FR GARY DOWSEY, press officer for the Diocese of East Anglia, which covers the Counties of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk, tells me that Cardinal Hume will be greeted by a congregation of more than 2,000 when he visits Norwich and concelebrates a Mass of Thanksgiving on 24 June with Bishop Alan Clark of East Anglia and Bishop Francis Thomas of Northampton.
Guests will include the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Timothy Colman, the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, and civic leaders.
This is the highlight of the centenary programme for the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, built by the Fifteenth Duke of Norfolk, which is spread over several months and includes a youth rally and procession of witness from July 14 to July 15, and Son et Lumiere from November 15 to 17.
1 take my hat off to the 73,000 Catholics in the diocese who have contributed the staggering sum of £500,000 towards the repairs of their magnificent cathedral with its massive square tower, one of the most impressive landmarks of Norwich, and is floodlit at night. A hundred years of East Anglia weather and unsuitable stone for some of this building meant massive replacements.
The rescue operation involves finding £190,000 to pay off the debt. This debt has not hindered development elsewhere in this lively diocese where new Churches have been built, and, since 1976, the congregations have gone up by a surprising figure of 12,000.
However the splendid people of East Anglia would welcome outside help. For information on how to enrol as a Friend of the Cathedral write to Fr Gary Dowsey, Bishop's House, The White House, 21 Upgate, Poringland, Norwich. Telephone 05086 2202-3956.
Any wealthy business firms who feel like making a friendly gesture to the White House can have co-operative membership for £25 a year, for individuals its a fiver.