Dear Brothers & Sisters,

WE WERE BLESSED yesterday when our First Communion children were able to receive the body of Christ. May God bless them & all their families, especially parents who remain the first teachers of their children in the pathway of faith.

WE SHALL BE BLESSED AGAIN next Sunday when Bishop David Evans confirms seven of our children (who were unable to join their peers in July). Bishop David will confirm at 9.00, celebrate a Jubilee Mass at 11.00 (40 yrs of SCJ presence at Olton)and be with us at 6.00 pm too. He will outline some of the possibilities for future  development of The Friary Campus.

I WAS BLESSED LAST MONTH when after two years I was able to see my parents and brothers and sisters once more in Kerala. India still suffers from the ravages of coronavirus, though the picture varies from state to state. Most of Kerala is still in strict lockdown. But neighboring Karnataka where we have communities in Mangalore & Bangalore is a little freer. Fr Arul (head of our Indian Vicariate) will be heading up to Assam shortly to visit our mission in Guwahati Diocese.

CHRISTIAN HOSPITALS IN INDIA play an important role in the fight against the pandemic, and their facilities are fully stretched caring for covid patients, testing and vaccinating, and educating.

IT IS A BLESSING TO BE BACK safely in Olton now, and I give thanks to God for all the devoted parishioners and members of my community who looked after things while I was away.

OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM is honoured on Friday and I am told that this shrine goes back nearly 1,000 years. May Mother Mary of Walsingham watch over the church in England this week, especially all my brothers & sisters in The Friary parish.

Fr.Biju Antony SCJ      Parish Priest

SCJ NEWS 

INDIA: MANGALORE Fr. Pascal spoke to us from Mangalore last week where he is in charge of our Formation Community. He tells us that they are about to welcome 16 new recruits from different parts of India. 8 from Assam; 3 from Orissa, 2 from Andhra Pradesh, 2 from Tamil Nādu and 1 from Mangalore. Each state has its own language, and in the case of Assam, each tribe too. Hindi is used as a common language in the north but English more in the south. In Mangalore we have a system of volunteer teacher helpers who school our brothers in English, a system set up years ago by Fr Biju. In Assam we run three schools for two local Dioceses (Guwahati & Diphu) as well as our own fledging Sacred Heart School at Pramila founded by Fr Pascal.

THE INDIAN NOVICES will again do Novitiate year in Bangalore this time as the planned international Novitiate in Bethlehem has been stymied once more by the pandemic.

ARGENTINA: One of our recent recruits in Argentina Bro. Santiago Balduzzi is a qualified paediatrics specialist. Determined that his time in Formation should make a difference at grassroots level he opted to start a practical project in a poor rural northwestern district of Argentina. Local medical services are poor and parents & children often have to travel long distances for appointments paying fees they cannot afford.

“At first, I faced so many bureaucratic obstacles I almost gave up the idea. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, everything moved forward to enable us to serve different communities. We started small, with little simple things, like a scale, a blood pressure monitor and a stethoscope, serving in the chapels or rural halls, until now we have a well equipped clinic in St. Isidore the Farmer Parish. Since then the requests have multiplied to go and help other towns ……………”

MARRIAGE MATTERS: TWENTY FIFTH SUNDAY Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 James 3:16-4:3 Mark 9:30-37 The scriptures show the struggle between peacemakers and those driven by jealousy and selfish ambition - is that us? Together, we can regulate what we do as a couple, knowing each other so intimately. Our consciences can be reinforced if we are prepared to be open & honest with each other. What do we choose?

AT THE PARISH COUNCIL on Wednesday It was confirmed that our anti-covid safety measures should continue:

* Scan NHS QR code, or give your details so that we can ensure contact tracing.  

* Wear a face mask in church to slow the spread of the virus.

* Keep your distance and respect parishioners’ personal space when unsure.

* If not feeling well please take a lateral flow test pre- coming to the Friary.

We are legally entitled to require people to follow our rules on church premises.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED: especially Cathleen Joyce and Robert Hardy.  May they rest in peace. Amen

THANK YOU TO OUR CLEANERS  who unseen keep our church tidy during the year: Rota

Week beginning September 19     Group B

Week beginning September 26    Group C

THANKS ALSO TO OUR STEWARDS - who make it possible for the church to open. Their work is still much needed.

 ANNUAL SPONSORED WALK for SCJ Missions next Saturday 25 Sept at midday. * Simple Canalside walk from Kingswood boat basin to Hockley Heath and back * time for a picnic on return to base. * Meet at midday at the boat basin near Lapworth where Stratford-Birmingham Canal meets the Grand Union Canal. * Forms, & route now available. Round trip is 5 miles. Shorter route possible  * Please will those who took pledge envelopes last week return them along with their donations & contact details

ST PETER'S SCHOOL OPENING EVENINGS: Parents of children in Y6 are cordially invited to visit St Peter’s.  Guided tours to run from Monday 20th Sept to Thursday 23rd Sept by appointment only. Please see website: www.st-peters.solihull.sch.uk

WELCOME TRO OUR FIRST COMMUNICANTS this weekends and to our Confirmation children next weekend. Our children always look very smart in their new outfits on these occasions. Perhaps it is a visible reminder of the words of St. Paul to the Colossians: ‘Over all these things, be clothed with love’ There can be no better advert for the gospel than this.

DAY FOR CATECHISTS AT ST AMBROSE BARLOW September 25 10.00 am-4.00pm. A day to renew & inspire organised by Mgr McHugh Input from Jan Nowotnik on a catechist’s vocation; Margaret Wickware on parents & children; Amanda Orchard on How to get training. Cost £20 but parish pays half. Contact: mgrmchugh@icloud.com

WANT TO READ THE SCRIPTURES but don’t know where to start? This free guidance could be for you: THE BIBLE TIMELINE  Understand the Bible from start to finish, the Old and New Testament, with this FREE OF CHARGE, worldwide-famous course delivered online LIVE by Mauro Iannicelli. Starts Wed 29th September 2021. Eight Wednesday sessions, @7pm. Info & Registration: www.comeandsee.org

PIETY STALL : our church stall for holy pictures cards medals & rosaries has reopened in the narthex. Easily overlooked if you exit by the side door, but there is nothing to stop anyone going round and re-entering by the narthex. In a few weeks they will be stocking items for Christmas including  cards in support of Friends of the Holy Land.

THE PARISH HALL is Open for organised groups like Zumba, Slimmers & Kung Fu who take responsibility for sanitising etc,, We are holding fire on one-off social events till we receive  guidance from the Diocese. The pandemic is not over yet.

Contactless Payments : ‘Dona’ Card payment machine is now  in the Narthex. Initially for offertory giving, it will soon  be live for retiring collections & others. Parish website also has a card payment link for Offertory giving & payments. Offertory giving by card may also be gift aided for UK taxpayers. 0121 705 1737

Covid Faith Survey: Our Archbishop has invited us to take part in a survey: How has Covid impacted my faith? https://forms.rcaos.org.uk/covid-19-survey-form/

COVID-19 Updates

IMPORTANT:

Can parishioners please check the COVID-19 page on the parish website weekly going forward as guidance will change quickly over the next few months. Thank you.

https://www.oltonfriary.org.uk/covid19

GIFT AID:  Please inform the Parish Gift Aid Organisor of any changes to address or tax situation so accurate records may be kept. If you wish to join the Gift Aid Scheme, please contact Parish Office 0121 706 0505

DIOCESAN DIRECTORIES are also available. Just a few still left at £3.

PLEASE HELP US WITH TRACK & TRACE: To keep church open for mass we need people to check in each time. Most use smartphone. For those doing it manually we need name & address & phone no. clearly noted. Please help us keep church open & safe!

OLTON FRIARY CONTACT TRACING UPDATED for National Lockdown

*  As per Government rules we observe Contact Tracing with aid of NHS COVID-19 smartphone app. Info & app download on https://covid19.nhs.uk/

*  NEW: Each individual from a single household must register with their own NHS COVID-19 smartphone app or else register using the parish form as follows: Olton Friary Contact Tracing Form  This is because an instruction to isolate from the app is delivered to an individual and therefore cannot be used collectively for a household.

*  The method? Simply scan a QR code by smartphone on every visit to church.

*  Not everybody has a smart phone so an online form will also be provided.

*  No internet or computer? A simple paper form will suffice. You can pick up a few for future visits.

*  More info including link to the form at https://www.oltonfriary.org.uk/covid19

*  We are grateful to Martin Hayden who kindly agreed to act as Contact Tracer for the parish in liaison with the NHS.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.