Dear Brothers & Sisters,

May our Lord keep you safe this week as the pandemic safety rules are tightened and Covid cases rise again in Solihull.

May our Lord protect our healthcare workers as they continue to serve us largely without publicity or Thursday night applause. Many people in our parish are among these quiet heroes and many more are grateful for their loving care and service.

May Our Lord bless our teachers who devotedly manage a complicated system of start times, sanitising  and ‘bubbles’ in order to keep our children safe. Most children are happy to be back at school now. May Our Lord bless and protect them all and keep them free from harm.

May Our Lord bless all our stewards who act in the name of the parish as good shepherds to ensure the safety of everyone at our masses both indoors and outside. People can show their appreciation by respectfully following all their instructions, as they are give in my name.

May Our Lord bless those in our parish who serve the sick & housebound in simple unobtrusive ways by shopping… telephoning .. Taking to hospital appointments .. Calling relatives etc..

May Our Lord bless those who work to support local foodbanks and become a voice for the voiceless and increasing numbers of people in distress.

May our Lord bless us all as we try to stay faithful to his Word and live the good news in stressful times doing our humble best to seek his will and carry it out.

May Our Mother Mary whose feast we keep on Tuesday watch over us and keep us free from harm this week.

             Fr.Biju Antony      Parish Priest

SCJ NEWS:  

France: We lost two ‘old soldiers’ at Betharram last week. Fr.Pierre Salla (Sept 4) spent  over 40 years as a missionary in Thailand, learning not only Thai but Karen and toiling in the Karen tribal villages. Failing health forced his return to the Vicariate of France-Spain where first he joined the Basque-speaking Community of Saint-Palais and then the community of the Maison Neuve in Betharram. His strong faith and his simple life offered to the Lord of the harvest give a true testimony of hope.

Fr.Jean Lambert (Sept 8) was a different kind of missionary, a scripture scholar who taught at the seminary in Dax where St.Michael himself once studied, and an expert on Sacred Sites in the Holy Land. He often guided pilgrim groups in the Holy Land. May he rest in peace.

Coronavirus continued ….

India seems to still have a large number of cases and our SCJ communities and those they serve still have serious restrictions in movement.

Thailand has fared much better but restrictions are still in place and masks are obligatory in public. Though much of our pastoral work is in the mountain villages of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai districts where transmission of infection seems less prevalent.

England after a recent upsurge of Covid infections in the UK and the governments announcement of a ban on meetings of more than six people our communities were a little confused as to the implications for the church. However the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stated on Thursday that the new rules do not apply to gatherings for worship as long as people are following the distancing and sanitising rules

MARRIAGE MATTERS  (Eccles 27:30-28:7 Rom 14:7-9 Matt 18: 21- 35)  The call to forgive How can I love my spouse and bring life? We are called to set aside resentment, to listen gently to our beloved seeking understanding. In today’s gospel the servant who is forgiven refuses to forgive the man who owes him. God forgives us everything, but are we willing to let go of hurts we have experienced via our spouse?

Meanwhile ...pray for those who were to marry this month but had to postpone..

18th Sept    Craig and Clare

26th Sept    Francis and Leah

SIX AND OUT?  New government safety rules that ban all gatherings of more than six people have been rather confusing for churches.  Thankfully the Church of England took a lead in seeking clarification, and on Thursday the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced that he had received assurances from the government that these rules did not apply to church worship. We can continue as before.

However at The Friary we must still be vigilant and carefully follow the distance and sanitising rules, as infections are on the increase in Solihull & Birmingham.

We hope to continue with outdoor mass as long as the weather allows but accept that an Autumn frost may soon force us inside where rules are more restrictive.

Masks are necessary now both inside and outside, for everyone’s sake.

DESIGNER MASKS 3 ply on sale after each mass on Sunday at 2 for £5.  Materials & workmanship freely given.  So all monies go to parish funds

OVER THE RAINBOW…..   Our schools have restarted now after a great planning & prep opearation. The Rainbow programme at OLC is designed to help children make good some of the lost ground of the last six months. May God bless all their hard work these days.

Holy Communion for the housebound:  Special Ministers can’t presently do their weekly rounds. But they may take communion to one of their own family.

Non-ministers may be commissioned for their own family. Please call Fr.Biju on 0121 706 0505 if you would like to do this.

LIVE-STREAMING: Many parishioners are still unable to come to church so we are moving towards a system of live-streaming for some services especially for funerals or baptisms where a cap on numbers is imposed. But to set up a good system is expensive at a time when parish income has seriously dipped.

The cost will be around £4½k for the first year with £1k p.a. thereafter. Generous donors have already given £1.3k and we seek more kind people to fund the rest. For the sake of those who cannot come to church please be generous.

PIETY STALL: We had plans to re-open the piety stall soon but unfortunately Diocesan safety instructions are that it must stay closed due to Coronavirus. But some Items may still be bought by phone. Call the parish office.  We hope to offer items for sale on our website soon. More details to follow.

A BIG Thanks from Fr.Austin to all who helped mark his birthday last Friday…. For beautiful cards & generous gifts & the love and appreciation shown. He is most grateful, and sends prayerful thanks to all.

STRATFORD ALMSHOUSE CHARITY  at  St Josephs Homestead seek 2 females age 55+. C.O. William Clemmey: ‘Our trust deeds bid us seek a number of Catholics.’ If you or an acquaintance are interested, contact Doug Evans on grants@municharities.org.uk, 07539 459210 or via https://www.municipal-charities.org.uk/

ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN COUNSELLORS (ACC) COVID-19 CRISIS Support Service has been set up to aid people fielding painful feelings thoughts & circumstances because:

• They work in an NHS setting (at any level) and are impacted by caring for people who have C-19, or

• They have been bereaved, whether due to C-19 or another reason.

