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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 7th March 2021 Posted on Saturday 6 March 2021

Third Sunday of Lent
Despite all the challenges that we have faced during the various lockdown regimes the one comforting factor in Cathedral House is that we have never gone hungry – in fact we have eaten rather well. Once takeaways were permissible last year Father Chris McCoy sourced the best Sunday roast takeaway supplier and we were all able to sit down to a socially distanced Sunday lunch once the streamed Mass from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel had taken place. We received occasional packages of home-made bread and scones or sweets and biscuits, all of which kept us going and brought smiles to our faces.

Later in the year our long serving and suffering cook, Cerid, who comes in two days a week on Saturday and Sunday got in touch to say that she was fed up at home, could she come back to work once it was permissible? In the scale of good news within Cathedral House this ranked slightly higher than the visit of an Archbishop or Cardinal!

Now over the last three months because there is very little that can be done on days off we have taken to having a dining at home evening once a week. Keith Floyd, Nigel Slater and online recipes have been attempted transporting us around the world. One week we were in Brittany with Fr Peter’s pork in cider recipe. Claire got in on the act and left us a beef Bourgignon for us to sample, I have been trawling around Asia. Fr Stephen took a different approach attempting to add a new twist on the traditional Lancashire Hotpot using red wine- he is still in two minds whether it was a twist too far. I think he has an inner Heston Blumenthal ready to come out. If you have any great simple recipes we would love to receive them. I feel a theme for a book coming on ‘Conversation and food at a Cathedral kitchen table.’

You may react to all this thinking that we are supposed to be focussing on fasting during this season of Lent. But Our Lord himself said that there are times when we need to fast and periods when it is not appropriate. My feeling is that as we start to come out of lockdown that Lent this year is somewhat different. In situations where it is permissible, we need conversation and companionship and time to listen to one another to enable us to move forward with a renewed sense of hope and strength and determination. Lent is normally a time of denial but perhaps this year it is a time of greater sharing and renewal of our faith – which for many has been sorely tested over this last year.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean