Wednesday, 11 March 2009

We've got one to spare!

Last week I was in Liverpool for a Communciation Officers Forum with various of the Communications Officers from around the dioceses of England & Wales. It was as ever good to met those doing similar work to myself, to share ideas and information and to be better informed on various issues. On the final day of meeting we finished at lunchtime and I had an opportunity to revisit Liverpool Catholic Cathedral (pictured right). It has now been restored following initial problems with the roof and other parts of the building. One of the most impressive additions since I last visited is the grand piazza and stairway in front of the Cathedral which really adds to appeal and feel of the building. Originally fairly bare inside apart from dramatic stained glass it now has various sculptures and hangings which add to the warmth and beauty of the interior. It is a very modern building but none the worse for that and I certainly felt it to be a prayerful and dramatic space where you can encounter the mystery of God.

Any Cathedral is ultimately important not as a building but as a place where the people of God in the diocese gather around their Bishop in celebration and worship. This was very true the first Sunday of Lent in Arundel Cathedral when over 50 Catechumens for baptism at Easter and over 200 Candidates for reception at Easter, the largest number on record, gathered with their sponsors and Bishop Kieran, and they were recognized by our Bishop as soon to be full members of the Church. It was a happy and joyful day as Arundel Cathedral (pictured above) was filled to bursting point.

We will also shortly gather around our Bishop again at the Chrism Mass, in our diocese on Wednesday of Holy Week, when the priests, deacons and laypeople of Arundel & Brighton gather to hear the priests renew their vows of ordination, the oils to be used for catechumens, baptisms, confirmations and the sick are blessed and distributed to the diocese and of course the Eucharist is celebrated with the Bishop presiding. This is when a Cathedral becomes truly alive and it matters not whether it is in the neo-Gothic splendour of Arundel Cathedral or the modernist drama of Liverpool Cathedral but rather that as the local Church in wherever we gather around our chief pastor, the Bishop, joined in unity with the Bishop of Rome as the body of Christ.

Jesus said 'No, anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who want to be first among you must be your slave.' (Mt 20:27)

1 comment:

  1. This is a message for Paul Felix, from a well-wisher and seeker of contact. I hope this letter finds you well. I am Martin Millar, erstwhile fellow seminarian at st Peter Claver College in Roehead Mirfield. I have just returned from a re-union at what is now Holly Bank Centre. I learned of the recent sudden death of Tommy Flanagan, brother of my friend Denis. I also found out that Ambrose Mulroy attended the funeral service.

    I have fond memories of an earlier return trip to Mirfield when you, Paul, were Rector of the college. You were the soul of kindness to my wife Joyce and my daughter Nicolle. It was a beautiful semmer day, and we enoyed dinner togther in the Fathers' refectory.

    I have been living in Oxford for 16 years and have made a number of fruitless attempts to make contact with Ambrose and Denis. My email is Would you Paul, be so kind as to pass this contact detail to one or other of these men. I have a strong feeling that you will know how to contact them.

    With best wishes and friendship