The Cathedra - the symbol of the Bishop's authority over his diocese. Although it stands physically empty most of the time, its emptiness takes on a special significance when a diocese is without a bishop. In such cases the diocese is known as 'sede vacante' - literally, an empty seat. The Diocese of Lancaster is, fortunately, not in that position, yet the search for our next bishop is now underway. Yesterday Bishop Patrick wrote to the priests and people of the diocese announcing that a 'co-adjutor' bishop is to be appointed. This bishop (who will probably be with us mid-2008) will work alongside Bishop Patrick until his retirement in May 2009. After that the new bishop will take his place on the Cathedra as sheherd of the Diocese of Lancaster. It's likely that the 'overlap' will be the best part of a year, giving the new bishop plenty of opportunity to get to know the diocese before he takes over.