Parish groups

DSCF2226There are many groups and activities taking part within Sacred Heart Parish. New members and volunteers are welcome. Call 01788-813263 if you would like to be involved.

Adult Education
Breaking the Word
For the last few years, a small group has been meeting fairly regularly each fortnight to share reflections on the Gospel (usually the reading of the following Sunday). We try to follow the method recommended by Pope Francis: in a prayerful way allowing God’s word to enlighten & renew us (Lectio Divina). This is not a Bible Class but an opportunity to find the meaning of the text and for each member to share how the passage speaks to them. Everyone’s contribution is valid. The group would certainly benefit from a few more members. Brian Davies, 2015.

Justice and Peace
The parish has long had a Justice & Peace Group. The main focus over the years has been the work of CAFOD with its recent campaigns on Food and now Climate Change. We are a Fairtraid Parish and are currently seeking to firm up a LiveSimply programme which in principle the parish committed itself to a few years ago. This brings together Simple living, Sustainability and Solidarity with the poor.
After an initial survey, the group has been sharing with the parish ‘Tips & Signposts’ each month. The group has increasingly picked up on the growing gap between rich and poor in this country and (through the work of Pax Christi) ways of promoting peace in a world with so much violence and injustice. We have attempted to involve other Bilton Churches and especially the other two Rugby Catholic Parishes. We would welcome new members from Sacred Heart. Brian Davies, 2015

Living Faith
Since 2003 the parish has had a series of talks each Autumn with an attempt to find the best speakers we can on each subject. Following three years on Vatican II, the theme of the tenth series in 2013 was its Spirituality. There were talks on Kingdom, Franciscan and Peace Spirituality with a contribution from our Archbishop on Ecumenical Spirituality. Last October’s theme was the renewal of the Church being brought about by Pope Francis.
This year the talks will be in November so as to be able to reflect on the Synod on the Family taking place in October. For the first time we were all being invited by Pope Francis to contribute. He really does seem to believe in the Holy Spirit in the Church. Some 60 people have attended past talks. Brian Davies, 2015.

Discussion Group
At the beginning of 2015, we had a series of four meetings to explore ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ (Pope Francis’ letter Evangelii Gaudium) attended by some 12 people. It is proposed to have a similar opportunity to discuss the new Encyclical (Laudato Si’). What would be the best timing? Brian Davies, 2015

Other groups
Union of Catholic Mothers
The UCM at Sacred Heart, Bilton has 32 members ranging in age from 64 through to 91. We meet on the last Wednesday of the month in the parish hall. We are one of the largest foundations in the Birmingham diocese and members support diocesan committees and events. Our regular meetings often include a visiting speaker and we try to balance the topics to include some that entertain but also some which educate and inform. Members most recently learned about the workings of the County Court and in particular the cases covered in the Family Court from a local magistrate. 2015

Liturgy Group and Music Group
We are fortunate to have a dedicated group of musicians and singers to lead our worship every week. The group has had a busy year including organising the liturgy for First Communion and Confirmation services, and the Requiem for Deacon John. We meet regularly to review our liturgy and to ensure there is a blend of traditional hymns and more recent compositions, particularly of the new Mass setting.
We now have three Cantors working on a rota basis to lead the singing. We continue to provide a full sung Mass for every Sunday of the year – including throughout the summer holidays.
However, we always need new members. Our numbers are very limited at certain times of the year, particularly Easter, and, whilst our musicians always provide a good lead, we would welcome more singers to join us. We practise every Sunday from 9am with additional practices at Christmas and Easter. Please come and talk to us if you would like to get involved. No expertise, other than a willingness to sing, is needed.
Since Easter, we have experienced some technical problems with the sound equipment. The fault, with our system’s amplifier and speakers, has now been identified and we hope to have this sorted out shortly. John Howes 2015
Online ministry – Parish Website
The parish website ( has now been running for about ten years. It is updated at least once a week and includes information about service times, liturgy, parish events and contact information. There is a brief history of the parish there, pictures of stained glass in the church, a celebrations page, and a ‘Book of Remembrance’ which lists anniversary dates of parishioners who have died.
A couple of weeks ago, we moved the website to a new host. This has resulted in a simplified design which can now be accessed in a special format for tablets and mobile phones. You can also sign up to receive an email every time new information is added to the website.
There is plenty of space on the website for more information and I would welcome reports or pictures from parish groups. I would also welcome suggestions as to what extra content could be added to the website. Please use the contact page on the website or via the parish office. John Howes 2015

Parish Catechetics
Sacraments of Initiation
First Communion
Some 16 children followed our programme, ‘We belong’, this year. They celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. We are very grateful to Vashti Southarn and Sam Warrington, our catechists, who dedicate many hours to these children. Due to work commitments, Sam is no longer able to take part so we are looking for a replacement to work alongside Vashti. Please let us know if you feel you could help.  Fr Gerry and Diane were involved with three sessions for the Parents of children taking part. Diane Davies, 2015

Ten of our young parishioners were confirmed by Bishop William Kenney in April. They followed a nine session programme led by Mary Watson, Diane Davies & Fr Gerry.  Always a delight to work with this age group. Diane Davies, 2015

Children’s Liturgy
As you know this is divided into two groups, pre and post First Communion. These groups have been running for many years. They have become an integral part of our Liturgy offering children the opportunity to reflect on the gospel message at their own level of understanding. We have nine catechists working in this area but are always looking for more people to join us.  Material is provided and guidance should you feel you need it. Diane Davies, 2015

Young peoples’ involvement at Mass
For some time we have been considering how to nurture our children’s understanding of the Mass.   Although Children’s liturgy is a good starting point, but as they grow we have to help our children to become part of the whole worshiping community.  There have been several suggestions for discussion. Diane Davies, 2015

The following reports need to be updated:

Prayer Group
The prayer group meets on the second Wednesday of each month following the weekday Mass. Prayers of intercession are shared and printed copies of prayer sessions are distributed to parishioners following Mass. Copies are also distributed to housebound and sick parishioners prior to Mass to help personal prayer and involve the parish more widely in the daily liturgy. This is our 7th year as El Shaddai Prayer for Inner Healing. Contact is maintained with Catholic Home-Mission which offers help and advice for parish outreach initiatives. The group makes use of the following – format for prayer time; El Shaddai thought for the week; Visual Arts resource; Plan of action Starting Afresh from Christ (taken from Novo Millennio Ineunte); Bible Alive reflection material; Letter of encouragement from Archbishop Peter Smith. June 2010

The Holiday Club
This is one of the main fundraising activities in the parish. Parishioners pay 1 pound per week and there are weekly cash prizes. There is also a twice-yearly draw with a 1,000 pounds first prize. Another good year maintaining a membership of 221. We are always on the lookout for new members as we do loose one or two along the way. Ted White has decided to stand down after nearly 25 years and Jim Devlin will take over where Ted has left off. The parish owes Ted a debt of gratitude for the considerable work he has undertaken during this time.To join the Holiday Club, see Teresa after any Sunday mass.

Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF)
There are currently approximately 48 “active” red box holders in the Parish. Red boxes provide an easy way of disposing of unwanted small change whilst at the same time contributing to a worthwile cause. In recent years the following contributions have been made by parish members; 2011 – £767.59, 2010 – £817.10, 2009 – £722.89.

Hospitality Group
This group was set up in 1989, as one of the outcomes of a parish mission held in that year. In order to make the parish more welcoming and friendly it was decided to arrange for hymn books and newsletters to be handed out personally, so that everyone was greeted on arrival and newcomers and visitors made especially welcome. Those who “welcome” also take the retiring collections when there is no official collector. The other task of this group is to provide refreshments in the hall after each mass. This opportunity to meet other members of the community has become very popular.

