Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Recycling the flowers

The story of the Flower Festival draws to a close today as the displays are dismantled and the flowers removed. We're recycling the flowers - so to speak - in a few ways: some have been retained to decorate the Cathedral; some have been donated to other places; some are available on the lawn outside the Cathedral - these may be taken by anyone willing to make a donation for them.

All in all it has been a wonderful, memorable and successful event, with many positive comments from the large number of visitors. A word of thanks is due to all who helped design and arrange the displays, and to the army of parishioners who acted as stewards and welcomers or helped provide refreshments for the people who came. Although we haven't been able to show every display on the blog, we have retained a large number of photographs which we plan to publish in the future.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Flower Festival Part 4

Peering over some flowers in the organ loft, we see the man in whose honour this festival is taking place: St Peter, Prince of the Apostles and patron of our Cathedral. The organ loft displays have been sponsored in memory of Dr J. H. Reginald Dixon, the former Cathedral organist whom we featured back in May. The displays were designed and arranged by members of the Becconsall Flower Club: Anne White, Georgie Dagnall, Joan Twigger, Joan Foreshaw and Cath Poole.

The same team of ladies have also produced the arrangements beneath the organ gallery, and have made the area very attractive.

In some places the flowers appear to be climbing the walls... four floral banners hang from the nave piers; these are the work of Tracey Clode, Vicky Nevitt, Lorraine Stewart and Tanya Strange.

Flowers can be found in the most unlikely places, such as here, high up in the church.

Perhaps even less likely are these baskets of fruit, part of the display in the Whiteside Chantry. Did you spot them?

Even on the way out of the Cathedral there are displays to be seen: nowhere is left untouched! The festival remains open until 7:30pm.

Flower Festival Part 3

Today's your last chance to come and see the Flower Festival for yourself. Although we've put plenty of pictures on the blog there is so much more to see, so do call in if you get chance. This is the first sight that will greet you; it's part of a wonderful display in the narthex, the work of Fleetwood Flower Club.

Also in the narthex (and by the same team) is this splendid boat - a fine piece of work indeed!

The sanctuary looks quite magnificent, with some displays standing eight feet above the floor. It is the work of the Barrow Flower Club. Yesterday Bishop Campbell celebrated the 10:30am Mass, and spoke of how magnificent the displays were. In his homily he spoke of St Peter's character and also about the closure of the year of St Paul; the full text can be found here.

In the small chapel of St Charles Borromeo we see some of the hats of ecclesiastical office: the papal tiara (top of picture), a bishop's mitre (centre) and cardinal's red hat. The flower arrangements were produced by South Westmorland Flower Club and have been sponsored in honour of St Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline sisters. Our thanks are also due to Wendy Moore, Fr Peter Groody and Fr Stewart Keeley for their help with this display.

The Blessed Sacrament chapel has been inspired by Peter's threefold profession of love for Christ, made after the Lord had risen from the dead. This display was designed and arranged by the Bispham Flower Club, the North of Preston Flower Club and Lyn Constable and her students.

The same display is here seen from another angle; on the right of the picture we see some wool, reminding us of Jesus' words to Peter: "feed my lambs, feed my sheep".

Elsewhere in the Cathedral there are pedestals and other stand-alone arrangements; there is much to see! The festival is open today from 10am until 7:30pm (viewing possible at all times except during Mass at 12:15pm - until approx. 1pm) and refreshments are available in the Social Centre throughout. Tomorrow from 10:30am flowers will be available in exchange for a small donation - weather permitting, on the lawn outside Cathedral House. Call back to the blog later today for another set of pictures.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

St Peter, Prince of the Apostles

Happy Feast Day! Today, for the 150th time, the Cathedral Church of St Peter in Lancaster keeps its patronal feast. To celebrate, the blog gives a few pictures of St Peter's statue by the Cathedral entrance. For the Flower Festival it has been decorated by Diane and Cathie Faunch.

Our patron is also wearing a gold cope today; the custom of dressing St Peter's statue on his feast is observed in many places, including at the Vatican and at Westminster Cathedral (a picture can be seen here; we haven't yet got the papal tiara, but next year...) This display, like many, has been sponsored; the inscription given is an appropriate one: "We pray for an increase in the number of vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life."

St Peter shares his feast with another great Apostle, St Paul; it is worth noting that the year of St Paul ends today. Bishop Campbell will celebrate the Cathedral's main Sunday Mass at 10:30am as we mark our patronal feast in this anniversary year. If you're not a parishioner but are local enough, you might like to join us for sung Vespers this afternoon at 4:40pm.

St Peter in Prison

During the Flower Festival the Baptistery has been turned into the prison which held St Peter when he was arrested for preaching the Gospel. Appropriately enough the events surrounding this imprisonment are the subject of today's first reading at Mass (Acts of the Apostles 12:1-11).

The display, which has been produced by the Lunesdale Flower Club, gives a wonderful impression of the prison. The impression of barbed wire, prison bars and chains is given.

Even the soldiers are present by the baptistery gates, and a ball and chain can be seen.

Just outside the baptistery, this scene represents Peter's escape, which concludes the story of his imprisonment. This display was arranged by Catherine Curran of Flowerstop (Lancaster), who also provided a great deal of help with our preparations for the festival. It is wonderful that the arrangers have used their artistic talents to represent the words of Scripture.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Flower Festival Part 2

Here come a few more pictures of the Flower Festival, which began yesterday and continues until Monday evening.

There has been a steady stream of people looking around throughout the day, and it seems that everyone is impressed with the wonderful displays.

From up in the organ loft (not open to the public!) we managed to get a different perspective.

The Sacred Heart altar near the sacristy door has been decorated by Stanwix Floral Art Society, and represents St Peter in the empty tomb of the risen Lord. The screen around the altar, which was removed in the 1970s, is represented in the display, giving some impression of how the space would have looked as a separate chapel.

Even high up there are displays for people to enjoy. We peeped through this arrangement down into the Cathedral below.

Lots of votive candles have also been lit!

In the Social Centre, a dedicated team are providing refreshments (including some light meals) to visitors. The Cathedral Primary School and members of our Cafe Club youth group have made provided the decoration here, with a few statues of our patron included as part of the display. It's difficult to capture on camera just how beautiful the Cathedral looks, but we'll keep trying - for the benefit of those who can't visit - and bring you some more pictures over the next couple of days.

Flower Festival Part 1

Yesterday morning the Flower Festival opened, with a steady stream of people coming through the doors all day. Many of the visitors have commented how amazed they are at what they see: it really is spectacular.

At first sight you'd struggle to believe this is indoors; in fact, it is part of the Whiteside Chantry in the Cathedral. This side chapel is completely filled with flowers and it looks wonderful. The display was designed and arranged by Melissa Bowring and Evelyn Shaw.

The Ambo is very colourfully decorated, and is the work of the Cathedral's own flower arrangers.

The festival is inspired by the life of St Peter, the patron of the Cathedral, whose feast is celebrated tomorrow. Many of the displays represent specific moments in his life. This arrangement, for example, represents the call of St Peter by the Sea of Galilee. It is the work of Garstang St Thomas Flower Club.

Just around the corner in the north transept is a scene depicting Peter's denial of Christ. The fire can be seen nearest the camera; behind, St Peter is seated (his sandals can be seen on the floor) with a cockerel by his feet. This display has been produced by Alison Cridland and Evelyn Shaw.

It was good to see so many people enjoying the flowers yesterday; the weather seems fairly good again today, which will hopefully encourage a few more visitors! We will show as much as we can on the blog, but the only way to properly experience the festival is to come and see - and smell - for yourself. Today you can come anytime between 10am and 7:30pm (apart from during Mass at 12:15pm and 6:30pm). There is no charge for entry; programmes cost £5. It's well worth it.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Staging Days

Yesterday and today the Cathedral has been awash with flower arrangers, who have come from near and far to prepare for the Flower Festival which begins tomorrow. It's a hive of activity, and the church is really beginning to look quite magnificent.

Boxes full of flowers have been appearing since Tuesday afternoon, and yesterday floral artists were on site from 7am until nearly 11pm. A long day!

All of the side chapels, windowsills, corners - in short, every space - is being decorated. A number of different styles and a great deal of imagination are on display.

The Cathedral's own flower ladies are working in the Lady Chapel, preparing a scene representing the Transfiguration.

Everywhere you look there are flowers, people and a fair number of ladders!

Some are having to climb high to hang displays which have been prepared at ground level...

... while others are working on ladders to prepare their displays. This display is eight feet above the ground! Over the coming days there will be plenty of pictures on the blog, so do call back for a look. If you can get to Lancaster, however, there's only one way to see this great event: come to the Cathedral!

The Flower Festival opens tomorrow and can be visited anytime between 10am and 7:30pm, except during Mass and other services - click here to check the times. There is no charge for entry; the festival programme costs £5. There will also be a concert featuring a string quartet from the Lancashire Sinfonietta (tickets £10, concessions £8, including festival programme) at 8pm tomorrow (Friday) evening - doors open for this at 7:30pm.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

You're Welcome

For the Cathedral a change of Bishop brings many other changes in its wake. Yesterday the new 'welcome' sign appeared in the church for the first time. For the last few years visitors have been greeted by a picture of and message from Bishop O'Donoghue. Now it is Bishop Campbell who 'greets' visitors as they enter the Cathedral. With the Flower Festival just two days away (more about that very soon) and many visitors expected, the timing couldn't be much better.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A bishop's life in retirement

For Bishop O'Donoghue, there won't be too much time to sit outside reading the newspaper, even in retirement. Yesterday the diocesan website reported that he has been appointed as assistant priest in the parish of Bantry, West Cork. Bishop Patrick left Lancaster on 29th May, and since then has been staying with family. He will take up his new post on 3rd July. The appointment was made by Most Rev. John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross, after Bishop O'Donoghue asked that he would find a parish where he could continue his pastoral ministry following his retirement from Lancaster. The report on the diocesan website can be found here.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Saints John Fisher and Thomas More

Today the Church keeps the feast of two English martyrs: Saint John Fisher (who was the Cardinal Bishop of Rochester) and Saint Thomas More (Chancellor of England). The two were beheaded on the orders of King Henry VIII in 1535 because they had disputed his claim to authority over the English Church and his marriage to Anne Boleyn. They were canonised in 1935 and are pictured here in the Cathedral's English Martyrs Window.

The window is one of three installed in March and April 1888 (the others being the 'Te Deum' West Window and the Rose Window). A pamphlet describing the windows and giving some background was published soon after the installation. A new version containing the original text but with some up-to-date footnotes and colour images has been prepared, and will be available from the start of the Flower Festival on Friday. It's an interesting record of one aspect of the Cathedral's history, and - given that the windows remain unaltered 121 years later - is just as relevant today.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

First Communions 2009

This morning thirteen children from our parish received Holy Communion for the first time. The day is the end of a long period of preparation; more importantly it is also the beginning of a new phase of their life of faith, a time in which they can be united with the Lord in this sacrament.

Just before the final blessing the children were invited to come forward; the moment also offered the opportunity to thank their families and the parish catechists for all their work and support. During the Mass they had remained with their families throughout, with the intention that the congregation's focus might remain on the liturgy.

We congratulate the children on this special day, with the hope that it will be the beginning of a much deeper relationship with God. Please continue to remember them in your prayers.