Category Archives: Cathedral

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

Synodality

For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission – Catholic Bishops’ Conference (cbcew.org.uk)

In his short and beautiful book Let us Dream, Pope Francis explains himself very well as to what the whole idea of Synod and Synodality means.

Although they are terms that we might not use very much, there is an important understanding of the way in which Church works in the setting of the modern world.

Synods of Bishops have been restored in the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and some of them have led to very significant teaching documents which influence the Church today:

1974 On Evangelisation 

Evangelii Nuntiandi (December 8, 1975) | Paul VI (vatican.va)

1977 On Catechesis

Catechesi Tradendae (October 16, 1979) | John Paul II (vatican.va)

1980 On the Family

Familiaris Consortio (November 22, 1981) | John Paul II (vatican.va)

1987 On the Role of the Laity

Christifideles Laici (December 30, 1988) | John Paul II (vatican.va)

1990 On Priestly Formation

Pastores Dabo Vobis (March 15, 1992) | John Paul II (vatican.va)

(Note that the Church’s custom is to name its documents by the Latin words which begin the document, eg. Pastores Dabo Vobis, in the last of that list of documents is the Latin for the biblical quote ‘I will give you Shepherds’).

So, it is well established in the Church that every three years or so, Bishops from around the world gather with the Pope to discuss matters of importance to the life of the Church. Usually, one or two bishops from each country attend the Synod so that there is a gathering of some 300-400 people. Of the nature of this gathering, the main group of participants is Bishops, not in their own right but as Shepherds of the People of God speaking on behalf of the situation in their own country.

For this reason, Pope Francis wishes to know that before the Bishops arrive in Rome, they are bringing the real sense of the Church in any given country to this ‘conversation’.

One of the biggest points that Pope Francis makes is that when the Synod takes place, as long as people come with an open mind: prepared to speak honestly from their own experience but also to listen generously to the views of others, then the dialogue can be most fruitful.

He says that the one who comes to the conversation with no interest in being challenged or seeing the world through the eyes of others will go away failing to be enriched by the experience.

As a Jesuit, Pope Francis is used to debating the issues and recognising that the questioning and the challenging is not, of itself, a problem.

He says that in the world of today, there is a political atmosphere in places where not only do I not see eye to eye with my opponent, I have no intention of seeking common ground. This, he says, is a real problem.

He recognises that as members of the Church we cannot see ourselves as on different sides of any issues: as members of the same Church, we are always on the same side, even if we express different views or even disagree with each other.

The timetable which will lead to the Synod of Bishops in Rome in 2023 is as follows:

Diocesan Phase (Local)

October 2021 – April 2022

During which each individual faithful can participate in the diocesan consultation. This phase will end locally with a pre-synodal assembly: the culminating moment of diocesan discernment.

National Phase (England & Wales)

A period of discernment will begin for bishops gathered in an assembly (Episcopal – Bishops’ – Conference). They will listen to what the Spirit has inspired in the churches entrusted to them. A ‘synthesis’ will be drafted and in due course sent to the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops along with the contributions of each of the local churches (before April 2022).

Continental Phase (Europe)

September 2022 – March 2023

Which will have the task of discussing the text of the first Instrumentum Laboris. (working document prepared in due course outlining the structure of the Synod meeting)

Synod of Bishops (Rome)

October 2023

Finally, the synodal journey will culminate with the celebration of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”. #Synod2023

Questions and Answers – Catholic Bishops’ Conference (cbcew.org.uk)

The three main areas of focus for the Synod Process will be:

Communion                          Participation                         Mission

The Preparatory Document for the Universal Church: Preparatory Document for the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (vatican.va)

The Handbook for the Diocesan Phase of the Synodal Process beginning on 17th October 2021: Vademecum-EN-A4.pdf (synod.va)

The Roadmap for the Diocesan Phase of the Process: Roadmap for the diocesan phase (synod.va)

The Website for the whole Synod Process: Synod 2021 – 2023

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)

Chrism Mass, 31 March 2021

Homily by Archbishop Bernard Longley:

ST CHAD’S CATHEDRAL, BIRMINGHAM

He loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood.

The celebration of the Chrism Mass is a very special moment in Holy Week preparing us for the Easter Triduum which begins tomorrow.  Over the next three days the liturgy invites us to accompany our Lord on his final journey from death to eternal life.  Each day we re-commit our lives to the mystery we shall celebrate in the life of Christ.

On Maundy Thursday we commemorate his last meal with his friends and the gift of the Eucharist which unites us sacramentally with all the events that we are recalling.  On Good Friday we solemnly proclaim the Gospel account of the Lord’s full and final sacrifice on the cross, the outpouring of his precious blood out of love for us, and we venerate his cross.

On Holy Saturday we recall the entire history of salvation into which the story of our own lives is forever woven.  With the light of the Paschal candle to guide us, we witness the dawning of the Lord’s resurrection into the darkness of a world in need of forgiveness and salvation.  We renew our baptismal promises and commit ourselves to live this new life as disciples of Christ at the service of others.

The journey of Holy Week follows a familiar pathway every year.  But this year is significantly different because of all that we have experienced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  This year we are especially conscious of our parishioners who will commemorate the final moments of our Lord’s life while recalling those of loved ones who are no longer with them.

We pray that they may be comforted and strengthened by the knowledge that Christ – who gladly shared his life sacramentally with them through baptism and the Eucharist – now invites the faithful departed to enter into the eternal life of the resurrection.  This Chrism Mass remind us that those who were sealed with the holy oils will always bear the resemblance of Christ and share forever in his risen life.

We celebrate today’s Chrism Mass in very unusual circumstances.  Because of the current restrictions we can only welcome a representative group of clergy and faithful within the Cathedral this morning.  I am grateful that all the Deans from across the Archdiocese are present to represent the clergy of your deanery, together with the Canons of the Metropolitan Chapter. 

It is good that a number of our more recently ordained priests are also here today, participating for the first time as priests at the Chrism Mass as members of the presbyterate.  Although their numbers are restricted today, I am very grateful that a group of our Religious and lay faithful are able to take part in this Mass, representing the parishes, schools and Religious communities that constitute the diocesan family of the Church.

At the heart of this Chrism Mass are the person and actions of our Lord Jesus Christ who has gathered us here through his Holy Spirit.  He now prepares us to follow him from the upper room of the Last Supper, through the garden of Gethsemane along the way of the cross – out of the shadows of Calvary and the empty tomb into the light of Easter. 

This is no fictional journey – it is the most important event of history in which we share sacramentally whenever we eat his body and drink his blood.  As priests it is our privilege to assist the people we serve in making this journey and to find salvation in the precious blood of Christ.  The Book of Revelation, which is the final utterance of the Word of God, tells us:  Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the First-Born from the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth.  He loves us and has washed away our sins by his blood, and made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father.

Today we are invited to renew our commitment to that service, through the renewal of the promises we made at our ordination.  I have invited all the priests of the Archdiocese who cannot be here in the Cathedral today to renew their promises with us via the live-streaming of this Mass or on another suitable occasion with their parishioners.

As we approach this personal moment of renewal let us each open our own hearts to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  May the Holy Spirit enable us to let go of those things that hold us back from the fullest and most active participation in the liturgy – the irritations and resentments, the arguments and the petty jealousies which remind us of our fallen human nature.

When I was newly ordained, forty years ago this year, I was appointed to a parish with four priests (two Irish priests, a French priest and me).  Occasionally I would come back to the presbytery feeling deflated or cross or frustrated by some encounter.  My French colleague, Fr Armand Carré, would listen to me complaining about a difficult parishioner and say: “but why are you surprised?  Poor human nature!  He is not perfect yet – and neither are you.”    

In place of our imperfections we are invited by our Lord to receive and to offer the fruits of redemption signified by the holy oils which will be blessed and consecrated today – some of the tools of our ministry:    

Through the oil of catechumens wisdom, strength and a deeper understanding of the gospel pave the way towards fullness of life in Christ.      

Through the oil of the sick come healing, freedom from pain and wholeness of body, mind and soul.       

Our hands have been anointed by the oil of chrism so that we might be inwardly transformed – and made temples of God’s glory, radiant with the goodness of life that has its source in him. 

We are celebrating the Year of St Joseph.  We should invoke his intercession and follow his example, especially as we help each other to emerge from the pandemic restrictions of the last year.  In his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde, inaugurating this special year, Pope Francis writes:  In Joseph, Jesus saw the tender love of God: “As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him”.  St Joseph quietly witnessed to the power of forgiveness, leaving an impression that lay deep within the Sacred Heart.

As we prepare for the Renewal of Priestly Promises, may the intercession of St Joseph strengthen us to act with fatherly love, the prayers of St Chad inspire a missionary spirit within us, and the example of St John Henry Newman and Blessed Dominic Barberi encourage us for another year to be faithful pastors of the flock entrusted to our care.

Chrism Mass Photos

Palm Sunday Service of Music and Readings

On Palm Sunday evening, St Chad’s Cathedral hosted a Service of Word and Sacred Song to begin Holy Week.

It was livestream only and was a first: livestream only so that the whole choir could sing together for the only time during Holy Week this year as current restrictions still only allow for a small number of singers to animate the main liturgies of Holy Week with a congregation present.

Fr Tomas Zuna was the celebrant and Archbishop Bernard Longley was present together with Auxiliary Bishops David Evans and Stephen Wright and Vicar General, Canon Richard Walker.

A series of readings from Scripture and the Divine Office charted the events of Holy Week from Palm Sunday through to Holy Saturday. The Cathedral Choir sang a repertoire of motets and hymns, polyphony and plainchant which set the scene for the days ahead. John Pryer played the organ to great effect.

Readers were Sr Una Coogan, Chaplain at the University of Birmingham; Susannah McCartan, Teacher at St Chad’s Parish Primary School; Anna O’Driscoll, Lay Chaplain at St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Birmingham; Dawn Casserly, Head Teacher of St Paul’s School for Girls, Birmingham; Trish Brookes, St Chad’s Cathedral Staff; Georgina O’Gara, Head of RE at St Benedict’s High School, Alcester.

The service is still available to follow on St Chad’s Cathedral website. See the livestream box and click on the Recordings Tab. 

You will find there all details of Holy Week ceremonies from St Chad’s Cathedral. You are most welcome to join us either in person for the ceremonies that are open or online for all of the ceremonies which will also be recorded.

Further images are available in the Gallery
All images taken by Andrew de Valliere

Archbishop’s homily for 3rd Sunday of Lent

God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

On the Third Sunday of Lent last year we were already preparing for the first lockdown.  I was celebrating Mass in Coventry for the university students and none of us knew what the coming year would bring.  Looking back, we can review all that we have experienced and appreciate what we have learnt.

Has the last year, facing the many challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, made us wiser or stronger?  In many ways I think it has.  At times it has forced us to acknowledge our utter dependence on God for life, health and well-being and our dependence on one another – especially through our recognition of the doctors and nurses who have cared for us, the scientists who have developed the vaccines in record time, the teachers who have kept our schools open throughout the year and the many key-workers who have kept us supplied with all that we need.

This Lent, more than ever, we are conscious of the efforts and the struggle of our political leaders to make wise decisions – about interpreting the data they receive, about the scope of the restrictions imposed and the pace of lifting them as we emerge from lockdown, and about the economy of our countries.  We have also seen the strength and resilience of those who have faced illness or bereavement and those who have supported them.

Yet during Lent, the Church asks us to face up to the foolishness and weakness that we also find within ourselves as the result of our fallen human nature – and to bring what we find to the Lord, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We are never to feel overwhelmed or to defeated by our failings because they have already been overcome by the cross of Christ.  In him we find our wisdom and our strength.           

St Paul reminded the Christians at Corinth that God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.  Whatever impresses us about human achievements – the wise sayings or the strong deeds which we rightly admire – offers us a glimpse of the immensity of God’s wisdom and strength. 

Today’s Gospel passage is a dramatic and powerful reminder that our Lord is ready to upset and overturn our settled ways of doing things.  He challenged the money-changers and the pigeon-sellers.  What he said and did disturbed them and disrupted their daily business, making money out of people’s piety and devotion, turning my Father’s house into a market.

The experience of the last year has turned all our lives upside down and made us stop and reconsider our priorities and values.  But the disturbance to our way of life cannot be compared with the experience of the Christian communities in Iraq whom the Holy Father is visiting this weekend.  They have faced persecution, the destruction of their homes, communities and livelihood and the threat of death.

Now they are being comforted and encouraged by Pope Francis, who has risked his own safety and well-being to be with them.  Some commentators have criticised the Pope for this decision – others have said it is not wise to gather so many people together during the pandemic.  The Holy Father is seeking wisdom and strength from the Lord to fulfil his mission faithfully.

As the Christians of Mosul meet with Pope Francis in Church Square, surrounded by the ruins if their places of worship they will surely hear a powerful echo of our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel:  Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up.  We pray that their faith may be strengthened and that wisdom of heart will sustain them. And as we continue our pilgrimage through Lent, we can also ask this weekend for the wisdom to know God’s will for us, for the strength to accomplish it in the days ahead and for insight and perseverance in our prayer, our fasting and our charitable giving.

Archbishop’s Homily

Solemnity of St Chad

Homily by Archbishop Bernard Longley:

Be joyful in hope, persevere in hardship, keep praying regularly.

Our celebration of the Feast of St Chad takes on a special character this year since our annual celebration of our patron-saint is subject to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions which are still in place.  It is a welcome coincidence that the Holy See has asked every bishop in England and Wales to offer Mass on this day for the intentions of those who have died during the pandemic or as a result of Covid-19.

Full homily

Zoom Retreats from Boarbank Hall for Mar/Apr

Living Laudato Si’:
Your Parish and Your Planet
Zoom Retreats in 2021
12th-16th March & 16th-19th April
(led from Boarbank Hall, Cumbria)


WHY? Faith is the place to start.
WHAT? Understanding is the place to start.
HOW? Sharing experience is the place to start.
WHEN? Now is the place to start.
WHERE? Your parish is the place to start.
WHO? Are YOU the place to start?

