A large part of next week will be taken up with welcoming and accompanying The Archbishop of Barcelona, His Eminence Cardinal Omella and seventeen of his priests on a pastoral tour of Northern England. The group arrive in Liverpool on Sunday evening and are here until Wednesday and then wend their way up to Ampleforth visiting a number of places en route.
With our Diocese on Pilgrimage to Lourdes this week it meant that both Archbishop Malcolm and Bishop Tom were away so I have ended up as welcomer, tour guide and host. With my lack of Spanish and other diary commitments it will be a frenetic few days. Thankfully Bishop Malone will be around on Monday morning and will preside at Mass at 12.15pm when the visiting group of clergy will all join us for Mass in the Crypt Chapel.
After lunch we will spend the afternoon in Liverpool Cathedral where they will meet the Dean and be given a tour and hear about the work of the Cathedral concluding with evening prayer.
On Tuesday they will concelebrate Mass in Spanish at 9.30am if and Spanish speaking parishioners would like to join them for Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel they will be most welcome. Then we are off to the Archdiocesan Centre for meetings with some of the diocesan departments. We are supposed to finish on Tuesday with a pub meal – I will probably need a strong pint by then.
I did think that the following few weeks would be a quiet period with little taking place in the Cathedral but have recently been informed that there is an international ‘Scout Chamboree’ in Cheshire from 28th July until 4th August involving 4,000 teenagers and their group leaders. All of the participants will be visiting both Cathedrals in groups throughout the week with lots of extra guided tours arranged for them each day. I didn’t join the scouts as a youngster but was in the cubs which was run from All Saints Parish in Anfield. The only camping trips we ever went on were to Tawd Vale on the edges of Skelmersdale. In those days that was just countryside. I seem to remember that I really enjoyed all the activities but camping and, more to the point, camping food in the rain wasn’t my idea of fun – I liked my sleep and grub too much.
For those following the novena of prayer during the Diocesan week of pilgrimage in Lourdes – this Sundays intention is for vocations.
God our Father, help all people find their true vocation in life and so find happiness.
May those who answer the call to priesthood and religious life, generously follow in the footsteps of St Bernadette and give glory to your love in their lives.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us and St Bernadette pray for us.
Canon Anthony O’Brien