Pause for Hope

For the past 20 years a Pause for Hope service has taken place at Liverpool Cathedral. Many people have been involved in the making. An organising committee with representatives of cancer charities and organisations in Merseyside such as, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Macmillan Cancer Support, The Linda McCartney Centre, Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, Jospice International, The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, The Lily Centre, The Lyndale Centre plan and prepare the Services. Similar groups have been established in Manchester, based at the University chaplaincy, and in Chester where the local hospitals and hospices support the services.

This year services also took place at St Chads, Birmingham, Motherwell Cathedral and St Mirin’s, Paisley as well as services tailored to local needs and facilities, in parish churches in different parts of the UK and the Isle of Man.

This service at the Cathedral in Liverpool was attended by families living with cancer and those who had lost loved ones from the disease.
Bishop Tom Williams, the auxiliary bishop of Liverpool, led the Service. Also present were representatives of various denominations, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and other civic dignitaries.

After the Opening Prayer a very moving part of the service took place when candles were lit by members of the congregation for someone with cancer or in memory of a person lost to cancer, during which the choir provided an emotional accompaniment. This prayer, which was composed by Mgr Peter Cookson was used during the the lighting of candles.

Dear God, our loving Father,
The candles we have lit represent each and every one of us
whose lives have been touched and changed forever by cancer.
Their light also reminds us of Jesus Christ, your Son,
who is the Light of the World
and the light in our darkness.
Give us, we pray, comfort in our anxiety and fear,
courage and strength in our suffering,
patience and compassion in our caring,
consolation in our grieving;
But above all give us hope
Now and always,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

In the Service children figured prominently with singing, dancing and reading of Bidding Prayers.

A very poignant moment occurred when a poem was read which had been composed by a cancer sufferer who was unable to attend due to her illness. The poem was read on her behalf.

Joe Maguire Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Clatterbridge hospital gave a reflection on the part Hope plays in enabling people to live with cancer.
The beautiful Cathedral bells rang out at the beginning and end of the service first inviting and then sending the congregation on its way as they too filled the atmosphere with a rich note announcing hope.

Professor Ray Donnelly, the founder of the initiative, has stressed that prayer is a very powerful instrument in coming to terms with cancer, treating it and, eventually, finding a cure. “Through prayer we learn to accept, and even to love, his will for us and can face, with a calm peace, the trials and tribulations that we will meet as we deal with our diagnosis, treatment and results. It is consoling and of great merit to unite our sufferings to those of Christ on the Cross and to offer them for ourselves, our families or whatever intention we may have.”
Sr. Frances Pollard

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