Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Candle of Hope

A Candle of Hope has been burning in The Cathedral since Christmas Eve and will continue to burn for the full twelve days of Christmas. The Candle of Hope is the initiative of the World Cancer Research Fund (UK), with candles burning in major Cathedrals through out the UK. Our candle was lit of Christmas Eve and burns in memory of all those who have gone to their eternal reward after suffering from cancer. This is particularly close to our hearts here at The Cathedral having lost two wonderful priests, Canon Frank Pullen and Father Michael McCormack, and many leading parishioners to the disease. The Candle of Hope can be found in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of The Cathedral.

Cathedral Book of Remembrance

Today the newly established Cathedral Book of Remembrance went on display for the first time. The Book is in four volumes and lists those whose anniversaries occur each day. It is hoped that we will have a suitable display case for the Book of Remembrance soon, but currently we don't have the funds to purchase one!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very happy and holy Chrismas.

This is the sitting room of Cathedral House looking just a little festive!

Christmas is here!

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas!

At the Cathedral we have celebrated our Christmas Eve Children's Mass, at which we built the crib and Bishop brian has presided over the celebration of Midnight Mass. The Cathedral looked fabulous and was filled to more than capacity for both the Masses on Christmas Eve. Later today Canon Stephen and I will celebrate the other Christmas Masses in our three parishes, with the help of Father Ged, our local retired priest. Bishop Brian will celebrate Mass at 10.45am in Shrewsbury Prison, which he has done every year since he was ordained Bishop.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Font Lid????

Today we placed the newly restored Font Lid on to the font. It is the original lid which used to hang in the baptistry. It was taken away when the Cathedral was reordered in the mid eighties and left to rot and rust in the basement. It was recently rescued and restored. The next stage is to design a pulley system that will enable the lid to be raised for baptisms. A pulley is necessary as it took three of us to lift the lid into place!!!!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Songs of Praise

Did you see Songs of Praise on BBC 1 yesterday? It was broadcast from Saint Chad's Anglican Church in Shrewsbury, but included scenes from The Cathedral. I know I am biased, but the final visitation scene they showed was by far the most impressive and it was from the high altar in The Cathedral!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

West Window finished!

As promised, the great West Window has been finished in time for Christmas. Having had months of looking at scaffolding and plywood, it is wonderful to see the window restored and in fabulous condition.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Sanctuary Lamp rehung!

Very few people noticed, or if they did they didn't comment, but the Sanctuary Lamp has been missing from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for weeks! It was returned the other day and rehung this morning. The Sanctuary Lamp is one of a pair that were bought in 1899 at a cost of £116 7s. 6d. ~ apparently the same cost as three small terrace houses at the time!

Over the years is has suffered neglect and the effects of candle wax and soot building up on it. The pulley system also became unusable. The Lamp, made of silver, has been fully restored and now hangs back in its rightful place (although the pulley systems still doesn't work properly!)

Monday, 15 December 2008

Father Chris' Sponsored Walk

The great news is that my sponsored 70+ mile walk raised over £3500 towards the Cathedral Window Restoration Fund. A huge thank you to all those who sponsored me. We still have a long way to go with the fundraising, so keep up the good work!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

New Diocesan Vestments

Today I collected the new Diocesan Vestments. they have been made for us by Sister Anthony and her team at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool. Upto now, whenever the diocese has held big celebrations like the Chrism Mass or ordinations, we have had to hire in vestments for the sanctuary party - not any more! Housed at the Cathedral is this set of wonderful diocesan vestments (Bishops Chasuable, 12 concelebrants chasuables and 6 dalmatics) all featuring the diocesan crest.

We are going to wear them for the first time at Midnight Mass with Bishop Brian. Very exciting!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Christmas is coming ...

Today we took delivery of this years Cathedral Christmas cards. Not for sale, these are the cards that the Cathedral Clergy leave out for every parishioner. The cards also contain the Christmas Mass times, making them a great reminder for people to have at home. This year the picture on the front of the card is taken from the central panel on the front of the Sacred Heart Altar in the Sacred Heart Chapel.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Window Restoration Fund!

