To our beloved parishioners in the Friary Parish

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Praise the Lord once more for the generosity that so many people have shown in these strange times.

Doctors & nurses and medical staff in our parish simply quietly carried on working often at some personal danger. Thursday night’s applause from the whole nation was a deserved token of appreciation. We are not sure who heard us clapping on St. Bernard’s Rd but you may have heard the chimes of our church bell at 8.00 pm.

Much gratitude is due to our teachers & support staff who have given up their Easter break to take care of the children of key workers, & children with special needs. May God bless them all.

Praise the Lord for the Mothers & Fathers who have been Good Shepherds to their children at home, and helped neighbours with food supplies Again may God bless them in all they do.

Here at The Friary lockdown means nobody from outside (paid or voluntary) is working in the building. Our Parish Administrator Rheann Byrne is able to work from home. For the rest we run cooking & cleaning rotas for the active members of the community, & take care to look after the more frail members. Many thanks to those who have given helpful advice.

Praise the Lord for the various volunteer groups and Whatsapp groups that are springing up in the parish through which people support one other. To join The Friary Whatsapp Group please go to our website and click on Join Olton Friary WhatsApp Group

Please see our parish website for links to our Holy Week services and prayer-casts.

And may our Mother Mary watch over you all and keep you safe from all harm in this Holy Week

Fr.Biju Antony scj       Parish Priest

 

SCJ NEWS: Our Brothers & Sisters in the Betharram family are all living through  similar lockdowns in different countries.

Bethlehem has been under a strict lockdown for over a month now and much hardship is the lot of many people.

Our Novitiate was planned to begin in Bethlehem later this year with participants from 6 different countries. But like many plans people have made this year, this plan is on hold.

Sadly Palestinians are no strangers to lockdowns. In the not-too-distant past curfews imposed by the Government of Israel meant that families were confined to their houses for weeks on end.

Today all eyes are on Jerusalem as we begin this Holy Week. On Palm Sunday Jesus entered the city of King David riding on a donkey … the transport of the poor.… a tongue-in-cheek take on the trappings of power. Instead of an army of soldiers brandishing their spears, there were children waving palm branches.

On Good Friday this year we have had to cancel the children's way of the cross and any public celebration of the Lord’s Passion. But a YouTube video of the SCJ community keeping the Passion will be available at 3.00 pm.

Churches Together Olton have also had to cancel the outdoor procession of witness. But as an experiment this year we are going to try a virtual Way of the Cross. This will be streamed semi-live via St.Margaret’s parish facebook page. There will be video scenes of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem with pauses at several stations, with inputs from Fr.Biju & Fr.Austin & St.Margaret’s & Olton Baptist church. All are welcome to join Friday 11.00 am www.facebook.com/stmargaretsolton/

No need to join to facebook to watch

WEBSITE please check our website www.oltonfriary.org.uk for latest updates and information. 

JOURNEY IN FAITH Sessions postponed.

PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL (PPC) Open meeting.  New date will be advertised in due course.

EUCHARIST MINISTERS & READERS Annual Recollection to be held later this year.

LECTIO DIVINA, (praying with Scripture) which meets on  second & fourth Wednesday of the month, is cancelled until further notice, because of the Corona virus.

FOCUS ON MATTHEW  gospel reflections  on  St  Matthew by  Fr. Dries van den Akker SJ

 www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/pages/category/matthews-gospel-reflections-2020 Weekly, with paintings by Peter Clare.

CHURCH CLEANING ROTA for the week commencing 5th April,   The rota has been suspended for the time being.

MANY UK CATHOLIC DIOCESAN NEWSPAPERS are on one website (www.ChurchPaper.co.uk)

MAGNIFICAT & THE CATHOLIC HERALD:

To help follow the Mass, daily prayers, reading, etc. at home, and also keep up with weekly church news they are offering free access to Magnificat online. For those who prefer the Print Edition there is a special one-off 4-month subscription to Magnificat and/or a 3-month subscription to The Catholic Herald at greatly discounted prices to ensure that the maximum number of people can take advantage.

These can only be ordered by telephoning Margaret on 020 7448 3607 or Paul on 020 7448 3618 from Mon-Fri 9.30-5.00

Below are special prices to help people over this difficult period. Orders will need to be placed before Easter:

Magnificat 4 months April to July £14(including the Holy Week special issue)  .  Catholic Herald 3 months  £25.  

Both Catholic Herald & Magnificat £36

For free access to Magnificat online, log in at www.magnificat.com/free

VACANCY: housekeeping Assistant for Missionary Society of St Columban, Widney Manor Road, Solihull B93 9AB.

13 hrs p.w. @ £10 p.h. For more info, and an application form and to apply please email Fr Jim Fleming on jimflemingo@yahoo.co.uk or visit www.columbans.co.uk  deadline 17 April.

JUSTICE & PEACE: On the https://www.birminghamjandp.org.uk/news-and-events.html page there is a link to this month NJPN newsletter - well worth reading.

POPE FRANCIS continues to offer hope and encouragement to people throughout the world. You can easily follow this on the Vatican and other websites.

OUTSIDE CHARITABLE COLLECTIONS made at the Friary should first be agreed with the Parish Priest, Fr Biju. Monies collected should be banked through the Parish bank account. During 2019 a total of £17,994.16 was raised in our parish & paid over to different Charities. Many thanks to everyone for this generosity and to those who worked hard to raise funds.

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

PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL The names of PPC members are in the narthex and all parishioners are reminded that if they wish anything to be discussed at the PPC meetings to just approach one of the members.

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.

TINS FOR THE NEEDY- Thank you for continuing to bring tins, they are sent to ANAWIM, a women’s centre based in Balsall Heath who offer help to vulnerable women & their children around the Birmingham area.  You will find a box in the Narthex marked ‘Tins for the Needy’.

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.

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 (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.