During an annual men's Mass at St Chad's Cathedral, Archbishop Longley said that it was women who remained with Christ in his hour of need

During Mass on Easter Monday, the Archbishop of Birmingham has paid tribute to the Christian witness of women.

During his homily at the annual Easter Men’s Mass at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham, Archbishop Bernard Longley said that men had “abandoned the Lord” in his hour of need but women showed “strength and steadfastness.”

He said: “Judas betrayed the Lord and although Peter followed our Lord to the High Priest’s house it was there that he denied Christ three times. Only John remained by the cross at Mary’s side – a comfort to our Lord in his last moments. It was instead the women disciples who showed their strength and steadfastness.”

The archbishop went on to say that the Church needed women of faith. He told the congregation: “We need women of faith to encourage us by their example and to support us by their prayers. Women have helped form us in our faith and as Catholic men we give thanks for the courage and faithfulness of Christian women through the centuries. We offer particular thanks for the women in our own families, for women in roles of Christian leadership within our schools and parishes and for the irreplaceable witness of Religious Sisters in the life of the Church.

“Women help us appreciate our identity as Christian men, at home, at work and in the life of the Church. Their achievements, their strengths and their witness of faith are not a threat but an inspiration to us, as we strive to be more faithful in our own witness to the risen Lord. In the Gospel it is the women who first see the empty tomb and then run to tell the disciples. Pope Francis asks us to look into the faces of these women and to recognise how the Lord wants us to respond.”

The Archbishop of Birmingham was the principal celebrant and preacher at the Men’s Mass, promoted and organised by the Catholic Men’s Society. The Mass has taken place every year since 1919.