Friday, 18 July 2008

Steps in the right direction

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.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A Franciscan cake

Cardinal Cormac has such an unrelenting schedule that he missed the start of our farewell lunch for Fr Michael Seed SA. The Cardinal made a little speech thanking Michael for all his years at the Cathedral and his ecumenical work for the Church. A fine cake appeared, decorated by Sister Mericia of Clergy House with the Franciscan 'Tao'. We watched in thoughtful silence as the good friar made the first incision. It was not - although it could have been - a Seed Cake.

Laughter in the Base Court

L to R: (back) Mr. Oliver Brett, (organ scholar), Sister Bridget, Mr. Martin Hambulo (Intern) Canon Christopher Tuckwell (Administrator), Mgr Mark Langham (outgoing Administrator) perhaps the most outgoing in recent memory, Fr Denis Sarsfield. Front: Fr Michael Archer, Fr Michael Seed (also outgoing), Fr Michael Durand, Fr Michael Marchlewski SJ., USA, (on his customary summer 'supply' at Clergy House), Sister Clement (Archbishop's House), Bp George Stack, Bishop of Gemellae in Numidia, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and himself a former Administrator.
To the trained eye, Sunday lunch is clearly in the offing. There may even be one or two contemplating a second sherry. My steady hand on the camera suggests that I have yet to have my first.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Cardinal Manning's birthday

Tuesday is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cardinal Manning, the second archbishop of Westminster. After each Mass we will be going to his tomb in the crypt to say a prayer.

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.

Francis Thompson; To The Dead Cardinal of Westminster

Friday, 11 July 2008

Canon on Grade I

I thought that was Mr Wilson - but it seems the Administrator himself has taken to the keys. Let's hope it was 'after hours'. Ahem!

Monday, 7 July 2008

New organ?

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.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Moving Saint John

This is the second year that we have moved the feretory containing the body of St John Southworth into the nave for his Feast Day on 27 June.

Canon Christopher supervised the operation this year with the Welsh Guards.

The casket is extremely heavy so all these men were really needed.

The Cathedral's own martyr-saint, safely returned to the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs.

Steel Yourself

It's going to get worse before it gets better. BUT - it has a certain beauty of its own.