More information here

New Chief Operating Officer announced for the Archdiocese of Birmingham

The Trustees of the Archdiocese of Birmingham are pleased to announce that Eric Kirwan has been appointed as the Archdiocese’s next Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Eric is currently the Chair of Directors at Holy Family Catholic Multi-Academy Company (MAC) in Warwickshire. Prior to taking up this role he was a successful Chief Executive Officer with experience in both the private and charity sectors.

He is a parishioner and church warden at St Francis Catholic Church in Kenilworth and has been active in the parish community for many years.

Eric will join the Archdiocese in early March, following the David Brooks’ retirement from the post. David has held the role since 2018.

Prior to his role at the Holy Family MAC, Eric was CEO at Modulex A/S in Denmark for several years.

Eric also holds the role of Non Executive Director at Snap Vision, UK. A role held since 2012 at an award-winning visual search and AI company.

Eric said:

“I’m very honoured and excited by the opportunity of working in collaboration with the clergy and lay community to further develop the Diocesan Plan. 

“In particular, I’m looking forward to meeting the very many stakeholders across the Archdiocese and to working with them to bring the plan to life in our parishes, schools and communities.”

Archbishop Bernard said:

“I am delighted that Eric Kirwan will be joining the curial staff of the Archdiocese as Chief Operating Officer.  His considerable experience of managing change within a large organisation will be of particular benefit as we unfold the diocesan plan over the next few years. 

“As an active and committed member of a local parish community his professional skills also rest on the foundation of personal faith.  I know that clergy and curial colleagues will make him very welcome at Cathedral House.

“I also wish to thank our outgoing COO David Brooks for his dedicated service of the Archdiocese over the last three years.  He has enabled us to look forward with hope and to develop a plan to support and guide the mission of the Archdiocese over the coming years, while facing the challenges that have been highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. ”

A Vision for the Archdiocese

Survey: Covid-19 and Church-21

News from Catholic Voices

Catholic Voices was involved in a very successful survey and report during the first lockdown in May-July 2020.

Over 2,500 Catholics in England and Wales and Scotland were surveyed, which has given us important insights into how people responded to the arrival of the pandemic.

As we move towards a post-pandemic future, we would like to hear again from clergy and lay people about their current experiences and, crucially, what they feel about that future.

This survey is part of a wider survey designed to be taken by people from Anglican, Catholic, and Free churches in the UK and the ROI.

Take survey

Former priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham receives 11-and-a-half year prison sentence for child abuse

Archbishop Bernard Longley writes:

‘Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

‘I am writing to you at this very difficult time following the conviction and recent sentencing of Joseph Quigley at Warwick Crown Court.

‘On Friday 29th January he was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years in prison.

‘The crimes for which has has been sentenced are deplorable and totally unacceptable. There is no excuse for any kind of abuse and the Archdiocese apologises for the suffering he has caused.

‘Our thoughts and prayers remain with all those who have suffered and we again acknowledge their courage in coming forward to provide evidence during the trial.

‘I am acutely aware of the hurt and the understandable anger and concern this case has raised across the Archdiocese.

‘I cannot change the past but where there have been failings, as an Archdiocese, we must identify them and learn from them so that they do not happen ever again.

‘Therefore, in the light of this, I have already commissioned Barnardo’s to undertake an independent review of the Archdiocese’s actions at every stage of this case.

‘Joseph Quigley faces the Church’s disciplinary processes that will address the seriousness of his offences and I will seek his laicisation by the Holy See.

‘All who have suffered or may be suffering abuse are encouraged to report the matter to the police by calling 101 and, if appropriate, to the Archdiocese of Birmingham Safeguarding Team on 0121 230 6240 or by email: safeguarding@rcaob.org.uk

Read the Archbishop’s message in full here

Pope Video – Violence against Women

With the arrival of February and the approach of Ash Wednesday and Lent, Pope Francis has once again asked us to pray with him about a matter of grave concern in our contemporary world. Anxious about the pandemic, and rightly concerned about just sharing of the new life-saving vaccines with the world’s poorest, we might forget this continuing epidemic, of violence against women, to which there has so far been no effective inoculation. Now the Pope asks us to become, no less, the solution – by taking this concern into our own prayers and hearts this month. A desire for repentance could be among our Lenten prayers. And the powerful creative imagery of this month’s Video will help us in this heartfelt desire, with the Pope.

https://thepopevideo.org/

Survey: Air Pollution in Birmingham

News from Sustrans, the national transport charity

We are providing information for Birmingham City Council with regard to air pollution in the city. We are currently working with communities across Birmingham to raise awareness of air pollution and its health risks. 
We have produced a survey for faith groups across Birmingham to gain an idea of people’s travel habits. This survey is also a chance for people to have their say about how air pollution affects them, changes they would like to see and their thoughts on any measures taken.

Everyone who fills in the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win a free bike. The closing date is May 31.

