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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 27th March 2020 Posted on Friday 27 March 2020

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2020
Over the last week there have been significant daily changes that have had to be imposed on our way of life and we have gone from normal activity to isolation in our homes apart from those carrying out essential tasks. Here at the Cathedral we have had to close our doors completely for the first and only time in our history – not out of choice but out of concern for the common good.

Mass is celebrated each day for the needs of our community but only in private. It feels like we have gone from being in a busy Cathedral to living in an enclosed monastic priory.

It was great to receive some feedback from some of our regular community regarding the live streaming of Mass on a Sunday. We weren’t sure how this would come across as it is a very strange experience for us priests celebrating Mass without a congregation and it was good to know that many of you were joining with us in prayer, remarkably a great many more than would normally attend here – some from other distant parts of the world. We really need our faith and each others prayers and support at this time.

We have included the Sunday readings on the website for you to follow if you wish and will do this for the following Sundays. The live streaming of Mass will be at the same time each Sunday along with a later option to view on You Tube. We are intending to live stream the major celebrations in Holy Week also so keep an eye on the website for the times for these.

Although it may feel that we are isolated from the community and have closed our doors to everyone we still feel a close connection with you all. From the Cathedral we can look across to the Royal Liverpool Hospital – the patients and all those who work there, some of whom are regular parishioners here, are included in our prayers and thoughts each day and our priests here are regularly on call as chaplains in emergency need. We are mindful of all who are ill, alone or fearful at this time. For all of us Lent has taken a different path this year, the outward religious observances may not be available but we are called to look outwards to our neighbours and the needs of others. Many of you whose job is to care for others or keep the basic services going are making considerable sacrifices for us all and the least we can do is to stay isolated and help where we can to support you all. This may be a slightly longer Lenten penance than normal but no less spiritually worthwhile.

Prior to the recent restrictions people had been bringing in Easter Eggs to Cathedral House to be given at Easter to children in need and the remainder after the Easter Masses. This has been a daily source of temptation literally staring us in the face – I am not sure we will be able to hold out much longer – we might not have lamb for Easter, but we will not be short of chocolate.

We also received some revised liturgical norms from the Vatican regarding the celebrations in Holy Week in situations where the priest is celebrating privately. For Maundy Thursday I was delighted to read that when there is only the priest present the washing of the feet is no longer necessary!

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean