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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 25th June 2023 Posted on Saturday 24 June 2023


This summer the Archdiocese will be celebrating 100 years since its first official Pilgrimage to Lourdes. One of the sick who took part in that first pilgrimage in 1923 was Jack Traynor, who lived nearby in St Patrick’s Parish. He had been severely wounded during the first world war and had been permanently paralysed with recurring epileptic fits. Despite his condition he was determined to travel to Lourdes as part of the pilgrimage. He miraculously returned home cured of his condition and was able to lead a full and active life for the rest of his years. The story of his cure can be read more fully in the written account entitled ’I met a Miracle’.

Other than during the second world war and the Covid Pandemic there has been an annual pilgrimage from this Diocese to Lourdes every year led by either the Archbishop or one of the other Diocesan Bishops. Many thousands of pilgrims from throughout the Diocese have joined the pilgrimage over the years. This year’s pilgrimage, which takes place later in July, will have a special significance for all who are due to take part. There is a special celebratory Mass this Sunday at 5pm to celebrate the centenary year to provide an opportunity for those going on pilgrimage this year and all who have been to Lourdes to come together to take part in a Mass of Thanksgiving led by Archbishop Malcolm.

Having been involved in the initial scheme to design and build the Cathedral steps and café visitor centre post millennium, it is sad to now see the garden area flattened and the side walls to the Piazza café stripped off. This first phase of work is necessary to discover the extent of the problems that have beset the building over recent years, particularly while it has been out of use for some years. Eventually the roof will have to be stripped off before we are able to proceed with any clear plans of a way forward.

Over the next couple of months we will have a clearer picture of the state of the site and plans for the future of this area and all the indications are that it will come at a cost that the Cathedral alone will not be able to afford.

There are exams taking place in the Crypt Hall all this week so 12.15pm Mass will be celebrated in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for most of the week. However, on Wednesday groups of school children from across the Diocese will be attending the Annual Good Shepherd Mass at 11am in support of Nugent. This will mean that despite the exams the 12.15pm Mass that day will be in the Crypt Chapel.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean