News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
On Sunday 5 October Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, resident at St Vincent de Paul and one of our deanery priests, will receive the red hat from Pope Francis.
In fact, not only does he receive the hat of a Cardinal but also a new ring and is assigned a titular church in Rome which he will have to take possession of during the few days following the ceremony. The link with the titular church is generally only an honorary designation, although in cases of Cardinals who hail from wealthy countries, they would be expected to provide some means of financial support for the Roman church. The weekly collection at St Vincent’s wouldn’t stretch to this. We offer him our congratulations and best wishes on receiving such an honour.
There are a considerable number of concerts and events in the Cathedral during the month of October which can be found on the website, I have just concentrated this month on referring to extra services taking place at the Cathedral.
Sunday 13 October as well as being the day of Canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman is also the memorial of St Edward the Confessor and we will be joined at our 11.00 am Solemn Mass by staff, parents and pupils of St Edward’s College. This year the Annual Healing Mass will take place on Saturday 19 October from 3.00 pm until 6.30 pm. Father Peter Morgan will preside at the Mass followed by a talk by Eddie Stones prior to the opportunity for prayer and healing ministries. The ‘Pause for Hope
Annual Service’ for those who have been affected by cancer is on Sunday 27 October at 3.00 pm.
We will be having a joint two Cathedral celebration of the Canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman on Thursday 7 November. This will take the form of a joint Choral Evening Prayer at 6.00 pm followed by a joint lecture at 7.00 pm given by Monsignor Rod Strange and Canon Rod Garner on Newman’s influence on both the Anglican and the Catholic Church. This will take place at our Cathedral and we would be grateful if you could register online for the talks (the event is free) so that we have an idea of numbers.
September sees the return of the Cathedral Choirs and the resumption of daily sung choral services. There is lots happening this term, but two (hopefully interesting) bits of news to begin the academic year!
New Organ Scholar
We are delighted to welcome James Todd as our new organ scholar. James hails from Crewe where he recently completed his A-levels. A Catholic, he has played the organ regularly in several local parishes and annually on the Shrewsbury Diocese Pilgrimage to Lourdes. He started playing the organ at age 11 and confesses that it has slowly taken over his life. In addition to playing the organ James also plays the Piano and Trombone, having recently achieved an ARSM in the Piano.
James will serve as organ scholar at the Cathedral for one year, and he hopes to study Music Performance at a conservatoire with the Organ as his principal instrument from September 2020. Whilst at the Cathedral, James will get involved with all aspects of music department life from playing the organ, to training the choristers and typesetting music. The organ scholarship is very much an ‘apprenticeship’ for working in a Cathedral music department, and we encourage a hands-on approach.
Grants from the FCM
A choristership for a boy or girl allows them to live and breathe the liturgical life of the Church. On a daily basis they participate in the liturgical rites and sing its music. Their understanding of liturgy and music comes from their participation in it, not just from reading or learning about it. As well as forming our choristers as liturgical musicians, we also place great emphasis on training them as musicians, equipping them with the skills not just for their singing in the Cathedral, but indeed for what will hopefully be a lifetime of musical engagement.
Choristers musical skills are learned primarily through three overlapping routes: by singing music, by learning music theory and by playing instruments. Put simply, the better the theoretical knowledge and the more advanced the instrumental capabilities, the more effective each individual choristers musical skills will be.
We are delighted to have recently received £25,000 worth of grants from the Friends of Cathedral Music to support our choristers. One grant will allow all of our boy and girl choristers to have access to industry leading software specialising in music theory. This means that the children can solidify and practice the skills they learn in choir whilst at home using a computer or tablet.
Secondly, we have received an endowment grant of £20,000 to support the costs associated with our girl choristers having instrumental lessons. We are very proud of our girl choristers, who recently celebrated ten years since they sang their first service and who today, are still the only RC Cathedral choir in the UK (and possibly the world!) that rehearses and sings on a daily basis. Instrumental lessons tend to be given on a one to one basis on a weekly basis. With the decline in the priority of arts subjects in schools today, the cost of these lessons falls to parents. It is very much our belief that all choristers should have the opportunity to have instrumental lessons, thus our desire to establish a fund to support this. I would be delighted to hear from any individuals or organisations that would like to make a contribution themselves into our girl choristers instrumental tuition endowment fund so that we can enable this funding to benefit as many of our girls as possible.
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