Parishes across the Archdiocese are embarking on numerous initiatives this Year of Prayer in preparation for the 2025 Jubilee Year.

With a focus on the Our Father we are all encouraged to go back to the basics of prayer, and that’s exactly what’s happening at the Parish of St John the Baptist, with Sacred Heart, in Tamworth.

A huge amount of work is already underway to involve everyone in this special time, and the team are happy to share what they’re doing in the hope it inspires and helps other parishes:

Lent 2024: There is a lot of encouragement this year to simply know God better through prayer. We always have fasting and almsgiving too, but this year there will be a special emphasis on prayer. Here are 10 things on offer:

1 Nightly rosary, prayed on our YouTube channel at 8pm every evening – just 15 minutes each night for Lent. This will be led each evening by parishioners and children. Join us at home.

2 An excellent prayer app called Hallow. The parish has paid for 500 parishioners to get at a subsidised rate this through Lent. It offers all sorts of ways of helping us pray, with daily reflections too, ideas for children and much more.

3 Daily Mass, plus Friday Lenten soup lunch in support of CAFOD – 12noon Mass at St John’s. Please join the Friday Mass if you can. It combines everything we are called to do – prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

4 Homilies on prayer for the first Sundays of Lent in which we are encouraged and taught how to pray.

5 Walk with Me booklets.

6 This year we will also have Bible Alive booklets available with more scripture and prayer.

7 Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings, 7pm St John’s.

8 Sycamore: Inspired and led by Catholic Priest, Fr Stephen Wang, the Sycamore series of videos helps us to reflect on our faith and promotes discussion. It gives you space to meet other people, share ideas, explore your beliefs, and think about questions that really matter. This Lent we will offer two sessions on prayer. It is open to all. You don’t have to be a Catholic to come along.

9 How to Pray: Monday 11 March, 7.30-8.45pm, in the Kenelm Room at Sacred Heart.

10 Lent Prayer Bags are now available for children and their families to use as stimulus for prayer together.

One parent of two boys has said: “What a lovely idea having a family prayer bag with lovely activities so we can make time this Lent to pray together. The boys wrote their own thoughtful prayers and enjoyed using the bag.”

Fr Michael White, parish priest, added that just recently all the children’s prayer bags were snapped up along with booklets, 100 rosaries, new bibles and people signing up to apps.

“It seems like everyone wants to be connected to everyone but when we are connected to God, we are,” said Fr Michael.  

“Being connected with God is being spiritually united to every person living and dead. Only prayer can do this. So, the Jubilee Year will be fruitful for everyone when we enter it more closely united to Him in prayer. That’s what’s driving us in our parish to help people in their lives of prayer.”

Find out more about the Year of Prayer

Born For This production

The parish is also preparing for Easter by staging a production of Born For This.

The CJM Music depiction of the Stations of the Cross will be performed on Friday 22 March at Sacred Heart.