making sure that survivors’ voices are heard by all parts of the Church. What happens next, as a result of LOUDfence, is what will really count.

“It is good to see the Safeguarding Team building bridges with some survivors but there is still a long way to go in the Church to build trust and repair the damage that has been done to so many.”

Another survivor spoke at last Tuesday’s Mass, on the National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse.

Words written quickly before Mass, and spoken by a woman, originally from Birmingham, who struggles decades later to fully connect with the Church after experiencing, as a child, spiritually damaging teaching from clergy and religious, and sexual misconduct from a priest in the context of confession as a teenager. Distressed and angry at how the Church continues in so many ways to turn away from truths about abusive relationships of power within it. Longing for more honesty, more justice, more equity and more transparency to build a Church in which all those who have been hurt can feel safer. Acutely conscious of serious forms of abuse happening across the Global Church family today. Searching for more honest, open dialogue in order to learn together. The sorrow and humility expressed by Archbishop Bernard Longley to his congregation on 7th May and ability to make some space for the voice of LOUDfence and a survivor was much appreciated; and that of Mgr Tim Menezes, who listened. Also appreciated was the acknowledgement that we need very actively to learn and do more.

Said at St Chad’s Birmingham – the Day of Prayer for Victim/Survivors of Abuse – acknowledging especially those abused within the Church, 9th May 2023.

Some words from ..survivors of abuse within the Church – thinking particularly of those among us here today. Some who have come a long way to be able to join us here today – some who really .. struggle .. to come within the Church.

Fellow Catholics

An Empty Chair
A gift from Catholics
True to Jesus, following Him.
Struggling to enter the Church
Struggling to be ..in .. Communion, Participation or Mission, With a Church… that continues ..to deny Justice
To Those it hurts so badly.
A Church when it fails to Listen
To those it continues to hurt.
A Church when it is blind …to how …it hampers its own Mission
A Church that turns away from Christ
When it fails to learn by listening.
Lord, bind us together
Help us have the courageous conversations,
The radical conversations we need to have.
Lord in your Mercy
Hear Our Prayer.

Visitors during last week also included parishioners from parishes in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Worcestershire and Oxford, clergy, members of the Franciscan Order, members of the Diocesan Safeguarding Trustee sub-committee and colleagues from various partner agencies.

As part of the event the Diocesan Safeguarding Team also ran a ‘Safeguarding in Action’ event in the Grimshaw Room, appreciating not everyone would want to go inside the cathedral.

This included a two-day mindfulness craft workshop with Cal Thomas, who made crochet crosses for visitors and is going to make an embroidered angel into a banner.

Following the LOUDfence at St Chad’s Cathedral one is being hosted in the Diocese of Northampton from Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 May at St Teresa’s Church, Beaconsfield.

You can view last week’s messages in our online photo albums

Safeguarding in the Archdiocese

Share your messages on St Chads’ LOUDfence

Messages of support from across the Archdiocese and far beyond are now adorning the railings outside St Chad’s Cathedral as part of LOUDfence.

The survivor-led initiative, which was launched at St Chad’s on Sunday, encourages people to tie brightly coloured ribbons and messages in public spaces. The aim is to give survivors a voice, create and raise awareness in the community and work to end abuse.

Yesterday, Tuesday 9 May, was the National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse and was the Mass intention at the cathedral.

A number of victim-survivors attended the Mass, along with staff from the Diocesan Safeguarding Team; Antonia Sobocki, the UK Project Manager for LOUDfence UK; friends at St Philip’s Cathedral in Birmingham and members of the Survivor Engagement Panel, which works closely with the Safeguarding Team.

Some parishioners from Corpus Christi in Headington, Oxford, attended, bringing with them a number of messages to tie to the LOUDfence.

Many messages from France were tied to the railings on Sunday, delivered by Katherine Shirk Lucas, a Roman Catholic Theologian and Lecturer at the Catholic University of Paris who helped to organise the recent LOUDfence in France.

Mary Varley, from the Stolen Lives team of Root & Branch – an international forum which seeks to see a safe, just and inclusive church – said: “We have been working with Antonia, and the organisation Survivors Voices, and making a connection.

“The scale of the change needed in the Church is massive – cultural, structural and legal.

“We need ordinary Catholics to speak up and speak out.”

The LOUDfence runs at St Chad’s Cathedral until Saturday 13 May. Throughout this week visitors are encouraged to take part by tying ribbons and messages on the outside railings between the entrance to Cathedral House and the book shop, as well as just inside the cathedral in the Bell Chamber.

As part of the event the Diocesan Safeguarding Team are running a ‘Safeguarding in Action’ event in the Grimshaw Room. We appreciate not everyone will want to go inside the cathedral, and so the Grimshaw Room is an alternative place for quiet reflection and a cuppa.

If you cannot attend in person: 

Photo Galleries

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