Archbishop Bernard Longley recently celebrated a special Good Shepherd Mass, which was streamed to primary schools across the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Father Hudson’s Care organised the online Mass on Tuesday 25 May to thank primary schools for supporting the annual Good Shepherd Appeal. It took place instead of the seven in-person Masses that would usually be held across the Archdiocese.

In classrooms across the diocese, children watched the Mass in their classrooms and joined in with prayers and songs in celebration of their fundraising for Father Hudson’s Care. So, although we could not get together in person, we were able to join together in spirit. It also enabled people who can’t usually attend to join in with the Mass.

Addressing those watching online and those present in the Cathedral, Archbishop Bernard said the Mass helps us to give thanks for the work of Father Hudson’s Care and the ways in which school communities support that work.

He said that we are called to care for others, as the Good Shepherd cares for all his sheep, especially those that are struggling. And he told the students that, by supporting the work of Father Hudson’s Care, they are “helping people who are struggling to live their lives as fully as they can, with dignity and joy, knowing they are loved and cared for.”

Lucy Davis and Margot Scotford, School and Parish Engagement Officers at Father Hudson’s, also spoke. They said how much they had missed being able to visit schools as they usually would to talk about the work of the charity. They thanked everyone that supported the appeal saying, “Every donation, no matter how big or small, is valued. We understand that things are difficult, and your generosity is appreciated.”

A group of year 10 students from St Thomas Aquinas school in Birmingham attended the Mass in person and read bidding prayers during the service. Dan and Emily from One Life Music provided beautiful music for the Mass which filled the Cathedral. So, although the usual choirs weren’t there and the colourful offertory processions could not take place, the Mass was still a joyous and prayerful event.

The Mass can still be watched online on the cathedral website

In previous years, the Good Shepherd Masses mark an end to the fundraising appeal. However, this year’s appeal will continue to run to the end of the summer term, enabling schools to carry on with their fundraising efforts.

The Good Shepherd Appeal is not the only campaign that is different this year. Father Hudson’s have opened their Walk a Mile appeal, usually reserved for senior schools, to anyone that wishes to take part. The appeal runs throughout the summer until October and is open to all.

Above: Lucy Davis and Margot Scotford, School and Parish Engagement Officers at Father Hudson’s, address the congregation.

Main picture: Pupils from St Modwen's Catholic Primary School, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, watch the Good Shepherd Mass.