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Westminster Cathedral recently celebrated ‘The Year of the Word’ by hosting the first leg of the Scripture Road Show, a unique event which is travelling to dioceses across England and Wales throughout 2020.

For three days, from Thursday 30th January to Saturday 1st February, six of the chapels in Westminster Cathedral were transformed into Tents of Meeting, each one revealing a different aspect of the Word of God. The themes included, ‘Exploring the Word’, ‘Living the Word’, ‘Mary and the Word’, ‘Receiving the Word’, ‘Seeing the Word’ and ‘Sharing the Word’. A number of organisations (including Pax Christi, Walsingham Shrine and ‘Prayer and Life Workshops’) took part in the celebration by leading Lectio Divina and activities for children, as well as providing resources on how the Bible shapes and transforms lives.

Adrian Cullen, Evangelisation Coordinator at the Diocese of Westminster, and one of the organisers of the event, said:

‘We were overwhelmed by the number of people who came along to the Scripture Road Show, and the excitement that the Tents of Meeting generated. The visitors, including a good number of school groups, were especially drawn to the beautiful mosaic, ‘The God Who Speaks’, and listened intently to artist Pete Codling’s fascinating explanation of his work. During the three days, there was a real buzz in the Cathedral, with many positive and pleasing comments from those who attended. The Scripture Road Show has been a real success!’

A new piece of artwork, ‘The God Who Speaks’, was on display for the duration of the Scripture Road Show. The Byzantine mosaic, specially commissioned for the Year of the Word, was created by Portsmouth artist Pete Codling. The artist was also on hand to speak to visitors about the artwork during the three-day event. The icon will tour the country as part of the Scripture Road Show during 2020.

Speaking about the artwork, Pete Codling said:

‘I've created a Byzantine mosaic, a multi-panelled artwork, using a technique from the fourth and fifth centuries of a Venetian glass mosaic. The mosaic is a multi-panelled artwork which opens up like a mobile altar piece. The mosaic depicts the Trinity on the outside and as it opens up it presents the Angel Gabriel speaking with Mary in the Annunciation. The inside of the mosaic illustrates stories from the New Testament. On the back of the panel the main doors depict St Jerome and as these doors open up, there is an image of the gates of heaven and hell with St Peter and the fallen angel. Finally, there is a panoramic picture of the resurrection of Christ, featuring intricate creations of disciples, apostles, prophets and saints.

‘The piece took nearly six months to make and it will take another month and a half to two months to complete the remaining panels. I’m looking forward to seeing and showing the final piece but also to talking about it and showing the work in progress.’

2020 is the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini, Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’. This year also marks 1600 years since the death of St Jerome, who famously translated the Bible into Latin. These dates have inspired the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to dedicate 2020 as a year of focus on the Bible and ‘The God Who Speaks’. The Scripture Road Show is one of many celebrations of Scripture taking place throughout the year, including local events and activities across the diocese.

Photos from the Scripture Road Show are available here.