Tag Archives: Mass

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 2 February 2020

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ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS

It’s not often today’s Feast, that of the Presentation, falls on a Sunday. As St Luke explains, the infant Jesus, being a first-born, was presented to the Lord. A number of points might be made about the way Luke tells the story. First, he emphasises that Jesus and his parents were devout Jews. Secondly, there’s another ‘recognition’ of Jesus as the salvation, not only of Israel, but of all the world.

Some commentators point out that Luke likes to balance men and women in his stories – not only in the stories about Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zachariah – but also in the parables Jesus tells, where one featuring a man is followed by one featuring a woman. In today’s gospel it’s Simeon and Anna (or Hannah), both elderly prophets, filled with the Holy Spirit, who recognise Jesus. Unfortunately we don’t have Anna’s words, but Simeon’s words – ‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace…’ are well known and are very beautiful, speaking as they do of a fulfilled old age.

But there is a catch. Simeon also warns Mary that ‘a sword will pierce your own soul too’. We can only imagine how Mary might have felt, hearing such words on a solemn and joyful day. As well as the allusion to Jesus’s future, perhaps, we are being reminded that to love also means to risk grief, to risk loss. But, as the Song of Songs reminds us, love is stronger than death.

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The Presentation story is also about endings and beginnings  – Anna and Simeon are elderly; Jesus is an infant with his life ahead of him. Last week we farewelled Fr Doug Shepherd.. Today we welcome Fr David Dowling as our new Parish Priest. Fr David, we are delighted to have you with us and we ask that God will bless your ministry with us, and ours with yours,  in the months and years ahead.

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

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The Cathedral Connection – Christmas Newsletter 2019

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Christmas Newsletter 2019

Christmas is truly a feast of the heart. It reveals to us what the heart of God is like. He so loved humanity that He sent His only Son to redeem and save us.

It also reveals what the human heart is capable of. The nativity of Christ causes us to open our hearts and journey back to Bethlehem each year to rediscover our own roots in the gift of Jesus.

In Pope Francis Christmas message of 2018, ‘This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.

For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity. Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture.’ What makes us human is not so much our ability to think as our ability to love.

To the extent to which we open our hearts to God and to each other, we will experience something of the great joy the angels announced to the shepherds over two thousand years ago.

May great joy be yours this coming Christmas and always.

For what has been thanks for what is to come. Yes.

With every blessing, Fr Ron, Fr Doug, Debbie, Michael & Frank.

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The Cathedral Connection 22 December 2019

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ST MATTHEW’S GOSPEL

In Matthew’s infancy narrative, unlike Luke’s, it is Joseph who is the key character, and Matthew’s gospel surrounds the story with a great many allusions and quotations from the Old Testament.

For the people of Israel, Joseph was a significant figure – and Matthew draws out aspects that would be important for his Jewish Christian readers. Joseph is a beloved son who is rejected by his brothers and sold for silver and yet who turns out to be the saviour of his people.

These echoes of Jesus’ own mission help set the scene – as does the fact that Joseph is called the man of dreams and Joseph the husband of Mary has several dreams in which God communicates his plan to him. Joseph is regularly referred to as ‘Son of David’, a term that is applied to Jesus above all in Matthew’s Gospel.

These constant allusions remind us that we are in the place where God is at work and God’s work of salvation can be recognised by these common patterns. If we look to the writings of Paul or of the Evangelist John, there are often very striking theological statements that articulate the faith.

Matthew does something more subtle that his readers would recognise – by constantly touching on the familiar language and concepts of the Jewish faith he reveals the working of the God who has always been there for God’s people, and who is still working in similar ways.

Fr Ron.

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