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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 17th May 2020 Posted on Saturday 16 May 2020

Sixth Sunday of Easter
We celebrated the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral last week on 13th May and the formal public opening ceremony which took place on the following day with private celebrations of Mass. Even a few months ago we would have thought that this would be unthinkable that this could be the case. I couldn’t even summon up the energy and enthusiasm to go around the Cathedral and light up the consecration candles that are in situ around the building – it just didn’t seem appropriate without a community present. However, the short posting on our facebook page that day, containing a few memories of the opening helped to raise the spirits.

Next Thursday, as we come towards the end of the Easter Season, we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. We will live stream Mass that day at the same time as on a Sunday at 11.00am which can be accessed either on Facebook or Youtube.

We may also receive some further clarity regarding the phased re-opening of our Catholic Churches in the course of the next week and we will aim to give you news of any changes in restrictions on church activities as soon as we hear anything.

One of the interesting phenomenon during this crisis has been the question of the effectiveness of slogans or straplines and their use.  For the first few weeks we heard the constant message ‘Stay at home, Save Lives’. This seemed to have a common agreement that it was clear and instructional. At times other more common ones were quoted such as ‘We’re all in this together’ which I think always sounds reassuring but loses its impact when we hear that some are actually a lot worse off than others! It has now become obvious that it is a lot more difficult to have an effective slogan to capture the need for continued caution and yet a gradual return to greater activity. ‘Stay alert and be safe, save lives’ is thought by many to be too vague and could apply to many situations. I don’t think anyone so far has been able to capture the direction for this next phase with an effective slogan. As we plan ahead I am conscious of the need to prepare a gradual phased approach to opening up. According to the book of proverbs ‘The prudent person foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them, the foolish person goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.’ There was a quote at the end of a document I read on preparing the workplace for a safe reopening that  said ‘Safety is 30% common sense, 80% compliance and the rest is good luck.’ Sadly it lost all its impact on me because it just didn’t make sense because it didn’t add up.  I hope that the quote used against another leading International Leader will not be used against us here at some later stage, that ‘He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts, for support rather than illumination!’ So in the meantime ‘Stay Safe, Stay Connected and Keep the Faith’.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean