Saturday 30 August 2008

Cemetery Mass

Last night the weather was kind enough to allow us to celebrate Mass in the Cathedral cemetery. Although prayer for the dead is particularly linked to the month of November, intercession for the faithful departed is something which the Church offers each day of the year, at Mass and at Vespers as well as in private prayer. In recent years a Mass has been offered in the cemetery in August, since in this month we are most likely to see the somewhat rare combination of dry weather and daylight! After Mass the priests were available to offer prayers at the side of individual graves for those who have families and friends buried in the cemetery.

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Alderman Thomas Preston

Alderman Thomas Preston was Mayor of Lancaster 1875-6. He was the first Catholic to hold the post after the Reformation, and he is buried in the Cathedral cemetery. Earlier today we were able to go and take a photograph of his portrait, which hangs in the Town Hall. The image will be used in information for visitors during the forthcoming Heritage Open Days, and will also come in handy for some of the events taking place next year to mark the Cathedral's 150th anniversary. Many thanks to the Town Hall staff for their cheerful assistance today.

Friday 22 August 2008

Mary, Queen of Heaven

Today, the octave day of the Assumption, we celebrate the feast of Mary, Queen of Heaven. Mary's queenship is the gift of her Son, as is seen in this image; the picture hangs on the wall outside the Bishop's oratory in Cathedral House.

Monday 18 August 2008

Farewell Bill

The Cathedral has been blessed in recent years to be the temporary home of seminarians (those training for the priesthood), who come for a few weeks to gain a little experience of parish life. Earlier in the summer we welcomed Matt Tomlinson, a seminarian from our own diocese, and over the last few weeks Bill Brunner (pictured), who studies at the North American College in Rome, has been with us. Bill is from the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and has a further three years of study before he is ordained to the priesthood. He leaves us today after a month in the parish, during which time he has contributed in many ways to the life of the Cathedral. We wish him well and promise to remember him and all seminarians in our prayers.

Friday 15 August 2008

The Assumption of Our Lady

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. We celebrate the fact that, at the end of her earthly life, Mary the mother of Jesus was taken up body and soul into heaven, to share the life and glory of her Son. Throughout the day candles burn next to a small Marian shrine erected in the Cathedral for today's feast. The statue and flowers will remain until next Friday when the Queenship of Mary is celebrated.

Monday 11 August 2008

Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir

On Saturday evening a good number of people braved the dreadful weather to come and have their spirits lifted by the Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir (GMPMVC), performing for the first time at the Cathedral. The choir was founded in 1974 and has sung in many Eurpoean countries. They visited the Cathedral at the end of a tour of the North East, though their numbers were a little depleted due to singers taking summer holidays.

The performance took place in aid of the Cathedral's Organ Restoration Fund, and the choir generously gave their time free of charge to help the fund reach its target. Throughout the concert the music was accompanied by a desire to entertain, with a fair amount of humour helping the evening along. All in all it was a wonderful occasion; many thanks to the choir for performing here. The concert marked the end of the current season. Keep an eye on the blog for details of the new season when the programme is announced in a few weeks' time.

Saturday 9 August 2008

House Blessings

Blog readers outside of the parish may not yet have met Fr Lourdu, a priest of the Diocese of Nalgonda, India, who is working at the Cathedral. Fr Lourdu arrived at the beginning of July, and in recent weeks has been around the parish blessing parishioners' houses. It is a great practice of the Church to bless homes: it reminds us that God is with us in every aspect of our lives, not just when we come to church. It also reminds us of the importance of prayer in the home. For Fr Lourdu, now armed with an A-Z map of the parish, it also offers a useful opportunity to come to know the parish - both the geography and the people!

Thanks to Ann-Marie for sending in these photos - contributions are always gratefully received.

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!

Friday 1 August 2008

Another view of Lourdes

Following the recent posts about Lourdes, we were sent these pictures of the International Mass by a blog reader. They give another perspective of this rather grand occasion. Here the Bishop appears on one of the large screens in the basilica...

...and here incenses the altar. The picture below is a fine image of the Bishop in procession at the start of Mass. Many thanks to Berenice, who was out in Lourdes with the Archdiocese of Westminster, for these photos. Contributions are always welcome!