Along with many of our diocesan churches we have made our first tentative steps, reopening to the public over the last few weeks. It is wonderful to have public Mass once again and to be open for prayer, but it does still feel rather unreal, though necessary, to celebrate together with face masks and distancing around the Cathedral.
Thankfully those attending weekend Masses have been very attentive to the procedures and everyone feels very safe with room to spare within the Cathedral. It has been more challenging for funerals with gatherings of people congregating together regardless of the limitations on numbers within the building. The outlook at present is that these protocols will have to remain in place until well into late autumn or winter. It will also take a long time before other activities within the Cathedral and Crypt will be able to take place once again.
One of the great learning experiences during this time of lockdown has been the ability to stream services online. We were streaming live for the last three months from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel but since the return of congregations we have had to cope with the challenge of streaming from the High Altar. This brought a whole new set of problems to be resolved. We needed a camera powerful enough and positioned appropriately to cover the width of the Cathedral sanctuary and also have a view of the wider internal space of the Cathedral. We also had to find a way to link in with the main Cathedral audio system, which was not without its difficulties. Thankfully this is now all in place and we have the facilities going forward to livestream any important services within the building for the long-term future.