The Cathedral was filled twice over on 4 June as primary schools of the Diocese attended the Good Shepherd Mass celebrated by Bishop John Sherrington in the morning and Cardinal Vincent in the afternoon. The Mass, organised by the Catholic Children’s Society, annually celebrates the generosity of diocesan primary schools, as they present the fruits of their fundraising efforts to the Society.
In the afternoon Mass, Cardinal Vincent reflected on the Gospel reading of the miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fishes. He spoke about the empty basket at the front of the Cathedral and how it would be filled by the gifts presented by the children and how Jesus continually presents us with the gifts of His love. He also spoke about the imagery of the fish in the early Church and how early Christians would use it as a secret symbol of their allegiance to Christ, instead of the pagan gods worshipped by the Romans. The fish was chosen because the letters of the Greek word for fish - ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthus) – could also stand for ‘Jesus, Son of God, Saviour’. To celebrate this imagery, new paintings of fishes commissioned by the Children’s Society were dotted around the Cathedral and students from schools had decorated a fish outline, and these were displayed on large banners hanging between the pillars of the nave.