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St. Andrew's Cathedral belongs to everyone

Nov 30, 2020 10:52:01 AM

There is a lot of tapping and knocking going on at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, both metaphorically and literally. The literal knocking is coming from the workers who are installing a new copper roof. A roof sturdy enough to provide shelter to the community for the next hundred years.

The metaphorical tapping is the call to serve. Alison Wedekind, who is the Chair of the Pastoral Council, describes the way she felt her ‘tap’. “Years ago, I went to see the priest to ask him to sign a form. He did, then he asked me to become a lector. Once I started reading, I really became part of the community. It changed my life.” Rita Fichtner, Office Manager at St. Andrew’s, felt the ‘tap’ when she was standing at the back of the church quietly singing to her fractious baby. The person standing next to her suggested that she should join the choir. The seed was planted and later Rita did join the choir, volunteered in the office and now she runs the office.

Other volunteers will have their own story, not only of how they received their personal tap, but of how they encouraged others to serve as well. A little prayer card located beside St. Andrew’s statue invites us to pray that we may be like the Apostle, ready to obey the call of Christ, and in glad obedience, offer ourselves to the Lord’s service. Many answer that prayer.  

Rita explains that St. Andrew’s in not just a parish church. “It is the mother church of our diocese. It belongs to everyone in the diocese.” Alison adds, “Being stewards of this treasure, our responsibility is great and so is the joy.” Alison says that the music at the Cathedral would take you to a whole different place spiritually. Normally, pre-Covid times, Advent would provide an opportunity to host a beautiful service of Readings and Carols (See the link below).

Many parish groups are meeting via Zoom these days, including the prayer group, the young adults, catechism, the Knights of Columbus, the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Women’s League and RCIA which, Fr. John Laszczyk believes is one of the largest groups ever. In the downstairs Seghers Hall, the 9-10 Club provides breakfast for the poor and homeless.

Rita loves connecting with those who knock at the office door, both parishioners and others from the community. “We are downtown,“ she explains, “so some have mental health and addiction issues. Whoever knocks, it is an opportunity to be Christian and show our faith. Understanding where they are, you can see the face of Christ in everyone you come across. We are lucky that we have priests who will take time and listen.” Together with Fr. John Laszczyk, Fr. Thomas Chinnappa and Fr. Dino Villadiego bring their own joy to the Cathedral ministry.

What is the Horizon of Hope for the parish? Alison said they are looking forward to completion of the roof, to supporting the West Coast Missions and to sponsoring a refugee family. Giving her own gentle tap, Alison adds that there are endless opportunities for people to be more involved in the parish. She is looking forward to music at Mass once again, and she misses the street community that would congregate outside the church each Sunday.

The message St. Andrew’s would like to share is one of welcome. “We care, we are here to help,” Alison says and Rita adds, “We are a parish to those within our boundary and we are a church to all Catholics.”

St Andrew’s Choir’s 2019 Advent Service of Readings and Carols:

Liz Summers

Written by Liz Summers

Liz is a freelance writer and storyteller from Victoria.

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