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Provincial Director Tony Stevens and Tessa talk with Cardinal Nichols after the Mass.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols returns to Birmingham
for a Mass of Thanksgiving and Celebration

Catenians from all corners of Province 6 were out in force to help with and celebrate the return of the Most Reverend Vincent Cardinal Nichols to Birmingham on Sunday 30 March at St. Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham.

On his first visit to Birmingham since becoming Cardinal, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols arrived in the afternoon and was guest of honour at Archbishop’s House at a reception for 150 dignitaries. These included the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, the Lord Mayors and Lady Mayoresses of Birmingham and Coventry, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Solihull.

The Cardinal then met clergy from around the Archdiocese in the Crypt before taking part in the Mass of Welcome and Thanksgiving in a packed Cathedral.

Archbishop Bernard Longley began by welcoming the Cardinal: “We share the pride of the Church in England and Wales at welcoming your return to this city as Cardinal.” 

On his first visit to Birmingham since becoming Cardinal, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols said that he was delighted to be back in the city. “It’s a chance for me to rejoice in the richness of life that I received in Birmingham; to thank God for it and I hope to keep and refresh some of the friendships that I made.”

As a sign of congratulations and affection for the new Cardinal, the Archdiocese of Birmingham had collected a gift of over £30,000 which was presented to him by Archbishop Bernard Longley.  Cardinal Nichols asked that this gift be given to the suffering Church in the Holy Land, through the Friends of the Holy Land, a charity which he helped to found. The gift was then accepted by Brother Jim Quinn, the Chairman of the Trustees of the FHL, together with fellow trustee Norah Whelan.

It is rumoured that the Cardinal, a life-long Liverpool FC supporter, was passed the football results on his way out of the Cathedral before emerging to an enthusiastic crowd of well wishers, anxious to meet him.

With such crowds attending, effective stewarding was essential. Catenians made up about 25% of the stewards on duty for this memorable day.

(Story and picture by Harold Hands)