Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Shrine for a day

Judging by the number of people visiting the blog at present, quite a few of you are keen to find out what's going on here today. Sorry to keep you waiting - the constant and unpredictable demands of this extraordinary time are making it difficult to get to a camera, let alone computer! After the visit we will certainly share some of our best pictures with a little more considered reflection of the events here - for now, though, a few pictures giving a flavour of the day so far.

Somewhere between 3000 and 4000 people have now been to visit the reliquary here in Lancaster, and many have left flowers - and even plants - in honour of St Thérèse. At the times of the major liturgies it has been very busy, with some people stood outside today at the lunchtime Mass; at other times there has been a steady flow of people but few have had to wait for more than 10 or 15 minutes.

It's been encouraging to see so many of our Cathedral Primary School children coming in to visit the relics with their families after school. Here two pupils, armed with roses, take their place in the queue. There have been many school groups in today, most of them taking part in a special education programme which gives them the chance to learn more about St Thérèse and the Carmelite life. The Cathedral Primary School has played host to around 400 visitors today - it has been quite an occasion!

The Lady Chapel is filled with votive candle stands, which have been well used throughout the day. Many people have called in to light a candle after visiting the relics.

In the baptistery, a small statue of St Thérèse from the Cathedral School has been decorated with roses; this too has become a place for people to light candles, and the result is very beautiful.

There have been some showers, but mostly the rain has held off. Good news for those who are working outdoors, though - as you can see - our stewards are always smiling! Plenty of coaches have been here, and more are on the way even as this post is published! Throughout the visit we have been very aware of those who would like to be here but cannot come, especially the sick and housebound, who are much in our prayers. If you are able to come down, please be aware that the evening Mass (and the time around it) is likely to be very busy, but at other times you should be able to visit the relics fairly easily. If time permits, we'll give you a further update later today.