*The below message is taken from the weekly Cathedral Record newsletter. The full Cathedral Record is available to pick up from the Cathedral or can be downloaded here.*
Last week we had a small reception at Cathedral House to mark the retirement of our longest serving member of staff, Pat Kirk, who has worked part time here for thirty four years managing the laundry. Over such a long period of time she has known over 40 priests who have lived here, two orders of sisters and served under three Deans. Not only was the laundry the tidiest and most organised area of the house and the Cathedral linen always crisply ironed and expertly laundered but she also baked fabulous cakes. She will be sadly missed and so will the cakes!
One of the sites that we visited during the Catholic Deans Conference in Arundel and Brighton Diocese last week was the Carthusian Monastery of Parkminster – which is the only Carthusian foundation in England and Wales. At present there are 24 monks who live a silent solitary life coming together only for the singing of the office throughout the day and night and for mass. Most of the day is spent in enclosed cells or hermitages and just meeting in common once a week on a Sunday evening for a couple of hours community gathering. Being a totally enclosed community it is a rare privilege to be given an opportunity to see inside. We had a chance to walk through the monastery visit an empty hermitage and experience the silence and simplicity of their life ending with sung evening prayer – everyone in the group was very moved by the ascetic and devoted lifestyle of the monks and the sense of prayer throughout the building. The cloister corridor which connects the entrance and the various hermitages and chapel is the longest in Europe ( and the coldest!) and the brothers who carry out some of the more practical work use bicycles to get from one end to the other.
One of the younger monks had recently died of cancer and we visited the monastery cemetery where deceased members of the community were buried with just a simple wooden cross as a headstone with not even a name to identify the grave, the whole cemetery was just contained just rows of plain wooden crosses. As our monk guide told us; in life and death we have very little to give to God we are totally reliant on his love and mercy. Perhaps that puts into focus the importance of praying for the dead during the month of November. If you wish to have particular intentions remembered at mass on the Feast of All Souls and during the coming month if you could write the names, place them in an envelope marked pious list and hand them in at the weekend Masses or to Cathedral House.
Next Saturday there will be a half day of recollection for those who are readers within the parish from 10am-midday. Everyone should have received advanced notice of this. The morning will be led by Fr Stephen.
Canon Anthony O’Brien