Edward Morrison reports on a festival of faith held at Durham Cathedral on 4 September
Every year in early September Anglo-Catholics from the north-east organize a festival to commemorate the event when St Cuthbert’s body was taken to its final resting place in Durham. On 4 September AD 999 Cuthbert’s body was taken into the first permanent church on the Durham peninsula, specially built to hold his remains, the so-called White Church. The site became a renowned shrine and became a great cathedral.
It is the anniversary of this Translation that 300 faithful Catholics celebrated this September. Our procession joined that of a thousand years of countless pilgrims who have paid homage to Cuthbert, the evangelist of the north, and have sought his intercession at the Shrine. A beautiful Mass was offered by the Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, accompanied by Byrd’s Mass for Three Voices and the great cathedral organ.
After the Mass a mighty procession took place as the bishop and his priests, the servers and the congregation carrying banners and singing the great 12-verse anthem of the northern saints, went to the shrine of St Cuthbert itself. At the shrine Bishop Martin offered prayers to God and asked for the prayers of Holy Cuthbert to continue to build the Church in the north.
The event was a great witness of traditionalist Catholics to the diocese and province, and heartened everybody to see such a good turnout and high spirits. Despite the challenges we face in the Church of England, the Translation Festival proved that God remains constant and faithful and that Anglo-Catholics will give him praise and glory. ND