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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 31 July 2016 Posted on Sunday 31 July 2016

Fr Jacques Hamel RIP
The brutal and shocking murder this week of Fr Jacques Hamel in Rouen, France, whilst he was celebrating morning Mass and the injuring of five hostages was the latest in a spate of attacks on innocent people over the last few weeks in France and Germany. Such violence seeks only to cause division and hatred both on racial and religious grounds. We must resist these evil attempts to undermine our freedoms and tolerance and stand together to deplore such callous disregard for human life whether here in Europe or other parts of the world. In view of such incidents the police have asked us to be more vigilant and to heighten our security procedures.

Over the last few weeks of the school term we had four students from St Edward’s College spending a week at the Cathedral on work experience. Three spent the whole week in the Music Department whilst the fourth opted for a more varied experience working alongside different members of Cathedral staff. They were all a credit to their college and showed willingness, ability and enthusiasm. The fourth young man was named Byron and he has written a short account of the week he spent here.

‘I greatly enjoyed my time working in the Cathedral for the week as it was a very relaxing and welcoming environment. For the first couple of days, I worked in the Cathedral Archives with the archivist Meg. It was a very interesting place where I saw many fascinating historic documents, one dating back to the early 1800s. On my third day, I was with the music department where I was lucky to witness some of the annual voice trials for the Girls’ Cathedral Choir. For my last two days, I worked in Cathedral House with the Dean and the other very busy staff. I was also lucky to attend a peaceful Thursday morning Mass in the Convent on Seel Street. My work experience has been a great eye- opener to the many jobs involved in the running of the Cathedral and I was very glad to have been a part of the process.’

Just recently we have discovered a worrying conflict here at the Cathedral right in the heart of Cathedral House. Within a metre of the beehives in the Cathedral garden a colony of wasps have established a nest in the base of an old tree stump. Last Wednesday, during lunch, as our gardeners were mowing the grass we witnessed a group of grown men running past the window and twirling round for cover after they had not only discovered but disturbed the wasp nest by going over it with the mower. Quite an amusing sight but unfortunately one was quite badly stung – thankfully his body was used to the occasional sting. Apparently wasps sometimes establish a nest near hives and when their colony is big enough they attack the bees to get the honey. So the safeguarding of this year’s Cathedral honey is at stake. Pest control have been called, in but we need to be careful as we don’t want to kill off the bees at the same time as the wasps. It just goes to show that we are never far from some conflict or other – the resolution in this instance is the wasps have to go.

Canon Anthony O’Brien