With the Cathedral Jubilee Year ending on the Feast of Christ the King I thought I would look back over the year reflecting on a few of the highlights – for those with long memories a version of ’That was the year that was’.
The celebrations began with the arrival of a juggernaut filled with 40 huge speakers and amplifying equipment to set up for the Pierre Henri ‘Messe De Liverpool’ electronic music concert coordinated by the Bluecoat. A record crowd attended the event but I’m not sure everyone was aware of the genre of music – one comment I heard at the end was ‘I didn’t know what to expect and having heard it I don’t know what to say!’ This was followed in quick succession by the Light Night projections and the Listening Posts. The various tardis like units that were place in a number of locations were the result of a great deal of hard work from about sixty volunteers interviewing and collating people’s memories and stories of significant moments in the life of the Cathedral. The scheme was coordinated and well led by Esther but I did find the agencies name ‘Metro Boulot Dodo’ rather a mouthful.
The Flower Festival was hard work, great fun and a huge success and attracted large crowds. In the course of the set up I was horrified to see one of the ladies at the top of a high ladder reaching up to attach hanging flowers on to the corona above the altar. I was concerned on grounds of health and safety so I suggested to Claire that it would be better if our maintenance staff did this instead. The lady in question was adamant that she was fully insured and so a different tack was taken and it was put to her that the Dean thought that wearing shorts when doing a job like this was inappropriate and then she readily agreed for the men to carry out the job under her instruction. I didn’t know that she had been told this and wondered why I was given some funny looks during the set up. However we were good friends by the time of the Festival.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols joined us for the course of the anniversary weekend celebrations – his uplifting homily at the Solemn Mass included memories of his involvement in the Cathedral and even a reference to the song from the Beatles Sergeant Pepper Album (which was also 50 years old) ‘Fixing a hole in the roof’. There was meant to be a another event that weekend for the Beatles Album starting on our Cathedral steps– a gathering of hundreds of people dressed as traffic wardens in memory of the song ‘Lovely Rita meter maid’ they were to be led by the burlesque artist ‘ Miaow, Miaow’ and to process to Liverpool Cathedral etc. Anyway the traffic wardens must have been short handed that day as no one turned up.
There were two special concerts the following weeks, one involving the Philharmonic orchestra and choirs, including the Cathedral choir, and then a very colourful and lively production of Noyes Fludde. The latter had a number of standout individual performances of children singing and dancing and also Archbishop Malcolm as the voice of God – he made it sound as though he was made for the part! The architectural exhibition, which is still in the entrance area, provided plans and models of some of the other designs submitted for our Cathedral. If they had been chosen we may well have been referred to as the ‘lemon squeezer’ or the ‘jelly mould’ rather than the ‘wigwam’. We must always be grateful that the panel made the best choice.
Looking back over the year it has been a very special and significant period in the history of our Cathedral and we have much to give thanks for. The involvement and participation of so many people and organisations made it all possible. We look forward to Advent and the unfolding of 2018 and there are already major events planned for the coming year as we go forward being part of a new chapter in our Cathedrals history.
Next weekend we celebrate our Patronal Feast of Christ the King. On Saturday all the areas in the Cathedral and Crypt will be in use during the day for the ‘Embrace’ youth conference. The event will begin at 10am and conclude with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Malcolm at 5pm in the main Cathedral. Please note that the 9am Mass and Morning Prayer next Saturday will take place in the Crypt Chapel. Archbishop Malcolm will preside at the Solemn Mass for the Feast next Sunday.
Canon Anthony O’Brien