There were televised images of people queuing in Liverpool outside Primark in the early morning to be the first into the store for bargains after shops reopened last Monday. It was a slightly different picture outside the churches that opened their doors for private prayer this week. Thankfully there weren’t such similar scenes of queuing people, just a steady trickle of parishioners calling in to pay a visit. I’m not sure what that says about our societies’ priorities but it was hoped that by a gentle steady reopening of churches people could be assured of a safe and warm welcome back to their spiritual homes and that has been the case from what I have heard locally. We are now swinging into operation here at the Cathedral with scheduled meetings with volunteer welcomers next week to discuss protocols and procedures once we are open again on 1st July.
Our intention is to concentrate all activity within the main Cathedral area and car park and not to have any other areas of the Cathedral building and Crypt open to the public for the next couple of months. When we are allowed to celebrate public Masses these will all be celebrated in the main Cathedral to give plenty of room for safe distancing. At present we are marking everything out based on the two meter distancing requirement – so whether the government reduces this to one meter or not we will be staying as we are.
As well as the live streamed mass next Sunday Archbishop Malcolm will be here to celebrate a private ceremony of Ordination to the Priesthood of Peter Murphy. It will be a very strange experience being present at and witnessing an ordination ceremony, which is normally such a public occasion, with a tiny handful of people present. Please remember Peter in your prayers as he prepares for this special day. He will be beginning his priesthood here at the Cathedral as an Assistant Priest from September, replacing Fr Philip Carr who will be moving to become Parish Priest at St Julies, Eccleston, St Helens.
Canon Anthony O’Brien