Friday, July 31

Ordinations II

The Cathedral has hosted many ordinations over the years: five bishops and many priests have been ordained here. Since the restoration of the permanent diaconate there have also been a number of deacons ordained in the Cathedral, and today we see some pictures of one such ordination: that of Rev. Paul Marley, who sent in these images. As can be seen above, Paul was ordained by Bishop John Brewer; the date was 20th July 1991.

These photographs reveal a little about the Cathedral's liturgical arrangement at the time. A carpet covers the sanctuary and a wooden lectern is in use. The choir stalls (which appear to have flourescent lights built in; these are now gone) are being used for concelebrants. Four years later the Cathedral was reordered and much of these things were changed.

A Lancaster deacon, Rev. Paul Wawszczyk, is seen assisting; we might also note the work of the Diocesan MC at that time, Canon Tom Dakin, who is seen stood on the right of the Bishop.

Thursday, July 30

Ordinations I

On 30th May 1953, Bishop Flynn poses for a photograph with his three newly-ordained priests: on the left, Fr (later Mgr) James Hook; to the right of the Bishop, Fr James Glenholme (later Parish Priest at St Thomas More's, Lancaster; sadly he died in November 1988 and is buried in the Cathedral cemetery) and on the far right, Fr Gerard Dakin, who kindly supplied us with this photograph.

Tuesday, July 28

A blessing for the UCM

One of the groups which has long been part of Catholic life, the Union of Catholic Mothers clearly once had an active group at the Cathedral. This Papal Blessing, dated 28th July 1967, commemorates the twenty-first anniversary of their foundation within the Cathedral parish.

Sunday, July 26

1600: Blessed Robbert Nutter and Blessed Edward Thwing

The Martyrs' Plaque in the Cathedral carries the names of two priests who were executed because of their priesthood in Lancaster on this day in 1600: Blessed Robert Nutter and Blessed Edward Thwing.

Blessed Robert Nutter
Canon Billington writes, "[Robert Nutter], a Burnley man, was brother of Ven. John Nutter, who suffered [martyrdom] at Tyburn in 1584, and had himself been prisoner in the Tower about that time. Being sent into banishment, he returned and was then imprisoned at Wisbech from 1587 to 1600. Escaping, he went to Lancashire, where he was captured a tird time, sent to the assizes, and executed. 'He was a man of strong body but of a stronger soul, who rather despised than conquered death; and went before his companion to the gallows with as much cheerfulness and joy as if he had been going to a feast, to the astonishment of the spectators.' "

Blessed Edward Thwing
"Thwing was of a Yorkshire family, a man of admirable meekness and patience, suffering long with a painful infirmity. He was sent to the English mission in 1597, and laboured diligently till his arrest in 1600. He was condemned, and suffered with great constancy." Canon Billington then goes on to quote two letters written by Edward Thwing to Dr. Worthington, the president of the seminary at Douai; the letters were earlier published by historian Bishop Challoner. This short extract is very revealing: "This day the judges come to Lancaster, where I am in expectation of a happy death, if it so please God Almighty... I shall, if God makes me worthy, conclude an unhappy life with a most happy death... From Lancaster castle, the 21st day of July this holy year 1600."

Saturday, July 25

1949: Bishop Thomas Bernard Pearson

It's sixty years to the day since the consecration of Bishop Thomas Bernard Pearson, to date the only auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Lancaster. Born in Preston in January 1907, he was educated at Upholland and then at the Venerable English College in Rome. He was ordained as a priest of the Lancaster Diocese in 1933; he then worked at St Cuthbert's Blackpool before being raised to the episcopate. He was consecrated by Archbishop William Godfrey, who at that stage was working in the nunciature in Poland (later he went on to be Archbishop of Liverpool, then Westminster; he was made a cardinal in 1958). The co-consecrators were Lancaster's own Bishop Flynn and Bishop Joseph Halsall, an auxiliary bishop of Liverpool. As each bishop must be bishop of somewhere, auxiliary bishops are always given a Titular See (usually a defunct diocese), and Bishop Pearson was made Bishop of Sinda. Among the Bishop's many engagements and duties over the years, one in particular had an unexpected legacy: on 16th September 1971 he ordained a young Augustinian to the priesthood. Thirty-seven years later this man, Fr Michael Campbell, was ordained to the episcopate and in 2009 went on to become the sixth Bishop of Lancaster.

