At the recommendation of the cathedral chapter, Fr Tony Brennan, parish priest of St Mary’s in Dunstable and Fr Francis Higgins, parish priest of the St Barnabas Cluster in Milton Keynes, have been appointed Chapter Canons. Fr John McArdle, parish priest in St Joseph’s, Luton and Fr Joe Walsh, parish priest of St Peters, Rushden have been appointed Honorary Canons.
The role of The Chapter is to celebrate the more solemn liturgical functions in the Cathedral, and to support the life of the Diocese in their prayers. On occasion the Chapter may be called to sing the office in the Cathedral. Much of the role of the Cathedral Chapter today is ceremonial. The story of the first Canons can be read here.
Honorary Canons are often senior parish priests with many years parish experience. The entirety of the chapter support the mission of the Cathedral in the name of the Bishop and through the Cathedral Dean.
They wear fur around their necks, originally the fur of an alpine weasel due to the often cold drafty places within a Cathedral and a look back to a time when Cathedrals were monastic places of prayer in the Middle Ages.
The installations began with the Reading of a letter by Fr James Evans, the vice-chancellor from Bishop David. This was followed by the profession of faith of all the new canons, as is the norm prior to any significant office taken in the Church. Then the canons made their promise of obedience to observe the confidentiality of the matters discussed. Finally, the canon is shown to the chair assigned for him.
Following the installations, the chapter and all those present prayed the midday psalms led by the Provost, Msgr Sean Healy.
All chapter canons and honorary canons now hold the title ‘Canon’.