On Friday and Saturday this coming week we receive the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima which has been travelling around the United Kingdom on a Pilgrimage tour this year – a year which marks the 100th Anniversary of the first Apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children, Lucy, Jacinta and Francisco. The Statue will be processed from the Missionaries of Charity Convent in Seel Street at 1.30pm on Friday. Those who wish to take part in this procession with the statue to the Cathedral should assemble in the square next to the convent in good time. Archbishop Malcolm will receive the statue into the Cathedral at 2pm where there will be opening devotions and the crowning of the figure of the Blessed Virgin. This will be followed by Rosary and Benediction in the form of a Holy Hour from 3pm. During the afternoon there will be a film shown on the story of Fatima in the Gibberd Room followed by talks on the message of Fatima.
Archbishop Malcolm will preside at Mass on Friday evening at 7pm. Following this there will be an act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the opportunity for Veneration of Relics of the two children – saints Jacinta and Francisco. The Cathedral will close at 10pm (not at 11pm as advertised in the Fatima Leaflet).
The morning Mass on Saturday will be at the normal time in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. From 10am there will be Devotions and Veneration of the relics leading up to Mass at Midday celebrated by Bishop Tom Williams. Following this there will be a procession of the statue around the precinct of the Cathedral as an act of farewell, escorting the statue on the beginning of the journey to the next location of Pilgrimage.
This weekend we have a Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Malcolm on future plans for the Diocese. I enclose a section of the letter. There are printed versions of the full text available at the back of the Cathedral and the Crypt.
“In the light of this I want us to embark on a 3 year journey of prayer reflection and action that will culminate in a Diocesan Synod in 2020. The Synod will look at practical ways in which we as a Diocese respond to God’s call today and in the future.
The first part of our journey will be a year of prayer leading to the National Eucharistic Congress which will be held in Liverpool next year. From the 7th to 9th September 10,000 delegates from around the country will be gathering in Liverpool to participate in events in and around the city that will focus us on Christ, the bread of life. Focussing our gaze firmly on Christ is an excellent place to begin our journey towards Synod 2020. In this coming year therefore, resources will be made available for each parish to take up this journey and I will be coming to each pastoral area to lead a Holy Hour.
In the second year of our journey to Synod 2020, parish discussions will take place, which will begin from the fact that we are not about managing decline, but we are trying to catch a vision that will move us forward towards missionary discipleship, so that we do not simply follow Jesus but we take the gospel message to others.
Year 3 will culminate in the Synod itself, to be held in the summer of2020.The Synod will present practical ways in which we as a Diocese can respond to the call of God. Like the Gospel there are at least two ways of responding, we can try to look at ourselves and the problems we face, or we can accept the challenge of every call of Jesus to be missionary and outward looking.”