The Dean of St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich warmly welcomed the return of collective worship in the first public Mass held at the cathedral for nearly three months as he urged his congregation “to renew our faith and grow in love for the Lord with one another”.
Almost all Catholic churches across the Diocese of East Anglia re-opened their doors for collective public worship this past weekend following the relaxation of government guidelines.
“We have been fasting from the bread and wine and have not been fed with the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus. There has been a real sorrow that we have not been able to share in the Mass with our brothers and sisters in the faith,” Canon David Paul said in his homily at St John the Baptist Cathedral on Saturday 4th July.
“But we have now come back as God’s family to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacraments. We have a new opportunity for a better relationship – Jesus talks about the new wine and the new wineskins. Everyone of us can have a new vision of what it means to be in Christ. We are new, restored and made whole. Let us all see this as an opportunity to renew our faith and grow in love for the Lord with one another. We have been prepared over the last few months for this new beginning.”
Canon Paul was speaking to a congregation of around 60 people, socially distanced across the vast cathedral, while across the Diocese of East Anglia all but a handful of churches in the 50 parishes resumed public Masses over the weekend.
Speaking a few days earlier to Radio Maria England, based in Cambridge, Canon Paul said: “This has been an awful time for many people in our country – when we think of all of the people who have died and their families. But we also remember the heroic work in the hospitals which we thank God for.
“But this is still serious and we need to take great care, but let’s always put our trust in God and the Lord will always look after His Church and care for us.
“These signs of opening up and being able to celebrate Mass are wonderful gifts to us, so I would urge people to thank God for us and to look forward to that time when we can be back together again properly,” said Canon Paul.
Picture: Canon David Paul celebrates Mass with a physical congregation for the first time since lockdown. (Keith Morris/rcdea.org.uk).