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Bishop Alan dedicates new altar at St John’s Cathedral

Cathedral mason Bruce Riley embedded relics of the saints as Bishop Alan Hopes dedicated an altar in the Chapel of the Most Precious Blood in St John’s Cathedral.

The event, on March 30, was attended by the Mayor of Norwich and his consort, priests from around the diocese and many representatives of the cathedral parish. During the ceremony Bishop Alan sprinkled the altar with Holy Water, anointed it with chrism oil and burned a large bowl of incense on it.

“Today’s solemn dedication of the altar in the Chapel of the Precious Blood recalls us to the very roots of our holy faith and the great love that God has for us,” said Bishop Alan in his homily.

“Jesus founds his Church,” he continued. “Entering into a life of faith and a sacramental relationship with God, the Church came to understand that she had been chosen…to proclaim Jesus Christ to the whole world…The words and the actions of the liturgy for the dedication of the altar speak powerfully of this relationship with God and each other and of the responsibilities that go with it.

“In this altar we will seal some relics of the martyrs: St Felix, the first Bishop of East Anglia; St Boniface, the English apostle to the Germanic peoples; St Felicity. They remind us that we too are called to be saints and to witness to our faith, as we seek to love God and our neighbour.

“The altar is a sacred place. It is a meeting place between God and His people. The anointing of the altar makes it the very symbol of Christ in our midst.

“As we offer Mass on the newly dedicated altar, we will commend to God’s love and mercy the whole people of this Cathedral community…May God continue to inspire us all to serve and glorify Him in our words and deed and be a true witness of His love.”

Bruce has been involved in both small and large scale works at the Cathedral over the decades, from refacing areas of Cathedral House and the Cathedral through to rebuilding the Columbarium north retaining wall and endless carefully placed stone repairs inside and out.

Project architect, Suzi Pendlebury, paid tribute to Bruce, saying: “His whole working life is interwoven with the care and repair of the Cathedral along with other places of worship. He is wonderful and we will be a bit lost without him.”

Pictured above is Bishop Alan anointing the new altar with chrism oil. You can see a Flickr gallery of the dedication by clicking on the link or the picture below.

Dedicating altar of the Most Precious Blood