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Friday, February 24, 2017
Millennium sewing marathon
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¬†It is probably the largest sewing project in the country. A team of seamstresses are working round the clock making hangings and banners for the National Catholic Jubilee Mass, which takes place at the National Exhibition Centre Arena in Birmingham on 29 May. Based at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, the 15-strong group are used to challenging commissions. In 1987, they made the banners that decorated St Peter's Basilica in Rome for the Martyrs of England, Wales and Scotland. They have also provided decorations for several Royal occasions. As team leader Sr Anthony Wilson MBE explained: "This is a particularly daunting project. The NEC Arena is simply massive. If we weren't bold, our banners would just look like bookmarks. We consulted carefully with the architect Gerald Murphy, who designed the altar. We also looked at what other stage designers had done for a band that was performing there the day we visited." She explained: "The hangings for the alter are 22 feet long and seven feet wide, made from yellow and white heavy damask. The central panel has a figure of Christ in liquid gold cut through to reveal a red cross with the Holy Spirit flying above. Each side panel has words in red on turquoise applique: on the left side: Way, Truth, Life; in the central panel: Christ; and Joy, Peace and Love on the right." Sr Anthony is artistic director at the Cathedral. It is a job she took on when she retired as head of the art department at Mount Pleasant College in Liverpool. Based in a big studio that occupies the mezzanine floor of the Cathedral, she supervises a 55-strong team who make all the Cathedral's vestments, hangings and liturgical items - as well as taking commissions from all over the world. Last August Sr Anthony received an MBE from the Queen. In January this year, Prince Charles invited her to St James' Palace in appreciation of her work. The National Catholic Jubilee Celebration Mass is set to be the largest Mass in the UK since the Pope's visit in 1982. Twelve thousand are expected to attend. Organised by four lay organisations - The Catenian Association, the Union of Catholic Mothers, Catholic Women's League and Knights of St Columba - a donation of £5 is being asked for tickets. Children come free. To obtain tickets, send a SAE to Mr David Taylor, 127 Wynchgate, Winchmore Hill, London N21 1QT.
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