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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 10 February 2019 Posted on Sunday 10 February 2019

Friends of Cathedral Music
Over 1,000 people gathered in the Cathedral last Sunday afternoon for the Synod inauguration service. There were priests and representatives from every parish across the Diocese and all those who were there as members of the Synod were commissioned. The service concluded with the whole congregation receiving a lighted candle symbolising our role to be bearers of the light of Christ as we were sent out to participate in this Synod process leading to November 2020. No more than an hour after the completion of the service the whole of the Hope Street / Rodney Street areas were plunged into darkness for about three hours due to a power cut. It was a shame that our service was not at a later time when we could have departed with our lighted candles and lit up the whole area which was pitch black at the time.

Bishop Tom Williams will preside at the Solemn mass this Sunday – he will be celebrating his birthday this weekend so we might treat him to a special bottle of wine at Sunday lunch. At the Choral Evening Prayer in the afternoon the Friends of Cathedral Music will be presenting the choirs with a cheque for £5,000 to support a new choral development project. The scheme involves the purchase of ipads to access a new musical theory and reading tuition via an online resource which will help the musical development of the choristers. Apparently our choirs will be the first Cathedral in the country to use this new resource.

Monday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes which the church encourages us to keep as a day of prayer for the sick. Following the Apparitions of Our Lady to St Bernadette in 1858 Lourdes has become a special place of prayer, praise, penance and healing. The feast also has a special link with the recitation of the rosary. It would be a wonderful sign of unity and concern for others if we could all find time to say the rosary that day for family and friends who are ill at home or in hospital.

Next Sunday Archbishop Malcom will preside at the Solemn Mass to celebrate marriage and family life within the Diocese. He will offer a special blessing at the end of mass to any couples who will be celebrating significant wedding anniversaries this year.

Last week I was kindly sent a copy of a new publication entitled ‘Ships of Heaven’ with 17 chapters describing some of the major Cathedrals in the United Kingdom written by Christopher Somerville. The author came to visit our Cathedral and interview me about 18 months ago with a view to featuring the two Cathedrals in Liverpool in one of the chapters of the book. The interview was on a day when Bishop James Jones was to hold a press conference in the Crypt regarding a report on Hillsborough, which meant it was a hurried and informal conversation as there were a lot of press and photographers coming and going. I naively thought it was just to offer some background information but I now discover that isolated snippets of what was said are quoted in print – anyway that will teach me to choose my words more carefully. The book itself is actually very informative and readable and the author has a real gift of bringing the reader on a journey with him around the Cathedrals and imparting a flavour of the life and character of these wonderful Cathedrals.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean