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CHAPLAIN'S MESSAGE: Annual Statistics

thumbnail image If you find your attention wandering during Sunday Mass in the next weeks and your gaze wandering heavenwards, you may spot a Cathedral Chaplain moving along the galleries and checking you out. The diocese, and Roman statisticians, require us to monitor Sunday Mass attendance over an autumnal month and to report our figures; and this is true for every parish in the diocese. For us it is truer than elsewhere that visitor numbers from week to week will cause variations, but there is a level of consistency in the figures.

On one level, this is as it should be; for Catholics, Sunday Mass attendance is not an option, but a requirement. Whereas God and the Church are reasonable in understanding about serious sickness, travel plans or the inaccessibility of a Catholic church preventing our attendance at Mass, so that there is no sin involved, the expectation is that we will be present. Whether I feel like it or not is not the point. My fellow Christians need the encouragement of knowing that I am there to support them, regardless of my feelings on the day. Please let us not think that the Sunday Mass obligation is an unbearable expectation on us; rather, it is the opportunity to show each other that we care and have a desire for the well-being of one another.

This week sees the celebration of St Vincent de Paul on Friday and candles will be out by his image between the Confessionals. The Cathedral owes him a debt of devotion, since the concern for the poor and needy which he showed is surely a reflection of that ministry which was so splendidly displayed in the life of St John Southworth, our Cathedral martyr. The Daughters of Charity, one of St Vincent’s gifts to the Church, continue as a presence in the parish and one of their gifts is our parish’s Primary School, founded in 1859 and therefore keeping its 160th anniversary this year. The life of the School continues to be firmly rooted in the traditions of the Church, as is demonstrated by the monthly articles published in Oremus magazine, and it is reciprocally our duty to pray for the children, that the formation they receive will bear fruit in Christian discipleship throughout their lives.

A more hidden level of devotion this week is that given to Padre Pio, St Pius of Pietrelcina. For a number of years this continued in the bookshop on Vauxhall Bridge Road, but now takes place in Sacred Heart Church on Thursday afternoons. For all the prayer of the Cathedral community let us give thanks and join our own offering.

Fr John Scott

See also: College of Chaplains


thumbnail image There will be introductory taster sessions these workshops on Tuesday, 24 and Thursday, 26 September at 7pm in Cathedral Hall. All are welcome.


thumbnail image The September 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.


thumbnail image Croissants and Christianity: coffee morning with faith and fellowship for those with bumps, babies and toddlers. Join us on Monday morning from 10am to 11.30am in the Hinsley Room off Morpeth Terrace. We have a cup of tea and chat while children play, enjoying an opportunity to pray the rosary together, share common concerns and lend each other spiritual support in an informal and friendly context, often benefiting from input from one of the Cathedral priests. It is free and runs during term time and occasionally during school holidays. The Hinsley Room is on the left as you walk down Morpeth Terrace to Francis St, accessed via an iron gate and up a path alongside the little garden.


thumbnail image Wednesday, 11 September: Friends’ Tour of the Cathedral and the Cathedral Tower. The tour will start at 6.30pm, with drinks to follow. Tickets £25.

Thursday, 12 September: Henry VIII – The Decline and Fall of a Tyrant. Talk by historian Robert Hutchinson. Westminster Cathedral Hall. 7pm. Tickets £10.

Wednesday, 25 September: Private tour of the Sacristy with the new Head Sacristan, Mr Richard Hawker, who will be explaining his role and talking about some of the Cathedral’s greatest treasures and items of historical interest. Afterwards there will be refreshments in Clergy House Library. Please come to Clergy House Reception for 6.30pm. The tour and talk will commence at 6.45pm. Tickets £25.

Tuesday, 1 October: Friends’ Curry and Quiz. Westminster Cathedral Hall. Doors at 6.30pm and the quiz will begin at 6.45pm. Tickets £18 (please note this replaces the previously advertised quiz on 24 September).

Thursday, 10 October: Day trip to Aylesford Priory. Details to follow.

Tickets available from Clergy House Reception or Friends’ office on 020 7798 9059.


thumbnail image Once again we will be taking part in the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham. This takes place on Saturday, 21 September. We will be leaving the Cathedral at 6.30am and returning at approximately 7pm. The cost will be £21.00 per adult and £11 per child. To book, please leave the required money, in an envelope clearly marked with your name and contact details, at Clergy House Reception.


thumbnail image The Filipino Club will be hosting, on behalf of Westminster Council, the Silver Sunday Tea Dance. It is an event to acknowledge and thank the older members of our community for all they have contributed towards our society throughout the years. It is a free event with dancing, entertainment, afternoon tea and a grand raffle. It will be held on Sunday, 13 October in Cathedral Hall between 2 to 6pm. Carers are also welcome if accompanied by a Senior Citizen. Although it is a free event donations would be very much appreciated.


thumbnail image A film night for the 18-40 age group on Saturday, 21 September after the Vigil Mass at 7.15pm in Vaughan House. The film showing is Shadowlands. For further information, please email Fr Rajiv at rajivmichael@rcdow.org.uk.


thumbnail image The Cathedral Café will re-open on 14 September from 10am-4pm for drinks, lunches and snacks. Please do pay a visit the next time you are in the Cathedral. Normal opening days Tuesday-Saturday.


thumbnail image This will take place on Saturday, 28 September from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The day is led by Bishop John Keenan of Diocese of Paisley and Fr Dominic Allain, Pastoral Director of - From Grief to Grace - and others. For information please visit https://www.grieftograceuk.org. For the full programme of the day contact Antonia on email at antonia@walsingham.org.uk


thumbnail image Meditations take place in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in St Pauls Bookshop each weekday from 12.30 to 1pm. All are welcome.


thumbnail image The Holy Land
The Guild of the Blessed Sacrament’s Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, led by Fr Andrew Gallagher, will be from 18-25 November 2019, cost £1,445. For further details, contact Pax Travel on 020 7485 3003 or info@paxtravel.co.uk.

Passion Play of Oberammergau, Munich and Salzburg
A pilgrimage to see the world famous passion play that takes place every 10 years, combined with discovering the rich cultural history of its surrounding area, led by Fr Andrew Gallagher and Fr Kevin Moule, 14-20 September 2020. More details available from Clergy House Reception or Pax Travel at info@palxtravel.co.uk, or 020 7485 3003.

Related links: Email: Pax Travel


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.