We offer up to 10 counselling sessions on a no-fee basis, either on-line or by phone.  To find out more please see ACC website www.acc-uk.org or ring 024 7644 9694.

PARISH GROUPS—Please check your information posted on the Parish website.  Any updates/corrections/alterations, please email the parish office.

SOLIHULL/HEARTLANDS HOSPITAL Please ask hospital Switchboard for on-call Catholic Priest 0121 424 2000, & they will  call the duty Priest. Catholic Chaplain at Solihull & Heartlands is Fr Roger Raven. Data Protection law means visit from  priest must be actively sought. He doesn't have access to patient files.

CAR PARK—Please be considerate when parking/manoeuvring your car and please note the disabled parking bays are for the use of those with disabled badges, there is no parking in either the Community and Staff designated areas and the front & rear of The Friary Residential block.  When parking on a Sunday, please do not park on or drive over the grass adjacent to the gate leading into the graveyard.  Only authorised cars to park at other times, by arrangement with the Parish Priest.

HALL BOOKINGS from external groups, particularly regular users are a useful income toward the upkeep of the Church. If access is needed to hall or kitchen during these times, please liaise with the Parish office or Community first.

CREMATION PLOTS (newer area) Following previous notes re- borders & stones barred for H&S danger to graveyard volunteers; please also note that plots are set out in vertical strips, in plots for two.  So borders & stones added around memorial tablets are encroaching on the space of a loved one, and should be removed.

GOING TO HOSPITAL -Please let your parish priest know if you’re going into hospital. On admission ask for the Catholic chaplain as Chaplains no longer receive names of Catholic patients unless they opt in.

HYMN BOOKS - Please take good care of our hymn books & remember to pray for the person named inside the front cover. Strangely a few books do go missing each year so please check your home & car and return any stray books a.s.a.p. to Church. 

SECURITY NOTICE - Please ensure Friary doors are kept closed & locked when necessary.  If you attend a meeting please make sure that the last one out has secured the outside doors.  The front door should not be left on the hook unattended.  Besides Church security, the Friary is home to priests & brothers who need to know they are safe.

VISITORS – If you wish you can gift aid your offertory donation. White visitor envelopes available in narthex.

CHARITY COLLECTION BOXES for SVP and St Basil’s charities are built into the left and right hand sides, at the back of the Church.  Built-in boxes can be found in the narthex for St Anthony’s bread (used to help the poor in the local area) and Holy Souls (used for Mass intentions for Holy Souls).

HOUSEBLESSING/HOUSEMASS If you’d like your house blessed or a house Mass this summer esp. if housebound or for special occasion, please arrange with Fr Biju.

FLOODLIGHT DEDICATION—You are able to have the Church floodlit in memory of someone.  A suggested donation is £10 a week, the name of the person in whose memory it is in would appear in the newsletter.  Forms are available in  narthex, or from parish office.

ST PEREGRINE DEVOTIONS: A time to offer prayer for anyone who is sick and needs help and consolation, especially someone suffering from cancer. The St.Peregrine Prayer Group has met here at the Friary over the last few years to support our brothers and sisters who suffer from illness. We meet every last Friday each month at 2.30 pm in the Day Chapel and offer our prayers and petitions to St Peregrine. St. Peregrine  lived in 14th Cent Italy and was cured of cancer after a night of prayer before an image of Christ crucified.  You will be most welcome to join us as we pray together.  In true Catholic tradition we always finish with tea and a chat.

THE SICK OF OUR PARISH - If your name or the name of a friend or relative was on the parish list of prayers for the sick, and you would like that name to remain on the list, would you please contact the Parish Office on 0121 706 0505.  Data protection law obliges us to ensure that you or your friend or family member has consented to being on the list, as it can be seen by many, (e.g. church notice board) and is available for anyone to pick up.  We make great efforts to ensure the church abides by new data protection and privacy law.

VISITORS - If you wish to gift aid your offertory donation, white visitor envelopes are available in the narthex.

VEHICLE CRIME ALERT - The neighbourhood Policing Team would like to draw your attention to an increase in vehicle crime in the area.  5 crime reduction tips—ALWAYS close the windows and doors in your vehicle, DON'T leave any valuables on display and where possible do not leave ANY valuables in the vehicle such as Satnavs, Mobile Phones, Wallets, Purses, Bags or iPods, ENSURE your registration plates are fixed using 'anti tamper screws', KEEP your car keys in a safe place in your house.

SAFEGUARDING - In this parish there have been strict guidelines in place for several years for the protection of children and vulnerable persons.  Anyone with a concern about safeguarding issues should ring the Diocesan Safeguarding Office on  0121 230 6240.

AFTER MASS COFFEE DURING THE WEEK - Would parishioners kindly remember to use the Day Chapel entrance to access the lounge for refreshments if Mass has taken place in the Church?  Use the intercom for enquires to the Parish office or if you have mobility difficulties.

KEEP YOUR VALUABLES SAFE - Please do not leave bags unattended in Church, even at Communion time.  Bags and valuables should not be left on display in cars as this can present a target for thieves.

OPEN HOUSE GROUP - Are you new to the Parish and aged 30+? Do you want to get more involved in Parish Life, but don't know where to start? The Open House Group has recently celebrated its tenth anniversary and its members are involved in various parish activities such as Traidcraft, Christian Aid, the Fast Supper, Welcome and Coffee Bar rotas.  We also have regular meetings in parishioners' homes for spiritual reflection and discussion of topical issues.  If you are interested in joining us please contact the Parish Office for more information.