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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 31st May 2020 Posted on Sunday 31 May 2020

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. This is a day on which we have much to celebrate as a Cathedral Community. The great day on which the Apostles received the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire is also the day on which our Cathedral first opened 53 years ago and the occasion when we welcomed St Pope John Paul II to our Cathedral in 1982. Sadly we will have to celebrate remotely online rather than gathering together this year. The other three Cathedral priests and myself are looking forward to having a celebratory lunch after Mass with a takeaway roast dinner and with the afternoon joint service already recorded we can enjoy a glass of wine or two without having to rush around preparing for the afternoon service.

The joint Cathedrals afternoon service will be available online from 3pm on Sunday. One of the highlights of this for me is that we were able to include a recording of the singing of ‘Come Holy Ghost’ from 1982 at the Mass with Pope John Paul and you can hear the congregation clapping as he processed into the church which makes you feel as though you were there at the time.

Archbishop Malcolm will be here at the Cathedral to celebrate the streamed Mass for Pentecost Sunday and also on Monday at 4pm for the streamed Mass for Bishop Vincent Malone prior to his burial on Tuesday. We have included on our facebook page a video of memories from the Papal Visit produced by Whispered Tales. Two of the contributing voices on the clip are Bishop Vincent and Monsignor Cookson.

Diocesan meetings are still taking place remotely and decisions being implemented and part of this has been the early announcements of some clergy moves which will take place in September. We were informed this week that Fr Philip Carr would be moving after two years as assistant priest here at the Cathedral to become the parish priest of St Julies, Eccleston, St Helens, and also as priest responsible for Blessed English Martyrs, Haydock. He will be replacing Canon Tom Neylon, one of the Vicar Generals of the Diocese, who will be moving to Widnes. Fr Philip although he is looking forward to a new challenge and ministry, is also still a bit shocked not expecting to be moved from here so soon. The advantage of hearing of this so far in advance means he has plenty of time to prepare for the move, to say his farewells and to develop a St Helens accent. Perhaps Neil Sayer, our archivist who is from that parish, may be able to give him some tips on St Helens culture and turns of phrase prior to moving.  We will be getting a replacement assistant priest in his place.

Another week goes by and we are still none the wiser regarding a date for when we can begin to reopen churches for visits and private prayer and eventually to be able to get back to the regular celebration of public services. It is looking like we are lumped in with bars and restaurants and cultural venues. I had never considered church as entertainment and leisure before!

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean