This weekend we begin the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity which always occurs within the week of the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, 25th January. Each year the Churches Together national organisation chooses a theme for the week of prayer and this year’s theme is one of hospitality entitled ‘Unusual Kindness’. The chosen reflections focus on the account in the Acts of the Apostles of the Shipwreck of St Paul off the island of Malta. St Paul challenged his fellow travellers, sailors, soldiers and prisoners to keep up their courage…The people of Malta showed St Paul and his companions unusual kindness and hospitality even though they were complete strangers. In the face of apparent desperation and hopelessness, we are challenged to put our trust in God and allow ourselves to be held and carried through the waters. There will be times when we are broken, as individuals and as churches, and looking back we shall see not just the one set of footprints in the sand, but hundreds, as we are surrounded and supported by those who love us. There will be times when, standing in the storms of our own making, we are challenged to demonstrate unusual kindness in the face of worldly indifference. ‘To demonstrate unusual kindness is to see the sister and brother in the monster’s shame and know that they too are children of God. To demonstrate unusual kindness is to give without counting the cost, and to allow ourselves to be given unto without questioning worth. As we reflect upon, and pray for, Christian Unity, we acknowledge the injury that we have caused, the pain that we carry, the baggage that we must jettison. We pray for Christian Unity as the place from which we can move onward in faith and in hope for the redemption of the world and the restoration of creation.’
We have a Joint Ecumenical Service of Evening Prayer this Sunday afternoon at 3pm at Liverpool Cathedral as part of the Week of Prayer. Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald is the guest preacher for our joint service this year.
The normal stage for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation within our Diocese for our young people has now reverted back to when pupils are in Year 8. For those children who have not already been confirmed and are attending a catholic secondary school there will be preparation in school as part of the religious education curriculum and the Diocesan Youth team will be visiting these schools to meet with those who wish to be included in the confirmation programme. If you are in year 8 but not attending a catholic school and would want to be included in the confirmation preparation this year you can register online at, www.liverpoolcalled.co.uk, and you will be invited to a preparation day on Saturday 29th February run by the Diocesan youth team – ‘Animate’.
We normally offer an opportunity each year at the Cathedral for any adult Catholics who have not been confirmed to receive the sacrament at Pentecost. If there are any parishioners who want to be included if they could contact the Cathedral Office so that we can coordinate some preparation over the next couple of months.
Canon Anthony O’Brien