A Ferbane priest's work in bringing people together in Birmingham over the last three decades has earned him a Community Inspiration award.
Monsignor Pat Browne, who recently retired home to his native Ferbane, was lauded at the 7th Community Inspirations ceremony in the UK's second biggest city, recognising public service and community involvement throughout the region.
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anne Underwood presented the Offaly native with the 'Bringing People Together' award at a ceremony recently attended by local MPs, MEPs, officials from West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Birmingham, Coventry and Sandwell Councils and Black Country Chamber of Commerce.
Msgr Browne's citation recognised his work with the Irish community in Birmingham, along with his clerical work as Episcopal Vicar for the Birmingham parishes and his role as Dean of the Birmingham Cathedral Deanery in which he promoted in a particular way the rich contribution of congregations of religious men and women in social outreach across the city.
More recently, his initiative engaging communities and individuals from around the city to participate in the Birmingham Churches Night Shelter projects to provide winter shelter, food and hospitality in a parish centre for 12 homeless men in Birmingham was celebrated. On foot of this project, organisations and like-minded people came together to look at the need for a permanent night shelter project in the city, leading to the establishment of Tabor House.
In addition, his role in setting up Fatima House for destitute asylum seekers in a parish centre alongside Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham and Father Hudson’s Care in conjunction with the Columban Lay Missionaries was recognised at the award ceremony, as was his work in bringing communities from Slovakia and Czech Republic together to socialise and support each other.
Other ventures he was involved in Birmingham included organising the Good Friday Walk of Witness through Birmingham city centre every year, helping local groups in the running of a 'Soup and Sandwich Run' for the homeless, and providing support and a meeting place for the annual St Patrick's Festival Parade committee and guests in March which attracts about 85,000 people a year to the festivities.