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Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Monday, 22 September 2008
With Mgr Mark Langham now in Rome (with the Congregation for the Unity of Christians) this may be the last posting on the 'Solomon' blog. It now becomes the Mark Langham Archive, which you can always access via the Cathedral website. I say it MAY be the last because, he might suddenly reappear with Roman adventures - like Jason Bourne, but without the car chases. Meanwhile I have started a new blog which I hope will keep you up-to-date on behind the scenes goings on. Fr Mark's roof garden which he created ex nihilo will now be needing the attention of the remaining Clergy House residents. (It turns out Fr Kingsley knows a thing or two about plants.) Let's hope we remember to water.
Posted by Mark Langham at 20:07
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
Posted by Mark Langham at 16:47
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
Here's the upper part of the mural at Horley. Now you can see that the Child Jesus is sitting on St Christopher's shoulder. There's a scroll inscription (medieval speech bubble) which has St Christopher marvelling at how heavy the Child has become, to which Jesus replies: 'That's because you are carrying the King of Bliss.'
Posted by Mark Langham at 16:41
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
It's said to be largest mural of the saint in England. The Christ Child IS on his shoulder, but my picture doesn't quite show "the King of bliss" as the inscription describes him. What you can see is a chap fishing in the river below. It's thought to be the earliest representation of an English angler, waiting for a bite.
Posted by Mark Langham at 22:33
Like most people I've been away, so apologies for going off the air. Unforgiveable in the blogosphere, I am told. There are stirrings at the Cathedral - nothing more, you understand - to suggest that life is returning to the complex. People are trickling back from all directions. There is a new Organ Scholar called David who has taken up residence. I will introduce him shortly but let me first say a word about Oliver Brett, his predecessor, who left this summer. In August he was in Kansas City to give a recital at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Now, he is about to start a teaching post in England. Back in June, Oliver gave a superb recital for the Friends in the Cathedral Hall. It was a memorable evening, Schubert's last three piano sonatas which we enjoyed enormously. Here he is - unruffled - at the end of that very demanding performance. A remarkable musician, it seemed to me. We wish Oliver well.
Posted by Mark Langham at 21:48
Friday, 8 August 2008
We also welcomed Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, who was in England for the Lambeth Conference where he spoke to the assembly. During his visit to London, I had the privilege of giving him a tour of the Cathedral which he certainly enjoyed. He seemed a most serene and gentle bishop. Cardinal Dias is a former Archbishop of Bombay (Mumbai). He is a renowned linguist, speaking many languages. In May this year, Pope Benedict appointed him to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. He holds a number of Curial resposibilities.
Posted by Mark Langham at 19:17
We were honoured to receive a visit from the Governor-General of the Solomon Islands in July. Canon Tuckwell gave him a tour of the Cathedral. He is Sir Nathaniel Waena GCMG, GSI, KStJ and he called to see us with Lady Waena and members of his staff. He represents the Queen in a tropical paradise, a chain of a thousand islands in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea.
Posted by Mark Langham at 18:29
The chaplains, under their new Administrator, have been hosting one or two farewell events recently. First Fr Dwayne, to wish him bon voyage to Ohio, then Fr Michael Seed - and this week, an evening in Drury Lane with Fr Mark Langham, to wish him godspeed to Rome. (Not the Theatre, you understand, but a jolly hostelry where you listen to live opera and a very handy string quartet.) Somebody had the foresight to order a cab to return us to Clergy House. Taking the Tube, we thought, might expose us to comment on the platform.
A memorable end to the summer party season. Now we go our separate ways...
Posted by Mark Langham at 18:03
Friday, 18 July 2008
Work on the new steps at the entrance to the Cathedral is going ahead fast. Here's a view of the work from above. Many thanks to Simon Lloyd (Acting Precentor, last year's organ scholar) for this shot and earlier pictures of the interior scaffolding. I'm not quite sure how he got up there. In truth, I don't think I want to know.
The work is being done before our eyes and already the steps are looking very fine. But the Cathedral's Appeal for funding to pay for everything is as urgent as ever...
