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Westminster Cathedral

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Pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

thumbnail image The Church often makes up her mind long before she feels the need to make a formal statement. A particular example of this is the teaching that Mary, the Blessed Virgin, was conceived without sin. On Monday we keep the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception, the doctrine itself having been defined as recently as 1854 by Bl Pope Pius IX. However, in the 2nd century our fellow Christians were meditating deeply on Our Lord’s childhood and on his Mother. The so-called Gospel of James reflects aspects of their thought and prayer, and their insights have filtered through into our spirituality and its expression in art.

Anna, who will be Mary’s mother, sings in sadness that she has no child, but: ‘Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to her and said: “Anna, Anna, the Lord has heard your prayer. You shall conceive and bear, and your offspring shall be spoken of in the whole world”. And Anna said: “As the Lord my God lives, if I bear a child, whether male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God, and it shall serve him all the days of its life”.’

The promise is made, but notice how the mystery of the Incarnation of Our Lord remains hidden - Anna has no insight into whether her child will be male or female.

A couple of centuries later St Ambrose of Milan (whose feast we kept Saturday) continues the tradition of meditating on Mary:

‘When did even a look of hers ever upset her parents, when did she ever have a disagreement with relatives? She never tired of the lowly, never scoffed at the weak or avoided the poor, and she entered only those meetings of men where charity and modesty had their place. There was nothing forbidding in her looks, nothing arrogant in her words, nothing unbecoming in her actions. Her deportment was never unseemly, her gait never unrestrained, her voice never impatient; the beauty of her body was but an image of her soul, a picture of its goodness’.

Conceived without sin, Our Lady remains sinless, and St Ambrose’s imaginative description of her should emphasise to us how strange the ordinary ways of the world and of our human interaction must have appeared both to her and, in due course, to her Divine Son. From Monday’s celebration we might take St Ambrose’s words as a goal for ourselves: Never to tire of the lowly, scoff at the weak or avoid the poor, our voices never impatient.

Our Lady, conceived without sin, pray for us sinners.

Fr John Scott

See also: College of Chaplains

Day of Adoration

thumbnail image A Day of Adoration will be held at Holy Apostles in Pimlico on Wednesday, 11 December from 10am to 6pm to pray for our country before the General Election on 12 December. All are welcome.


thumbnail image There will be a Christmas Tea Party for Seniors of the Cathedral Parish in Cathedral Hall on Thursday, 12 December from 2pm to 4pm. Application forms are available at Clergy House Reception and from the Cathedral Information Desk. Forms should be completed and returned to Clergy House Reception, 42 Francis Street, no later than Friday, 6 December so that we have an idea of how many would like to attend.
We are very grateful for the most generous support of the Cathedral Parish St Vincent de Paul Society for this year’s party.


thumbnail image The December edition of Oremus, the Cathedral Magazine, is now out. Please take a FREE copy, available at the back of the Cathedral. Donations towards the production costs are, as always, most welcome.

Christmas Celebration at Westminster Cathedral

thumbnail image Tickets for the Christmas Celebration on Wednesday, 18 and Thursday, 19 December are now on sale in the Gift Shop and on Ticketmaster.

Related links: Click to book tickets via Ticketmaster


thumbnail image Learn to Pray, Learn to Live, following Fr Ignacio Larrañaga’s method, at Sacred Heart Church, Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2EF. All sessions run weekly and take place either on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, from 7pm to 9pm.


thumbnail image The Friends of Westminster Cathedral would like to thank all supporters, Friends, helpers and Chaplains who made the Christmas Fair such a success. To date we have raised just over £9,000 with more money coming in! There will be a sale of goods at the SVP book sale in the Cathedral Hall on Sunday, 8 December from 9.30am. If you were not able to attend the fair please do come along – we have lovely Christmas puddings, plants and gifts. All proceeds will go to Westminster Cathedral.


thumbnail image The Passage is also raising funds through the Big Give from 12 noon Tuesday, 3 December to 12 noon Tuesday, 10 December to support its work helping homeless people this winter. Double your Donation, Double your impact. This is a matched giving scheme for online donations. If someone (it can be a company, an individual or a trust) gave £10 online matched giving of £10 would bring the Gift up to £20 (and for individuals to £22.50 with Gift Aid with higher rate tax relief it may cost the donor less than £10). For more information ring Andrew Hollingsworth 020 7592 1856 or email below.

