The hope of new life and new light

With less than a week to go to the installation of Archbishop-elect Mark O’Toole as the eighth Archbishop of Cardiff, we begin to consider the events that lay ahead.  Today we review what will take place on the eve of the installation.

The Installation of an Archbishop is a joyful occasion, full of significance not just for the Archdiocese but for the whole of the Church of God.  The rites are rich in symbolism, incorporating detailed ceremonial.

On the eve of the installation, the new Archbishop visits the cathedral for prayer. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Public Prayer of the People of God has always been considered amongst the first duties of the Church. Over the centuries, the traditional elements of Christ’s own prayer were carefully arranged to sanctify the whole day through the celebration of the Divine Office.  As our Archbishop-elect prepares to take possession of the diocese he has asked especially for a time of prayer on the eve of his Installation.

The time of prayer, the welcome of Archbishop-elect Mark O’Toole, is providentially celebrated on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Christ. “The Eucharist makes the Church, and the Church makes the Eucharist”.  What better way to give thanks for the new shepherd of the Church in Cardiff and Menevia, than in the Sacramental presence of Jesus Christ in our midst.

On Sunday 19th June at 3pm our Archbishop-elect will lead prayer in St David’s Cathedral with the traditional Evening Prayer of the Church, the Office of Vespers, which will take place within a period of Eucharistic Adoration.  In Christian faith, we give thanks to Almighty God for the day we have journeyed through; and we look forward to the rising of the sun on the day which is to follow.  Since the earliest times, the evening has been associated with a thanksgiving for light at the end of the day.  Both pagans and Christians alike would greet the lighting of the evening candle or lamp as the world became dark. Christians see this light as a symbol of the Risen Christ.  From Jerusalem in the East to Gaul and the Celtic world in the West, this became part of the ritual that is now Evening Prayer of the Church.

The hope of new light and new life is symbolised by the ceremony of the “LucInarium” with which our time of prayer on Sunday will begin.  Archbishop-elect Mark will light the Paschal Candle symbolising the presence and triumph of the Risen Christ.  Whilst this is honoured with incense, other candles will also be lit as a reminder that the followers of Christ are called to be the light of the world.