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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 12th January 2020 Posted on Sunday 12 January 2020

Happy new year to you all as I write our first Cathedral Record of the new decade even though we are now into our second week of January and the resolutions made may have already been forgotten or shelved. Rather than having a series of resolutions this year I have decided to just try and be more positive about everything so here is my wish list of what I would want to see happen in 2020. First on the list would be for the appointment of another priest to help and assist both at the Cathedral and emergency cover at the hospital. With Fr Stephen having to take on the role of full time hospital chaplain to the two hospitals 18 months ago we effectively lost an assistant priest at the Cathedral and the sad loss of Monsignor Cookson has made it even more difficult to sustain the daily cycle of liturgies. I am hopeful that this may be resolved in the near future.

With reference to our Cathedral community life and activities we are so reliant and dependent on the involvement and help of so many volunteers. It was great to see that a good number of parishioners and members of the wider local community became involved in the Heritage project which began at the latter end of the year and is still continuing. I think all involved have enjoyed the process and got a lot out of it and it will be great to see the fruit of their work later in the year. However we have about 15 areas of Cathedral life that are managed or dependent on Cathedral volunteers ranging from liturgical life to provision of services for visitors and committee functions and we are struggling to replace volunteers who have retired or left and attract new people in certain activities. I probably don’tsay enough how grateful we are to all who get involved in volunteering here.

But I hope this year, as a result of our concerted efforts, will be a year for breathing some new life and additional volunteers into some of these areas that have been struggling recently and that people feel fulfilled and valued in what they do.

The Diocesan Synod is due to take place in October this year. To be honest it hasn’t sparked the same level of interest and engagement here as is purported in other parts of the Diocese. Perhaps it is because the Cathedral and its activities are rather different to a parish community. However those who have taken part in the discussions have focussed on some of the most important issues for us to reflect and act upon as a diocese. These relate to real concerns regarding the continuing decline in Mass attendance and how can we address this. Questions around how we pass on and teach the truths and details of our faith and how can we do this more effectively in our schools and parishes? Also how we can be more welcoming and accepting of all people. As the Synod process continues throughout the year a number of Diocesan services and events will be held here at the Cathedral and through prayer and attendance we can give our support to help the process breathe a sense of new life and renewed commitment to witnessing to the faith throughout our Diocese.

I saw this quote some time ago and thought it apt for New Year. “Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make, makes you. Choose wisely.”

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean