By Fr Michael White

The charity Birmingham Christmas Shelter runs this for four nights every year but have struggled to find a venue this Christmas.  They asked numerous schools who all turned them down – apart from St Catherine’s our wonderful Catholic school in the centre of Birmingham.

They will be hosting over 100 destitute people over the Christmas period offering them food, accommodation, entertainment, friendship, clothing and some health services. It’s like a mini holiday camp in the centre of Birmingham.  On their first day of opening Fr Michael White blessed it and met the organisers, guests and volunteers.

Over 400 have come forward to help out.  They had to turn down another 100 volunteers.  But their founder Shirley Mallon says: “If it wasn’t for St Catherine’s school, I don’t know what we would have done.” 

It is a tribute to the governors and staff at the school that they have opened  their doors during the school holiday to some of the most needy people in the city.

And what a message to give to our children too.

This amazing project complements the same welcome being given by the parish to Tabor Living, a Father Hudson’s and Diocesan project moving into the presbytery and Church of St Catherine’s in 2023.  Work to convert the building is well underway and it will be complete in March 2023.  Here they will be welcoming another 20 homeless people and helping them to restore their lives.

St Catherine once wrote:  “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”  That fire is burning brightly in the parish and school of St Catherine of Siena.