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CHAPLAIN'S MESSAGE: In sorrow…and in joy?

thumbnail image I had sat down on Wednesday morning and written a short piece for this weekend on the injunction to ‘Rejoice!’ which we hear on this Laetare Sunday. The events that unfolded later in the day rather diminished any appetite for rejoicing. Mothering Sunday too, has an added poignancy when we recall at least one mother who won’t be celebrating with her family this weekend.

However, as the depth of Lenten purple is lightened just briefly to rose-pink this weekend, the call of the church is to rejoice; we do hear ‘Laetare!’ proclaimed. How can we dare speak of rejoicing in the midst of communal sadness? What kind of insult is this, when those around us mourn, and we also, in solidarity with them? How speak we of joy, when shock numbs the senses and outrage fills our minds?

And yet, still, the wisdom of the Church calls out to us: ‘Laetare!’, even in the depths of our Lenten penitence, and our present sorrows, too. For Laetare is no call to a wild euphoria, nor enthusiastic good cheer – these are hallmarks of the joyousness of this world, joy that always passes away. In stark contrast, the distinct joy of Leatare is not a response to present joy, but is rather a plaintive cry for joy’s fulfilment in the future; joy tasted here only in shadow. Laetare is as equally a visceral lament for current sorrows as it is a yearning for their transformation; indeed, it speaks of sorrow felt more keenly by the knowledge of joy’s absence.

The rejoicing (Laetare) we proclaim is a timeless echo of the Old Testament call to Jerusalem, the nurturing mother of scriptural imagination, crying again for her children to return. We can ‘Rejoice’ in Lent, without hesitation, because very soon within those barren walls, weighed down with centuries of woe, the source of all joy will enter and promises of old will be fulfilled. The joy of our Laetare is the foreshadowing of the unalloyed exultation of the Easter Dawn, yet still wreathed in the sorrow of all that currently is, and is still to be endured.

It is no accident that Laetare Sunday is kept as Mothering Sunday each year. Our Liturgy recalls the city of Jerusalem, so tragically figured as a mother without her children. This year perhaps we here have a sense of relation to that desolate city of the scriptures. This year, our Mothering Sunday is given an extra nuance, with its proximity to yesterday’s great Solemnity of the Annunciation. In the moment Mary conceived her Son through the power of the Holy Spirit, she became then not only the mother of Christ but the new mother of all believers too. Such is the mystery of God’s providence.

In Mary, we are given a maternal protectress and model. In Mary we are given an intercessor and companion. In this Cathedral, she is venerated as Our Lady of Westminster. What could be more fitting this weekend, in our sorrow, and in our Laetare joy too.

Fr Brian O’Mahony
Cathedral Chaplain

See also: College of Chaplains

OREMUS - April edition available

thumbnail image The April edition of Oremus, the Cathedral Magazine, is now out. Please take a FREE copy, available at the back of the Cathedral. Donations towards the production costs are, as always, most welcome.

The online version is available here:http://www.westminstercathedral.org.uk/downloads/April17website.pdf

See also: Oremus - The Cathedral Magazine

Related links: Oremus April Edition


thumbnail image Here are the times for Mass and Confession during Holy Week and Easter. For Mass and service times, please see the relevant page (or link: http://westminstercathedral.org.uk/downloads/HolyWeek17.pdf). Please join the queue at the latest half an hour before Confessions are scheduled to finish.

Related links: Holy Week 2017 Leaflet Mass times page Confession page


thumbnail image Sunday 26 March FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT
10.30 Cathedral Mass for victims of 22/3 Westminster attack:
Cardinal Nichols
12.00 Hinsley Room Nigerian Society
13.00 St Patrick’s Chapel Divine Mercy Prayer Group
14.30 Hinsley Room Oblates Group
16.00 Cathedral Hall Chopin Society Recital
16.45 Cathedral Organ Recital: David Grealy
19.45 The Windsor Castle Young Adults’ Group

Monday 27 March
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
18.30 Clergy House (Rm 2) Baptism Preparation Class

Tuesday 28 March
18.30 Cathedral Guild of St Anthony

Wednesday 29 March
7, 8, 10.30am Masses in the Crypt. 12.30 and 1.05pm Masses in Cathedral Hall
Cathedral closes at 5pm. Re-opens at 6.30pm for ticket holders.
18.30 Clergy House Library Pre-concert talk: Fr Brian O’Mahony
19.30 Cathedral Concert: Miserere

