There was a great attendance at the annual Olton Friary 'Celebration of Life' Mass on Saturday 11 November 2023. 

The Mass was offered for all those in the parish who departed this life in the previous 12 months. The families and friends of those who died were invited to this special celebration as they mourn their passing and grieve their loss.

His Grace, Archbishop Bernard Longley, was the main celebrant along with Fr Biju and Fr Austin and supported by Brothers Gerard and Liam of the Sacred Heart Community.

During the Mass the names were read out of 49 people who died in the parish in the last 12 months. Two family representatives lit a candle on the altar as each of their loved one’s names were called out. 

Archbishop Bernard lit a Candle of Remembrance, for all those who had died in previous years and all the loved ones and friends of all present. Remembering all deceased clergy from the Archdiocese of Birmingham and members of the Sacred Heart Family and all those who had died because of natural disasters, violence, warfare, especially in The Holy Land and Russia and the Ukraine, poverty, persecution, and famine throughout the world.

Members of the deceased's families read the Prayers of the Faithful and brought the offertory gifts to the altar.

After Communion Archbishop Bernard incensed all the candles as the choir sang May the choirs of Angels. The Remembrance Candle was then processed to St Francis’ Altar as the reflection They have gone was read out.

Archbishop Bernard thanked all who helped to organise the Mass, parish office secretaries, sacristans, parish choir for enhancing the Mass and all families present.

Before the final prayer Fr Biju called the names of all those in the parish bereavement group to come forward and receive a special blessing from Archbishop Bernard (pictured above).

An invitation was extended to everyone to partake in refreshments in the parish hall.

As the congregation exited the church the choir sang the recessional hymn How great thou art.

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