Friday, July 24

1939: Bishop Thomas Edward Flynn

Today we introduce the unmistakable figure of Lancaster's second Bishop, Thomas Edward Flynn. The story goes that as a child he was asked if he wanted to be a priest. "No, Father, " he replied, "I want to be a bishop." Seventy years ago today he got his wish.

Born in Portsmouth in 1880 and ordained priest in 1908, he came to the Diocese just a few months ahead of the Second World War. The notice book for the time records that the Bishop-elect presented his papers to the Chapter and took possession of the See of Lancaster on 12th July; on 16th July an announcement about the consecration was made at Mass: "It is now definite that the Bishop-elect will be consecrated in the Cathedral on Monday July 24th at 11am by Archbishop Godfrey, the Apostolic Delegate. This is a Diocesan Function, and naturally people from all parts of the Diocese will wish to come - thus you must not expect to have preference of places." The following week it was announced that the Archbishop of Liverpool, Richard Downey, would preach. The co-consecrators were Bishop Edward Myers (an auxiliary from Westminster) and Bishop Joseph McCormack of Hexham and Newcastle.

Bishop Flynn's twenty-two years in Lancaster were not uneventful - either for the Diocese or the Cathedral - and we shall be seeing much more of him later in the year. In the meantime, here is a portrait which was recently discovered in Cathedral House.

Wednesday, July 22

Lourdes Pilgrimage II

Another picture of the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage - this time, from June 1990. Bishop Foley - by then several years into retirement - and Bishop Brewer lead the line of pilgrims.

Monday, July 20

Pope Leo XIII

On the walls of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel there are paintings of Our Lady (on the south side) and St Peter (on the north side) enthroned in glory and surrounded by saints and angels. You would have to be fairly alert to spot this image among them, situated as it is on the south side close to the edge of the painting. It is the coat of arms of Pope Leo XIII, as Canon Billington explains: "The arms of the late Pope Leo XIII. are inserted in commemoration of the decree which he issued in1893, dedicating England to Our Lady and St. Peter." Pope Leo died on this day in 1903.

Saturday, July 18

Lourdes Pilgrimage I

When the Diocese of Lancaster formally came into being in 1925, its first Bishop, Thomas Wulstan Pearson OSB, led a pilgrimage to Lourdes where he formally placed the Diocese under the patronage of Our Lady of Lourdes. Since then the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes has been an important feature of diocesan life. Here we see Bishop Foley - Lancaster's third Bishop - celebrating Mass in the underground basilica at Lourdes. The date is unclear, though clearly concelebration at Mass was already taking place, so we can conclude that the pictures were taken in the 1970s.

Thursday, July 16

1940: Mass on Scafell

It's not strictly a Cathedral photograph, but this image does show something of the life of the Lancaster Diocese nearly 70 years ago. It shows Mass being celebrated on Scafell on 16th July 1940. The group is the St Cuthbert's Catholic Boys Association, and this is probably the first Mass ever celebrated on Scafell. There may not have been all that many since! Click on the photograph for a larger version.

Monday, July 13

The 'Day Chapel'

In time the convent chapel became - sometime in the 1960s - a space for young children to attend Mass with their parents, without the problem of noise disturbing other parishioners. This 'crying room' was already clearly established in 1965, as the notice book for 20 June that year records: "May we remind parents who bring their little one to Mass of the privilege to attend Sunday Mass in the convent chapel – entrance Balmoral Road. This would avoid any embarrassment both to the parents and other people in church. We are pleased to see the parents and little ones at evening Mass on Sundays." Later the chapel began to be used for the Cathedral parish weekday Mass.

These pictures show the chapel at one point in its history, clearly set up to be used for Mass. It's clearly Eastertide, as the Paschal Candle is present, but the exact date is unclear.

