Surrounded by a festive array of flowers we celebrate our Cathedral Golden Jubilee Anniversary this weekend. It was on the Solemnity of Pentecost 1967 that Bishop Augustine Harris presided at the opening mass with a packed Cathedral including Cardinals, Bishops, Prime Minister, civic leaders and individuals representing all aspects of diocesan and civic life. Crowds thronged the areas outside of the Cathedral intent on seeing the inside of the completed building once the service had ended. Now fifty years later we come together to give thanks for half a century of Cathedral life. So much has changed since the year of opening yet the building is still the same powerful symbol of faith in the midst of our lives today and it has adapted and developed over the years to serve the changing needs of our Catholic Communities and city. I am extremely grateful to the hard work of so many people in preparing for our weekend celebrations with special thanks to the range of flower arranging groups and societies that have created such a wonderful tribute to Cathedral Life.
Last Wednesday we bade a fond farewell to Dr Meg Whittle the Diocesan Archivist who has been part of the Cathedral Staff for the last 17 years. Meg began her time working with the Diocese at St Joseph’s College Upholland, her first duty being to catalogue the Gradwell library collection. She then began to set up an archive of the Diocesan papers within the College and this grew into the extensive collection of historical papers and artefacts that is now contained at the Cathedral dating back well before the re-establishment of the catholic hierarchy in mid 19th century to the present day. We wish Meg well in retirement – no doubt we will see her from time to time returning to give advice and a helping hand within the archive department. Our new archivist is Neil Sayers who has had a great deal of experience working in the Lancashire Records office. He will start in post next week.
Archbishop Malcolm received a letter this week sent on behalf of Pope Francis sending us greetings on the occasion of our Golden Jubilee. For those who will not be at the Solemn Mass to hear the letter read out I enclose a copy of the letter below:
The Most Reverend McMahon Archbishop of Liverpool
His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to learn that on Pentecost Sunday you will preside at a Solemn Celebration of the Eucharist commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the consecration of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, and he asks you to convey his prayerful remembrance to all present. His Holiness encourages the priests, consecrated men and women and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Liverpool to remain open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and he prays that the cathedral may be a place in which all can encounter “a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 28) In commending all present and their families to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, the Holy Father willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State
Canon Anthony O’Brien Cathedral Dean