Bilton Churches Together (BCT)
This local council of churches brings together representatives from St Mark’s (C of E), Bilton Methodists, Bilton Evangelical Church and Sacred Heart to explore how we can work together more effectively. Over the past year BCT has met four times and handed over the following to groups to organise: Carols around Residential Homes before Christmas; The Unity Service (at BEC this time and rather different); Three Quiet Hours (two in Cock Robin Wood and one at Sacred Heart); Co-operation with Warwickshire Wildlife in managing Cock Robin Wood; The reading of a whole Gospel on four Saturdays in Lent; (Matthew at Methodists, Mark at St Mark’s, Luke at Sacred Heart and John at BEC); Two meeting with our MP to deal with a range of issues raised by members and a further meeting on Climate Change at the time of the Wave March at Westminster. The Barn Dance had to be cancelled for lack of a caller. June 2010

The Monday Club
This is a friendly group open to all denominations, who meet each other on Monday afternoons to socialise. We meet in the hall 2pm to 4pm on Mondays. At present we have 16 members, 7 of whom are Catholics. New members are always welcome. Our activities consist of Bingo, a raffle and a Quiz followed by refreshments. From the profits we treat ourselves to a summer lunch and a Christmas dinner. This year we lost one of our founder members, Pat McGreevy, who left Rugby to be near her daughter. Also Mr and Mrs Canale-Parola have stepped down from running the club, Maria after 18 years service and Alfred after 12 years. June 2010

The Caring Group
This group has been in existence for about thirty years. Its role has changed over the years and now due to small numbers not all the original activities take place. However, we still visit the sick, whether in home or hospital and keep in touch with the housebound. Help with shopping and transport is also undertaken. Each year, in December, we hold the annual party for our senior citizens, an opportunity for friends to meet and exchange news. Each guest receives a small Christmas gift on behalf of the parish.

Sacristan & allied ministries
For the last 20 years or so Richard Clarke has been a most reliable sacristan ensuring that everything is carefully prepared and in place for the liturgy. Recently, he was awarded the Bene Merenti. Celebrations are enhanced by having a faithful team of young servers, both boys and girls and a rota of willing church cleaners and flower arrangers. Sacred Heart is also fortunate in having the services of a most efficient team (formed when we were without a priest) looking after building maintenance.

Open Door
For many years the parish has run a programme for those wishing to learn more about Catholicism and for those who perhaps have been taking a holiday from the practice of their faith and now, wishing to return, would value an update. The Group meets for one hour and covers many subjects from The Sacraments of Initiation to the Church’s Social Teaching. The practical living out of our faith is what we are about. The invitation is to come and see and the group is open to all. The need is for the whole community to be involved in pointing out the open door.

Rugby Inter Faith Forum (RIFF)
This is a network of some 40 members from the main faith communities in Rugby – Baha’i, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh. Up to 20 people meet at 7.30pm the United Reformed Church on the third Wednesday of each month (except April, August and December) to share their faith on such topics as festivals, prayer, scriptures, stories and holy men (or women). The network is open to anyone who shares the aim of growing in understanding and respect between all people of faith. September 2011

Social Committee
In 2011, we have so far enjoyed a parish barbecue to mark the church’s Feast Day. The committee organises four or five events each year, giving everyone the chance to get together and make new friends. In 2009, there was an excellent turnout for the barbecue which marked the 50th anniversary of the parish. Wonderful weather helped make it an enjoyable afternoon. In November, we staged our third parish concert and the hall was packed for an evening of music and comedy. Other events organised have included quizzes and parish walks.
Homeless Project
Last year, 2010, saw the opening of the new Hope4 Centre. It is currently open Tues and Thurs 11 to 2pm, Sunday 1 to 4 pm. Around 12 people have now been referred to the centre via either the soup kitchen or an agency such as CAB. The Centre is now looking to open up on a Saturday, continuing its guidance to clients on housing matters plus hot food, showers & laundry services. It is hoped that a further part-time paid support worker can be found to assist the present support worker. One of our clients has joined a kitchen team rota to offer help and we have also set up a clothes scheme with the charity Emmaus. Clients who need clothing can get a voucher from the Hope4 Centre and (with the support worker) can choose from the clothes Emmaus has in its scheme. The soup kitchen on a Mon, Wed & Fri evening continues as usual at St Andrew’s. The recent addition of a new cooker & hob unit is making life easier so our thanks to St Andrew’s for providing this. June 2010

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