Holy Week Receptions: Report from Birmingham

22 04 2011

Chris Marshall writes:

It had to be the one day on which the Midland Metro went wrong! We gathered at the Parkway tram stop to discover that the wires were down and twenty of us, plus one wheel chair had to disembark half way on our journey, and continue by train. Meanwhile,  the taxi booked by another group member expired on  arriving at his home. Nevertheless we all made it and gathered in the Cathedral Grimshaw Room with other West Midland groups for tea and coffee.

Having completed the brief “check in” procedure, the atmosphere felt rather like an airport departure lounge. We chatted, and waited in excitement, but uncertain of what was to follow until it was time to go up into the Cathedral. The friendly helpfulness of the Dean and the other clergy and Catholic laity present soon set us at our ease.
How else could the Rite of Reception have begun but with Newman’s wonderful  “Praise to the Holiest.?” The service which followed was short and simple, yet profound and deeply moving, as more than 100 former Anglicans were received into the fullness of the Communion of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Bernard welcomed us and assured us of the place we have in the Holy Father’s concern, and within the Catholic Community. After Confirmation, there were  tears and hugs and an overwhelming joy that we were home at last!
Then on a beautiful April evening there was a brief time for congratulations and conversation out in the warm sunshine.  Then we returned inside the Cathedral to begin the celebration of the  Easter Triduum at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Two of our members had the privilege of sharing in the washing of feet and receiving a rosary from Archbishop Bernard. All had the privilege of receiving the Holy Eucharist in full communion with the Universal Church for the first time.
Finally thirty of us crowded into an already packed carriage of a late night train from Snow Hill Station. “Had we all been out to the theatre?” we were asked. “No- we were Catholics- now celebrating our journey to eternal life in full communion with our Holy Father!
Our grateful thanks to Archbishop Bernard for the warmth and sensitivity of his welcome as also to the Catholic clergy and laity of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and especially to Fr Lloyd and his people at St Peter and English Martyrs, Lower Gornal.
Above all our deep and loyal gratitude  to the one without whom none of this would have been possible.
From the bottom of our hearts -“Thank you, Holy Father !!!”