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CHAPLAIN'S MESSAGE: Healthy or Toxic Ambition

thumbnail image Ambition can be a good thing; to have goals, to want to be good at what one does and to succeed in it. But ambition tainted by selfishness or pride can cause us to ignore everything else in the pursuit of success or fame. We must carefully consider what we give up in the pursuit of our goals. We may be sacrificing family life, justice, kindness, respect, friendship, health and even life itself. Drive and ambition can cause us to treat others in an unjust or cruel way. We do this because we wrongly believe that our value comes from how we compare to others or from what we do rather than from who we are as children of God. Pride, power, celebrity and the admiration or envy of others become our fix to feel good about ourselves. Those who do not love themselves and feel no self-worth put others down to stress their own self-importance, to ease their pain and fill that dark empty void within them. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world but to lose his soul?

In the Gospel, the apostles argue over who will be first in Jesus’ kingdom so Jesus calls them together and speaks about the nature of true greatness. Jesus did not abolish ambition but redefined it. For the ambition to rule others he substituted the ambition to serve others. Selfish ambition is very damaging to the unity and wellbeing of the community. It springs up from pride, low self-esteem, jealousy, envy, poor empathy and selfishness. So much of the violence and evil in our society results from greed and selfishness.

There is a good form of ambition which leads to greatness in God’s kingdom. Jesus gives us the example by the way he lived his life. Though he had authority from God, he never used that authority to dominate others or to feel superior to others. Instead, he used that authority to serve others lovingly and that service was directed towards the poor, the sick, the disabled, the injured and the outcasts. Really great people who are fondly remembered are not those who sought to further themselves and their own interests but those who devoted themselves to seeking the good of others.

Fr Michael Donaghy

See also: College of Chaplains


thumbnail image Friday 21 September St Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
09.30 Hinsley Room Fitness and Coffee Morning
13.30 Hinsley Room Art Class
14.15 Cathedral Cardinal Vaughan School Foundation Mass
17.30 Cathedral Said Mass
19.00 Cathedral Hall Charismatic Prayer Group

Saturday 22 September
09.30-16.30 Cathedral Divine Mercy Day of Prayer
10.00 Hinsley Room Centering Prayer Group
18.00 Cathedral Visiting Choir at Mass: King Edward’s School, Witley

12.00 Hinsley Room Nigerian Catholic Association
13.00 St Patrick’s Chapel Divine Mercy Prayer Group
14.30 Hinsley Room Oblates Group
16.45 Cathedral Organ Recital: Martin Baker, Westminster Cathedral
19.45 The Windsor Castle Young Adults’ Group

Monday 24 September Our Lady of Walsingham
11.30 Hinsley Room Prayer Group
12.30 St Pauls Bookshop Daily Meditation (Monday to Friday)
18.30 Hinsley Room Christian Meditation Group
18.30 Cathedral Guild of the Blessed Sacrament

Tuesday 25 September
09.00-17.00 Cathedral Hall NHS Blood Transfusion Service
17.30 Cathedral Rochester Cathedral Choir sings at Mass
18.30 Cathedral Guild of St Anthony

Wednesday 26 September

Thursday 27 September St Vincent de Paul, Priest
17.30 Cathedral Said Mass
18.30 Clergy House Rm 2 Legion of Mary

Friday 28 September
09.30 Hinsley Room Fitness and Coffee Morning
19.00 Cathedral Hall Charismatic Prayer Group

Saturday 29 September Ss Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels
10.00 Hinsley Room Centering Prayer Group
13.30 Cathedral Blessed Sacrament Procession to St George’s
Cathedral, Southwark
14.00 Hinsley Room Justice & Peace Group

13.00 St Patrick’s Chapel Divine Mercy Prayer Group
16.45 Cathedral Organ Recital: Peter Stevens,
Westminster Cathedral
19.45 The Windsor Castle Young Adults’ Group


thumbnail image Thank you from Fr Martin Plunkett:

A very warm and grateful thank you to all Cathedral parishioners for the send-off party this week. It was so encouraging to see so many people gathered together for the evening. Also sincerely heartfelt thanks for all the kindness and generosity expressed in words, promises of prayers and very generous gifts. Thank you also to all those who gave time to set up the evening and contributed food and drink. It was a really splendid evening and one I will take with me in my heart as I go to my new parish of St Thomas More in Eastcote. Please be assured of my continued prayers for all those in the Cathedral family.


thumbnail image Enrolment for this year’s First Holy Communion programme is now complete. All parents and their children will be expected to attend the 09.00 Mass next Sunday, 30 September and proceed afterwards to Vaughan House (46 Francis Street) for their first meeting with Fr Michael Quaicoe and the catechists.


thumbnail image The September edition of Oremus, the Cathedral Magazine, is now available to read on Issuu. Please see below for the link to access a digital copy. Oremus will be published once again on the Cathedral website in the near future.

