Westminster Cathedral Decked in Flowers, Filled with Music
posted on 11 May 2005
Britain’s top floral decorators have turned the mother church of the country’s Roman Catholics into a spectacular flower festival in aid of children across the world.
Westminster Cathedral is until Sunday hosting a major Festival of Flowers and Music - the first of its kind in 10 years.
One million flowers arranged by 180 decorators adorn the aisles and alcoves of the Cathedral, while visitors are serenaded by the cathedral’s choristers and Woldingham choir among others.
The High Altar is surrounded by the work of Kenneth Turner, while the famous Arundel Carpet of Flowers, which has not been seen in London for 23 years, has been re-created for the occasion. Ornate vestments have been mounted around floral exhibits, while the side chapels are a riot of colours and imaginative patterns.
The festival was opened with a solemn High Mass yesterday at 5pm led by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.
He referred to a spiritual book which had nourished Catholics during penal times called The Garden of the Soul. Its author likened the human soul to a garden which must be nourished and pruned.
Visitors to the Cathedral in these days will be put in mind of the beauty of all our souls, the Cardinal said. The Church, he said, offers gifts – prayer, penance, the Sacraments – in order to “root out the weeds to allow the flowers to grow”.
The service, which was followed by a champagne reception, included readings from Isaiah 35 (“let the wasteland rejoice and bloom / let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil”) and John 20, in which Mary of Magdala meets the risen Jesus in the form of a gardener.
The festival, which is described by the Cathedral as “a breathtaking, fragrant, and heavenly experience not to be missed” is in support of and dedication to children across the world living in extreme poverty. One of the floral carpets was created by children.
The festival is open to the public 0930-1800, 11-14 May. Tickets priced £15 (0930-1400) or £10 (1400-1800) available from festival office by calling 020 7931 6028. Further details at www.westminstercathedral.org.uk