Congratulations to Monsignor Stephen Alker who celebrates the 40th Anniversary of his Ordination to the priesthood today.
Next Saturday at 1.00pm three men will be Ordained to the Priesthood here at the Cathedral by Archbishop Malcolm. They are Carl Mugan, Anthony Kelly and Philip Carr all to serve as Liverpool Diocesan Priests. It has been a long time since we have had an ordination of a priest at the Cathedral. The last ceremony was in 1997 when Archbishop Kelly ordained three men as priests for the Society of Jesus. You have to delve a lot further back for the last ordination of Diocesan Priests which I think took place in 1973 and of that group Monsignor John Devine is the only surviving member of the cohort of five priests who were ordained that year. With the appointment of Archbishop Worlock traditions changed as he was happy to allow ordinations to take place in the candidates’ home parish as the numbers each year for ordination to priesthood had started to decline and this became the pattern for diocesan priestly ordinations ever since. Hence this year’s ordinations of the three men together is a very special and rare event in the Cathedral diary. Once ordained the new priests have been appointed to parishes in Widnes, St Helens and Philip Carr will begin his priestly life here at the Cathedral from September. Please remember them in your prayers and there is plenty of room in the Cathedral if you would like to come along to the Ordination Mass next Saturday.
The other major event this coming week will be the installation of the sculptural work which forms part of the Liverpool Biennial Arts Festival. The work consists of five abstract concrete structures which also act as seating areas that are to be located on the Cathedral Precinct in the vast space above the Crypt. The sculptures are in the form of a building block design in the consisting of a collection of abstract segments based on the shape of the Cathedral but reassembled in different combinations. Groups of children have worked with the artist on these designs which were then scaled up to size. These pieces will have to be craned up on to the area in question and then moved into place and a great deal of time and care has had to be taken to make sure that this doesn’t have any negative impact on the area in question. Anyway, this will all be underway from Monday this week and hopefully be completed within a few days. The artist ‘Ryan Gander’ is hoping that the benches will help people to celebrate the design and shape of the Cathedral. The design concept and abstract nature of the pieces will provide some life and animation on an area that is rather bleak and unloved but I hope that they don’t become another attraction for the local skateboarders and graffiti artists!
Tuesday is the feast of St Thomas the Apostle. These things did Thomas hold for real: the warmth of blood, the chill of steel, the grain of wood, the heft of stone, the last frail twitch of blood and bone. His brittle certainties denied that one could live when one had died, until his fingers read like Braille the markings of the spear and nail. May we, O God, by grace believe and, in believing, still receive the Christ who held His raw palms out and beckoned Thomas from his doubt.
Canon Anthony O’Brien