Monday, 9 November 2015

When theology, tourism and worship come
together in Christ Church Cathedral

Waiting for Choral Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral after a visit by students from Mater Dei Institute (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

As a lecturer in theology and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, it is always satisfying to bring the new roles together when I have the opportunity to bring students on a field trip to Christ Church Cathedral.

In recent years I have brought students from the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Maynooth and Northwest University in Washington on tours of the cathedral. The cathedral is an ideal place for introducing topics such as liturgy, church architecture, church history and the role of the Church in society.

For three years now I have been bringing groups of 20-30 students from the Mater Dei Institute of Education to the cathedral as they begin a module on Anglican studies. Most want to return for Choral Evensong or a celebration of the Eucharist, and are fascinated by the beauty and spirituality of the cathedral.

At the beginning of this academic year, almost 30 students from Mater Dei visited Christ Church on 1 October for a tour of the cathedral and two lectures in the south transept on Anglican faith, spirituality, liturgy and cultural heritage. Mater Dei is a college of Dublin City University.

Later that evening, I led Choral Evensong, and was surprised to find as I processed out with the choir that there were almost 90 people in the congregation. Numbers were swollen by a tour group from Texas had arrived in Dublin, and began their study tour by attending worship in the cathedral.

In surprising ways, I learn that ministry, theology and welcome are never compartmentalised in Christ Church Cathedral.

This half-page report and photograph is published in the Autumn 2015 (Vol 33 No 2) edition of ‘Friends’ News’, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

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