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Joseph Edwards

Congratulations to parishioner Joseph Edwards who celebrated his 90th birthday on 20th December 2015. On that day at the 10:30am Mass, Joe received the Diocesan Award ‘Ubi Caritas’, awarded by Archbishop Bernard Longley and presented by Monsignor McHugh. Children sang Happy Birthday to Joe.

Monsignor McHugh with Joe, holding his ‘Ubi Caritas’ Diocesan Award in his home

Joe has been a very popular member of our Parish since moving to Dorridge in January 1978. He has been involved in many areas of Parish life including the choir (which he joined shortly after joining the Parish) and the Covenant team (of which he eventually became the leader). For some years he helped the SVP by giving lifts to the elderly and sick and, after his wife Shirley died in 1998, he joined the SVP and remains a member, mainly visiting the elderly. He was also part of the team which frequently took food and other items to St Vincent’s, Nechells.

From 1999 Joe read regularly at the Wednesday Mass and intermittently at the Saturday Mass. In the last few years he has largely given up reading, but remains a member of the choir and the SVP. For around the first ten years of the 21st Century he often used to visit the Poor Clares Convent at Baddesley Clinton until it closed, mainly to give lifts for medical and other purposes.

Joe has five children: three boys (Paul, Simon and Philip) and two girls (Mary and Jane). When he was a member of the Parish of Our Lady of the Wayside, Joe was the reader on the Sunday when Mass was broadcast on TV.

What a loyal parishioner Joe has been over many years!

Bishop Robert Blesses New Classroom and Cloakroom

Article written by Georgina O’Gara and published in the October 2015 issue of Catholic Today.

Staff and pupils at St George and St Teresa Catholic School in Bentley Heath were in a celebratory mood on 5 October 2015 during the Blessing of the new classroom and toilet facilities by Bishop Robert Byrne.

It was a real community event as parents, parishioners and special guests were all invited to join with the staff and students of St George and St Teresa as they prayed for God’s blessing on this lovely new resource. The new classroom and toilet facilities were completed over the summer holidays, thanks largely to the commitment and hard work of the staff of the school and a team of dedicated builders from Biddles.

The new classroom has been funded entirely through generous donations from parents and parishioners. They recognised the need for extra space in this popular and successful school. Thanks to them, Year 6 pupils have a large, spacious room in which to spend this important academic year. Pupil Ryan said ‘I think that the new improvements are really brilliant. The new classroom is really good, the cloakrooms also are stunning and I like the toilets too, they look so, so good.’ Another pupil Holly was equally impressed: ‘Thank you so much for your amazing work on the school; it is beautiful. I love the classroom because before it was cramped and now it’s great because we have more room. Thank you for the classroom because we have more space.’

The beautiful service, officiated by Bishop Robert and Chair of Governors Monsignor Canon McHugh, involved pupils of all year groups. Joyful hymns were sung with gusto by immaculately behaved children, accompanied by a plethora of musical instruments. Bishop Byrne blessed the crucifix that is to be hung in the classroom. He prayed that by looking upon it the children will ‘be drawn to the vision of your goodness and conform their lives to the likeness of Jesus Christ’. The bishop then prayed for strength and protection for the whole school.

Also blessed on this special day was the new ‘Grotto of Our Lady of the Rosary’. This stands in the school grounds, providing a wonderful prayer focus of staff and children alike. The beautiful statue was presented to the church for the school by a generous parishioner during the parish mission in 2013. The grotto will play an important role in the annual crowning of Our Lady in the procession in May.

Headteacher Mr Foxon thanked everyone who had contributed and supported the ‘Faith in the Future building project’. He paid tribute to his ‘fantastic staff’ who ensured everything was ready for the children in September. The project was such a combined effort of the Parish and the school so being able to celebrate together was a very special occasion. The Parent Governor said: ‘This is a wonderful occasion! In these days of reduced funding for schools it is amazing to see what can be achieved when parents and parishioners step up to guarantee quality Catholic education for all our children’.

The whole community plan to continue to fundraise to pay for the entire project.

The total cost of the Project is £150,000.00. Recently a sponsored walk in the local area was organised in order to raise money for the project.

Web Camera

St George and St Teresa has recently installed a Web Camera in order to take the Sunday Mass into the homes of those who are unable to come to Church, particularly the sick and elderly. The link for Mass is http://www.mcnmedia.tv/camera/st-george-and-st-teresa-solihull/

If you would like help with the set up for viewing you can contact parishioner Martin Whiting on 01564 777 506. Martin has created a specific email address for other 'technical' people willing to support - church.vid.assist@btinternet.com

Thanks to Con McHugh who has voluntarily installed the camera, and a generous parishioner who paid for the camera and cabling.

Parish Pilgrimage Report

Written by Ciarán Page

Last September I was fortunate enough to join the Parish pilgrimage to Italy. The pilgrimage included visits to Norcia, Assisi, Siena, San Gimignano and Florence. With the help of explanations given by our Parish Priest, Monsignor McHugh, and Anthony Coles, who specialises in organising pilgrimages, I learnt a lot about the lives of various saints such as St Benedict of Nursia (whose main achievement was the ‘Rule of Saint Benedict’ which established the way of life of monastic communities), St Scholastica, St Francis of Assisi, St Clare of Assisi and St Catherine of Siena.

The highlight of the pilgrimage for me was being able to serve Mass in the crypt chapel of the Basilica of St Francis at the tomb of St Francis. To be able to pray for assistance in discerning my own vocation a few metres away from the tomb of one of the Church’s best known and most beloved saints, who underwent a spiritual transformation to devote himself to a life of serving God, was special.

Above: The tomb of St Francis in the crypt, where Monsignor McHugh celebrated Mass for us                       

I also enjoyed my conversations with the parishioners who joined the pilgrimage over some delicious food and drink. We did a lot during the week but also had some free time to get lost in places which are famous for their medieval architecture, such as San Gimignano with its hilltop setting and encircling walls.

On behalf of the group I would like to thank Monsignor, Anthony and Fred and Rosemary Slater for organising the thoroughly enjoyable pilgrimage.