This image shows the view into the Cathedral itself. The picture clearly shows that the triptych is not restored to its original position; this was done by the summer of 1995, so we can be sure that our image is earlier than this date. It is possible that these images show the chapel set up for weekday Mass during the reordering work.

Sunday, July 12

1854: The Convent Chapel

On this day in 1854 the convent chapel was opened. The Sisters of Mercy had already been in residence in the adjoining convent for over a year, but had walked daily to Dalton Square for Mass, often attracting attention from local people on account of their habits. The chapel was, Canon Billington tells us, "a gift from Mr. Gabriel Coulston, of Great John Street, and his family." It was still five years before St Peter's would be built; the picture here shows how the chapel now adjoins the Cathedral's east end.

Canon Billington gives only a brief account of the chapel's appearance: "The chapel, at the western end [of the convent] is at right angles to the community block, and now looks north into the chancel of the church through a large window guarded by screen-work. The window was not made till the church was built; previously the chapel altar stood at that end. The nuns' stalls are ranged round the three other sides. On the east side are two two-light windows, and originally two others matched them on the west side; but these were closed when the church was built, and the stained glass in them was removed to the Lady Chapel. There is a small rose window [pictured above] in the south gable. The chapel is used for community prayers, the office of our Lady being recited there every day. The convent cost £1800, and the chapel £526." The reference to the windows being removed to the Lady Chapel is interesting, given that these are clearly not the windows in the Lady Chapel today.

For many years the chapel was used for other purposes: as a crying room for babies at Mass and later as a weekday chapel (more on that tomorrow). A false ceiling was installed to preserve heat, though sadly this blocked the view of the rose window. In 2006 the chapel was restored and the false ceiling removed; at that time this statue of St Walburga was installed as a permenant reminder of her patronage.

Friday, July 10

1995: Married amidst the scaffold

Between June and August in any given year the Cathedral hosts a number of weddings. If you were getting married here in 1995, however, it was a slightly less beautiful place to make your vows. In the final few months of the reordering, the sanctuary is filled with scaffolding, presumably to assist with the installation of the corona which now hangs above the altar. Behind we can see that the Giles Gilbert Scott triptych has already been restored to its original position. Less than three months after this picture was taken the work was completed and the Cathedral rededicated.

Wednesday, July 8

School Sports Day 1954

School sports days are - weather permitting - a feature of July. This photograph from the Cathedral archive is labelled thus: "Councillor Lovatt-Horne presenting the inter-house sports cup to the captains of St Cuthbert's house at Barton Road playing fields, July 1954". Mother Mary Agatha we recognise - but who are the children?

Saturday, July 4

2001: The Installation of Bishop O'Donoghue

On this day in 2001 Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue - up to then an auxiliary bishop in Westminster - was installed as fifth Bishop of Lancaster at Mass in the Cathedral. The Diocese had been vacant for over a year, since the death of Bishop John Brewer on 10th June 2000.

As you would expect, the Cathedral was packed full; aside from the priests people of the Diocese, there were civic and ecumenical leaders. A fair number of priests also came from Westminster to say farewell to the Bishop and see him installed in his Cathedral.

Sister Zela Procter OSU, part of the Ursuline Community at St Thomas More's, is seen here at the Ambo. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, can be seen behind. At the far end of the back row on the sanctuary Canon Alf Hayes, then Cathedral Administrator, is visible. He had been responsible for organising three major liturgies in eighteen months: before this celebration he had overseen the funerals of Bishop Foley (December 1999) and Bishop Brewer (June 2001).

Outside the newly-installed Bishop of Lancaster posed with the Cardinal and Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool. Bishop O'Donoghue served the Diocese for nearly eight years, before retiring on 1st May 2009.

Thursday, July 2

Saints Processus and Martinianus

At the entrance to the Cathedral baptistery two soldiers stand guard. They are Saints Processus and Martinianus, whose feast day - as Canon Billington's parish history notes - is kept on 2nd July.

These are two soldiers who, according to tradition, guarded St Peter at the Mamertime prison in Rome. They were converted by the preaching and miracles of the Apostles and were baptised. Later they suffered torture and martyrdom. Canon Billington records their story at some length, and notes that they are the patrons of the baptistery.