Monday, 31 August 2009

Dr Rigby heads north

Francis Street, SW1. The recent break from blogging allowed a visit to this fine location, and - as you can see from the pictures - a break from Lancaster's weather. It was, of course, the result of the recently reported quest to bring 'Dr Rigby' back north. The building seen here is part of the vast complex at Westminster Cathedral.

This is the front door of Clergy House, home to the many priests who work at the Cathedral. It is here that the portrait of Dr Rigby normally hangs. Given that most of Rigby's working life was spent in Lancaster (and none of it in London) it may seem surprising that a painting of him is to be found here; perhaps it is a sign of his importance in English Catholicism.

Here is an image of the painting, which will be on public display at the Cathedral's 150th anniversary exhibiton at Lancaster City Museum 12th September - 21st November. Afterwards it will be returned to its rightful owners in Westminster. We are very grateful to Canon Christopher Tuckwell, the Administrator of the Cathedral, for the loan of this painting, and to Fr Slawomir Witon, Sub-Administrator, for his hospitality when the painting was collected last Friday. If you'd like to read a little about Dr Rigby and why he is so important in the Cathedral's history, look no further than Billington's Blog - the relevant post is here.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

In search of Dr Rigby

The slow rate of blog posting in recent days grinds to a (temporary) halt today, as we take a short break ahead of the busy month of September. In fact, the blogging department is off to the South East of England, in search of a portrait of Dr John Rigby, who is to be returned to Lancaster for a brief stay at our 150th anniversary exhibtion (12th September - 21st November). More on that story later, when posts resume at the end of this month. Meanwhile, you can continue to follow the diocesan novena on the St Thérèse blog, and Canon Billington will continue his historical posts, here.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The Assumption of Our Lady

To mark today's feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, a view of the window above the Cathedral's Lady Chapel altar.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Back in the UK

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue has recently been back in England, addressing one of the summer conferences of the Faith movement, which works with young people. He addressed an audience of about 200, speaking about the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. This picture is from a website run by Southwark priest Fr Tim Finigan, who carries a report on the Bishop's talk here; the full text is given on the Diocesan website, here. It's good to see Bishop Patrick looking well following his retirement in May.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Mission Control

This sign, which can be found in Lourdes, is actually advertising one of the town's many bars which provide hospitality to pilgrims. The neon 'Little Flower' option has been rejected as a way of promoting the visit of St Thérèse to Lancaster, but even so the event is bringing an extraordinary level of interest. It's exactly 50 days until the relics come to the Cathedral for their 43-hour stop, and at this stage we expect to welcome around 45 coaches, plus very many people making the pilgrimage as individuals.

The Cathedral office forms a sort of 'mission control' for the visit. Its main notice board has been largely taken over by St Thérèse, with information being recorded about which groups are coming, and when. The focus is also now moving towards staffing the event, with considerable contributions being made by Cathedral parishioners and the Knights of St Columba from around the Diocese; many of those who attended the catechists' training day in January have also volunteered help, as have other individuals from around the Diocese. If you'd like to help in any way, we would be pleased to hear from you: contact us. There will be a training afternoon for stewards (attendance is not absolutely essential, but clearly is a help!) on Saturday 19th September at the Cathedral.

A map of the Diocese is marked with pins representing parish, deanery and school groups: those which are confirmed and those who have expressed an interest. We anticipate a fair number of visitors from outside of the Diocese, mostly from Scotland but some from south of Preston. The sheer number of visitors presents some logistical challenges, but plans are being put in place to ensure a smooth event. The police have already been very helpful in offering advice about the visit and about managing traffic and parking issues.

Meanwhile, the new St Thérèse cloister garden is really beginning to take shape, with the vast majority of the ground work now complete. After that comes the task of bringing in the flowers! Suitable lighting for the garden is also being prepared. If you are following the St Thérèse blog you may have read that the garden will be opened on 27th September, the day before the visit, at the end of Vespers. There will be a procession to the garden and a sung litany of St Thérèse before the garden is blessed. Vespers that day (as every Sunday) begins at 4:40pm - if you are free you are most welcome to join us.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Martyrs' Walk

As has become customary on the feast of the Lancaster Martyrs, yesterday a group climbed the hill above the Cathedral to pray at the execution site. Earlier in the day Mass had been celebrated for the feast.

After a significant amount of rain in recent weeks, the Lord was kind to us with the weather. Here the group sets out from the Cathedral and heads up East Road.

On arrival at the field, everyone headed towards the small monument which marks the site. There the Rosary was said. The day was rounded off with Exposition and sung Vespers with Benediction and the Litany of the Lancaster Martyrs.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Martyrs' Day

Today is the feast of the Lancaster Martyrs, the 15 priests and laymen who were executed in this city for their Catholic faith. Throughout the day candles will burn by the plaque which lists their names; this has also been decorated with flowers for the feast. The day is marked as a solemnity in this parish, with: Mass at 12:15pm; a walk to the execution site, where the Rosary will be said (leaves the Cathedral at 3pm); Exposition at 5pm and Sung Vespers, Benediction and Litany of the Lancaster Martyrs beginning at 5:30pm. You are most welcome to come to all or part of the day.

Billington's Blog has posts about each martyr on the anniversary of his death; today you can read about the final three to be executed, who were martyred on this day in 1646. You can find the blog here.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The Transfiguration of the Lord

Today the Transfiguration of the Lord is celebrated. To mark the feast, a flashback to our Flower Festival at the end of June. Here is a display, arranged by the Cathedral's own flower ladies assisted by Catherine Curran, representing the Transfiguration. Christ is represented by the light; Moses and Elijah, with St Peter looking on, are represented in the floral arrangements.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Bishop in Lourdes

Today we offer a few pictures from the recent Lancaster Diocese Lourdes pilgrimage, which was led by Bishop Campbell. This was not a new experience for him: you may remember that he led the pilgrimage last year while Bishop O'Donoghue was at the World Youth Day in Sydney.

Near the candles by the Grotto, here the Bishop is seen talking to some of the youth section. Despite the recession, the poor exchange rate and the fact that last year was the year to be in Lourdes, the number of pilgrims travelling with the Diocese (especially in the youth section) held up very well.

Here the Bishop appears to be supervising some candle-lighting! As the pictures suggest, for most of the week the weather was fiercly hot.

Many thanks to Blog reader Berenice, of Westminster, for sending us these images. If you have any images relating to Cathedral or Lancaster diocesan life, please do send them in. Our contact details can be found here.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

St John Vianney

Today's feast of St John Vianney has special significance. It's 150 years to the day since the famous Curé of Ars died.

The statue pictured at the top of this post is located in the Basilica in Ars built after the death of its celebrated confessor. Many thousands visited him in his lifetime, and today 400,000 people travel to his shrine each year.

Ars is celebrating 2009 as a holy year - the anniversary is well-marked around the village. It is partly on account of the anniversary that Pope Benedict has asked us to observe a year of prayer for priests June 2009-June 2010.

A holy door, opened only in jubilee years, provides access to the Basilica during 2009. These pictures were taken during a junior clergy retreat to Ars a few months ago. If you'd like to see more, click here to be taken to the February archive and then scroll down.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

August Diary

Welcome to the quietest month of 2009 at the Cathedral. August's diary is remarkably quiet, with nothing much beyond the essentials of Cathedral life. The noteworthy events of the month are all liturgical: on Friday (7th) we keep the feast of the Lancaster Martyrs (their plaque in the Cathedral is pictured here) with Mass at 12:15pm, a walk to the execution site (leaves the Cathedral at 3pm), Exposition at 5pm and sung Vespers at 5:30pm. Other feasts include St John Vianney (next Tuesday), which this year marks 150 years since the saint's death; the Transfiguration of the Lord (Thursday) and the Assumption of Our Lady (this year transferred to Sunday 16th). The full August diary can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Diocesan Novena in preparation for the visit of the relics of St Thérèse continues; you can follow it week-by-week on the St Thérèse blog, which can be found here. Over the coming weeks the blog will also continue to give news and information about the visit, which will soon be upon us.

Meanwhile, Canon Billington's blog promises another month of illuminating posts about the Cathedral's history. This month we will meet former administrators Provost William Walker and Monsignor Oswald Brimley; we'll hear about the consecration of Bishop Thomas Whiteside, the opening of Our Lady's High School, the consecration of the baptistery and the Whiteside chantry altar, and the opening of the cemetery. Along the way we'll also see pictures of some old weddings, the 1974 Gala Day and a huge open-air Mass in Hornby. All this and much more during August - to visit Billington's Blog, click here.