Thousands of people are marking Holy Week at St Chad’s Cathedral, our Diocesan Mother Church, and in parishes across the Archdiocese.

The ceremonies begin with Palm Sunday and continue with the Sacred Three Days (Triduum) of Holy Thursday evening, Good Friday afternoon and Holy Saturday evening.

These are some of the most beautiful and precious moments of prayer in the whole year as we celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The God Who Speaks Scripture initiative has produced a guide on The Easter Triduum

We wish you all a blessed Holy Week and Easter.

Easter Saturday Vigil

The greatest and most noble of all Solemnities, celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

The service began outside the Crypt of St Chad’s Cathedral with the Blessing of the Fire and Preparation of the Paschal Candle.

Followed by a procession into St Chad's with lighted candles for the Easter Proclamation.

The Easter Vigil consists of four parts: The Service of Light, The Liturgy of the Word, The Order of Christian Initiation and the Renewal of Baptismal Vows, Holy Eucharist.

Archbishop Bernard began his Homily: In tonight’s Vigil we are keeping watch, looking for the coming of the risen Lord. Through the symbols of light and water, through the sacred chant of the Exultet and above all through the reading of the Scriptures we have proclaimed the resurrection of the Lord.

Read Homily in full

Easter Vigil Photo Gallery by Peter Harrington

Easter Vigil 2023 at St Chad's Cathedral

Good Friday, The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord

At 3pm the faithful gathered at St Chad’s Cathedral for the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord.

The Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday was celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley and included the narrative of the Lord’s Passion according to St John, which was sung, and Adoration of the Holy Cross.

The Homily was given by Fr Michael Dolman, the Rector of St Mary’s College, Oscott.

He began: “There’s no Mass today, it’s Good Friday.” We continue our celebration of the Triduum and it is poignant, I think, on this day that we do not bring bread or wine to the altar. “Fruit of the earth (fruit of the vine) and work of human hands.” We arrive here today with empty hands but with hearts that are full of faith and confidence in Jesus. We remember his words, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.”  

Read Homily in full

Thousands of people across the Archdiocese will have taken part in such services at their local church.

Solemn Liturgy Photo Gallery

Solemn Liturgy, Good Friday, 2023

Good Friday Ecumenical Walk of Witness and Stations of the Cross through Birmingham city centre

Hundreds gathered in the Good Friday sunshine to process from The Church in Carrs Lane to St Chad’s Cathedral, marking Christ’s journey to the cross.

Sharing the lead alongside Acting Bishop of Birmingham & Bishop of Aston, Bishop Anne Hollinghurst, were Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, the Rev Steven Faber, Moderator of the United Reformed Church for the West Midlands Synod, and the Rev Novette Headley, Chair of the Methodist Church, Birmingham District.

With the Very Rev Matt Thompson, Dean of St Philip’s Cathedral, with Canon Josephine Houghton and Canon Andy Delmege; Rev Coleen Shekerie, Cathedral Chaplain, along with Rev Jeremy Allcock from St Martin’s Church, and Rev Cristina Cipriani, the Rev Elaine Hutchinson and Deacon Ruth Yorke from the Church at Carrs Lane.

Also joining were Fr Krzysztof Kita from St Michael’s Church, and Fr Michael Dolman, Rector of St Mary’s College, Oscott with members of the formation staff and students of the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Maureen Cornish, also participated.

This year the crowd meditated on the Stations of the Cross during the walk, reflecting on two each time. From The Church at Carrs Lane, followed by High Street, New Street, the Town Hall, St Philip’s Cathedral, returning to St Chad’s Cathedral for the final four Stations.

Walk of Witness Photo Gallery

Walk of Witness, Birmingham, 2023

Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday

Archbishop Bernard read the homily before washing the feet of seminarians and congregants this Holy Thursday.

In his homily the Archbishop said:

Tonight the penitential season of Lent concludes as we begin the three solemn days of the Easter Triduum.  As we celebrate the liturgy we follow closely, through the scriptures and in our ceremonies, the events of the final twenty-four hours of our Lord’s earthly life. 

We stand beside him in the outpouring of his love through the gift of the Eucharist and in his prayerful suffering in Gethsemane. 

Tomorrow we recall the sacrifice of his life on the Cross, and at the Vigil on Saturday we witness to him as he shares the new life of the Resurrection with us through our baptism. 

In our liturgical remembering we are not simply calling to mind as we might remember other historical events or experiences. 

Through the power of the Holy Spirit these actions of Christ become present to us in the actions of the Church and so we are changed.

Tonight we enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s love as we recall the Lord’s washing of the apostles’ feet when they take their last meal together.  We solemnly recall and cherish our Lord’s gift of himself to us in the Eucharist.

At the heart of these events lies the priestly ministry of Jesus himself - the priesthood in which we share through our baptism or through our ordination. 

St John’s Gospel offers us a wonderful insight as we follow the conversation between our Lord and St Peter.  At first Peter protests that he will not accept the Lord’s menial gesture of humble service in washing the disciples’ feet.  It is an act that confronts and contradicts his understanding of who is the master and who is the servant.

But this gesture demonstrates the radical nature of service.  There is nothing that our Lord will not do to serve us out of love - and this is followed by his invitation:  I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.  His love goes beyond washing feet – it involves giving everything, even life itself on the cross, out of love for us.

Read more

Maundy Thursday Photo Gallery

Maundy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper

Palm Sunday – Solemn Mass and Procession

We started Holy Week by following in the footsteps of Christ. Hundreds gathered outside St Chad's Cathedral for the Palm Sunday procession into the Cathedral before the Solemn Mass on Sunday 2 April 2023.

Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrated the Mass and Fr Rob Taylerson read the homily:

In the gospel passion account, we heard …

“And sadness came over him, and great distress.” Then Jesus said to them, “My soul is sorrowful to the point of death.”

 One could not imagine Jesus more dejected and tormented than in Gethsemane

 Jesus knew fear:

Jesus undertook the passion journey, in a mixture of weakness and strength. First of all, he appeals to his Father: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me!". Jesus does not pretend to be brave. He shows his vulnerability. He doesn't hide his fear. Indeed, he confirms it, and exposes it to the Father. He also makes it the object of his prayer. His father will understand the full weight he carries.

  Yes, he has accepted fear and the challenge to face it. Not as we might have liked it happen, facing it courageously, with a defiant and triumphant attitude, but instead he is humble, weak, he lets himself be pulled here and, he lets himself be mocked degraded, tortured and killed.

His disciples …well … They too fear, but they are less courageous. They start off being Invited by Jesus to keep him company in prayer, then, unaware of the seriousness of the moment, they fall asleep three times. When the soldiers finally arrive, the disciples abandon Jesus and flee.

Read more

Palm Sunday Photo Gallery

Palm Sunday 2023