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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 28th February 2021 Posted on Saturday 27 February 2021

Second Sunday of Lent
One of the in phrases that everyone seems to be using at the moment is ‘planning a roadmap’. Being a person who still relies on reading roadmaps rather than a satnav it has instant relevance for me but I would have thought for most people a more understandable descriptive phrase would be ‘satnaving the way ahead’. I suppose the problem with using a satnav is you don’t have to plan whereas using a map planning and making choices is an essential part of the journey itself.

The Prime Minister indicated certain stages over the next three months to set a course for the easing and ending of lockdown restrictions. This has prompted us at the Cathedral to begin setting out our own stages to gradually open the Cathedral up to more activity.

From March 8th Schools will reopen. Churches within the Archdiocese that have been closed for public worship will reopen during this month. However the restrictions regarding numbers attending funerals and for weddings and baptisms remain the same. The services during Holy Week at the Cathedral will be subject to various changes. The mass of Chrism will be open to a limited invited congregation and live streamed. The Good Friday Services may have to be ticketed and we will have an extra morning mass on Easter Sunday morning. More details to follow on these various celebrations during the next couple of weeks.

Pentecost is celebrated on 23rd May this year. From this date we hope to open up the Crypt Chapel for mass on Sundays and also offer a more extensive choice of daily masses. However as with everything else this will not automatically mean that we will revert to times and schedules that were the normal routine prior to the pandemic. From this date all weddings, funerals and baptisms can have a congregation of up to 30 people attending.

The Diocesan Synod will take place over the weekend of 19th and 20th June and following this weekend if all goes to the PM’s plan all restrictions for social mixing will be lifted. We are planning and hoping to fully open the Cathedral and Crypt from the first weekend in July.

We move forward still with considerable care and caution but now with some light and hope that an end is in sight. Whether that will be a final or temporary end to the restrictions is the real unknown.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean