2019 Friends Advent Vespers

The beginning of a new liturgical year is always an important milestone for Christians; none more so than this year, which has been designated by the Catholic Bishops Conference as a year for the ‘God who Speaks: the Year of the Word’. This year it was launched in the Diocese at the annual celebration of Advent Vespers organised by the Friends of the Cathedral.  Celebrating the event, in the presence of the High Sheriffs of West and East Sussex and Surrey and civic representatives of District and Borough Councils, Bishop Richard expanded on the initiative and suggested ways in which we may all be enriched and renewed by the living Word of God; ‘to be moved afresh to share the love of Christ’.  The music was specially chosen for the occasion by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, Elizabeth Stratford, and performed by the choral scholars and choir.

Bishop Richard said that listening and reading are key to understanding ‘The God who Speaks’.  God speaks to us through the Bible; guiding us in our daily lives.   The Scriptures are proclaimed every time the Eucharist is celebrated.  God speaks to us through the Sacraments. It is up to us to listen and hear; to explore new ways of responding to His words. Scripture teaches us how to live in society, to respect each human being and to work towards the common good.   It shapes our actions, our choices, and how we relate to God, to ourselves, to our neighbours and to our world.   It guides all our relationships and how we live our lives. God’s word inspires us to put faith into action in our everyday lives.

The timing is 2020 on the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini – Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’ and the 1,600th anniversary of St Jerome’s death.  In discovering and renewing a genuine love for the word of God, the Catholic Bishops emphasise the importance of nurturing our relationship with Christ through the Bible.  ‘Through our vision and themes, we have a unique opportunity to nurture and inspire our faith through attentiveness to the Bible and the great riches of our spiritual history and traditions. Sharing God’s Word enriching our formation, proclamation and evangelisation. The Bible has inspired, and continues to inspire, learning, culture, art, music and literature. It enables science and faith to build up mutual understanding through dialogue. It challenges technology and social media to open up new ways to encounter and share Christ in the world’*.

*Ref: The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales http://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/events/the-god-who-speaks/

Note: for more information about membership and activities of The Friends of Arundel Cathedral please contact The Administrator, Lindsey Stratford, on 01903 884567 or email aruncathfriends@btconnect.com