Christ the King
Today is our Patronal Feast and I welcome you all as we gather to celebrate Christ the King. The Feast gives real expression to the needs and challenges of our times – how we are to give witness to the values of Christ’s Kingdom in our personal and public lives. Our building is a constant reminder of this in the midst of our City and Diocese.
We have had a considerable number of phone calls over the last week regarding the Jubilee Year of Mercy. People wanting to know whether our Holy Door was still open and asking if we could keep it open for a few more weeks! Many of these calls were from other Dioceses across the country where they had the final Mass and closure of the Holy year last week. It is remarkable that so much has been organised and published about the Year of Jubilee and there are people who have suddenly panicked to do something about it at the very last minute. Anyway I can assure you the Holy Door will be closed here on Sunday by Archbishop Malcolm at the end of a special Mass at 3.00pm to mark the end of the Church Year as we give thanks for the graces that we have received during the course of the Jubilee.
Our thoughts and preparations are now firmly focussed on our own Fiftieth Jubilee Year of the Cathedral in 2017. Behind the scenes a lot of groundwork is being done to make it a very special time for our Cathedral Community and the whole Diocese. We now have it confirmed that Cardinal Vincent Nichols will be with us for the Anniversary Celebratory Mass at Pentecost and the Jubilee Committee, who meet again this week have been hard at work arranging events around the fortnight of the anniversary as well as others throughout the year.
There has already been one meeting of potential volunteer flower arrangers for the Festival that will take place next year and another is due this coming week. I had to say a word of welcome to the last group that met and give a brief introduction to the Golden Jubilee theme. Following this the conversations quickly moved on to cones and spirals and oasis. I then knew I was out of my depth and when questions were raised such as how you depict the Sacrament of the Sick in an arrangement I quickly took my leave. Since then Fr Stephen has been appointed as ‘Theological Advisor to the Flower Festival’ to work alongside Claire and the various arranging groups – I feel sure he will be a lot more patient, helpful and understanding than I could ever be for this.
We begin the season of Advent next weekend and we seem to be busier than ever for the next few weeks leading to Christmas. ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ have organised a talk next Sunday by Fr Halemba who will be sharing his experiences of the current situation in Syria and Iraq and hopes for the future. This will be at 2pm in the Gibberd Room followed by a short period of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Crypt Chapel.
Later that afternoon at 5pm there is the annual Advent Sequence service of Advent music and readings setting the scene for this season when we wait in joyful expectation for the coming of the Lord.
Canon Anthony O’Brien