Related links: E-mail Donation Link


thumbnail image The last SVP book sale of the year will take place in Cathedral Hall on Sunday, 8 December from 9.30am to 1.30pm.

THE BIG GIVE: 3 December - 10 December

thumbnail image The Friends of Westminster Cathedral are raising funds through the Big Give to complete the Tower Viewing Gallery. Online donations may be made through the Big Give from 12 noon Tuesday, 3 December to 12 noon Tuesday, 10 December. Double your Donation; Double your impact! This is a matched giving scheme for online donations only and this year we have secured champion funding, so it is really important that we reach our online target of £12,000. For more information about the campaign, please ring the Friends’ Office on 020 7798 9059. To donate, log on to the Big Give site www.thebiggive.org.uk and type Westminster Cathedral Tower Appeal into the campaigns search box. Thank you for your support.

Related links: Big Give site


thumbnail image The Passage is the Cathedral’s charity working with homeless people. As part of its service most of the people visiting the centre take a shower. The Passage needs to provide a bath/shower towel. The stock of towels is low. Could anyone with old towels no longer in use but still in good condition donate those towels to The Passage. They may be taken to St Vincent’s Centre in Carlisle Place on weekdays 8.30am to 4.30pm or 9am to 12.00 noon at the weekend.

The Passage raises funds through collecting in Underground Stations. If anyone would like to help with this, particularly first thing in the morning, we would be really grateful. Please contact collections@passage.org.uk if you would like to help


thumbnail image Croissants and Christianity: coffee morning with faith and fellowship for those with bumps, babies and toddlers. Join us on Monday morning from 10am to 11.30am in the Hinsley Room off Morpeth Terrace. We have a cup of tea and chat while children play, enjoying an opportunity to pray the rosary together, share common concerns and lend each other spiritual support in an informal and friendly context, often benefiting from input from one of the Cathedral priests. It is free and runs during term time and occasionally during school holidays. The Hinsley Room is on the left as you walk down Morpeth Terrace to Francis St, accessed via an iron gate and up a path alongside the little garden.


thumbnail image The Filipino Club will be holding its traditional Simbang Gabi (Night Mass) celebration after the 5.30pm Mass on Sunday, 15 December. There will be light refreshments and singing of Christmas Carols in the Cathedral Hall. All parishioners and friends are welcome.

Christmas Celebration

thumbnail image Tickets for the Christmas Celebration for Wednesday, 18th and Thursday 19th December are now on sale in the shop and on Ticketmaster. www.ticketmaster.co.uk.


thumbnail image The Cathedral Café will re-open on 14 September from 10am-4pm for drinks, lunches and snacks. Please do pay a visit the next time you are in the Cathedral. Normal opening days Tuesday-Saturday.


thumbnail image Meditations take place in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in St Pauls Bookshop each weekday from 12.30 to 1pm. All are welcome.


thumbnail image The Holy Land
The Guild of the Blessed Sacrament’s Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, led by Fr Andrew Gallagher, will be from 18-25 November 2019, cost £1,445. For further details, contact Pax Travel on 020 7485 3003 or info@paxtravel.co.uk.

Passion Play of Oberammergau, Munich and Salzburg
A pilgrimage to see the world famous passion play that takes place every 10 years, combined with discovering the rich cultural history of its surrounding area, led by Fr Andrew Gallagher and Fr Kevin Moule, 14-20 September 2020. More details available from Clergy House Reception or Pax Travel at info@palxtravel.co.uk, or 020 7485 3003.

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.