Complete survey

In addition to the survey we are also offering free training sessions to faith and community groups in Birmingham. These sessions cover types of air pollution, where they come from and the health problems associated with them.

One hour sessions can be delivered to parishioners over Zoom or Teams. They are relatively informal, and have been well received so far.
If you are interested please contact Sylvia Barnett, who runs the free training sessions, via email: sylvia.barnett@sustrans.org.uk

Sustrans: 10 things you can do to help reduce air pollution today

Brum Breathe

The Answered Prayer Challenge

The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer is a national landmark opening in 2022 near Birmingham. They are working on a significant social media campaign from the end of January.

The Answered Prayer Challenge is a campaign which hopes to flood social media with good news stories between January 25th and February 25th 2021, to show the world that Jesus is alive, He listens and He answers our prayers.

Do you believe in answered prayer?

Have you ever cried out to Jesus, and He answered?

If yes, then we need you!

Justin Brierley from Premier Christian Radio explains.

Answered Prayer Challenge

Death of Rector of Oscott College

An announcement from Archbishop Bernard Longley:

“It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that Canon Giles Goward, the Rector of St Mary’s College Oscott, died peacefully yesterday afternoon (Thurs) in the Seminary after a brief illness.”Please pray now for the happy repose of his soul, as well as for the intentions of his family and friends, together with Fr Paul Keane and all the Seminary community at Oscott.

“Fr Paul has agreed to serve the seminary as Acting Rector for the time to come and I am very grateful to him for his readiness to take up this responsibility, as well as for all the support that he and the staff have given to Canon Giles in recent weeks.”

In due course information will be made available about the funeral arrangements for Canon Giles.

Canon Giles was ordained at St Chad’s Cathedral 14 July 1995. He served as Assistant Priest at Holy Trinity, Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1995 to 1996. He was then appointed as Archbishop’s Secretary from 1996 to 2000;  Parish Priest at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Worcester from 2000-2005;  Parish Priest Our Lady and St Anne Caversham 2005-2013;  Pastoral Director, Formation Tutor and Director for the Permanent Deacon Programme at St Mary’s College from 2013 to 2020. He was appointed as Rector of St Mary’s on 28 June last year.

Canon Giles appointed as Rector

Cardinal prays for the dead and grieving as UK records hit 100,000 covid deaths

News from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
 

On the day government figures recorded 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said:

“A day of great sadness all over the land. So many people, families, communities, remembering those who have died in these terrible months of the pandemic. Each one is mourned. Each one is to be prayed for.

“This is our instinct, our faith, our practice. Our prayer is rooted in the faith that, in death, life is changed, not ended, for the promise of eternal life opens the door of hope even in our darkest moments.

“I pray for each and everyone, those who have died, those who mourn, those who serve.

“Please, please, join me in prayer.”

New Lectionary in production

For a number of years the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have been considering the publication of a new edition of the Lectionary to replace that originally published in the year 1969 (second edition 1981).

After consultation with a number of English-speaking Conferences of Bishops, the Bishops of England and Wales studied the translation of the Catholic Edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible produced by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. From this text they have produced a Lectionary for the Church in India which has received ‘confirmatio’ by the Holy See.

The English Standard Version: Catholic Edition is seen as fulfilling the qualities the Church seeks when considering a translation of scripture namely:

  • The evaluation and use of source material;
  • Accuracy of translation which conveys the meaning of the biblical authors;
  • Dignity and accessibility of language needed for a worthy proclamation of the Word of God.

The Bishops of England and Wales agreed in November 2018 that this text should be the basis for the new edition of the Lectionary to be used in their territory.

Significant elements of the Lectionary are contained in the psalms which are used in response to the readings. Noticeable work has recently been concluded on the revision of the Grail Psalms. This revision sought to reflect developments in the understanding of the texts, avoiding paraphrase whilst maintaining the poetry and rhythm of the psalter.

The text was finalised last year and published by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops under the title of Abbey Psalms and Canticles. This volume will form not just the text for the psalms and canticles in the Lectionary but also future liturgical books, such as the Liturgy of the Hours.

The Process

Since the beginning of 2020, the Department of Christian Life and Worship of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has been preparing the text of the new Lectionary using the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition, together with the Abbey Psalms and Canticles.

As the work has progressed, the bishops have received completed sections every two weeks for their review and comment. The first of these were the texts for Sundays and Solemnities of Advent and Christmas.

The Bishops Conference of Scotland announced in July 2020 that they had also chosen the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition for the Lectionary. Since then, they have made an invaluable contribution to the comments and review of the text and enhanced the work of the Editorial Committee.

The Bishops of England and Wales received the first completed volume of the Lectionary at their Plenary meeting in November 2020. This volume consists of Sundays, Solemnities and Feasts of the Lord.

