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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 26th November 2023 Posted on Saturday 25 November 2023

Feast of Christ the King

This weekend we celebrate our Cathedral Patronal Feast of Christ the King. The Feast of Christ the King was only incorporated into the liturgical calendar at the end of the Holy Year in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. In that period between the two world wars it was a response to concerns of growing nationalism and secularism due to the rise of fascism and communism in various parts of Europe.  The new Feast proclaimed Christs Sovereignty over all things. It was the Holy Father who asked that our Cathedral be dedicated to Christ the King and we were the first Cathedral to be asked to have this title and be linked with this feast which marks the final Sunday of the church year. Pope Paul VI transferred the Feast from October to this final Sunday of the Church year, symbolising that in the end all things will be reconciled in Christ.  The Feast gives real expression to the needs and challenges of our times – how we give witness to the values of Christs Kingdom in our personal and public lives. Our building is a constant reminder of this in the midst of our City and Diocese. A very Happy Feast Day to you all.

Recently we had the west side entrance porch of the Cathedral repainted. This was done with the intention of displaying three small religious sculptures by Arthur Dooley, a local sculptor. Two of these pieces had been rediscovered from a container unit in which items had been stored when the subsequent owner of the building, that Dooley had rented, sold it on.  One of these pieces of the crucifixion of Christ with the word Mandela at the side has now been fixed in place which will allow us to arrange the lighting and the positioning of the other two pieces. One is a small sculpture of Veronica wiping the face of Jesus and the other of the figure of Moses. All three images remind us of those who suffer, of the need for compassion and the hope that God will hear his people who cry to him for justice. This will fit well with this small area which has always been set aside as an area of prayer and reflection for justice and peace. When everything is in place we will reinstate the lighted candle which burns as a symbol of peace.

Members of the Chapter of Canons will be joining us for Choral Evening Prayer this Sunday afternoon to join us in prayer on our Patronal Feast. There will also be some member of the Music Trust who will also be with us following the awarding of a grant of £25,000 to be used to provide training and educational opportunities for choral and organ pathways for those leaving the choir. It will be put to good use for our young people here.

Next Sunday as we enter the month of December and run up to Christmas we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. As well as our Advent masses that day we will have the traditional Advent Sequence Service at 5pm.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean