Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Leeds Cathedral

Although not as significant as the newly restored Baltimore Basilica, the cathedral church of the diocese of Leeds in England has just undergone a 2 Million Pound restoration and refurbishment and is currently celebrating its gala re-opening.

The first photos are available online although one has to view the Flash slide-show to see all the photos; the more interesting ones of the new Altar and other fittings take some time to appear in the sequence... On Monday 12 November, Solemn Vespers was celebrated in the newly-restored St Anne's Cathedral and on Tuesday 13 November, the new Altar was dedicated and the skull-relics of two Yorkshire martyrs, Peter Snow and Ralph Grimston, were placed into the Altar. On Wednesday, the Bishops of England and Wales and their Anglican counterparts will have their first joint summit in Leeds and celebrate Vespers in the cathedral. Hopefully more photos will be online soon.

This three-day event, which is the largest such event in recent memory in the Church in England and Wales, may be of some interest to readers as the bishop of Leeds who oversaw this project is Bishop Arthur Roche who is also the Chairman of ICEL, whose recent address to the US Bishops brought him to the attention of many American readers of this blog.

The liturgy celebrated in Bishop Roche's cathedral is generally of a high standard and the musical tradition is vibrant and thriving, drawing on the treasury of the Church's sacred music. It would appear that this cathedral renovation strives to set the sacred Liturgy within a worthy sacred space for the current normative Roman rite.

As the most recent large scale re-ordering of a Catholic cathedral in this country, I believe it is generally successful, especially given the constraints of the existing cathedral structure. Would NLM readers concur?

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