St Serenus & St Benignus
One of the Sacristans, as they were preparing the altar for Mass a few weeks ago, enquired about the relics that were set into the various altars in the Cathedral and Crypt. Not having a clue as to which saints relics had been used I suggested that she consult the Archive Department and see what they could find by going back over old records. So far a quick search has only brought up information regarding the High Altar in the Cathedral which contains relics of two Saints set into the marble mensa – St Serenus and St Benignus. This was recorded at the time that the altar was consecrated by Bishop Augustine Harris in 1967. St Serenus lived a solitary spiritual life, living off the produce of his garden (he was known for his horticultural skills and is the patron Saint of gardeners) and was martyred for being a Christian in 4th Century. There are two saints Benignus either an unknown 4th Century martyr venerated in the Dijon area of France or the Irish Benignus who seems a much more interesting character. He was the son of an Irish chieftain, baptised by St Patrick and who became his favourite disciple and Assistant Bishop of Armagh. The two names signify serenity and gentleness – two qualities for us to pray for when we gather around the altar for Mass. It may take a lot more research to discover which saints relics sanctify the other altars.
The Chapter of Canons gather next Tuesday for Mass at 12.15pm in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. On Wednesday afternoon Saint Francis Xavier College, Woolton, are having Mass in the Cathedral to mark the retirement of their head teacher and mark the end of term. Next Sunday will be the final weekend of term for our choirs before they break up for the summer holidays – they will return to sing at the Masses to conclude the Eucharistic Congress in the second week of September.
Our two full time members of Cathedral office staff are both celebrating special occasions this week. Claire Hanlon, marks 25 years of employment and service here at the Cathedral, and Allison Turner celebrates a very special birthday. They both started work here after short careers elsewhere probably only intending to stay for a few years. Allison responds to enquiries at the front door of Cathedral House and is responsible for all printing and documents and stationery.
Claire is seen as the voice of the Cathedral for all enquiries, services and events here. Archbishop Patrick always used to say to any visitors that he brought to the Cathedral ‘Fr Tony thinks he runs the Cathedral but Claire is the one that actually does!’ I always had a reply to this but it wouldn’t be suitable for repeating in the newsletter. The Cathedral clergy will be joining them both for a celebratory lunch on Friday so the office will be closed that afternoon.
Deacon Noel Abbott also recently celebrated 25 years of ordination to the permanent diaconate and we offer our congratulations to him, his wife Pam and family.
Canon Anthony O’Brien