Article by Monsignor Daniel McHugh

Sacred Heart Chapel, Maryvale, the original stained glass image 1814. Mother Jaya and Mgr McHugh

When I was in touch with Father Moses Pitya to celebrate livestreaming one of the Novena Masses, his immediate response was to thank the Bridgettine Sisters for the privilege of being part of the Novena. I noted he said thank you again when I viewed the Mass from St Elizabeth’s, Coventry. I thought, what a lovely spirit to bring to the Novena Masses.

And, it has been a joy to see how successful the Novena has been: even the opening Mass from my home in Solihull had 282 viewers, more than could fit in to the Maryvale Chapel on the opening evening, which used to be Corpus Christi before that Solemnity was moved to Sunday.

Every Priest brought something different to the Novena experience: for example, Father John Udris, Spiritual Director at Oscott College, displayed pictures of the Sacred Heart before Mass and spoke about them - one he spoke of was the Sacred Heart stained glass image in the Weedall Chapel at Oscott College.

Image of the Sacred Heart, Weedall Chapel, Oscott

Weedall was at Old Oscott as Rector of the Seminary and oversaw the move to New Oscott in 1838.

And Father John Waters, the youngest Celebrant, currently staying at Christ the King, Coventry, until the English College, Rome, opens up again due to the Pandemic, was the Celebrant (with Canon Farrell concelebrating) on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. He focused on the Second Reading from St John “God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world His only Son, so that we could have life through Him”, and related this to the Heart as the symbol of love.

It was Monsignor Timothy Menezes, celebrating Mass from St Chad’s on 13 June, who made the connection to St John Henry Newman, who lived at Old Oscott and gave it a new name: St Mary in the Valley (Maryvale). Newman believed in the importance of an “educated laity”.

Monsignor Timothy said: “The connections between Maryvale and the life of St John Henry Newman are very strong. Newman spoke of wanting an educated laity, and I would like to take this opportunity this evening to invite you, the People of God, to say ‘Yes’ to taking the next stage on your journey of faith…. Maryvale’s greatest work is the nourishing of Faith of adults. Please take the time to find out about Maryvale and it’s possibilities.”

The Newman Crucifix at Maryvale

Lecture Hall and Library built in 1990

On Sunday 21 June, Archbishop Bernard celebrated Mass at St Chad’s on what would have been the Pilgrimage Day at Maryvale. The Bidding Prayers included a special prayer for the Maryvale Institute and its work in Higher Education. It was said by the Archbishop’s Secretary, Fr Dominic Cosslett: 

“As today we celebrate the conclusion of the Novena and Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us pray for the Catholic institutes of Higher Education in our Archdiocese which promote the search for knowledge and wisdom, the growth of the human person and their vocation: a call from the heart of Christ to the heart of individuals: Maryvale Institute, St Mary’s College, Oscott and Newman University.”

Other Priests (not mentioned above) celebrating Novena Masses were Fr Joseph McLoughlin, Canon John Batthula, Father Simon Ellis and Father Joseph The-Quang. Everyone took part generously, making the Novena a unique experience for the many people participating.

The Bridgettine Sisters, who look after the Sacred Heart Shrine at Maryvale, are central in the life of prayer and hospitality for students at the Maryvale Institute since coming in 1999, with a special blessing from Pope St John Paul II.

The Convent. Opened September 1999

Main Chapel. Sisters at Prayer

In these days, the Institute continues to be the leader in “blended learning” (a mix of distance and face to face teaching) across the UK and beyond, internationally. More should be told of the  way students from the Diocese and abroad have benefitted. One (a Deputy Head in Secondary School in Coventry) came to me at a Requiem last year, telling me how the experience of a Degree Programme in Theology changed his life, opening up a whole new perspective on Education and Catholic Schools.

I left Maryvale in August 2000 after 20 years setting up the Institute, a wonderful privilege to link Catechesis, RE and Theology for Adults to the Heart of Jesus, the fount of Revelation.

The Yew Tree planted by Mgr McHugh in June 2000, marking 20 years of the Institute and the beginning of the new Millennium.
This year marks 40 years since the Foundation.

1995 the first Degree Conferral at St Chad’s with Cardinal Daly, Archbishop of Armagh, presenting the degrees

I am sure you will be interested in exploring Monsignor Menezes’ proposal to consider taking forward the next stage of your journey of Faith.

The new Dean of Maryvale Institute is Dr Birute Briliute. Dr Briliute also oversees Higher Education Courses.

Dr. Birute Briliute

Currently, the Institute is recruiting for a Foundation Degree in Youth Ministry & School Chaplaincy and the Bachelor of Divinity (B.Div.) which begin in September this year. Maryvale has announced a Scholarship opportunity with half of the first year course fee paid by the Scholarship. The deadline for applicants 20 July.

Other HE courses have a January start: Master of Arts MA in Catholic Applied Theology; Licence in Divinity: with pathways in Catechetical Sciences, and Catechesis on Marriage and Family.

Mary Killeen, Further Education Director

Mary Killeen is the new Director of courses in Further Education and courses starting in September/October are:

  • Certificate in Catechesis
  • Certificate in Catholic Healthcare Chaplaincy
  • Certificate in Parish Mission and Ministry
  • Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies
  • Certificate in the Teaching of Pope Francis

The following email addresses will be of help to you:

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]