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Chaplain’s Message: The Narrow Gate

thumbnail image There was a tradition among Jewish scholars to lock the classroom door once the lesson had started. Students who were late to class were barred from attending any lessons for a whole week, as a punishment and deterrent, so that they would learn the importance of being on time for lessons.

Jesus makes it clear in His teachings that our choices, which may be good or bad ones, have consequences that can lead us to life or death and heaven or hell. As Jesus travelled to Jerusalem, He told His disciples to try their best to enter by the narrow gate (or door, in some biblical translations).

The main gate to a castle is generally wide and easy to enter. It is used by people in authority, the powerful, the rich, those well-connected and the self-important. They feel they have a right to enter through the main gate because of their position in society. But all castles have a narrow side gate too. In order to enter through the narrow gate you must humble yourself, shun worldly celebrity or esteem and rid yourself of any excess ‘baggage’ that might encumber your entrance through this narrow door. Jesus says the only way we can enter the Kingdom of God is through this narrow gate or door.

That is why Jesus said, “Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom.” In humility, like a child, a Christian knows that his or her Salvation is not something he or she merits but is a gift from God. To have total trust in God, as a child trusts his parent, can be difficult and tests us at times. Entering through the narrow gate means following Christ, wherever He leads, not just sometimes, or part-way, but completely. It is the total surrender and sacrificing of one’s life to Him.

With God’s help we will enter through the narrow gate; all we need to do is learn about the lives of the saints to find inspiration. Their stories of struggle and perseverance can guide and motivate us to journey towards the narrow gate. This gate is not easy to enter and those who find it are few; but it is the narrow gate that leads to eternal life.

Fr Michael Donaghy
Cathedral Chaplain

See also: College of Chaplains

Sunday Tea and Coffee in Cathedral Hall

thumbnail image There will be tea and coffee available after the 10.30 Mass today (Sunday 7th August) as usual. However this will be the last time during August as refurbishment work is taking place in Cathedral Hall. Tea and coffee will resume as usual on Sunday, 4 September.

See also: Hire Cathedral Hall

First Holy Communion Forms

thumbnail image Application forms for the parish First Holy Communion programme will be available from the back of the Cathedral this weekend and from Monday, Clergy House Reception. Children entering year 3 in September who are regular Cathedral parishioners are welcome to enrol. The deadline for forms is Monday 19th September.

Sacred Heart Church, Horseferry Road, SW1

thumbnail image The lunchtime Mass will continue every Thursday from 7 April. All are welcome especially those who may be working close by. The church will be open from 12.00pm - 1.30pm. There is also a Mass on Sundays at 11.00am.

STATEMENT: Westminster Cathedral and Homelessness

thumbnail image Westminster Cathedral has been made aware of a photograph circulating on social media of a ledge near the Cathedral doors, entitled ‘Westminster Cathedral – now with anti-homeless spikes.’ It saddens us that selective photography and inaccurate text have been combined to give the misleading impression that the Cathedral is hostile to people in difficult circumstances.

The spikes in question appear to be an architectural feature dating back to the completion of the building work in 1903. They were not recently installed as so-called anti-homeless spikes.

Westminster Cathedral actively addresses the needs of those without permanent accommodation in a number of ways. For example, the Cathedral supports two local charities, The Passage and the Cardinal Hume Centre, that offer a comprehensive range of support to those who may find themselves homeless: this support is expressed both financially and practically by clergy and worshippers alike. The Cathedral participates in a homeless shelter: food and shelter is offered in the Cathedral Hall each week during the winter months when it is most necessary. And, of course, the Cathedral is open all day every day without charge: a warm and safe space with seating in central London available to anyone at all.

Shrine of St Augustine, Ramsgate

thumbnail image The Guild of the Blessed Sacrament is organising a pilgrimage to the above Shrine on Saturday 3 September. Coach departs Westminster Cathedral, Ambrosden Avenue at 7.45am, return by 7pm. Fare £18 per person. To book a place please ring Theresa on 07553 846685 or call at Clergy House Reception with your name, telephone number and the exact amount in an envelope. Please bring a packed lunch. All are welcome.

