Cardinal Walter Kasper, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is to visit Liverpool this coming weekend. On Sunday, 23 May, he will celebrate the Solemn Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King at 11.00 am, after which he will bless with a Prayer of Dedication the two glass steles (columns) newly positioned at the bottom of the steps to the Cathedral, which are the work of German artist, Raphael Seitz, a friend of the Cardinal who will also be present. It is appropriate that the dedication should take place on the Feast of Pentecost as it is the anniversary feast of the consecration of the Metropolitan Cathedral forty-three years ago in 1967.
In the afternoon Cardinal Kasper will preach at the ‘Two Cathedrals Service’ which begins in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral at 3.00 pm and, following a procession along Hope Street, will conclude in the Metropolitan Cathedral at approximately 4.30 pm. Since the visit of Pope John Paul II twenty-eight years ago on the Feast of Pentecost in 1982 the ‘Two Cathedrals Service’ has regularly taken place on Pentecost Sunday with thousands of pilgrims celebrating unity by walking along Hope Street.
On Monday morning, 24 May, the Cardinal will celebrate the 7.00 am Mass at Our Lady of the Annunciation, Bishop Eton, Woolton Road, before going to Liverpool Hope University to give a lecture about Jewish-Christian relations entitled: ‘Jews and Christians: Overcoming the Past to Construct a Shared Future of Peace’.
The Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, says of the visit: ‘It will be good to welcome Cardinal Kasper, one of the closest advisors to Pope Benedict to Liverpool. His visit will affirm us in three ways. By dedicating the glass artworks by Raphael Seitz crowning years of work at the Metropolitan Cathedral, he will affirm the achievement of collaboration between the City, the North West Development Agency, the University and the Metropolitan Cathedral. By taking part in our “Two Cathedrals Walk” he will affirm our unique ecumenical story. And by lecturing at Hope University about the relationships between Christians and those of the Jewish faith he will affirm the resolution of the Churches to be serious in wide dialogue and the specific contribution made by Hope University to this essential building block for justice for all and secure harmony and peace. It will be a time of blessing and joy.’
Born in Heidenheim, Germany, Cardinal Kasper was ordained priest in the Diocese of Rottenburg in 1957. In 1989 he was appointed as Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart where he served until 1999 when he moved to Rome to become Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In 2001 he was created a Cardinal and became President of the Council. The Council exercises a double role. First of all, it is entrusted with the promotion, within the Catholic Church, of an authentic ecumenical spirit and it also aims to develop dialogue and collaboration with the other Churches and World Communions.
All are welcome to attend the Mass and dedication on Sunday morning, 23 May, at 11.00 am in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King and the ‘Two Cathedrals Service’ which begins at 3.00 pm on Sunday afternoon in Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral, concluding at 4.30 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral.