Tag Archives: Cathedral

The Cathedral Connection 15 March 2020

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BALANCE

Our archdiocesan Mission Expo took place yesterday, and it was organized to showcase the wide range of mission activities and opportunities within our communities. The joint cathedrals’ Lent programme is also featuring a number of speakers reflecting on the theme of mission. In his Lenten message this year, Pope Francis reminded us that if Easter is at the centre of our lives, we must feel ‘compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life… and various forms of violence… in environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms, and the unbridled thirst for profit’. The Pope reminds us, too, that compassion must lead to action, working with all people of goodwill.

So we are all called to mission, and to loving service. I have been thinking, though, that it is also important to remember another aspect of the mission of the People of God, and particularly of the great majority who are not ordained or in religious vows. The Second Vatican Council pointed out that this mission includes our ordinary lives, in our families and neighbourhoods, in our community organisations and in our occupations as well.

I think it is also important to remind ourselves of the need for balance in our lives. More than fifty years ago, the monk Thomas Merton wrote of the temptation ‘to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork… To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.’ Times of recollection, contemplation, creativity and prayer – however brief – are never an optional extra in our mission.

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

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The Cathedral Connection 8 March 2020

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Dear friends

Last Wednesday evening I enjoyed the first of our mission-focused Lenten Programme sessions jointly supported by our Cathedral Parish and the Anglican Cathedral Parish.

David Rowe, the Dean of the Anglican Cathedral challenged those present to wake up to God and to one another. He spoke of Lent being a time to build bridges and relationships. The question was asked: How do we relate to God and to one another?

In the fourth century men and women (known as the Desert Fathers and Mothers) went into the desert in search of a deeper relationship with God.  They had many wise sayings. One of them was: “The person who loves worldly things loves stumbling blocks. When we lose something, therefore, we should accept it with joy and thanks as we have been relieved from care.”

Living in the desert was not about living in isolation.  It was about living for God.  If we are not careful, our desire for wanting to acquire more and more worldly things can distract us from living for God. Lent is a good opportunity for us to ‘go into the desert’ to identify the stumbling blocks that hinder us from developing a deeper relationship with God and one another.

The second evening in our series of five joint Cathedral parish gatherings is this Wednesday 11 March, in Connolly Hall beginning with refreshments at 6.45pm for a 7pm start. Cardinal John will speak about what we can learn from Pope Francis about all being called to mission and having hearts that are open and expanded by love. Everyone is most welcome.

Wishing you many blessings this Lent.

Fr David

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The Cathedral Connection 1 March 2020

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Imagine the cost of forty days and forty nights in a five star hotel. Pampered beyond belief and no doubt charged for the pleasure. Imagine too forty days and forty nights confined to a small room. A harsh reality for those who have been quarantined onboard cruise ships with the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). For Jesus too, he was quarantined, by the Spirit, in the wilderness, and as you may have worked out – quarantine means, literally, forty days.

Forty days of confrontation with the same temptations we have today and forty days with the sound of silence. Something that in our busy worlds we hardly get much of! The forty days of Lent are a wonderful opportunity to pause, listen, and in that time and space that silence holds, find a place where we can reflect.

Lent, much like life is not an exercise to be endured. It is a mystery to be unfolded, and it begins from the inside out. So rather than giving up chocolate or alcohol and then patting ourselves on the back and feeling good, perhaps we could dare to be more vulnerable and allow the Spirit to guide us to our own wilderness where we are challenged. In turn we are offered the opportunity to grow, beginning our own journey with Christ to his death and resurrection.

Michael Fletcher
Director of Music

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The Cathedral Connection 23 February 2020

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Ah perfectionism my old friend. Often leaving me struggling against myself, or giving up before I’ve even given something a go because I ‘know’ that I can never do it to the level I or others would like me to. I’m not sure about you, but when I hear the call to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me, I freeze.

These words come early in Jesus’ ministry and nearly three years later his own enemies would capture and persecute him. Would he really love and pray for his persecutors? Heck, I think we all would have understood if he decided to deny his earlier teaching; but, as we all know, there on the cross, Jesus cried out: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

So if Jesus can do it, then surely I can, right? Each of our readings offers us guidelines to help us reach our potential. Indeed, loving our enemies takes a lot of learning about others as well as ourselves. It is a process of growth and transformation.

Christ showed his eternal love for us when he sacrificed his life on the cross. It was not sin that took Christ to the Cross, but love. And it is this love that guides us. His hands outstretched on the cross offer us that gift of transformation. This is not a one minute wonder product, but something that allows us to grow and mature, and it takes time. As we learn about others we move beyond our own prejudices and fears and grow in ourselves.

As Pope Francis says “… the way to perfection is found in these small steps … small steps of charity and love.” So, don’t let a drive to always get things right first time stop you from starting. Allow holiness to shape your life for the good of others as well as yourself. Christ’s love is a gift of transformation to be perfectly holy, by eliminating hatred and in turn gifting ourselves to each other in love.

Michael Fletcher
Director of Music

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The Cathedral Connection 16 February 2020

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Ecumenism and our Neighbours

This year the Parish Council is supporting a stronger relationship with our friends at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. We have enjoyed a good relationship with St Paul’s for many years and our two congregations have met together for many joint services, the imposition of the ashes on Ash Wednesday, to give one example. In 2020, there will be opportunities for us to meet more often.

So, who are Anglicans and how are we similar? Anglicans are Christians who have bishops and dioceses, like us. If you went to an Anglican eucharist, you might not notice much difference. The Kyrie eleison and Nicene Creed are the same. The communion rite is materially different, but mostly the words on the page rather than the celebration. If you went to Evensong (equivalent of our Vespers and Complan combined) i.e., you might notice that you pray for the Queen. There are some important doctrinal differences, but Anglicans like Catholics believe that salvation comes to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and as an expression of the Father’s grace.

So, what is there to learn? I suggest that we can learn a lot from each other. Some Catholics may benefit from Anglicanism’s focus on the scriptures. Anglicans might enjoy our rich practice of prayer and meditation. That is not of course to say that we do not read the bible and they do not spend time in prayer.

As we think of Ecumenism and our aspiration for unity among Christians, I invite you to meet our neighbours a bit more this year. We will keep you posted.

Nicholas Burley
Parish Council Member

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