I personally arrived at the Cathedral at 11.45am soaked to the bone, having had to pass through a ford which is normally called St Peter's Place, just off Rheims Way.
So it was billed as a chance to get to know Bishop Norman. And for those of you who've already met Bishop Norman you wouldn't be surprised how lively and refreshing his sermon was. The Year of Faith itself has almost been lost with changes both in the See of Canterbury but also with Rome too. But the need for a Year of Faith hasn’t changed. Bishop Norman spoke about how he'd hoped to arrange an event like the one on Saturday for those under his care since he assumed office. Especially in a world which sees faith as something old-fashioned. He spoke of the need for a reality to our faith including his own pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal and the reality of faith made clear in the diaries of Sister Lúcia. In her diaries, even as a young child before the visitations, she spoke of a reality of the presence of Christ and the Holy Family within her own family. How that reality had created in the family of Sister Lúcia a sense of the reality of the Trinity and how we should be like this when we speak of our faith to others - (a theme he discussed further in the Shirley Hall - to be discussed). After the Mass, Bishop Norman shook hands with people as they left the Crypt but hoped to see them at 2.30pm at the Shirley Hall. After a brief dinner at the Buttermarket pub – (a good pint, although the food was good, I still don't think you can beat the Thomas Becket pub for wholesome hearty portions - although in the rain it was a bit too far to walk!) I headed towards the Cathedral again.
Finally, one of the points that Bishop Norman made was the suggestion for more events like this, for all of those under his pastoral care, to meet together and be part of something more than our own immediate church communities. With this in mind, already on Sunday in our parish we have started to think about ideas of how we can encourage opportunities to create events between the Society, Forward in Faith and other Anglo-Catholic organisations. Therefore, please can members of the Society chat amongst others in their parishes and find out what types of activities/events you would like to see so that we can deepen our community on a more regular basis?
(Personal thanks to John Hendy for taking these photos!)