Two significant milestones have been marked by the Catholic community of Hall Green in Birmingham.

Archbishop Bernard Longley recently visited the parish of St Ambrose Barlow to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving for 40 years of the parish (established in 1979) and 50 years of the local primary school (1969).

And during the celebrations on Wednesday 20 November three parishioners were presented with the diocesan Ubi Caritas award.

The parish of St Ambrose Barlow was established from Holy Souls in Acocks Green when Fr Foynes was asked to serve the people in Hall Green. 

Starting with Mass being celebrated in the local primary school a need for their own primary school was identified and so St Christopher's, on Shirley Road, was opened in 1969 but later renamed St Ambrose Barlow. 

Money was raised to build a Church Hall on Lakey Lane and this was opened in 1970, where Mass was celebrated and further funds raised towards establishing a parish and building a church. 

Demand grew and in 1979 Canon John Gunn was appointed by Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville to begin the parish of St Ambrose Barlow, Hall Green.

Fr Paul Johnson, the current Parish Priest, was delighted to welcome Archbishop Bernard, Canon John Gunn and various priests of the diocese, including Fr Paul Smith who was ordained in the parish in 2008. 

Many people joined the service via the church’s live streaming facility, including Deacon John Stark, who served the parish for much of the past 40 years before retiring in 2015.  Deacon John sent a message of congratulations and is a regular and avid viewer.

During the Mass Archbishop Bernard bestowed the diocesan Ubi Caritas award (recognising those who have made a significant contribution to the charitable work of the diocese) to three hard-working and loyal parishioners. 

Kath Ryan, aka The Cake Lady, is celebrating 10 years baking cakes for wounded service personnel - bringing not only home-baking but love and cheer to broken lives. 

George Kelly, a man with deep personal faith, has served the parish as Sacristan for many decades. 

The third recipient was John Evans who, until very recently, has served as an Extra Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion on an almost daily basis for nearly 50 years.