Friday, 8 August 2008

Celebrating the Martyrs' Feast

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Lancaster Martyrs. Although celebrated throughout the Diocese, the feast is kept with additional solemnity at the Cathedral, as the martyrs were imprisonned and executed within the parish. Mass of the feast was celebrated at lunchtime, and solemn Vespers was sung at the end of the day. In between, a group walked from the Cathedral up to the memorial which marks the execution site, where the Rosary was prayed.

Last year this feast was kept for the first time. It was good to see an increase in the number of people taking part in the different times of prayer. Many people came from other parishes and some stayed the whole day. In time it would be great for people to see the feast as a day of pilgrimage when large numbers could come to the Cathedral to celebrate the Martyrs' day.

The walk from the Cathedral takes about ten minutes, and fortunately we were blessed with good weather. There is a fuller walk which takes in some of the other sites associated with the martyrs, such as the Castle, which is still used as a prison today. Leaflets which explain the walk were produced a few years ago and are available in the Cathedral.

An unusual pilgrim also joined us: Ben is not a regular at Mass, but he did seem to enjoy his afternoon pilgrimage - though it has to be said, he didn't get much exercise!