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The Dean’s Weekly Message – Sunday 27th October 2019 Posted on Sunday 27 October 2019

Aid to the Church in Need
On Sunday we welcome Fr Nishanta Cooray, a Sri Lankan priest, who is visiting a number of principal churches in the North West as a guest of ‘Aid to the Church in Need’. He will be the guest homilist at the Solemn Mass. Last Easter three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka were targeted in a series of co-ordinated suicide bombings resulting in 259 deaths and more than 500 people badly injured. This happened during the Easter services at two Catholic churches and an evangelical church. The attacks, carried out by Islamic state fighters were targeted at Christians and western visitors in the three hotels. Further attacks had been planned but were stopped as a result of police raids. Fr Nishanta was heavily involved in the aftermath of these tragedies supporting families and celebrating funerals and burials of those who died. He will talk briefly about his experience of this time and the work towards reconciliation amongst the different communities following the bombings.

Next Friday is a Holyday of Obligation, the Feast of All Saints. This is followed on the Saturday with the Commemoration of All Souls and the Saturday morning Mass at 9.00am will be a sung choral Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for the Departed Faithful.

Last Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of receiving an award of a grant from the Friends of Cathedral Music (a national charitable organisation) to provide a fund to support instrument lessons for members of the Girls’ Choir. The award was presented by Terry Duffy, our former Cathedral organist, who is the only catholic member of the FCM committee and he reminded us that over the years they had supported our Cathedral with grants totalling £63,000 inclusive of this present award. It was good to receive the grant from someone who has been involved with the musical life of our Cathedral over many years, and who has a first-hand knowledge of what goes on here.

Recently we have managed to secure a number of grants to support the development of different aspects of our Cathedral life. It can seem at times with all the facilities and activities that take place within the Cathedral that we are managing quite well financially but the true picture is that we are really struggling to find the income to maintain all this activity and pay our overheads. Without these extra awards we would not be able to update things, or afford major repair projects. As you may know our principal sources of income are ground rents, Crypt hire, offertory income, visitor donations, car park, and shop and visitor centre. This income enables us to pay the salary costs of over 30 staff and clergy, our utility bills, annual service contracts, support the various departments of Cathedral life, building maintenance and repairs and purchase all the supplies and equipment that are needed. Over the last few years due to increased costs and a growing level of repairs and compliance with health and safety legislation our expenditure has exceeded our income and we are constantly having to set new targets and find ways of making savings. The one thing that is fundamental in all this is that the essential elements of our Cathedral life are the pastoral, charitable and worship activities that take place. The income generation and the efficient management of this is only important because that provides the resources for these core activities to take place.

Canon O’Brien
Cathedral Dean