Following the early Mass I will be attending the Annual Judges Service at Liverpool Cathedral this Sunday. It is an occasion for the wearing of formal traditional gowns and an opportunity to gather to pray for those in the legal profession. I always look forward to hearing the guest preacher chosen for this service as it is the one public opportunity for them to share reflections from a faith-based perspective on topical issues with those who are responsible for the law and meting out of justice. On Merseyside this is always held at Liverpool Cathedral but there is an annual Catholic legal service known as the Red Mass, celebrated at Westminster Cathedral – a tradition dating back to the early 14th century in this country. The red symbolising not the presence of the Cardinal, but the invocation of the Holy Spirit.
On the theme of topical issues the whole church worldwide has been asked by Pope Francis to embark on a Synodal Process of reflection leading to a gathering in Rome in 2023. Here in Liverpool we have already held our Diocesan Synod and are now awaiting the publication of our forthcoming Pastoral Plan in Advent which will provide a roadmap for the way ahead. This afternoon at 3pm Archbishop Malcolm will preside at Choral Evening Prayer to pray along with the whole church at the start of this International Synodal Journey and for our own forthcoming Diocesan Plan. In order that we don’t end up with Synod Overload I am hoping that our main focus will be our own Diocesan Pastoral Plan, whilst not ignoring what is happening in the wider church.
During the various periods of lockdown it wasn’t possible for people to join together at a time of death for the normal funeral rites. At times it wasn’t even possible to have any form of church service. There are a number of opportunities during the month of November to remember those who died during this difficult time and offer Mass and know that they are still remembered and prayed for here at the Cathedral. What would be helpful if people could send in names of those that you particularly want prayed for and included in our Pious List for the November List. There will be a full sung Requiem Mass at 5pm on the Feast of All Souls to mark the beginning of this month of prayer for all our deceased loved ones. Please do come and join us for this Mass particularly if you have lost family or friends during this time.
We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us, make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.
All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time, in the communion of the Father and the Son, forever and ever.