A great many specialist services are required to make this radical modification to the exterior.
The work which fulfills the legal requirement for wheelchair access has taken years in the planning. One day, we'll ask Fr Mark how many meetings he attended over recent years before the final plans were given the go-ahead. Everyone from Westminster City Council and the Victorian Society to the Local Residents Association will have had strong views.
A high level of craftsmanship is required of the stonemasons. One of them told me the new steps are made of Cornish granite. The same stone exactly as the Cathedral's High Altar.
Posted by Mark Langham at 09:22
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Posted by Mark Langham at 16:01
Posted by Mark Langham at 11:25
Monday, 14 July 2008
I will not perturbate Thy Paradisal state With praise Of thy dead days; To the new-heavened say, -"Spirit, thou wert fine clay:" This do,Thy praise who knew.
Posted by Mark Langham at 16:52
Friday, 11 July 2008
Monday, 7 July 2008
Not really. This replica of a 17th Century Italian instrument (Lucca) is here for a recording by the Cathedral Choir. New CD recordings are always addressed at this time of year. Mr Thomas Wilson, Acting Assistant Master of Music at the console.
'John the organist' tells me this instrument normally lives at St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, a large, very fine church in the Anglican Diocese of Southwark, whose main instrument is a splendid Lewis organ.
Posted by Mark Langham at 20:56
Sunday, 6 July 2008
The Cathedral's own martyr-saint, safely returned to the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs.
Posted by Mark Langham at 11:48
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
I do hope you will continue to follow this weblog, and draw inspiration and grace from this magnificent Cathedral. I have had the privilege of serving here for thirteen years of my priesthood, and will miss it mightily. My new appointment will be announced in the next few days - thank you for your support and kind comments and, above all, for your prayers.
Posted by Mark Langham at 04:55
Posted by Mark Langham at 04:47
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Many of you have sent kind messages about the blog, and wondered whether it might continue. I've been in discussions with the Administrator (who is very keen that the blog continue) and with several other chaplains, and am delighted that Fr Tim Dean will take over the blog ( - he is already attired for business, above!), with other pictorial contributions from Fr Michael Archer (who has just purchased a super new camera).
I've hoped that this weblog has given some vision of the life behind the scenes at the Cathedral, as well as recording some of its great moments, and presenting (and indeed archiving) some of its rich history. Above all, I hope it has helped bring this extraordinary and glorious House of God to a wider audience. It is one of the duties of an Administrator to raise the profile of the Cathedral, and I have been gratified at the number of visitors who have told me that they have become aware of Westminster Cathedral through the blog.
I'll give my final posting tomorrow - but it is good to know it will mark only a stage in the continuing life of the blog!
Posted by Mark Langham at 05:04
Monday, 9 June 2008
Today we had an opportunity to celebrate in Clergy House the priestly ordinations of Fr Kinsley Arulananthem and Fr Edward Houghton, last weekend. Both are of particular joy for the Cathedral; Fr Kingsley has been posted to the Cathedral, and moved into Clergy House this weekend. Fr Edward has been deacon with us for the past year, and will remain with us for the summer, until moving to his new appointment at Chiswick.
Posted by Mark Langham at 06:10
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Friday, 6 June 2008
Amid building works within and without, another set of scaffolding goes up, as the Mosaic Workshop moves in to begin work on St Francis. With its pair of St Anthony, these are the work of Leonard McCombe RA - you can see the proposed design here.
Full sized cartoons are being applied; since the background features dozens of intricately detailed birds, it is something of a jigsaw puzzle. We hope that work will be finished by the autumn.
Posted by Mark Langham at 06:44
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Posted by Mark Langham at 03:09
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Last night, the Cathedral hosted a concert of sacred music, performed by the Cathedral Choir and the celebrated musical ensemble 'The Sixteen'. The concert highlighted settings of the words of Padre Pio, set by the prominent Catholic composers James McMillan and Roxanna Panufnik.
Posted by Mark Langham at 02:52