SCJ NEWS - 

Last week all the UK SCJ communities joined for a mini retreat at Shallowford House the Lichfield Diocese Retreat Centre near Stafford. It was our 1st time at this beautiful Anglican retreat  house since our usual venue The Marist Centre near Gloucester is now closed. As always we prayed for the people of our parish especially the sick and the needy.

All catholic retreat houses are subsidised either by a Diocese, a Religious Order or a historic Trust, as sporadic retreat trade doesn't bring in the income to meet the overheads or keep up with modern H&S rules. So when the Order can no longer afford the subsidy, sadly the house closes.

We are aware that a retreat is a luxury for many people who haven't the money or the freedom to go away.  So we plan  a parish retreat for Lent 2020 at the Friary.  We will bring Fr.Eamon Mulcahy a Spiritan Father as preacher March 19-22.  All people in our parish will be invited to join. More details to follow.

ADVENT PRAYER CHART in St Francis Chapel.  Please feel welcome to write your prayer requests here.

OUR BISHOPS HAVE CHOSEN 2020 as Year of the Word of God, our chance to focus on the Bible and "The God who speaks"

To gently launch this year, at Mass today you will be offered a quote from an Advent reading. You are invited to take it home to explore, ponder and to let it soak in. It may lead you to decide to join in the new initiative for this special year, in which we hope to understand and love the scriptures a little more.

For info see: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/events/the-god-who-speaks

LECTIO DIVINA—Final meeting of 2019 is Tuesday 10th December.

COMMISSIONING OF READERS will take place on 2nd Sunday of Advent, 8th December (Bible Sunday).  Readers please report to the Sacristy, at the Mass they normally attend, at least 10 minutes before Mass commences.

ADVENT REFLECTION: Like last year we invite people to share some time on two evenings of Advent in reflective prayer in The Friary Day Chapel: Wed Dec 4 and Wed Dec 18, 7.30-8.30 pm. A peaceful break from the punishing rounds of shopping and mince pies!

WALK WITH ME Advent Prayer booklet now available in the narthex. £1

CAROL SERVICE 15th December The choirs invite anyone who enjoys singing to join for the Carol Service this year.  Doesn't mean you have to be a choir member. Just attend a few rehearsals & enjoy yourself. Interested? please see Geraldine Gnych       geraldinegnych@yahoo.co.uk

WELCOMING THE NEW BORN CHRIST to take place Wed 11 Dec in several houses around the parish at 7.30 pm.  Spend an hour with friends & neighbours reflecting through prayers & readings, as you travel through Advent preparing for the birth of Jesus.  If you can offer your home as a venue, please contact Fr Biju. A format will be given to each home to guide this precious time of prayer and reflection.

DIOCESAN DIRECTORY for a copy of the 2020 Birmingham Archdiocese Year Book Directory, please give your name to the Parish Office, cost £3.

CHURCH CLEANING ROTA for week commencing 1st December, Group D.

FRIARY PLAYERS PANTO-The Friary Players perform their annual panto over February ½ term 2020. Auditions on Thurs 12th Dec 6:30-8pm & Sat14th Dec 2-4pm. All welcome. Rehearsals begin after Christmas on Sunday afternoons. Any queries to Annette Dodds annettemairedodds@gmail.com

MANY THANKS for collection last week for Catholic Youth Service, £339.28.

200 CLUB RENEWALS—Please collect your Renewal letters for 2020 from Sacristy.  Some ‘200 Club’ numbers are available if you wish to join.  Alternatively if stuck for a Christmas gift idea, why not gift a subscription? See gift application form.

ADVENT: THE GIVING TREE—Every year we put up the Giving Tree by the baptism font and invite people to give presents for needy children, all routed via Fr. Hudson’s Care.  This year we particularly need gifts for children over 8 yrs old. The tags on the branches will indicate what is needed.  We really need to have gifts ready to collect by Tuesday 10th December so they can be delivered in time for Christmas.

JOURNEY IN FAITH (JIF) 8pm Mon 2 Dec: Advent: Time of Preparation—Carol Foster; 9 Dec: The Word Became Flesh & Pitched His Tent Amongst Us——Fr. Enrico; 16 Dec Service of Reconciliation—Church.

PRAYER GROUP will recommence in January 2020.

MARRIAGE MATTERS—First Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 2:1-5 Romans 13:11-14: Matthew 24:37-44) Walk in the light of the Lord God’s Word is clear – we can only be certain of each current moment in our day-to-day lives. To live as couples in the ‘present moment’ more often, we need to apply ourselves to today’s call from Jesus to “stay awake”.  Also St Paul tells us, “the time has come: you must wake up now”, because now is all we have. (www.twoinoneflesh.org.uk)

LOOKING AHEAD: Some Important dates

*Dec 4: Advent Prayer evening

*Dec 11: Welcoming the New-born Christ

*Dec 15 Advent Carol Service

*Dec 16: Advent penitential service

*Dec 18: Advent Prayer evening

*Dec 29:Mass for wedding jubilee couples

*Dec 31: New Year’s Eve Prayer Vigil

2020

* January 12: Mass for engaged couples

* January 16: Thanksgiving Mass for Friary transfer with Archbishop Longley

* March 19-22 Parish Retreat  

MASS OF THANKSGIVING-  special Mass of Thanksgiving for all couples who’ve kept significant wedding anniversaries in 2019 on Sunday 29th December 2019, Feast of the Holy Family, at 11.00 am. Couples with 25 yrs (silver), 30 yrs (pearl), 35 yrs (coral), 40 yrs (ruby), 45 yrs (sapphire), 50 yrs (gold), 55 yrs (emerald), 60 yrs (diamond), 70 yrs (platinum), or any couple celebrating over 55 yrs marriage!  Please call us in the office or the wedding team weddings@oltonfriary.org.uk. We hope you will be able to join us on this special day to receive a special blessing.

TABOR HOUSE CALENDAR 2020 With cold nights coming, Tabor House night shelter provides a safe place for homeless people in B’ham. To support them you can buy a beautiful 2020 calendar online at http://bit.ly/WASPSCalendar2020. At £10 good Christmas gifts. All proceeds to Tabor House.

CHURCHES TOGETHER IN OLTON ADVENT SERVICE at St Margaret's Church, Sunday 1 Dec 6.30pm. A chance to share with our fellow Christians the preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas.

HEARTLANDS HOSPITAL CHRISTMAS CAROLS Come and join ecumenical ‘carols around the wards’ Dec 16th 6.30-8.00pm. Meet at Cafe One in main entrance at 6.30. Refreshments afterwards at 8.00. City of Birmingham Brass band to support. Please let chaplains know if you are coming: ChaplaincyHGS@heartofengland.nhs.uk or ring Fr Roger Raven on 0121 424 1369

GIFT AID SCHEME—Members, please inform the Parish Office of any changes to address or tax situation in order that accurate records may be kept.  If you wish to join the Gift Aid Scheme, forms are available at the back of Church, or please contact Rheann Byrne 706 0505.

WEBSITE—  Please can Parish Groups check their details & contact the office with any changes or amendments to their info so that the website can be kept up to date? 

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 (new 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.

SOLIHULL/HEARTLANDS HOSPITAL emergencies Please ask hospital Switch-board for the on-call Catholic Priest on 0121 424 2000, they will then phone the duty Priest. The Catholic Chaplain at Solihull & Heartlands Hospital is Fr Roger Raven. Data protection law now means that a visit from a Priest must be actively requested. He has no access to patient files.

A HELPING HAND-Many thanks for your support in keeping the Church tidy each Sunday by placing your hymns books (& other sheets) back on the trolley in the narthex. Please also be sure to take your newsletter home with you!

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.

CAR PARK—Please be considerate when parking/manoeuvring your car and please note 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.

SUBMISSIONS FOR PARISH NEWSLETTER - Please forward submissions for the Parish newsletter (preferably by email to Rheann.byrne@oltonfriary.org.uk) by Wednesday for inclusion in Sunday's newsletter. 

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.