News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
By Marian and Peter Alcock
Sunday 9 February will be long remembered for Storm Ciara which rocked Merseyside and the rest of the UK.
Strong winds and torrential rain made for a miserable start to the day, and despite the warning not to travel unless it was essential, my family travelled from St Helens to Liverpool and gathered together at the Metropolitan Cathedral for Mass to celebrate Marriage and Family Life, organised by the Pastoral Formation Team.
This is an annual event to help us focus on, and celebrate, the Sacrament of Marriage and the importance of family life in the Church and wider society. Each year, couples who celebrate a significant anniversary, are invited to attend the Mass and receive a family bible which they retain for 12 months. A bible is also presented to a family in recognition of the importance of family life.
We celebrate our “Golden Wedding Anniversary” in May and had been invited to receive a family bible from Sanaria Al Katy and Saeed Al Taraji, who were last year’s recipients. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon celebrated the Mass and spoke movingly about the importance of marriage and the family.
Married couples were also invited to renew their marriage vows, and those celebrating a significant anniversary this year, received a special blessing. The bidding prayers reminded us that marriage is a serious commitment and that all couples need the support and prayers of their family throughout their married life.
Not all marriages survive without facing difficulties and sadly sometimes result in divorce or separation, we were reminded of our responsibility to offer prayer, support and friendship to those suffering family breakdowns. Families were also remembered, particularly those struggling with issues of our time such as unemployment, poverty and addictive behaviours.
The voices of the Cathedral Choir rang out adding their joyful praise to the to the beauty and tranquil atmosphere, I am sure that everyone present was very moved by the occasion. We all joined the rest of the congregation in the Gibberd Room for refreshments and conversation following the Mass.
The celebration, joy and peaceful calm within the Cathedral, contrasted greatly to the stormy scene that greeted us as we left to celebrate, as a family, with a special Sunday lunch. It was very special occasion which will live long in our memory.