Day for Life
At the time of writing we have not yet received our Royal Visitor – Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester. As the Dean wrote last week HRH is the Royal Patron of the Friends ofCathedral’s Music Diamond Fund for Choristers, and is attending a reception in the Lutyens Crypt before being the guest of honour at a concert in the Anglican Cathedral performed by choristers from all over the country and representing every Cathedral. The Fund was launched in 2016 to help support and sustain live cathedral music through supporting choristers from a wide range of backgrounds. I hope that all the planning that has gone into this event pays off – there have been several meetings about the timings and route to be taken from Cathedral House to the Lutyens Crypt. On one such meeting I learnt that members of the Royal Family are not allowed to use lifts in case they break down! The room in Cathedral House in which we shall receive the Duchess has been painted and cleaned to within an inch of its life, a new toilet seat has been put on the loo, and new blinds have been purchased. We shall remove all the detritus from our tea breaks and hope the smell of fresh paint has gone by tomorrow! I am reliably informed that the Royals are used to the smell of fresh paint.
A good few years ago, HRH the Duke of Gloucester made a visit to the Cathedral. I can’tactually remember what the purpose of the visit was now, but my job was to walk behind the Royal Party, the Civic Party and all the dignitaries to make sure no-one got lost and to close all the doors behind us as we went! V important job!! Felt like a shepherd! The tour of the Cathedral included a trip to the Art Department where all the ladies were waiting to meet HRH, and to explain to him about the work that was done in the Studio. As I followed on keeping a safe distance between the VIP’s and myself one of the first ladies in the line-up shook my hand, did a slight bob up and down and said how very much she admired my work, concluding with how pleased she was to have met me. The lady then next to her did pretty much the same thing, and so it went on down the line. I thought it was slightly over the top as I was new to the Cathedral and hadn’t really done anything admirable at all. I simply smiled and nodded and carried on! Turns out that the ladies thought that I was actually the Duke’s wife!! I can honestly say that I have never been mistaken for a Royal before or since, nor have I ever been asked to be in the main party again.I’ll stick to picking the paint!
On a totally different subject now. We are celebrating Day for Life on Sunday and this year the Catholic bishops of England and Wales have chosen to focus on domestic abuse as the theme for 2019. This is a cause very close to our hearts at the Cathedral and we support our local refuges both at Easter and Christmas. One in four women and about one in six men suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime. Two women are killed every week in England by a partner or ex-partner. We acknowledge that men, women and children suffer domestic abuse at the hands of husbands, wives, parents and other family members. Violence of this kind should never be tolerated or justified. It is an offence against the dignity of the human person. There is a call to action for our parishes, schools and Catholic communities to reflect, learn and cat together so that we can help those suffering from domestic abuse in our parishes, workplaces and even in our own homes. Knowing what to look for and spotting the signs means that individually and collectively we can make a real difference to people’s lives. It is time to start talking and taking action. Go to www.dayforlife.org to find out more about what you can do.
Assistant to the Dean
Canon O’Brien is away