Baptism of the Lord
This week we celebrated the final Feasts of the Christmas Season and from Monday begin the start of Ordinary Time. As per last year we enter a New Year trying to plan ahead without any confidence or assurance that these plans or events will actually take place! But that seems to be the case for every organisation at the moment. The various University bookings that we had throughout January in the Crypt have all been postponed and we are waiting to hear whether the Joint Catholic and Anglican Bishops visit to both our Cathedrals at the beginning of February will still take place.
Thankfully the regular schedule of our Cathedral liturgical life will continue on throughout the year whatever the challenges faced. I would like to thank everyone who had some part in preparing for and contributing to the celebrations over the Christmas period. It is only with the help and involvement of a great many that the full range of services can take place here with all the dignity and ceremony that is required.
There are some things that are certain for this coming year. I am due to travel up to Durham next week to visit the workshop of the organ builders Harrisons. There are some final decisions to be taken regarding the repair of the Cathedral organ console which are better explained in situ. The refurbished and repaired instrument will return to be re-built and re-voiced on site at the Cathedral during the second half of the year. Also within the next few months we will urgently need to agree the scale and level of rebuilding work needed on the Cathedral Piazza Café and Gift Shop. So from the outset we will be declaring a deficit budget for this year and will be in significant debt by the end of the year.
The major item of Diocesan news over the last year has been the finalisation of the Synod and formulation of the Diocesan Plan that has resulted from the Synod recommendations. Quite what the impact on the ground within parish life will be is not clear at present but it will begin to take effect and be implemented over the coming year. The Cathedral is now no longer a part of the South Liverpool Deanery of parishes, we are part of the Liverpool City Centre group incorporating a few inner city parishes from both the North and South sides of the City. Within the years that I have been at the Cathedral this is the fourth deanery change that we have been part of – I’m beginning to think that no one knows what to do with us!
A liturgical change that is due this year is the change of lectionary translation. A couple of years ago the Bishops Conference agreed to accept the Catholic English Standard Version of the scriptures to be used in parishes for the celebration of the Mass and other sacraments. As with any change there has been quite a bit of reaction to this decision – not least because the current translation in use is that of the Jerusalem Bible and many thought that we would adopt the new revised J.B. translation. It is taking a long time for the new lectionaries to be made available but this is scheduled for later in the year.
I wish you all a Happy New Year and may the Lord be with us, bless us and may his face to shine on us throughout this coming year.
Canon Anthony O’Brien