Many bishops have spoken of their gratitude for the work undertaken in producing the translation. Work is continuing on the second volume and the text of the Weekdays in Ordinary Time will be presented to the bishops at their Spring Plenary meeting in April 2021.

A Gift to the Church

Archbishop George Stack, Chair of the Department of Christian Life and Worship, said:

“The work of a new Edition of the Lectionary will be a gift to the Church in England and Wales. It will deepen the understanding and love of the scriptures by the People of God. In the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, it is indispensable that the Word of God ‘be ever more fully understood at the heart of every ecclesial activity’” (Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini).

Sunday of the Word of God
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
24 January 2021

Lectionary FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on the new Lectionary.

What is a Catholic edition of the Bible?

There are a number of characteristics of a Catholic edition:

  • It includes the deuterocanonical books. These are texts in the Old Testament where there is an ancient Greek Jewish source but not a Hebrew one. These include Tobit, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch. They have always been accepted by the Catholic Church as part of the Canon of Scripture.
  • The translation reflects a Catholic understanding of scripture
  • The translation has received an imprimatur from a Bishops’ Conference
  • There should be study notes to assist the reader.

What is the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition?

The English Standard Version is the latest in a series of English translations which go back to the 16th Century. These translations have all been based on a ‘word for word’ principle. The ESV is directly based on the Revised Standard Version and it is suggested that c. 6% of the text has been revised. Changes were made to modernise the language and reflect the latest scholarship. The publisher Crossway emphasizes ‘word-for-word’ accuracy, literary excellence, and depth of meaning. Work on the Catholic Edition was done by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in collaboration with Crossway.

What is the Abbey Psalms and Canticles?

The Grail Psalms have been part of Liturgy in English since before the Second Vatican Council. They are used in both the Lectionary and the Divine Office.

In 2008 a revision of the text was undertaken by the monks of Conception Abbey, Missouri. It sought to bring the latest scholarly understanding of the text and to review the text where the English was essentially a paraphrase of the Hebrew. This text was approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2010. A further revision in the light of use was prepared and approved both by USCCB and CBCEW, and has received the confirmatio of the Holy See. This text is now owned by USCCB who have renamed it Abbey Psalms and Canticles both in recognition of the work of Conception Abbey and also so that there was clarity about the edition being used. This text will be used in the Lectionary and in subsequent liturgical books, such as the Liturgy of the Hours.

How is the Lectionary being prepared?

The Lectionary is a liturgical book. Its basis, therefore, is a Latin editio typica which provides the common text used by the whole Church. Unlike other liturgical books where there is a text to be translated the Ordo Lectionum Missae (OLM). For each reading there is a scripture reference, the heading and the incipit (how the reading begins) in Latin, for the psalms the reference for the verses and the text of the response, similarly for the Gospel Acclamation. All of these texts in Latin are to be translated, though usually they are drawn from the scriptural text.

The initial task is therefore to compile, edit and layout the readings etc. With reference to OLM drawing the readings from the ESV and the psalms from the APC. This editorial work will throw up some issues of translation or meaning. For example in a few cases where the reading begins makes sense in the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible which is OLM’s reference point) but not in the ESV – perhaps it is mid-sentence and so part of the preceding verse might be added. These editorial issues are reviewed by the Editorial Group, appointed by the Department for Christian Life and Worship.

The whole text has been divided into about 25 sections and a section is sent out to bishops for review and comment every two weeks. The first to be sent out, Spring 2020, was Sundays and Solemnities of Advent and Christmas. The comments received are reviewed by the Editorial Group.
Once a group of sections has been completed it is compiled into a single text. The first was Sundays, Solemnities and Feasts of the Lord. It was reviewed at the November 2020 Plenary of the Bishops’ Conference and received an initial vote. The second will be Weekdays which will be presented at the Spring 2020 Plenary.

Are there changes to the readings?

This is a new publication of the Lectionary using different scripture translations — the content remains the same.

What is new?

There will be provision for Saints who have been inserted into the Universal Calendar since the last Lectionary published in 1981. There will also be the readings for the National Calendars. In addition, some of the revised liturgical rites, such as Marriage, have additional readings.

Will the text be mandatory?

It is normal practice in the Roman Rite that there is only a single edition of a liturgical text in use in a particular territory. So in the same way as only the third edition of the Roman Missal (2010) may be used in the celebration of Mass (in the Ordinary Form); the same will be true for the Lectionary.

Who will be publishing the Lectionary?

The Catholic Truth Society have been appointed publishers for the Lectionary. They are working closely with the bishops to ensure that the published volumes are worthy, clear in page layout, sturdy and reflect the daily needs of the liturgy.

When will the Lectionary published?

It is expected that the bishops will complete their approval process in Autumn 2021. The text will then need to be reviewed by the Holy See and others.

The earliest date for publication would therefore be in 2022.

It will be important that People’s Missals and other ancillary material are available at the time of publication.

How many volumes?

The current Lectionary (1981) is in 3 volumes. One significant change in the layout is that all the readings will be given in sense lines as an assistance to the reader. This is recommended in the Introduction to the Lectionary and is common to most recent publications of the Lectionary. The effect is that readings do require more space and this means more pages. It has not yet been decided how many volumes will be published. It is recognised that they need to be manageable and not too large, the contents to be clear and to avoid too much repetition of texts.

Is there a revision of the Liturgy of the Hours as well?

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is responsible for translating the Latin liturgical texts for the English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences. It was approached by USCCB to assist in a new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours. Broadly this work can be divided into 3 areas: Psalms and Canticles; Scripture and scripture based texts; other texts. The Abbey Psalms and Canticles will provided the first area. Other texts are being translated by ICEL — these include the hymns, many of which have not been available before, and the intercessions. The USCCB is using their own scripture version as the basis of readings and texts. As this version is not shared by other Conferences it is likely that an alternative will be considered. This vast project has been in progress for a number of years with the Bishops of England and Wales receiving, commenting and voting on the material which has been prepared by ICEL. There is not currently an estimated date for publication.

After consultation with a number of English-speaking Conferences of Bishops, the Bishops of England and Wales studied the translation of the Catholic Edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible produced by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. From this text they have produced a Lectionary for the Church in India which has received ‘confirmatio’ by the Holy See.

The English Standard Version: Catholic Edition is seen as fulfilling the qualities the Church seeks when considering a translation of scripture namely:

  • The evaluation and use of source material;
  • Accuracy of translation which conveys the meaning of the biblical authors;
  • Dignity and accessibility of language needed for a worthy proclamation of the Word of God.

The Bishops of England and Wales agreed in November 2018 that this text should be the basis for the new edition of the Lectionary to be used in their territory.

Significant elements of the Lectionary are contained in the psalms which are used in response to the readings. Noticeable work has recently been concluded on the revision of the Grail Psalms. This revision sought to reflect developments in the understanding of the texts, avoiding paraphrase whilst maintaining the poetry and rhythm of the psalter.

The text was finalised last year and published by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops under the title of Abbey Psalms and Canticles. This volume will form not just the text for the psalms and canticles in the Lectionary but also future liturgical books, such as the Liturgy of the Hours.

The Process

Since the beginning of 2020, the Department of Christian Life and Worship of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has been preparing the text of the new Lectionary using the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition, together with the Abbey Psalms and Canticles.

As the work has progressed, the bishops have received completed sections every two weeks for their review and comment. The first of these were the texts for Sundays and Solemnities of Advent and Christmas.

The Bishops Conference of Scotland announced in July 2020 that they had also chosen the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition for the Lectionary. Since then, they have made an invaluable contribution to the comments and review of the text and enhanced the work of the Editorial Committee.

The Bishops of England and Wales received the first completed volume of the Lectionary at their Plenary meeting in November 2020. This volume consists of Sundays, Solemnities and Feasts of the Lord.

Many bishops have spoken of their gratitude for the work undertaken in producing the translation. Work is continuing on the second volume and the text of the Weekdays in Ordinary Time will be presented to the bishops at their Spring Plenary meeting in April 2021.

A Gift to the Church

Archbishop George Stack, Chair of the Department of Christian Life and Worship, said:

“The work of a new Edition of the Lectionary will be a gift to the Church in England and Wales. It will deepen the understanding and love of the scriptures by the People of God. In the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, it is indispensable that the Word of God ‘be ever more fully understood at the heart of every ecclesial activity’” (Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini).

Sunday of the Word of God
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
24 January 2021

Lectionary FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on the new Lectionary.

What is a Catholic edition of the Bible?

There are a number of characteristics of a Catholic edition:

  • It includes the deuterocanonical books. These are texts in the Old Testament where there is an ancient Greek Jewish source but not a Hebrew one. These include Tobit, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch. They have always been accepted by the Catholic Church as part of the Canon of Scripture.
  • The translation reflects a Catholic understanding of scripture
  • The translation has received an imprimatur from a Bishops’ Conference
  • There should be study notes to assist the reader.

What is the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition?

The English Standard Version is the latest in a series of English translations which go back to the 16th Century. These translations have all been based on a ‘word for word’ principle. The ESV is directly based on the Revised Standard Version and it is suggested that c. 6% of the text has been revised. Changes were made to modernise the language and reflect the latest scholarship. The publisher Crossway emphasizes ‘word-for-word’ accuracy, literary excellence, and depth of meaning. Work on the Catholic Edition was done by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in collaboration with Crossway.

What is the Abbey Psalms and Canticles?

The Grail Psalms have been part of Liturgy in English since before the Second Vatican Council. They are used in both the Lectionary and the Divine Office.

In 2008 a revision of the text was undertaken by the monks of Conception Abbey, Missouri. It sought to bring the latest scholarly understanding of the text and to review the text where the English was essentially a paraphrase of the Hebrew. This text was approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2010. A further revision in the light of use was prepared and approved both by USCCB and CBCEW, and has received the confirmatio of the Holy See. This text is now owned by USCCB who have renamed it Abbey Psalms and Canticles both in recognition of the work of Conception Abbey and also so that there was clarity about the edition being used. This text will be used in the Lectionary and in subsequent liturgical books, such as the Liturgy of the Hours.

How is the Lectionary being prepared?

The Lectionary is a liturgical book. Its basis, therefore, is a Latin editio typica which provides the common text used by the whole Church. Unlike other liturgical books where there is a text to be translated the Ordo Lectionum Missae (OLM). For each reading there is a scripture reference, the heading and the incipit (how the reading begins) in Latin, for the psalms the reference for the verses and the text of the response, similarly for the Gospel Acclamation. All of these texts in Latin are to be translated, though usually they are drawn from the scriptural text.

The initial task is therefore to compile, edit and layout the readings etc. With reference to OLM drawing the readings from the ESV and the psalms from the APC. This editorial work will throw up some issues of translation or meaning. For example in a few cases where the reading begins makes sense in the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible which is OLM’s reference point) but not in the ESV – perhaps it is mid-sentence and so part of the preceding verse might be added. These editorial issues are reviewed by the Editorial Group, appointed by the Department for Christian Life and Worship.

The whole text has been divided into about 25 sections and a section is sent out to bishops for review and comment every two weeks. The first to be sent out, Spring 2020, was Sundays and Solemnities of Advent and Christmas. The comments received are reviewed by the Editorial Group.
Once a group of sections has been completed it is compiled into a single text. The first was Sundays, Solemnities and Feasts of the Lord. It was reviewed at the November 2020 Plenary of the Bishops’ Conference and received an initial vote. The second will be Weekdays which will be presented at the Spring 2020 Plenary.

Are there changes to the readings?

This is a new publication of the Lectionary using different scripture translations — the content remains the same.

What is new?

There will be provision for Saints who have been inserted into the Universal Calendar since the last Lectionary published in 1981. There will also be the readings for the National Calendars. In addition, some of the revised liturgical rites, such as Marriage, have additional readings.

Will the text be mandatory?

It is normal practice in the Roman Rite that there is only a single edition of a liturgical text in use in a particular territory. So in the same way as only the third edition of the Roman Missal (2010) may be used in the celebration of Mass (in the Ordinary Form); the same will be true for the Lectionary.

Who will be publishing the Lectionary?

The Catholic Truth Society have been appointed publishers for the Lectionary. They are working closely with the bishops to ensure that the published volumes are worthy, clear in page layout, sturdy and reflect the daily needs of the liturgy.

When will the Lectionary published?

It is expected that the bishops will complete their approval process in Autumn 2021. The text will then need to be reviewed by the Holy See and others.

The earliest date for publication would therefore be in 2022.

It will be important that People’s Missals and other ancillary material are available at the time of publication.

How many volumes?

The current Lectionary (1981) is in 3 volumes. One significant change in the layout is that all the readings will be given in sense lines as an assistance to the reader. This is recommended in the Introduction to the Lectionary and is common to most recent publications of the Lectionary. The effect is that readings do require more space and this means more pages. It has not yet been decided how many volumes will be published. It is recognised that they need to be manageable and not too large, the contents to be clear and to avoid too much repetition of texts.

Is there a revision of the Liturgy of the Hours as well?

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is responsible for translating the Latin liturgical texts for the English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences. It was approached by USCCB to assist in a new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours. Broadly this work can be divided into 3 areas: Psalms and Canticles; Scripture and scripture based texts; other texts. The Abbey Psalms and Canticles will provided the first area. Other texts are being translated by ICEL — these include the hymns, many of which have not been available before, and the intercessions. The USCCB is using their own scripture version as the basis of readings and texts. As this version is not shared by other Conferences it is likely that an alternative will be considered. This vast project has been in progress for a number of years with the Bishops of England and Wales receiving, commenting and voting on the material which has been prepared by ICEL. There is not currently an estimated date for publication.

cbcew.org.uk/new-lectionary…

#pray24brum goes ahead online this Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd January

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
18th to 25th January 2021

#pray24brum is going ahead this Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd January. It will, of necessity, be entirely online, on the Birmingham Churches Together Facebook Page and Twitter Feed

We are delighted that so many groups have signed up to lead us in a time of prayer, and are hoping that the new format will help us reach new audiences too. 

Please do pray with us and share this invitation widely among your families and friends, especially those who belong to different Christian traditions to encourage others to join us in praying in and for the city and region! The schedule of led prayers is available here

© Copyright St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham 2010 - 2014