‘Come, Everything is Ready.’ This was the theme for the 2019 World Day of Prayer, formally known as the Women's World Day of prayer, and prepared this year by the Christian women of Slovenia. It is a women-led movement and a day celebrated in over 120 countries, and each year we admire the strength of the communities who participate, finding empathy in their concerns and encouragement in their faith.
The line above is taken from Luke 14: 15-24, the Parable of the Great Banquet. At the heart of this year’s service was an invitation for all to come to God’s table, inviting us all to His banquet. The table was laid with a basket of bread, salt, water, rosemary, a jug of wine produced in Slovenia, and a vase of red carnations, one of their national flowers.
The opening prayer read: ‘God of Love and Justice, you created us in your image, and long for us to share your hospitality. Give us the grace to accept your invitation and the wisdom and generosity to share it with others.’
We then heard the experiences of five Slovenian women – Marjeta, Mojca, Marija, Ema and Natasha – who had suffered for their religious beliefs, being treated as second-class citizens because of it. We heard of violent abuse by alcoholic parents, of homes with no running water or electricity. People in Slovenia have known what it means to be refugees or immigrants, with many leaving to find work abroad. Yet they have overcome many difficulties throughout their history and still stand together in strength.
• Cath Lydon and I attended the Annual Civic Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral on Sunday 3 March. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon celebrated the Mass, which was also attended by the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, and Rev Dr Crispin Pailing, Rector of Liverpool. It is 25 years since the Church of England ordained its first women priests and also present was the very Rev Dr Sue Jones, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, as well as Councillor Christine Banks, Lord Mayor of Liverpool.
• Our AGM will take place on Saturday 27 April at 1pm at the Gibberd Room in the Cathedral, followed by Mass. A buffet lunch will be served from 12 noon.
Prayers will have been said for you all at Belmont Abbey. I wish you and your families a happy and joyful Easter.