Two years ago, the Archdiocese established a small body of individuals to oversee some of the activities that would link the Cathedral and the newly opened Cornerstone building ‒ the Cornerstone Planning Group. Much of its work would focus on opportunities for evangelisation in a variety of forms. From the outset, the Group recognised the need for a presence in the Cathedral, a number of people to act as welcomers to guide those people who visit the Cathedral but are not part of its regular congregation. These will include visitors to the city centre, Catholics and non-Catholics, shoppers, office workers and students. Some will be local and others will have travelled from other continents. For all of these people, it is important to have a presence in the Cathedral, to welcome them and address their questions. Because the Cathedral is in the city centre, it will attract others who are looking for help with day-to-day problems, for a chance to be heard or someone to offer advice on where further help can be sought.

A short training programme was developed and some eight to ten people started a Ministry of Presence on the First Friday of each month. Working in pairs they are able to answer questions for visitors who want to know something of the Cathedral’s history and architecture or act as a first point of contact for people looking for spiritual guidance.

There is a need for this ministry and more volunteers are needed to extend it to more, even all days of the month. Parishioners from across the city and beyond may wish to become involved, possibly offering to support the ministry for just one and a half hours per month. Training will be given and you will always be working with one or two others.

Perhaps you are someone who acts as a welcome in your own parish and have skills to offer. Perhaps you remember a time when someone offered you help and you would like to offer the same service to others. If you would like more information about the Ministry of Presence, please call Madeleine Walters at 029 2089 2011 or e-mail walters.sunnyside@btopenworld.com.