Posted by: catholicrelics | September 26, 2009

‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ for St Therese

St Therese leaves the cathedral of Christ the King

St Therese leaves the cathedral of Christ the King

More than 15,000 people welcomed the relics of St Therese to Liverpool during the 24 hours they rested at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

A large attendance at the 12.30 Mass had always been anticipated. Many parishes brought coaches filled with parishioners, some of them travelling early to ensure, not only that people had a chance to personally venerate the relics, but also to ensure that there would be seating! The Cathedral has a capacity of 2,300 but even standing room was at a premium!

St Theresa’s Catholic Primary School had a particular interest in visiting the cathedral, bearing their banner portraying St Therese. Each child carried a little booklet decorated with a large red rose whilst two children also bore a large basket of red roses to lay beside the reliquary. One little boy, who started school only last week, summed up the general response of all the children. He looked at the casket and the roses, stood immobilised for a brief second and uttered one word: ‘Wow!’

It was extremely fitting that, following the farewell ceremony at which more than 2000 people were present, the relics were carried out to the strains of the Archdiocesan ‘anthem, the hymn ‘Hail Redeemer, King Divine’, a hymn which, as every Liverpudlian will testify, accompanies most big occasions celebrated in the Cathedral. Therese would have needed no encouragement to ensure that God himself received the glory!

Just as the relics were carried into the cathedral by professional bearers from the local Funeral Directors’ the same men carried out the casket. “There is far more to be considered than non-professionals would realise”, one of them remarked. “For instance the height of the doorway is important and turning corners. What to do if we accidentally get out of step and almost stand on the heel of someone in front of us: those are all little things that we have been trained to observe, especially when the casket is very heavy.”

Another bearer continued: “For us it has been such a privilege to be involved. We were really excited that our National Association of Funeral Directors could be given such a responsibility because, in a special way, carrying the remains of St Therese falls uniquely within our role within the community. It’s been an enormous honour for us to be here.”

A third bearer, George, smiled. “We’ve been amazed because people have been coming up to ask if they could touch our gloves as they carried the casket. One lady even asked if I could give her mine.”

As the relics departed from the Cathedral, large crowds lined the steps and overflowed onto Brownlow Hill, waving and clapping. ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ for St Therese also carried the love of the city’s people, not all of whom were Catholic. As Bishop Tom Williams pointed out in his homily, at least one of those who filled the Cathedral was a Muslim. May Therese bring people of all faiths and none closer to the God in whom she ‘lived and breathed and had [her] being’!

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Responses

  1. I did my Divinity Degree in Liverpool at Christ’s & Notre Dame..I thought you might use the Leaving of Liverpool!

  2. I am still humble and honoured to have been at the Cathedral and it was the most uplifting feeling of peace. I love St Therese and I still fill up with peace when I re-call them two days and the applause was captivating. Amen


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