I am writing this reflection on the evening of the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), 5th July 2020. I believe this is a most important moment to record the ‘event’ in St Chad’s Cathedral that was the re-opening for public Mass following the lockdown and cessation of public Mass towards the end of March and before Holy Week.
What a journey it has been and how people have encompassed a range of experiences: the inability to attend Mass, the ‘fast’ from the Eucharist, live stream Masses (from just about anywhere in the world they choose) and now the opening up of the Cathedral and parish churches first for private prayer and now again for public Mass.
At the four ‘weekend Masses’ this weekend, I have suggested to those who have attended the Cathedral (a mixture of regular Catholic parishioners and visitors from other places) that they spend a few moments reflecting on what returning to Mass and Holy Communion has meant to them, a unique experience in their life.
Both with opening for private prayer and now for public Mass, take up has been quite modest – not a problem, but just interesting to see. We reached about half of our capacity at each of the Masses. As Sunday obligation is still not required in the circumstances, we have encouraged people to consider using weekday Mass as their ‘Sunday’ in the coming days and weeks.
It is already clear that the live stream Masses will continue to be the point of encounter with the Mass for many people and, for that reason, we shall continue to make those joining us for Mass from home, school or elsewhere most welcome and we pray that the dynamism of the Mass – Word and Sacrament – continue to nourish you on your pilgrim journey with a renewed love or a new experience of the place of the Word of God in the liturgy and in our lives.