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The Dean’s Weekly Message- 15th March 2020 Posted on Sunday 15 March 2020

Third Sunday of Lent
The third Sunday of Lent marks the half way point on our journey to Holy Week and Easter. As with any mid-point of a journey it is always good to stop and rest a while and take stock of how we are doing. In todays’ gospel Jesus stops for refreshment at a well in a Samaritan village while the disciples go into the town. While he is there he gets into conversation with a woman who comes along to get water from the well. She has a complex and colourful life story which include a number of relationships. Her personal situation is also an allegory which describes and exemplifies the complex relationship and differences of religious practices between Jews and Samaritans which is all interwoven into the conversation Jesus has with her. Our Lord treats her with respect and acceptance despite the generally accepted cultural and religious differences of the time. The woman and her fellow villagers acknowledge Jesus to be the Christ – the source of Living Water. The refreshment that he offers to her and to all who accept him as the Son of God, brings healing and reconciliation an end to divisions and draws us into unity with God the Father. May we too during this time of Lent draw refreshment and renewal of faith from Christ who is the Wellspring of Salvation.

The afternoon Choral Service at 3pm this Sunday is a reflection on the seven last words of Christ on the Cross. It is entitled ‘Les Sept Paroles Du Christ En Croix’ which sounds rather better than the English equivalent description, it was composed by Cesar Franck.

Next Tuesday evening at 6pm there is the third in our Lenten Talk series on the Lenten Gospels. It will be given by Fr John Poland, Archbishop’s Chaplain, on the theme ‘We Thirst for Living Water.’

We have been following the news and advice we have received from the Diocese and the Government regarding precautions that we need to take in view of the spread of the Coronavirus. We have already seen a fall off of the number of visitors to the Cathedral and certain exams have been cancelled. We are carrying on as normal with our regular schedule of religious services and will continue unless we are clearly instructed otherwise. However, the advice is very clear that we need to avoid in any way putting others at risk. Therefore if you have any cold like symptoms, a temperature or bouts of coughing you should not come into contact with others, should self isolate and not put others at risk by attending church services. We also need to be aware of the needs of our neighbours or any of our congregation who are on their own who are having to do this and help where we can. If I could ask you all to place any unwanted service sheets at the end of Masses in the boxes on your way out so that we are not having to handle large numbers of used service sheets. Also at Masses other than in the Crypt the Collection will be taken at the end of Mass so that we don’t pass on collection baskets from one to another.

There are leaflets available which incorporate a nine day Novena of Prayer and reflection which we are being encouraged to follow linked to the Feast of the Annunciation and the Re Consecration of England to Mary’s Dowry at the end of this month. They are available at all Masses this weekend.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean