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CHAPLAIN'S MESSAGE: In the Home of Our Lady

thumbnail image In the 11th Century a woman in Norfolk had an extraordinary dream in which she was asked to reconstruct the house of the Holy Family of Nazareth in England. In the dream Richeldis de Faverches was shown the dimensions of the house by Our Lady and told to have it built nearby in the village of Walsingham. What then became the Shrine of the Holy House in Walsingham was one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the Middle-ages. It was visited by monarchs and prelates as well as crowds of the faithful and became affectionately known as ‘England’s Nazareth’. No longer did pilgrims have to make the long and perilous journey to the Holy Land to visit this holiest of places. In time, England was consecrated to Our Lady and became known as the Dowry of Mary and her special property.

This weekend sees the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham on 24th September and a special collection in all our parishes to help with the restoration of the shrine. For just over 100 years a Catholic presence has been re-established there after an absence of several centuries following the suppression of Catholicism. The growing popularity of the shrine is very encouraging because it helps us to rediscover the special place England has in the heart of Our Lady. This can only be fruitful for the Church here because wherever Our Lady is honoured in the Catholic tradition there is faith, prayer, unity and vocations. The Second Vatican Council taught that Mary, Mother of Our Lord, is ‘a mother to us all in the order of grace’. As a family, the Catholic Church has always understood that the presence of Mary as our mother helps us immensely.

The shrine of Walsingham teaches us that when we visit the home of Our Lady then she shares with us her most valued possessions. Mary and Joseph were poor, just like Lazarus in today’s gospel, but they were blessed even more than Lazarus because they were chosen to care for Jesus and present him to the world. So when we enter into the home of Mary we meet her Son as she shares with us the divine child whom she received from God. That is why Mary has always been honoured and been asked for help in the Catholic Church. Walsingham embodies this beautiful truth and it is a very hopeful sign in our days that the shrine now continues to grow with the help of the faithful. Even if not physically in Walsingham however, we can still commend ourselves to Mary’s Immaculate Heart and find there a ‘home’ for ourselves and a place in which we discover the infinite love and mercy of Jesus her Son.
Our Lady of Walsingham – pray for us

Fr Martin Plunkett
Cathedral Chaplain

See also: College of Chaplains

CATECHISM – WHAT WE BELIEVE What does the “Immaculate Conception of Mary” mean?

thumbnail image Questions and answers taken from YouCat (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church).

The Church believes that “the most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin” (Dogma of 1854) Belief in the Immaculate Conception has existed since the beginning of the Church. The expression is misunderstood today. It is saying that God preserved Mary from original sin from the very beginning. It says nothing about the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. By no means is it a devaluation of sexuality in Christianity, as though a husband and wife would be “stained” if they conceived a child.

See also: The Sacramental Life

LATEST FRIENDS’ EVENTS

thumbnail image Tuesday, 18 October: Talk by the renowned historian and author Alison Weir on ‘Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen’. Ms Weir will be signing books after the event. Westminster Cathedral Hall. Doors open at 6.30pm, talk at 7pm. Refreshments to follow. Tickets £10.

Tuesday, 15 November: Quiz and fish and chip supper. Westminster Cathedral Hall. Doors open at 6.30pm, quiz at 6.45pm. Tickets £15.

Wednesday, 30 November: Westminster Cathedral Friends and The Passage Ceilidh. Westminster Cathedral Hall. Doors open at 6.30pm. Tickets £25.

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

See also: Friends News

Related links: Email The Friends

Forthcoming Friends’ Events

thumbnail image Tuesday, 18 October: Prize-winning author and historian Alison Weir comes to Westminster Cathedral Hall to give a talk on Queen Katherine of Aragon. Doors at 6.30pm. Talk at 7.00pm with drinks and book signing to follow. Tickets £10.

Tuesday, 15 November: Quiz and fish and chip supper. Westminster Cathedral Hall. Doors open at 6.30pm, quiz at 6.45pm. Tickets £15.

Wednesday, 30 November: Westminster Cathedral Friends and The Passage Ceilidh. Westminster Cathedral Hall. Doors open at 6.30pm. Tickets £25.

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

PARISH MEETING

thumbnail image There will be a parish meeting in the Cathedral Hall on Tuesday, 4 October at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

See also: Cathedral Lay Staff

RETIREMENT OF FR JOHN ABLEWHITE

thumbnail image There will be a farewell party in the Cathedral Hall on Saturday, 8 October after the 6pm Mass to say farewell to Fr John Ablewhite, who retired during the summer. Fr John will celebrate the 6pm Mass that evening. Please show your appreciation for Fr John by making the party the usual great parish event. Please bring a dish to share (or a bottle).

See also: Hire Cathedral Hall

Torchlit Procession

thumbnail image The Torchlit Procession in honour of Our Lady of Willesden takes place Sunday, 2 October from 7pm at the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden. Cardinal Vincent will lead the procession at the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady. All are warmly invited to join the procession in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Blessed Sacrament Procession

thumbnail image The Blessed Sacrament Procession from Westminster Cathedral to St George’s Cathedral, Southwark will take place on Saturday, 22 October departing from Westminster Cathedral at 1.30 p.m. All are welcome.

See also: Blessed Sacrament Chapel

THE DIVINE MERCY DAY OF PRAYER

thumbnail image This will take place in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, 1 October from 9.30am to 4.30pm. It will have the special theme of praying for the Peace of the Nation’ with keynote speakers: Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri in North Eastern Nigeria who will speak on The Power of the Rosary in combatting evil in our times and Mgr John Armitage, Rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham who will speak on Our Lady of Walsingham's Mission for the Re-Evangelisation and Conversion of our Peoples. All are welcome. Contact Antonia Moffat for fuller programme details.

Related links: Email Antonia Moffat

CATHEDRAL PILGRIMAGE

thumbnail image The Byzantine Heritage in Sicily Led by Canon Tuckwell from 18 to 24 October 2016, cost £988. Please contact Pax Travel on 020 7485 3003 or email info@paxtravel.co.uk for further information on either of these pilgrimages.

Related links: Email Pax Travel

AMERICAN FRIENDS

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

EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

thumbnail image This takes place in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel every Monday to Friday following the 1.05pm Mass until 4.45pm.