This week Fr Martin Magill returned to St Anne’s Cathedral for an early morning Palm Sunday service. In his account, I am struck by the breadth of people who were prayed for during the service, as well as Fr Magill’s continued prayer for the time when all Christians will be permitted to receive the Eucharist together.
Dean John Mann also presented Fr Magill with a signed copy of his book, Lent with Saint John’s Gospel.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: St Anne’s Cathedral
As I had been asked to assist in another parish in the evening this weekend, I chose to worship at an early morning service at St Anne’s Cathedral. I note that Belfast has few opportunities for those who like to worship early on a Sunday morning.
I was very warmly welcomed by the clergy present, Dean John Mann, Rev Paul Twomey and Rev Campbell Dixon. The service was Holy Communion and was led by Rev Campbell Dixon with the Dean also officiating.
We followed Prayer One from the Book of Common Prayer. The readings came from the Common Lectionary and were from Philippians 2 and Matthew’s account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
The intercessory prayers were very wide ranging including prayers for the “peace of Jerusalem”, for the many parts of our world facing unrest and war. We also prayed for a number of parishes within Connor diocese; I especially liked it when we prayed for the rectors by name. We also prayed for bishops Alan and Harold.
There were prayers for the Queen, the First and Deputy First Ministers, The Lord Mayor and the councillors of the city. A number of sick people were also prayed for by name.
The service followed the format for Prayer One for Holy Communion apart from the prayers for Palm Sunday which were interspersed throughout it.
At Holy Communion, I received a blessing and prayed again for the unity of Christians and for the time when all Christians will receive the Eucharist together.
I wonder how this issue is being addressed in theological and ecumenical circles within the Catholic Church.
Afterwards, I had an opportunity to chat briefly to the three clergy present and again it was very clear how welcome I was made to feel.
I was pleased to hear from the Dean about the progress of the boys’ choir formed from three local schools in North Belfast including the parish school of Sacred Heart Boys as well as Cliftonville Integrated PS and Edenbrooke PS. I look forward to hearing the combined choir sing at services within the cathedral.
On my way out, the Dean presented me with a signed copy of his book Lent with Saint John’s Gospel.
For those Christians of whatever denomination, who want to worship at an early morning service, this service is well worth consideration.