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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 18 February 2018 Posted on Sunday 18 February 2018

First Sunday of Lent
The season of Lent originally developed in the early centuries as a final period of preparation for catechumens before their reception into the church at Easter as well as being a final period of penance for those who had apostasized (abandoned their faith) in the face of persecution. The whole church community joined them in fasting and penance in preparation for the celebrations of Holy Week. This Sunday afternoon at 3.00pm Archbishop Malcolm will lead a service of welcome to admit adults who have been preparing to be received into the church from many of the parishes across the Diocese. There are seven candidates from our Cathedral parish who have been preparing since October who will be taking part in this service and who will be received into full communion at the Easter Vigil.

The joint foodbank Hope+ run by the Cathedrals has been rebranded and combined into a new joint charity along with the Volition programme, which helps people into employment. The use of the word ‘hope’ was too common in charity titles and also some people suggested the title hope+ sounded too much like hopeless. The joint charity is now known as Micah (named after the prophet who spoke out on issues of justice). There is a launch event for this at Liverpool Cathedral on Tuesday at 6pm with a presentation which will outline some of the achievements of the past few years and new developments and further progress that will now be possible as this new enlarged charity.

The first of our Lenten talks, arranged by the Cathedral Friends, will take place on Wednesday evening from 6.30pm in the Gibberd Room. Charlotte Hopkins from the Whitechapel Centre will be talking about their work with homeless people, how we can better understand the nature of the issue on Merseyside and how we can help.

Next Friday is Lenten Family Fast Day. Since 2012 the UK Government has provided match funding for donations given for aid relief. This has enabled Cafod to run schemes to provide safe drinking water, agricultural and health training schemes and respond to emergency relief. There are envelopes available in church if you want to gift aid your donations and there will be a retiring collection next Sunday for Family Fast.

Over the next few months we will be having a number of holy hours in preparation for the Eucharistic Congress. Next Sunday we will have a special service of Choral Evening prayer with Exposition and Benediction at 3pm. Then on 8th March at 7.30pm we will be combining with the North Liverpool Deanery to take part in a joint Holy Hour at St Francis de Sales led by Archbishop Malcolm. Fr Ged Callacher is the parish priest of St Francis, formerly serving at the Cathedral, and he extends an invitation to all who want to come and share in this time of prayer and devotion.

Some weeks ago we had a meeting with a small group of interested people with regard to walking part of the pilgrimage way to Santiago de Compostela. Following this I contacted the travel agents to book for a group of 8 pilgrims. By this week I am now on version 5 of the booking forms with a group of thirty people signed up to take part. The response has been well beyond our first expectations and it means I now need to get in training for the walk as I don’t want this many people coming back saying that the priest was the only one who didn’t complete it! Unfortunately, we now have to declare that we have now reached capacity and there are no further places left.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean