Mens Mass is 9am Easter Monday at St Chads Cathedral- all welcome

It is believed that the first Easter Monday Men’s Mass took place in St. Chad’s Cathedral, in Birmingham in 1919. It was requested by the men of the city in order that their family members, school companions, workmates and friends who had died during the First World War could be remembered in prayer.

Easter Monday seemed an appropriate day as most would be on holiday from work; and 9 am. was the Mass time to enable the observance of the Eucharistic fast (from midnight) without too much inconvenience.

We don’t really know whether it was originally intended to be an annual event, but soon it became an established part of the Diocesan life in the city. Men from many parishes came together, and it became almost a re-union as news was exchanged, and friendships renewed year by year. 

The tradition, once begun, survived a Second World War, and thereafter it was inspiring to see fathers bringing their sons, who in turn brought their own sons and it was not unusual to see three generations of a single family kneeling together.

It was during the days of the Second World War that an unfortunate remark was made, publicly, about the Catholic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. The men of the city looked for an opportunity to make a corporate act of witness to our belief in the Eucharistic Presence of Our Lord, and the Mass of Easter Monday seemed the obvious way.

Numbers continued to rise, and mention should be made of Monsignor Roskell, Canon Hodgson and Canon Brian Withers who supported the demonstration of Faith over the years. For some years, a procession of the Blessed Sacrament followed the Mass, but the development of the new traffic routes eventually meant that the Procession was no longer possible.

It is noteworthy that successive Archbishops have given blessing and support to the Men’s Mass, and in recent years there has always been an Episcopal presence and participation. We are grateful to Archbishop Longley for continuing this tradition.

For many years the Mass was organised by the Catholic Men’s Society and though most of the city parishes no longer have an active Branch, a small group of the Society members continue to co-ordinate the arrangements with the generous and kind support of the Archbishop’s Secretary.

This year, men from other Catholic groups and associations have been encouraged to join in the work and together we go into the future, determined to remember all those who have gone before us; and equally determined to demonstrate our belief in the Catholic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist.