Rest In Peace Mgr Cookson
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Monsignor Provost Peter Cookson, who died on Friday 8th November. He was 80 years of age and was in the 57th year of his priesthood.
Reception of the Body (No Mass): Sunday 24th November at 5.00pm
Requiem Mass: Monday 25th November at 11.00am
Both services in the Cathedral.
(Continued from last week...)
In August 1989 Monsignor Cookson was asked to succeed Bishop Vincent Malone as Administrator of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool – a job title that later became Dean. As Ushaw had been the dominant feature of his early life, so the Cathedral was to become so in his more mature years. In an interview with the Catholic Pictorial he once said that, “You’re a parish priest administering the sacraments day by day and taking part in the public working of the cathedral, but at the same time you’re dealing with the multiple practical problems which a building of this size brings up.” This meant that he was at the helm during a major programme of repairs. As he observed, “Virtually every external surface needed to be replaced or restored.” Repairs and maintenance were not just things he left to others to do. He was frequently spotted wearing his boiler suit and attending to one problem or another. One of his assistant priests discovered him one New Year’s Day up a ladder in the crypt dealing with some electrical problem, having been there since about 7 a.m.
There were a number of highlights during his tenure as Dean. In October 2003 the grand entrance and steps were opened, together with a new visitors centre and the piazza restaurant.
The completion of the steps brought to fruition Gibberd’s original concept of a processional entrance looking on to Hope Street. Another highlight was the inauguration of the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland in 1990, when both Cardinal Basil Hume and Archbishop Robert Runcie signed a covenant to work together for Christian Unity.
Peter fostered good relations between the Metropolitan Cathedral and its Anglican counterpart. At the time of Peter’s resignation as Dean in 2006, Rupert Hoare, the former Dean of Liverpool, described him as “a tremendous friend of Liverpool Cathedral and a first-class colleague.” He added, “Peter has participated very loyally and with conviction, in many ecumenical services in our Cathedral often coming straight on from something at the Metropolitan, and – has to be said – arriving rather at the last minute, but always there and completely dependable.” They worked jointly on enterprises such as the Conference of Northern European Cathedrals. Dean Hoare further remarked that, “Peter has a readiness to do whatever is needed: no standing on his dignity. At a Merseyside Council of Faith walk of faith one year we were short of two people to carry the Buddhist banner, so Peter came to the rescue and took one side of it.”
After recovering from major surgery in 2006, Peter continued to live at Cathedral House, blessing the Cathedral and its community with his quiet and prayerful presence, and continuing to exercise his priestly ministry insofar as his health permitted.
Peter Cookson was named as a canon of the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter in November 1989 and became Provost in 2000.