Thursday, 30 July 2009

Work on the Cathedral Cloister Garden

Looking through the windows into the Cathedral cloister garden, it is now obvious that a major transformation is underway. Over the last few weeks Eric and John, who look after the Cathedral's grounds, have been working to prepare the ground for the garden.

The area presents many obstacles, but swift visible progress is now being made thanks to a lot of hard work. Once the ground is paved and decorated the rest of the work should be fairly simple. The garden will be open in time for the visit; the plan now is to have a procession to the garden and sing a litany of St Thérèse at the end of Vespers on Sunday 27th September, the day before the relics arrive at the Cathedral. If you can get to Lancaster on that day, please do come along; Vespers starts at 4:40pm.

From above, the cross-shape of the paving stones is clearly visible. It's starting to look as it was designed - if you can't remember the plan, take a look at an earlier post, here.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Novena: prayer for the sick

Today the Diocesan Novena to St Thérèse begins; it will run for nine weeks in preparation for her visit. Each week there is an intention for prayer; a short paragraph relating the intention to Thérèse's life is given, as is an intercession. People are also encouraged to use the prayer for the visit to Lancaster over these weeks. The image here is from the church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in St Annes.

Intention for this week: Prayer for the Sick
Recently the annual Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes took place. The shrine has always been a place of prayer for the sick, and St Thérèse’s mother, Blessed Zélie Martin, made a pilgrimage there when she was diagnosed with cancer. Thérèse herself was just 24 when she died. For the last 18 months of her short life she suffered great illness, and on 30th July 1897 (112 years ago this week) she received the anointing of the sick. Today’s readings at Mass remind us that God provides for His people in their need; this week we pray that He will provide the sick with healing and with a constant sense of His presence.

Let us pray for all who suffer with illness – that the example and prayers of St Thérèse will help them to unite their suffering with the Lord’s cross.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Foreign Language Resources

St Thérèse has travelled the world over the last few years and her writings have been translated into many languages. When her relics come to England and Wales later this year the visit is sure to attract many people whose first language is not English. The Diocese of Leeds has therefore produced a number of resources in Polish, Spanish and Tagalog. These resources can be downloaded on the special St Thérèse website set up by Leed's Vicariate for Evangelisation: you can find the parish resources page, which includes links to texts in other languages, here.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

St Thérèse: an overview

Around the world there are countless shrines to St Thérèse. It is no surprise that a huge number of churches in Normandy - where Thérèse lived most of her life - have statues and images of her. These candles, bearing the image of St Thérèse, were photographed at Rouen Cathedral. Alongside the devotion there is a need to learn more about Thérèse's life and message, so a number of resources for catechesis and prayer have been published over recent months. From today there is an overview of St Thérèse's life and contribution to the Church on this website. It includes the text of Divini Amoris Scientia, the document in which Pope John Paul II declared St Thérèse to be a Doctor of the Church. You can find this new resource in pdf format here.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

St Thérèse: the Diocesan Novena

Walk into any church in the Lancaster Diocese and you have a good chance of finding an image or statue of St Thérèse. This one, for example, is at St Joseph's Church in Wesham. From 26 July it is hoped that St Thérèse will become an even more prominent figure in the Diocese, as we ask her intercession duing a nine-week novena leading up to the visit. Each week there is an intention for prayer; a paragraph relating the intention to St Thérèse's life and message is given (this may be used on parish newsletters or in preaching) and an intercession for use at Mass is included. It is hoped that the novena will also be used at weekday Masses; this could be done by offering a daily prayer for the week's intention and also by using the prayer for the visit (see here) at the end of Mass. Details of the novena will be arriving through parish letterboxes before the weekend; the texts are now also posted online - in pdf format (here) and as a Microsoft Word document (here).

Friday, 10 July 2009

How to beat the crowds

These photographs of the relics of St Thérèse in the Philippines give some idea of her capacity to draw the crowds. The extent of interest in the visit to Lancaster is just becoming apparent, and we can expect it to be very busy indeed. Earlier today a new page launched on the Thérèse section of the Cathedral website, designed to help group leaders choose a time for a visit. The visit has been split into short (mostly 3/4 hour) periods and each is marked in green (quiet), yellow (fairly busy) or red (very busy - avoid!). The page will be continually updated as the situation develops, but currently we are recommending against organising any further groups for the period of Tuesday (29th September) lunchtime. The arrival of the relics (Monday 28th at 4pm), the departure (Wednesday 30th at 11am) and the Monday and Tuesday evenings all have enough space for more groups. If you are planning to bring a group please contact us to discuss the best time. You can find the new webpage here.

Monday, 6 July 2009

An update on group visits

It's three weeks since we last gave an update on visiting groups, and much has happened since. There has been an excellent response to our school visits programme, and enquiries are still coming in. Schools are invited to contact us if they would like to bring a group during the visit. A number of parishes have been in touch about the possibility of bringing a coach. The Thornton/Fleetwood deanery is now organising transport for anyone in the area - please sign up in your local parish if you would like to come with the deanery group. Nearly every part of the Diocese has now begun arranging coaches. If you're unsure what is going on in your area, ask your priest or click here for links to the area pages.