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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 21st January 2024 Posted on Saturday 20 January 2024

Week of Prayer

It has been like living within two continents this week at the Cathedral. We have needed every layer possible to cope with the temperatures around the main Cathedral. However,  the Crypt is almost tropical in comparison and the layers have to be shed to stay cool. As per normal for our Cathedral when the going gets tough our Cathedral heating decides to either pack in altogether or develop a mind of its own. Thankfully it seems as though milder weather is scheduled for this coming weekend.

The Chapter of Canons will be meeting for the first time this year on Wednesday and Archbishop Malcolm will join us at the 12.15 Service in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for the Chapter Mass and Midday Prayer. Hope University will be holding their Winter Graduations Ceremony within the Cathedral this Thursday beginning at 12noon. The Cathedral will have to be closed to the general public before this in preparation for the Ceremony.

We keep the week of Prayer for Christian Unity this week concluding next Sunday 28th January with our Annual Joint Cathedrals Service of Evening Prayer which this year is at our Cathedral at 3pm. Professor Gerald Pillay, former Vice Chancellor of Hope University, will be the guest preacher at this joint service with the clergy and choirs from both Cathedrals taking part. The theme for the Week of Prayer this year is ‘Go and do likewise’ based on the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity the Church is being challenged to stop and tend to the wounded and, in so doing, to recognise our own wounds as churches and as communities. Facing the reality of our own brokenness helps to connect us to the suffering of others from a place of humility and deep empathy, creating a sacred space of encounter inspired by Christ’s healing love. The resources for prayer this week can be found online just search – ‘resources for the week of prayer for Christian unity 2024’.

Prayers for the Holy Land; His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, has stressed that our prayers must continue after more than 100 days of war in Gaza:

“The 100 days of warfare in Gaza and Israel illustrate, yet again, the horrors of war and the reinforcing of the barriers of hatred that it creates.

“Our 100 days of prayer are not futile and our prayer must continue, not only for peace in the wider Middle East but also in Ukraine and all other areas riven by conflict.

“The local Church tells us that the parish of the Holy Family in Gaza continues to be a place of safety for over 600 people, including over 50 severely disabled and very vulnerable children. They need our prayers and practical help financially.

“So, too, we pray for all those involved in current negotiations to bring additional humanitarian aid to the beleaguered people of Gaza and medical aid to the hostages. Tireless efforts in negotiations are essential. This war and violence against the innocent must end. The hostages must be released. People must be able to live in peace.

“The long, slow work of reconstruction has to begin, sooner or later, on the ruined foundations of life in Gaza and in Israel. The challenges are immense and the dangers facing the world immediate and deeply troubling.”

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean