Monday 21 January 2008

The Unsung Heroes

Spread across the Cathedral parish there are about 75 Catholics who are unable to come to Mass but still wish to; each of them is visited regularly by parishioners and/or one of the priests. Most of the housebound receive communion regularly and many receive the Sacrament of the Sick (often simply called 'anointing', pictured above). The housebound are in many ways the unsung heroes of the parish, contributing greatly to the life of the Church, particularly by their prayers. This week work begins to prepare a new team of students (from Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria) who will visit some of those who are unable to leave their homes. This is a new initiative, but hopefully one which will prove successful and continue for many years to come.

Wednesday 16 January 2008

The Golden Couple

Our congratulations go to Keith and Margaret Barstow, who celebrated their Golden Jubilee of Marriage at the Cathedral's 12:15 Mass today. Margaret and Keith are great servants of the Cathedral, giving two days each week as volunteers. They answer the telephone and front door, and they carry out the relentless task of folding and stapling booklets, the parish newsletter and so on. Many congratulations to them on this wonderful milestone. There has also been joy for other couples in the parish in recent weeks: on Sunday at Mass, George and Edna Pardula celebrated 60 years of marriage, and three couples have been married in the Cathedral since Christmas. Best wishes to all!

Thursday 10 January 2008

Pipe Cleaning

A great hole is where the Great pipes should be... but it is a sign of progress. This week the organ restoration work has seen more pipes being taken to the Willis & Sons workshop for cleaning, along with some of the sound boards. Further cleaning work has been taking place on site.

From inside, there is a clear view through what should be the internal workings of the instrument; the ceiling of the Cathedral is clearly visible above.

A few pipes rest in the choir loft, awaiting their return to action. There are more pictures of the work on the Willis & Sons website - click here.

Sunday 6 January 2008

Wise men from the east

"After Jesus had been born in Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came from the east". So begins today's Gospel reading. Today's feast - the Epiphany of the Lord - marks the day when Gentiles (non-Jews) were invited to come and see the Messiah, thus opening God's offer of salvation to the entire world. Our 'three wise men' have now been placed in the Cathedral crib, which can be viewed until next weekend, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Saturday 5 January 2008

Epiphany Party

This afternoon the annual parish Epiphany Party took place. Each year we invite some of the elderly and housebound members of the parish to this party. Transport is arranged for those who need it, and refreshments and entertainment are provided. For some of those who come, it's a rare chance to get together for a social event.

There was a fun raffle, various entertainment and a few mince pies doing the rounds... it is still Christmas, after all! Some children from the Cathedral Primary School gave up one of the last days of their holiday to come and sing and wait on the tables.

All those who attended received a present, donated by parishioners. Left-over presents will be distributed to some of the many housebound who were unable to attend.

Towards the end there was a mini sing-along, with words on a big screen so that everyone could join in. A few of the 'old favourites' were dusted off!

Everyone was willing to have a go, including (can you spot him above?) the Bishop - who is not usually known for his singing! He called in to meet and chat with some of the people who attended. We were lucky he was able to join us - he has just returned from a short break and travels to India on a working trip within a couple of days.

Tuesday 1 January 2008

Mary, Mother of God

On New Year's Day the Church celebrates the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. The date of this feast is not chosen to mark the beginning of the year; rather, it marks the end of the Christmas Octave. Christmas is marked by eight days of special celebration, beginning on 25 December and ending today (though the Christmas season continues until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord). Today's feast recalls a title given to Mary at the Council of Ephesus in 431. There she was proclaimed Theotokos - God-bearer - as a way of showing that Jesus Christ is truly God. By being born of Mary His human nature was guaranteed; by this title of Mary, His divine nature is also assured.