My dear friends in Christ,
Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!
Lancaster Cathedral has taken its place in the National Tour of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Tour is something of a Pilgrimage. We are familiar with making Pilgrimages to Shrines of devotion, especially Shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. Now it is as though the Blessed Virgin makes a journey to come to us.Yesterday evening I was greatly moved to see so many of the Faithful here with me in the Cathedral for the opening Mass and blessing/crowning of Our Lady’s statue. This morning I was equally moved to be with so many groups of children and staff from our Catholic schools. The Cathedral was busy! My thanks to so many who made the journey to Lancaster. I also thank Fr. Pearson and the Cathedral staff and volunteers who were very brave to welcome so many.I am grateful to Mgr John Armitage, Antonia Moffatt and their team from Walsingham for this Grace-filled visit.We are preparing to rededicate England as the Dowry of Mary. This will take place on Sunday 29th March.I do recommend you visit the Walsingham Facebook page and website for some wonderful photos.May the rich blessings from this event reach every heart and corner of the Diocese, especially those in most need of Christ’s loving, healing, comforting presence.With my prayers,
Bishop of Lancaster
Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!On this day when we ‘leave Europe’ I am trying to gain a sense of perspective about its significance.
I am no political commentator, nor do I have economic expertise. On these aspects of Brexit I make no comment, except to say that for all the predictions being offered we ought not to be at the mercy of speculators. There is so much that will only be known when it is known!I do know something of Faith in Christ and His Gospel. It strikes me as important that Catholics respond to this moment in our history with firm Faith.Two gifts are given to us; the first is the fact that this year is full of The God Who Speaks, an initiative of your Bishops to help us deepen our knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Word of God. Do visit the Diocesan website or that of the CBCEW to find out more.The second gift we are given is the visit to our Cathedral next week (Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th Feb) of Mgr. Armitage and the team from Walsingham. They bring the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham as well as the model of the Holy House of Nazareth. It will be a time of Education, Devotion and Prayer for us, focussing on Our Blessed Lady’s place in the life of Catholic England over centuries, up to today, and in the years ahead.These two gifts will put ‘leaving Europe’ in a much better light, the Light of Faith. The ‘Dowry Tour’ is drawing attention to an event that will take place on 29th March, the Rededicating of England as the Dowry of Mary. ‘What on earth is that about??!!’ I hear some of you muttering . . . It is Christ-centred and hugely relevant for us at this time, whatever our place on the Brexit spectrum. I commend to you both these timely gifts of Faith. They will bring a calm into your life to settle anxieties caused by present uncertainties. Without doubt we face uncertain times, and for some there will be serious difficulties.Let us remember when faced with such worries the prayer of St.Teresa of Avila the 16th century Spanish Carmelite nun;
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing, but God never changes.
Patient endurance attains what is needed.
Whoever trusts in God will find they lack nothing.
God alone suffices.
May this beautiful and simple prayer be with you and in your heart now and in the days to come.
As ever in Christ our Lord,+Paul
Bishop of Lancaster