Farewell Dame Lorna
This Sunday marks the end of the term for the Cathedral Choirs as they take a well earned rest during the summer. They will have a celebratory barbeque following Choral Evening Prayer this Sunday and I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for all the hard work and commitment they have shown to the Cathedral over the last year. The recent Jubilee celebrations have made extra demands on them and many others involved in the life of the Cathedral and I hope all will have a chance for some rest and time off during the holiday period.
In May we marked the beginning of our Jubilee events with a concert performance of the Liverpool Mass originally composed by Pierre Henry for the Arts Festival celebrating the opening of our Cathedral in 1967. Sadly we heard that he passed away last week. He was too ill to attend the concert two months ago but he did manage to watch the video of it before he died. Following that concert I had the chance to meet with Bill Harpe who co-ordinated the concert programme back in 1967. He informed me that at the time they were considering a suitable composer for a choreographed version of the Mass one of the other composers that was shortlisted was Leonard Bernstein, of West Side Story fame. Bill actually met with Bernstein in London in 1965/6, whilst he was over from America conducting, and he was extremely enthusiastic about composing a version of the Mass. Unfortunately he said it would take him a few years and asked if the Archbishop could postpone the opening of the Cathedral for a Year! This was obviously not possible so Pierre Henry, the other favoured candidate, was chosen. Bernstein did subsequently compose a piece entitled ’The Mass’ – perhaps the seed of the idea was sown as a result of the opening of our Cathedral!
The current Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead, retires from office this summer and there is a Thanksgiving Service for her at Liverpool Cathedral this Sunday afternoon. Dame Lorna was appointed in 2006 and during the years she has served as the Queens representative on Merseyside she has won the affection of all with her friendly charm and sense of humour. It was announced this week that Mark Blundell Esquire of Crosby Hall will succeed her. Mark has served on Liverpool University Council, the North West Heritage Lottery Board and a number of other trusts and committees and has a great deal of experience of the organisations and people of Merseyside.
Next Thursday morning at 10.30am Archbishop Malcolm will preside at a mass to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of St Bede;s Catholic College, Ormskirk. Later at 2.00pm on the same day there will be a whole school mass for Bellerive FCJ to mark the end of term and mark the retirement of Sister Brigid Halligan who will be retiring as head teacher after many years of service to the school and the local community.
Many priests and parishioners will be travelling to Lourdes this week for the Annual Diocesan Pilgrimage. The Departure Mass is celebrated at the Cathedral at 5pm this Sunday. We are encouraged to join in prayer with the pilgrims.
Canon Anthony O’Brien