*The below message is taken from the weekly Cathedral Record newsletter. The full Cathedral Record is available to pick up from the Cathedral or can be downloaded here.*
Thanks to the cooperation and good will of so many people the Pentecost afternoon service and procession went off very well last week with much wider participation than in previous years. For once even the clergy were out dressed by the participants and entertainers along the route of the procession. Hopefully it provides a springboard for making more of a festival on Hope Street for the Feasts of Pentecost and at Easter celebrating a theme of ‘Hope and Passion’. One of the questions that has been raised is why don’t the churches have a Pentecost service and procession every year rather than bi-annually? – I would be interested to hear your reactions to this suggestion.
This Sunday we welcome Cardinal Charles Bo from Myanmar (Burma) to our Solemn Mass. As you will know Burma has recently had an elected government for the first time replacing the former military dictatorship. He has for many years spoken out against poverty and against the persecution of ethnic and minority faith groups in his own country and across South East Asia. The Cardinal, who was ordained a Salesian Priest in 1976 and a Bishop in 1990, will be giving a talk at 2pm in the Gibberd Room as part of a series of talks in a number of Dioceses across the country for ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ and will join us for Choral Evening Prayer at 3pm. All are welcome to his talk at 2pm.
There are a number of school groups coming on pilgrimage this week for the Holy Year, the largest of these is St Basils Primary in Widnes – Bishop John Rawsthorne will be celebrating mass for them in the Cathedral at 10am next Thursday. Our choirs will be on holiday next weekend for half term and in their place we welcome the Choir from Llandaff Cathedral who will sing at the Solemn Mass.
Monsignor Artur Matuszek, who has been staying with us at Cathedral House since last Summer on Sabbatical, will be returning back to the Diocese of Prague after next weekend. He will be returning to Prague to take on responsibility as parish priest of St Wenceslaus parish in the suburbs of the city. We will miss him in Cathedral House and he has been a willing extra helpful pair of hands during his time here. Hopefully he returns with a much greater command of the English language and he is extremely grateful to all who have helped him during his stay here. May god bless his future ministry.
A news item on the radio this week reported on an American University that had carried out research on the benefits of going to church and quantified this as adding an average of 5 months extra to the lifespan of an individual. (I’m not sure if this applied to areas where the church is persecuted!) I was initially disappointed that this was all it amounted to – as it probably doesn’t compensate for the amount of time many of us spend in church throughout our lives! They referred to a better quality of life and contentment also but the real benefit that they failed to quantify, not surprisingly, was the prospect and hope of eternal life. Anyway who wants to be bothered about five extra months if you can gain eternal life!
Canon Anthony O’Brien