Related links: Link for Oremus September Edition


thumbnail image It is always very uplifting to see the number of votive candles burning in the Cathedral but, unfortunately, it has to be said that the amount of money left in the containers bears little relation to the number of candles being used. This means, therefore, that some people are lighting candles and not paying for them which means that the Cathedral is being put in debt. Clearly, this is unacceptable and could be described as stealing. Please make sure that if you or anyone with you lights a votive candle you put the appropriate amount in the container.


thumbnail image The SVP would like to thank everyone who supported last Sunday’s book sale by donating and/or buying books, CDs and DVDs. It was a very busy and successful event and we raised nearly £650, which is a record amount. Our next sale will take place on 21 October and we look forward to seeing you there.


thumbnail image The choristers of Westminster Cathedral Choir will join The Bach Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra and Staats- und Domchor Berlin to perform Benjamin Brittens spine-tingling War Requiem in Westminster Cathedral on Wednesday 3 October at 7.30pm. Tickets, priced £12 - £50, are available on the Bach Choir Website or Ticketmaster or in person from Westminster Cathedrals Gift Shop. Ticketmasters telephone number is 0844 844 0444.

Related links: Link to Bach Choir Website Link to Ticketmaster


thumbnail image 10am-midday, every Thursday during term-time.
Our group comes together every Thursday morning during term time for coffee, chat and catechism. Fr Rajiv Michael offers a topical reflection leading to group discussion. The sessions offer a chance to get to know other mothers within our parish, to support each other on the journey of Catholic family life. Everyone welcome with babies and toddlers. Please contact Alexandra Watson for further information, or just turn up at the Hinsley Room at 10am on Thursday. Email aphilpotts@cantab.net

Related links: Email for Alexandra Watson


thumbnail image There is much information about the Eucharistic Congress to be shared.

Most talks can be viewed or heard at: http://www.shalomworldtv.org/adoremus#latest-episodes

Hard copies of most can be downloaded at: www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Special-Events/Adoremus-National-Eucharistic-Pilgrimage

There are beautiful images of the three days at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/catholicism/albums/72157673157676628/page1

Related links: Link to Adoremus Videos Photos of Adoremus


thumbnail image Tickets for events are available from the Friends’ Office, 42 Francis Street, SW1, telephone 020 7798 9059 or email: friends@rcdow.org.uk.

The Friends Quiz and Curry Night will be held on Tuesday, 9 October in Cathedral Hall. Maximum table sizes of eight people to ensure a fair contest. Doors open at 6.30pm and the quiz will commence at 7pm. Please indicate when booking whether you would like lamb korma, vegetable biryani or chicken madras. Poppadoms and dips on the tables with a pay bar serving cold beer, wine and soft drinks. Tickets £18 available from Clergy House Reception or call 020 7798 9059.

The Friends tour of the House of Commons in October is now sold out. Thank you for your interest

We still have tickets available for the Friends visit to The Speakers House on Tuesday, 23 October. Tickets cost £80 or £150 for a joint ticket. Please note that this is a Friends-only event. The evening will commence at 6pm with a tour of the House with the Speaker, a short speech and wine and canapé reception. A very special evening. For details please call the office on 020 7798 9059.

The Friends audited accounts showed a profit for the Christmas Fair 2017 of £7234. Thank you to all those who turned out in the snow to support the Cathedral on a very difficult day. We are grateful to everyone who helped. If you would like to help at the Christmas Fair 2018 now is the time to hand in your details to Clergy House Reception. We really do need able-bodied people to help lug boxes of goods around and to help set up on the Saturday. The Fair will take place on Sunday, 9 December. It is hard work but it is in aid of the Cathedral. More hands make light work! Donations are now required - but please no second-hand clothes or videos. We urgently need good quality bric a brac, jewellery, bottles of wine, beer and spirits for the bottle tombola and much, much more. All donations should be delivered to Clergy House Reception clearly marked CHRISTMAS FAIR.

Related links: Email for Friends Office


thumbnail image The Guild of the Blessed Sacrament is organising a pilgrimage on Saturday, 27 October, led by Canon Christopher Tuckwell, to St Edmund’s, Bury St Edmunds. There will also be a chance to visit the Anglican cathedral. The coach departs at 8am prompt from Ambrosden Avenue, fare £17 per person. Please book through Theresa Giwa on 07553 846685.


thumbnail image Bari, Otranto and Lecce, Italy

Led by Canon Tuckwell from 14 to 20 October 2018, cost £939. Please contact Pax Travel on 020 7485 3003 or email info@paxtravel.co.uk for further information on this pilgrimage.


thumbnail image American taxpayers can receive a US income tax deduction for their contributions to support the work and heritage of the Cathedral by directing their contributions to American Friends of Westminster Cathedral, Inc., a non profit 501(c)(3) Organization (EIN # 13-2983174).

They will also enjoy special events and receive newsletters about Cathedral activities. Donations may be made through bequests and charitable trusts.

Contact Ms. Una Chang, President, American Friends of Westminster Cathedral, Inc., P.O. Box 92, New York, New York 10185-0092, e-mail UChang1@aol.com

Related links: Click here for email


thumbnail image This takes place in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel every Monday to Friday following the 1.05pm Mass until 4.45pm.