In the Summer of 1975 I began my life as a young priest at the Cathedral Church of our diocese, St Georges. The bishop said I was sent there because I couldn’t drive and as was an inner city parish I didn’t need a car.
Today, 7th November we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Cathedral Church of Saint George. It was consecrated on this day in 1894. When we look at the lectionary readings for this feast there is quite a choice. There is a lovely short first reading from Isaiah where he talks about bringing all people to his Holy mountain. God says “I will make them joyful in my house of prayer…for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples”. Having a place where we gather, celebrate and share in the sacrifice of Christ’s death and resurrection is so essential.
I am very attached to St. George’s because of the fond memories I have of those priests I worked with and the people who I served. It was a very happy time for me and I had some wonderful experiences as a newly ordained priest. The original building, designed by Augustus Pugin was fire-bombed in the Second World War. It was rebuilt in 1958. Our cathedral is the mother church of the diocese. It is a wonderful experience to see it full to overflowing at the Rite of Election when those who are to baptised and become Catholics at Easter are called to the sacraments and at the Chrism Mass when the Archbishop blesses the oils and the priests renew their priestly promises. Events such as these bring people together from all parts of our diocese.
However beautiful a church is and however full of memories it has we need to take to heart the words of St Paul “You are God’s building…..Didn’t you realise that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you.” (1 Cor 3). The Cathedral building and every church reminds us we are living stones, we are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundation, and Christ Jesus as its main cornerstone.
We give thanks today for our Archbishop John Wilson, and auxiliary bishops and pray for all the living stones, the people of South London and Kent that make up the Church in this part of the world.