Thursday 30 March
18.30 Clergy House (Rm 2) Legion of Mary

Friday 31 March
09.30 Hinsley Room Fitness Training and Coffee Morning
10.30 Cathedral Funeral: Sharon Jennings RIP
15.00 Cathedral Deaf Service Stations of the Cross
18.30 Cathedral Stations of the Cross
19.00 Cathedral Hall Charismatic Prayer Group

Saturday 1 April
10.00 Hinsley Room Centering Prayer Group

13.00 St Patrick’s Chapel Divine Mercy Prayer Group
14.00 Hinsley Room Filipino Club
16.40 Cathedral Hall Mass for the Deaf
16.45 Cathedral Organ Recital: Alexander Pott
19.45 The Windsor Castle Young Adults’ Group


thumbnail image 29 March: Pre-concert talk by Fr Brian O’Mahony on Miserere, the inspiration behind Allegri’s most beautiful setting of Psalm 50. The talk is in Clergy House Library at 6.30pm. Refreshments will be served. The concert in the Cathedral starts at 7.30pm; guests will be escorted through to the Cathedral at 7.15pm. Please be at Clergy House Reception for 6.15pm. Tickets £10.

9 May: Launch of the George Malcolm Exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the birth and 20th anniversary of the death of this celebrated musician and former Master of Music. A private view of the exhibition in the Cathedral at 6.30pm will be followed by a talk from curator Giles Dawson and the Master of Music in Clergy House - drinks reception to follow. Tickets £25.

11 May: The Friends’ 40th Anniversary Mass to be celebrated by Cardinal Vincent Nichols in Westminster Cathedral at 5.30pm. The Mass will see the premiere of an anthem specially commissioned to mark the anniversary. Afterwards there will be a ‘Ruby Red’ drinks and canapés reception in the Cathedral Hall with singing from the lay clerks’ ensemble. Tickets for the reception: £25.

16 May: Quiz and fish and chip supper Westminster Cathedral Hall 6.30pm. Tickets £15.

22 May: Day trip to Canterbury Cathedral to include Catholic Mass celebrated by Canon Christopher and a tour of the Cathedral. We will also be including St Dunstan’s where the Head of St Thomas More is buried in the Roper family vault and the Catholic church of St Thomas. There will be free time in Canterbury for lunch. Tea included Tickets £40.

8 June: Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen. Talk by journalist and author Giles Tremlett: Westminster Cathedral Hall. Doors open at 6.30pm and the talk starts at 7pm. There will be a glass of wine and book signing after the event. Tickets £10. (Postponed from 30 March).

Tickets are available from Clergy House Reception and the Friends’ office on 020 7798 9059.

See also: Friends News

Related links: Email The Friends


thumbnail image Pilgrimage to Lancashire 2017, led by Canon Christopher Tuckwell, Tuesday, 4 April to Thursday, 6 April 2017

Visiting Ashton-in-Makerfield, the Church of St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, which houses the Shrine of the Holy Hand of St Edmund Arrowsmith. St Edmund Arrowsmith was imprisoned in Lancaster Castle with St John Southworth and martyred in 1628, Salmesbury church of St Mary & St John Southworth, Samlesbury Hall home of the Southworth family, Lancaster Castle where fifteen Catholics were executed for their faith and Stonyhurst College for a special tour of the older parts of the College and archive. Mass each day. Cost, including two nights’ accommodation with breakfast and dinner, travel within Lancashire, entrance fees etc £265 sharing, £295(single. Travel to and from Lancashire extra. Deposit of £50 required by 24 January 2017. Cheques made payable to Anthony Coles Travel and Conference. Further information can be obtained from Anne Marie Micallef annemariem@rcdow.org.uk

See also: Saint John Southworth

Related links: Email Anne Marie


thumbnail image The Cathedral will be decorated with lilies and other flowers at Easter. If you would like to sponsor a lily in memory of a departed friend or family member, please place the name together with a suggested offering of £5 per lily in an envelope available from the back of the Cathedral. These may be handed in to Clergy House Reception or placed in one of the collection boxes around the Cathedral.


thumbnail image There will be sign-up sheets in the Well by the Lady Chapel for ushers and collectors who can help at the Holy Week services


thumbnail image A group from the Cathedral parish will be going on the annual Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes staying at the Padue Hotel. Booking forms are available at Clergy House Reception or from Tangney Tours, 07132 886666. If you are going and wish to be included in the Cathedral group please would you inform my PA, Elizabeth Arnot, on 020 7798 9062 or email elizabetharnot@rcdow.org.uk.


thumbnail image This will take place on Saturday, 22 April, in preparation for the Feast of Mercy. The main celebrant will be the Rt Revd Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark. The coach will depart from Westminster Cathedral at 7.15am, cost £15. Contact Emmanuel on 020 7286 3804 or 07721 362000, or Caroline on 07960 466377.


thumbnail image If you regularly contribute to the Sunday offertory using Planned Giving envelopes, please collect your box for the coming year at the back of the Cathedral after Mass next weekend (25/26 March). If you wish to enrol onto the scheme, change your listed address, or sign a Gift Aid declaration, these forms will also be available. Gift Aid allows UK tax payers to donate an extra 25p for each £1 at no extra cost to yourself.


thumbnail image New Victoria Children's Choir for girls and boys aged from 7 to 11 years is holding auditions in March and April. The choir will sing monthly at the Saturdays 6pm Mass and at other venues through the year. For more information contact Eileen McDade at emcdade@choirschool.com or on 020 7798 9035 voicemail.

Related links: Email Eileen McDade


thumbnail image The Funeral Mass for the late Sharon Jennings, a very faithful parishioner for many years, takes place on Friday 31 March at 10.30am, and all are welcome to attend. Her body will be received into church at 4.30pm on Thursday 30 March.


thumbnail image Men wanting to know more about the permanent diaconate are invited to come to a meeting at St Edward the Confessor, 700 Finchley Rd, Golders Green, NW11 7NE on Saturday, 25 March from 10am to 12pm. No booking needed. Wives welcome. Contact Deacon Adrian Cullen 07961 594725 or Deacon Anthony Clark 07545 373548.


thumbnail image Pope's Prayer Intention: Support for Persecuted Christians: That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.

For the Pope: “I ask, please, for your prayers for me and my collaborators, who until Friday (10th March) will be on retreat.” -Pope Francis


thumbnail image Every first Tuesday of the month in the Chapel of St George & the English Martyrs from 2.30pm to 4.15pm. A time to pray the Rosary, to reflect, to listen to the Word of God, to intercede for England, Mary's Dowry, for Wales, for the UK and for the peace of all nations. To pray for the church and for the governments of the world invoking the powerful intercession of Our Lady of Walsingham, St George & the English Martyrs. For further details email antonia@walsingham.org.uk -
"When England goes back to Walsingham, Our Lady will come back to England."

Related links: Email Antonia


thumbnail image 1 March until 9 April everyday 8am until 8pm. Please come and join us praying peacefully outside the abortion centre at 87 Mattock Lane, Ealing, W5 5BJ where trained advisors will offer real help to the mums going in. Are you in or near London? Please attend this vigil. For details see https://40daysforlife.com/london/. If you are outside the South East please see http://www.goodcounselnet.co.uk/40-Days-for-Life.html

Related links: More details here Outside London


thumbnail image Come and see the London screening of ‘Ignacio de Loyola’, about the life of St Ignatius, on 9 April, Palm Sunday, at Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2HW, at 2pm and 5.30pm. Call the box office on 020 7911 5050 or find out more at https://www.regentstreetcinema.com/programme/ignacio-de-loyola/

Related links: Regent Street Cinema

LENTEN CONCERT - Allegri's Miserere

thumbnail image Westminster Cathedral Choir and Orchestra will be having a Lenten Concert on Wednesday, 29 March at 7.30pm. The concert will include the ever-popular Miserere by Allegri, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams and the powerful meditation on the Seven Last Words from the Cross by James MacMillan. Tickets are available from the Cathedral Gift Shop, or from www.ticketmaster.co.uk.

Related links: Ticketmaster


thumbnail image Please note the Clergy House Reception opening hours have now reverted to the times shown on the How to contact us panel below.

Postal address:
42 Francis Street, London, SW1P 1QW

Clergy House Reception is open daily:
Monday – Wednesday 8am-7pm
Thursday – Friday 8am-2pm, 3pm-7pm
Saturday & Sunday 10am-1pm

Telephone: 020 7798 9055
Email: chreception@rcdow.org.uk

In an emergency:
When someone is gravely ill or has died and a priest is required outside reception opening hours please call 07340 288978.