The banners in the entrance area of the Cathedral which have been placed there to help with our preparation for the Eucharistic Congress itemise a number of phrases and titles which express the importance of the Holy Eucharist for our lives and the life of the church. As we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ this weekend we give thanks for the many ways in which our lives have been blessed and strengthened by this spiritual food.
We welcome the choir from St Mary’s church in Hexham who will be singing at the Solemn Mass and Evening Prayer this Sunday – we also welcome their parish priest Fr Christopher Warren who will accompany the choir and concelebrate at 11am Mass.
This week we have an extra Mass at 11.00am in the Cathedral on Monday for the funeral of Gracy Mendonca, who was a daily communicant and long standing member of the Cathedral parish.
Archbishop Malcolm will celebrate the Good Shepherd Mass involving schools from across the Diocese on Wednesday at 1pm. Many of the schools organise fund-raising activities in support of Nugent and the children are able to meet the Chief Executive of the charity and be thanked personally for their gifts and have an opportunity for a photograph with the Archbishop prior to the start of Mass. My job is to chivvy everyone along so that the Mass starts on time, which I never manage to quite pull off.
On Friday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, there will be a special evening celebratory Mass for all our diocesan priests celebrating jubilee years of ordination this year. The anniversaries this year range from platinum through to ruby (70- 40 years).
Unusually there is no priest in the diocese celebrating a silver jubilee anniversary this year – which gives an insight into the age profile of the diocesan clergy. Monsignor Stephen Alker who resides in the Cathedral parish is one of the jubilarians who will be celebrating his 40th anniversary this summer.
I have been asked by a number of people why the alcove with the statue of St Martin de Porres is rather bare with no reference identifying the saint and his connection with our Diocese. At present the area is unfinished as we want to dedicate that area of the Cathedral to two South American saints – to Archbishop Oscar Romero as well as St Martin. At present a new plinth is being made for the bust of Oscar Romero and we now know that he will be canonised (declared a saint) in October this year. We will then be able to place signs identifying the two saints and giving some limited information on their lives and influence. Rest assured that St Martin will not be overlooked as I have a special devotion to him, having been ordained a priest on his feast day.
We have been informed that there are some more tickets available for the main plenary day of the Eucharistic Congress on Saturday 8th September at Liverpool arena. The keynote speaker is Bishop Robert Baron, from the United States of America, who is an internationally renowned speaker. There will be celebratory events, a time for Eucharistic Adoration and a chance to meet people from dioceses across England and Wales and also hear from Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Within the next few days these tickets should be available on www.jumpdpd.com/adoremus2018 available for individuals or small groups wanting to book.
Canon Anthony O’Brien