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It was good to see so many parishioners at the AGM three weeks ago, and good that we had an open discussion about the progress of the Cathedral strengthening project. Hopefully, the article on page 3 of this newsletter will address some of the questions that we have.
It is not an easy time for us as a parish. The first reading at today’s Mass is a short piece from the last chapter of the writings of the Hebrew prophet Isaiah. Much of the book of Isaiah is about returning and restoration after exile and impoverishment – written in the context of the exile of the Jewish people in Babylon. I have sometimes thought that in these months our parish can relate to this theme; although we can still come together in worship and in community, it’s ‘not the same’, and we are anxious for the restoration to come.
Much of the prophetic writing, too, exhorts the people to do justice and to live in peace with each other. And today’s gospel, where disciples are sent out, reminds us that the church must step outside, must be a missionary church. In today’s Wel-Com, Cardinal John draws our attention to Pope Francis’ request that October be an extraordinary ‘month of mission’. We are invited to reflect, simply, on what we are here for as a faith community.
This is what we are also asked to do as we reflect, during this year, on our parish buildings. All are invited to two parish meetings at the end of this month, to develop our response to Cardinal John’s pastoral letter of last February. Again, we might begin by reflecting on what are we here for. What is our role as a cathedral parish? As a parish in the city? The surveys conducted in May have helped us think about what we do well, and where we might develop.
The discussion will continue, and it may be that we use this awkward time to refresh ourselves as a faith community, as a mission community.
Peace be with us all.
Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.