Great news! As of today our fundraising efforts have reached £10,500! Only £29,500 to go!


Today we took delivery of our digital organ which will be on hire to us whilst our own organ is out of action during the west window restoration. The guys have been in their for hours setting it up, sorting out speakers and now giving it its voices! I'm no expert, it sounds all very complicated, but sounds wonderful! It is very difficult to tell the difference between the pipe organ and this digital one. I just hope our organists don't get to like it too much!!!!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

How far????

Sponsor forms are now out in all three of our churches for my sponsored walk. In a mad moment I agreed to walk with a group of young people on their sponsored walk from my home town of Wallasey to the Cathedral here in Shrewsbury, it's only a distance of about 60 miles!!! We are doing the walk over three days, so even I should be able to manage that!!! I just hope it doesn't rain too much later in October when we are doing the walk - pray for fine weather please!!!!!! The young people I am walking with are raising funds for their Lourdes pilgrimage next year, I'm walking to raise funds towards the Cathedral Window Restoration Fund.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Cathedral Office

We recently moved the Cathedral Office out of the basement at Cathedral House up to the ground floor, and also provided a new office for our Director of Music. Now that the Cathedral clergy are responsible for the three parishes in Shrewsbury, the office is somewhat busier, the new location will hopefully make work easier for all concerned (and keep our staff happier too!)

Monday, 29 September 2008

Where's the sanctuary lamp gone?!?!

Today the builders arrived and removed our sanctuary lamp! I was asked if we were putting it in the bin!!!! The sanctuary lamp is rather expensive and is actually going away to be cleaned, repaired and re guilded hopefully restoring it to its former glory so that it can be rehung. Once it is rehung we are hoping the mechanism that rasies and lowers it so the candle can be lit will work again! promises promises!!!

Friday, 26 September 2008

School Retreats

All this week BRJ, our local Catholic High School, have been using The Chapter House for day retreats. Each day a different form group of year 7's arrive and spend their day on a mini retreat expereince led by some of the school staff. The day finishes with Mass in the Cathedral, which either Canon Stephen or myself have been presiding at - yet another Mass!!!! The week has gone really well for us and for them as well they tell me! It's always great to welcome a group of young people to the Cathedral.

Monday, 22 September 2008


Today work began on te removal of the great west window. It is going away to be repaired and restored before it is brought back and reinstalled hopefully back to its original glory. Sadly whilst the window is out and the scaffolding is up our Cathedral organ is unplayable - I hope we can manage without. I'm sure Judith our director of music along with Tody, Clifford and John our organists we will get by!

We still need to keep fundraising to cover the cost of the window restoration. £40,000 in total is needed and currently we have £6,450 raised! A long way still to go!

Shrewsbury Cathedral Friends!

During his visitation to The Cathedral parish yesterday, Bishop Brian launched our new Shrewsbury Cathedral Friends. The aim is to raise the profile of the Cathedral across the diocese and to help raise some very necessary funds! Leaflets are already available in the Cathedral and very soon they will go out to all the parishes in the diocese. Watch this space for details of Friends events!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Lourdes 2008!

This year was the biggest pilgrimage Shrewsbury diocese has ever taken to Lourdes, there was over 1500 of us altogether!! And what a year to take such a large pilgrimage, this year marks the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to Saint Bernadette.
Of those 1500 pilgrimes from Shrewsbury almost 700 of them were young people, who had given up their holiday time to be in Lourdes to care for and assist the sick and disabled pilgrimes. Without the young people the Diocesan pilgrimage could not happen as so much of the care and physical moving of people is done by thsoe young people. They really are a credit to the diocese and to their families. This year I had the priviledge of being chaplain to not one, not two but three seperate youth groups! Of course I was chaplain to the Cathedral Lourdes Youth Group, and then to the BRJ group from our local Catholic High and to the Wallasey 2 Lourdes Youth Group - I was certainly kept busy!!!

Monday, 21 July 2008

World Youth Day comes to Chester!

Yesterday Pope Benedict celebrated Mass in Australia for the World Youth Day pilgrimes, and Bishop Brian celebrated Mass for 140ish young (and not so young!) people at Chester Catholic High School, the venue for our own diocesan celebrations of World Youth Day. Shropshire was well represented by a minibus full of young people. Following the Mass, which used much of the readings and texts of the papal Mass which was themed around the Holy Spirit and Confirmation, there was an afternoon full of events - workshops, games, opportunities to pray (which Bishop Brian had encouraged us to do each day in his homily) and plenty of food! The day came to an end with a time of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

It was a great day, big thanks to Dave Fitton (Diocesan Youth Co-ordinator) for all his hard work in getting the event set up. it was a real priviledge to spend the day with so many committed and enthusiastic young people. Here's to the next World Youth Day whether it be Spain or Chester!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Lourdes anniversary!

Last night a minibus full of youngsters from Shrewsbury and BRJ headed north to join me, Bishop Brian, a handful of other clergy and two hundred plus people at Saitn Michael's Church in Birkenhead. The occassion? The Diocesan Mass to mark the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to Saint Bernadette in Lourdes. Yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and also the date of the last apparition in 1858. It was a great occassion, really good to gather together to celebrate Mass and then to eat together as a diocese. It's less than two weeks till the three planes, three trains and three coaches from the Diocese depart for the annual Lourdes Pilgrimage under the directorship of Father Peter Sharrocks (Honary CHaplain to the Sanctuaries) and the leadership of Bishop Brian.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Sausage Sizzle!

Yesterday Saint Winefride's held their annual sausage sizzel after the 9.30am Mass, which was a children's Mass, this year there was a difference - it wasn't just a Saitn Winefride's parish event - it was an LPA (Local Pastoral Area) event. There was parishioners (young and old!) from all three of our parishes at Mass, with children from The Cathedral children's liturgy group taking a full and active part in the celebration of Mass alongside the children from Saint Winefride's. The BBQ afterwards was great too!! Roll on the next annual LPA Sausage Sizzle!!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Bene Merenti!

On Friday night (again i was missing!) Canon Stephen presented two Bene Merenti medals to parishioners of Saint Winefride's. Pat and Mike received the medals, awarded by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, for long service to the Church in Shrewsbury. After Mass, concelebrated by Father Ged McGuiness (former parish priest) a reception was held in the parish centre. Congratulatiosn to both.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Raising the Cathedral roof!

We still need to raise much of the £40,000 needed to restore The Cathedral windows, but after this afternoons concert I think we might need to repair the roof too!

This afternoon it was a great pleasure to welcome the school choir from Saint John's Primary School in Wythenshawe to The Cathedral. Along with the choir from our own Cathedral Primary School, the choir from Saint Johns entertained us for almost an hour with a great selection of songs. We were treated to a selection of religious music , including a number of latin pieces, some folk songs in various langauges, the odd action song and a great selection of hits from several musicals including Joseph and his Amazing technicolour Dream Coat.

The two choirs looked as though them were enjoying performing as much as we enjoyed listening! Hopefully we will see a return visit to Wythenshawe, but also a repeat performance here in The Cathedral next year! Well sung guys!

Saturday, 5 July 2008


This morning Bishop Brian arrived at The Cathedral to ordain two men to the diaconate, John Boggan and Edward Miller. Both men will serve the diocese in parishes, working alongside the parish priest and being the eyes and ears of the bishop. The celebration had a great sesne of occassion, helped dramatically by the wonderful singing of our Cathedral choir - great job done again guys!

In his homily, Bishop Brian highlighted many aspects of the diaconate ministry, but ephasised the phrase used as the Book of the Gospels is handed to the newly ordained deacon; "Receive the Book of the Gospels whose hearld you now are. Believe what you read, preach what you believe and practice what you preach." A great motto or rule of life that we could all adopt as our own.