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.

Interested in Becoming a Catholic?

thumbnail image Each year, the Cathedral runs a course from September to May for adults who have not been baptised and would like to be, as well as for Christians of other denominations who would like to be received into the Roman Catholic Church, and Catholics who have not been confirmed. The course is known as the RCIA (which stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). More information is available from juliehanssen@rcdow.org.uk or Clergy House Reception on 020 7798 9055. Closing date: 31 August 2016.

Related links: Email Julie Hanssen (RCIA)

CATECHISM – WHAT WE BELIEVE What does it mean to say that Jesus is “the only-begotten Son of God”?

thumbnail image Here begins a series of Catechesis questions and answers taken from the YouCat (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church).

When Jesus calls himself “God’s only-begotten Son” (or “only Son”) others bear witness to this, the expression means that of all men, only Jesus is more than a man. In many passages of the New Testament (Jn 1:14, 18; 1 Jn 4:9; Heb 1:2, and so on) Jesus is called “Son”. At his baptism and his Transfiguration, the voice from heaven calls Jesus “my beloved Son”. Jesus discloses to his disciples his unique relationship to his heavenly Father: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Mt 11:27). The fact that Jesus Christ really is God’s Son comes to light at the Resurrection.

See also: The Sacramental Life


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 antonia4161@gmail.com.

Next Grand Organ Festival recital: Wednesday 31st August, 7.30pm - Juan de la Rubia

thumbnail image The next Grand Organ Festival concert takes place on Wednesday 31st August at 7.30pm. Juan de la Rubia of Sagrada Familia, Barcelona will be our recitalist this month, and he is playing the following programme:

Bach Toccata & Fugue in E BWV 566
Bach Christ, unser Herr, zum Johann kam BWV684
Bach Valet will ich dir geben BWV 736
Bach Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott BWV 721
Franck Choral No.2 in B Minor
Vierne Claire de lune from 24 Pièces de Fantaisie
Duruflé Choral varié sur le thème du Veni Creator Op 4
Wagner Entry of the Gods into Valhalla from Das Rheingold, tr. Lemare

Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions) and are available on the door on the night. The recital will last around 75 minutes, and there is no interval.

See also: The Organs

Centenary Year of the Diocese of Cardiff

thumbnail image The Oblates of Westminster Cathedral are going on a day pilgrimage to St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff on Saturday, 27 August. The coach departs from the Cathedral Piazza, Ambrosden Avenue, promptly at 6.30am. Cost £40. Please bring a packed lunch. To book a place please contact Lolita on 07424 313384 or Laura Ford on 07479 568368.

See also: Parish Groups

Guild of St Anthony Pilgrimage to Quarr Abbey

thumbnail image The Cathedral Guild of St Anthony is arranging a pilgrimage day out to Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight on Saturday, 10 September with Fr Brian O’Mahony. The coach departs at 7am sharp from Victoria Street, returning by 7.30pm. Cost is £25.00 per person, which includes the ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne. Please bring a packed-lunch. All are welcome. To book please ring Theresa on 07553 846685 or Mellie on 07889 496740.

See also: Parish Groups

Way of Mercy: Free downloads

thumbnail image Following the opening of the Way of Mercy in Westminster Cathedral, we are happy to announce that the leaflets entitled Invitation, Simple Guide, Guide to Confession, and Salve Regina are all now available as free pdf downloads (below) in preparation for visits and pilgrimages.

These materials may be used free of charge by individuals, groups, parishes and schools.

Related links: Way of Mercy Invite Way of Mercy Simple Guide Way of Mercy Confession Salve Regina


thumbnail image Regular donations to the Cathedral can be made by standing order or by using a set of numbered offertory envelopes and, if you pay sufficient Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax, you can sign a Gift Aid declaration enabling us to reclaim the tax paid on the amount of your donations at no extra cost to yourself. If you are interested, please call David Marles on 020 7798 9372 or email davidmarles@rcdow.org.uk.

Note: If you are already a Gift Aid donor, please always use your numbered envelopes so that we know that the donation has come from you. Spare envelopes are available at the back of the Cathedral.


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


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.