Tuesday, 4 November 2008

November Chapter Mass

The Cathedral's Chapter of Canons ordinarily meets twice a year, in May and November. The meeting at this time of year is always accompanied by a requiem Mass offered for the deceased clergy of the Diocese; the Mass was offered earlier today.

In his homily, Bishop Campbell spoke of praying for the dead as "a holy practice which resonates with our deepest instincts", reminding us that our task is not to grieve, but to reaffirm our faith in the resurrection of the Lord and the hope it offers us (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). He also quoted St Paul's reassurance that nothing can ever come between us and the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). The Bishop described the Mass as "the greatest of all memorial acts", saying that in this requiem for deceased clergy, "we make our deceased brothers in holy orders part of that sacred remembering. Today, through our commemoration, the fruits of the Lord's Passion fall upon them in a unique way." The full text of Bishop Campbell's homily can be read here.

Alongside our own Bishops, we were joined by Rt Rev. Geoffrey Jarrett (seen here on the right), Bishop of Lismore, Australia. Bishop Jarrett has been staying in Cathedral House for a few days, having met Bishop O'Donoghue at the World Youth Day in Sydney earlier this year.

At the end of Mass the clergy and people walked up to the Cathedral's cemetery, where prayers for the dead were said.

It always feels especially fitting to pray for the dead in a cemetery. The stones which recall those who once lived on earth become signs of hope when accompanied by the faith of today's believers. The Cathedral cemetery is home to the mortal remains of all our former Bishops, along with many priests and lay people.

Prayers for the dead are offered throughout the month of November - a fitting practice for the last month of the Church's liturgical year, and also one which ties in with civil commemorations of the war dead taking place this month.

During the Mass Bishop Campbell noted that today also marks the anniversary of Bishop Thomas Edward Flynn, second Bishop of Lancaster, who died on this day in 1961. May he and all the faithful departed rest in peace.