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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 18th February 2024 Posted on Saturday 17 February 2024

First Sunday of Lent

It was wonderful to see so many attending church last week to mark the beginning of Lent and to receive ashes on what is a normal working day. It is an encouragement for the whole community that so many people of all ages were prepared to come together for the start of Lent.  A mischievous thought crossed my mind that perhaps a proportion of the congregations on Ash Wednesday take the Gospel of the day quite literally and spend the rest of Lent praying in their private room as we never seem to get the same numbers at mass during the rest of the season. However the reality is that on Ash Wednesday we get many people from parishes across the city who are working in the city centre and they have their own places of worship to attend throughout the season.

Since October last year a group of adults have been meeting once a week at Cathedral House learning about and exploring aspects of our Catholic faith. Another small group of enquirers have been meeting separately in order to have preparation in their Cantonese language. This Sunday catechumens from both groups will join with others from across the Archdiocese to enrol for baptism or, if already baptised, reception into full communion with the Catholic Church at Easter. Archbishop McMahon will preside at this afternoon service of enrolment of Catechumens in the Cathedral at 3pm.

Archbishop John Wilson, Bishop of Southwark Archdiocese, will be in Liverpool at the St Paul Bookshop next Thursday afternoon for a launch of his new book ‘Pondering and Praying Vatican 2’. It is not meant to be a heavy tome analysing the Church documents but a more useable and prayerful guide to the important aspects of our faith. You are welcome to come along to the launch at 2.30pm- you may find the book to be a useful companion for Lent this year.

Next Saturday Bishop Tom Neylon will preside at the Saturday Vigil Mass at 5pm. This is to mark the second anniversary of the unprovoked full scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. Over the two years there have been many thousands of Ukrainian civilian casualties and untold numbers of deaths of soldiers from both countries – yet still no sign of a resolution or of hope for peace and a restoration of occupied territories. All are welcome to come and join Bishop Tom to pray for the people of Ukraine and for a just ending of this conflict.

A  Few Lenten Thoughts. Don’t make your Lenten resolutions somebody else’s penance by being impossible to live with.

 If you tell the whole world what you are doing for Lent God will presume that you are doing it to impress them and not for him.

If you think that you are making great sacrifices and doing a lot for the Lord remember Lent is about what he gives and does for us.

Please note that there will be exposition every Saturday during Lent from 3.30-4.30pm, concluding with evening prayer – confessions are available during this period.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean