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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 25 September 2016 Posted on Sunday 25 September 2016

*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.*

Feast of St Vincent
I had my first foray into virtual reality and its expanding possibilities this week. It did literally expand my horizons seeing the types of applications that it can now be used for. Locate the app, apply the box glasses and hey presto you enter into a completely different virtual world environment. You can tour around a museum or a skilled surgeon can even carry out a delicate specialist operation from the comfort of a chair at home or from the other side of the world. The dangers as far as I can see are that you could eventually end up experiencing many things virtually without the enjoyment of physically visiting a sight and enjoying the interaction with others – the benefits are manifold not least that you can visit sites or parts of a building that you wouldn’t be able to other than in a virtual format. For instance climbing to the top of our Cathedral and experiencing what it is like up in the Lantern or having a virtual tour of the Lutyens Cathedral in its completed design. Who knows what the future will hold –perhaps the next generation will be living in a partial virtual reality world, probably not that much different than the obsession with mobile phones today. Anyway back to the real world (whatever that is).

This Sunday there will be a large contingent of students from Australia joining us for Mass at 10.00am. We extend a warm welcome to them- everyone may have to squeeze up to fit a few more in each bench to cope with the numbers in the Crypt Chapel. Also later in the afternoon the Mass for and with People with Disabilities will take the place of Choral Evening Prayer at 3pm.

Next Tuesday is the Feast of St Vincent De Paul the ‘Great Apostle of Charity’ as he was known. He was born in 1581 and, although his name suggests otherwise, in relatively poor circumstances. He was ordained a priest at the very young age of 19 and served as a parish priest in Toulouse. When sailing from Marseilles he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave in Tunis only escaping back to France after a number of years and various experiences and this set a course for the rest of his life. When acting as chaplain to a wealthy family he turned his attention to the needs of the poor peasants who worked there and eventually he gathered people around him to provide help and spiritual support both the poor in rural areas and, in Paris, to those who were imprisoned and former galley slaves. He founded the Daughters of Charity along with Louise De Maurillac and the Congregation of the Vincentian Fathers to serve the poor. He was canonised in 1737 and his life and witness was an inspiration to Frederic Ozanam and he founded the lay society under his patronage. There will be a Mass at 9am on Tuesday at St Vincent’s to celebrate the Feast Day.

At this time of the year we give thanks for the harvest and the gifts of God’s creation. This is linked to a Harvest Family Fast Day to support projects to help those less fortunate than ourselves. The Family Fast Day is next Friday and there will be a retiring collection to support the work of Cafod next weekend. There are envelopes available for those who wish to gift aid their contribution.

For the next three Saturdays we will welcome the final Diocesan Deanery groups who will be coming to the Cathedral on Pilgrimage for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Next Saturday it is the turn of the Southport and Leyland Deaneries. The Pilgrimage begins at 10am by entering through the Holy Door and making the Stations of Mercy in small groups followed by a Service of Reconciliation and individual confession and concluding with Mass at midday. Archbishop McMahon is due to join the pilgrims next week and preside at the concluding Mass.

Canon Anthony O’Brien