Archbishop Malcolm will be presiding at the Solemn Mass this Sunday in celebration of Marriage and Family Life. There will be an opportunity in the prayers at the Mass to give thanks for the joys of family life, to seek help and guidance for any problems or challenges we face and for couples to renew their commitment to one another. It is no coincidence that this Mass is celebrated around the time of Valentine’s Day. It is however a coincidence that the Beer Festival falls this week with our Cathedral celebration night on Valentine’s Day – as has been pointed out to me by a number of people! Beer is not very romantic – and as a result we have not sold that many tickets. Despite this we will still go ahead with a smaller celebratory evening for those who disagree with this premise, or are not bothered about feeling romantic.
One of the projects for our Jubilee is an aim to establish listening posts in venues throughout the city from May onwards, and for them to be located in various venues for the subsequent months. These will contain an archive record of memories of the opening of the Cathedral, Liverpool in the 60’s, the Papal Visit and other milestone occasions in our Cathedral and City history and finally people’s opinions of the building today. The co-ordinators and volunteers are having their first meeting this week, and we are starting to get some wonderful memories and potential interviewers to start the process. For instance we heard from one person this week, Neil Tully, who was a steward at the opening event and on duty at the bottom of the old ramp entrance to the Cathedral. He still has his yellow arm band from the occasion. He escorted the Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the leader of the opposition Edward Heath, Lord Longford and the Duke of Norfolk (who was representing the Queen) up the ramp to be greeted by Monsignor McKenna (Dean). ‘It was a wonderful day and the excitement of the people was exhilarating. The stewards had been instructed to ensure that nobody entered the building at the end of the service of Dedication until everything was cleared but the crowds wouldn’t wait and just swept everyone aside insisting it was their right to come in as it was their Cathedral and they had waited for generations to see it’. Nice to know we haven’t changed in that regard as everyone still ignores any directions even today!
Family Prayer; Loving God, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name. Bless those with whom we share our lives with the abundance of your love. That we might grow together in compassion, love and forgiveness and in so doing be a sign of your presence in the world. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.