Sunday 21 October 2007

Student Meal

After today's evening Mass, the annual meal for students took place. The city now has two universities: Lancaster University and the local campus of the University of Cumbria. Often students living in town attend Mass at the Cathedral (the Sunday evening Mass, surprisingly, seems to be the most popular!) so we offer a small 'welcome' at about this time each year. The parish is lucky to benefit from the presence of students, and many help in a variety of ways during their time in Lancaster. More information for students is available here.

Saturday 20 October 2007

Armonico Consort

After a very well-received performance earlier this year, the Armonico Consort returned to the Cathedral tonight. They were accompanied by the Orchestra of the Baroque and the world-famous trumpeter Crispian Steele Perkins.

Despite events taking place in Paris, there was a good crowd in the Cathedral to hear their stunning performance, including Handel's Dixit Dominus and Vivaldi's Gloria. It is striking that the words of these pieces are still regularly used in the Cathedral: the Gloria is frequently sung or said at Mass; 'Dixit Dominus' is the opening of Psalm 109 (110), still sung every Sunday (albeit in English and to a simple psalm tone) at Vespers. The continuity of sacred music - and of the Church's faith - can be clearly seen.

The concert was a fine end to a busy day at the Cathedral. Earlier the diocesan Union of Catholic Mothers held their annual general meeting here, and Chris Ginns, the Cathedral MC, was married this afternoon. Best wishes to him and Charlotte as they begin married life.

Friday 12 October 2007

The Skipton Camerata: Autumn

The empty chairs signal the imminent return of the concert season. Tonight they were filled by the Skipton Camerata, who crossed the Pennines for the first of four concerts taking place over a year. Each includes one of Vivaldi's four seasons; tonight, of course, was Autumn. Other music included Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings.

It is wonderful that the orchestra chose to come to the Cathedral as they seek to establish a following in the North West. Their music is certainly suited to the size and acoustics of the Cathedral.

Thursday 11 October 2007

A Texan in Rome

A recent picture of Nolan Lowry, the Texan seminarian who was with us over the summer (see here). Nolan built up a small army of fans during his month at the Cathedral, and many people still ask how he is getting on. This photo was sent in by a local priest who's just got back from Rome - the news is that Nolan is doing well, as evidenced by the picture. Over the next few weeks we will be announcing details of a parish pilgrimage to Rome in 2009 - hopefully many of us will get a chance to meet up with Nolan then.

Monday 8 October 2007

The Blackpool Illuminations

And now for something completely different - a parish trip to Blackpool Illuminations. The youngest on the coach claimed the back seat and made good use of the view...

...while the rest of us admired the view to the sides.

After the lights, another seaside tradition - albeit a little inland, at Great Eccleston - fish and chips. The evening trip, after yesterday's great feast, reminded us of the variety of parish life!

Sunday 7 October 2007

Feast of the Dedication: Vespers

A few photographs of Vespers for the feast of the Dedication, which took place in the Cathedral this afternoon. The Liturgy was much the same as each Sunday, but with an added solemnity for this important feast. Three members of the Cathedral chapter were able to come, the choristers sang and Fr Wilson gave a short sermon.

Vespers at the Cathedral is usually accompanied by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; psalms and canticles are sung in Christ's presence.

At the end of Vespers, Benediction is given - a suitably solemn blessing, especially on this great feast.

Feast of the Dedication: Lunch

After Mass, the parish lunch proved more popular than ever. A large crowd turned out for a very fine buffet, produced by parish volunteers.

There was a great spread - even for this number of people - some people were able to get a 'take away' at the end of their lunch!

The cakes also proved popular - despite this slightly alarming warning! No ill effects have been reported so far...

Feast of the Dedication: Mass

Every year the Cathedral celebrates the feast of its dedication. On this day we recall how the church was dedicated to God's service in 1859; in a sense, it is a chance to renew that dedication. It is a celebration for the parish, of course, but also for the whole diocese. This year the Bishop is away, so Fr Stephen, as Cathedral Dean, filled the gap. The Cathedral was close to capacity, with guests including the Deputy Mayor of Lancaster.

Fr John Wilson, Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation in the Diocese of Leeds, preached at the Mass. He spoke of how within the church we should never be slow to ask God for more: more faith, more love. 148 years of dedicated service is celebrated today, but there is much more - and, God willing, many more years of service to come.

Saturday 6 October 2007

One Word, many languages

As part of the Cathedral's 'Curious about Scripture' year, a new display was set up in the 'Inspire' zone under the bell tower. It contains various versions of the Bible: above, we see the Hebrew Old Testament, Greek New Testament and a Latin (Vulgate) edition.

A copy of the Douay Bible, the first Catholic English translation, is also included, along with more modern versions and some books used for interpreting the Scriptures. The display can be seen whenever the Cathedral is open (daily, 8:30am-6pm).

Friday 5 October 2007

Gas Guzzler

It's bright any sunny outside, but the winter must be approaching - today the engineers are in, servicing the boilers before they begin their seasonal work. There are five boilers across the Cathedral and Cathedral House, including this one, located underneath the Cathedral. The winter chill should be dispelled when these machines get to work!

Thursday 4 October 2007

A taste of the past

Perhaps in honour of its 148th birthday, the Cathedral was plunged back into the past this afternoon due to a power cut. It gave a small taste of life as it once was, when natural light was the only light.

Fortunately today was fairly bright, so the sunlight provided plenty of illumination.

The emergency lights came on (a sure sign of a power failure) - this one is on the main corridor in Cathedral House. They certainly come in handy when the power fails at night (as does the abundance of candles in the Cathedral's possession!)

In the absence of an electric kettle, an old-fashioned way of producing a cup of tea proved to be just as effective...

148 Today

Still standing proudly, 148 years to the day since it was consecrated. The annual feast of the Dedication of the Cathedral is kept on the nearest Sunday, this year 7th October. For the 150th, in 2009, the anniversary falls on the Sunday, so the feast will, fittingly, be kept on the exact anniversary. Two years to go then - 731 days and counting!