The Mass of ordination was followed by a buffet reception in the local high school. Sadly byt he time I got there the food was all gone!!! So the Canon and I slopped off to Ask for a quick bowl of pasta and a glass of something chilled ......

Friday, 4 July 2008

On Pilgrimage!

Although I wasn't there, last night The Cathedral and Convent jointly hosted an illustrated talk by Brendan Mulcahy entitled The Way of a Pilgrim. His talk showed his journey to Santiago de Compostela, the home of Saint James. A fabulous journey illustrated with some wonderful photographs. Well over seventy people turned up to listen to Brendan and really enjoyed his description of that famous journey of pilgrimage.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

As promised ...

here are two photos from the First Holy Communion celebration last Saturday. The photo of the cake is just one of the two fantastic cakes made especially for the day. It really was a great celebration all round!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Sunday ... a day of rest ... you're joking!!

Today has been one of those days were you wonder how you managed to fit everything in! Today started with my "appearance" on BBC Radio Shropshire, being interviewed about this blog amongst other things!! Sadly and once again i forgot my camera, so there is no phot of me or the presenter Mike in the studio!
From the BBC I headed straight over to Saint Winefride's for Mass, then back to The Cathedral for baptisms. Four new Christians were baptised this afternoon, and it was great to see The Cathedral full to welcome Harriet, William, Sean and Sophie into the Catholic family.
Another Mass this evening rounded the day off ...

Saturday, 28 June 2008

First Holy Communion

This morning 37 of our young people made their first holy communion here at The Cathedral. It was a magnificent occassion with The Cathedral packed to bursting point! Everyone played their part to make it a wonderful occasion, those who arranged the flowers, prepared the liturgy, the musicans and singers (including some from our primary school), readers, all did a fabulous job and even Canon Stephen's homily wasn't bad!!!! The celebration of Mass was followed by a "bit of a do" in the Convent School Hall, which seemed to go with something of a swing! Sadly I forgot to take my camera with me :o( but hopefully there are some pics on the way very soon!

Friday, 27 June 2008

Shropshire County Scout Council AGM!

Last night I had the great priviledge of leading the prayers at the beginning of this years Annual General Meeting of Shropshire County Scout Council. The meeting is held in Shrewsbury Abbey and looks back over the year that has been, this time looking especially at the evnts held locally and nationally in 2007 to mark the 100th anniversary of Scouting! Last night there wasa huge number of awards to be presented too, awards to every section - beavers, cubs, scouts, explorers and to many leaders too. It was a great evening of celebrating Scouting and looking forward to the next year with great enthusiasm too. It was my first real public event since I was appointed as County Catholic Chaplain!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

An indoor garden party!

This evening Cathedral House opened their doors to the staff of our primary school, Saint Mary's, for a summer thank you garden party. Sadly due to the weather (and the three abandoned Christmas trees) we didn't venture out into the garden. A great evening was had by all! Thanks to Anne (our housekeeper) and Bev (school secretary) for making all the food. Hopefully this will become an annual event!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Feeding the Five Thousand????

Tonight, we played host to the DIocesan Liturgical Commission! The Commission, who work on behalf of the Bishop in the area of Liturgical Formation, travel around the diocese for their regular meetings, this month it was the turn of Cathedral House to host and feed the Commission! Canon Stephen had bribed them to travel down to Shropshire with the promise of strawberries and cream ...

Cathedral doors open!

For the last week, thanks to a small band of volunteer stewards, The Cathedral has been open each afternoon to visitors, tourists, parishioners and those seeking space to pray or just to see the inside of our beautiful church. Last week saw the first of our school groups pass through the doors for a tour and educational visit, more are due over the coming weeks.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Is it a garden or a jungle????

I thought you might like a look at the garden at Cathedral House, taken from the sitting room. Having had the great opportunity to visit a few gardens last Sunday on the CAFOD garden trail and seeing how gorgeous they were, we looked again at our own jungle! We really need to get a team of volunteers together to weed and mow the lawn, Oh and get rid of the three dead Christmas trees!!!