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Death and happiness at St Paul's

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral

Two speakers from Heythrop College, University of London, will be contributing to four debates at St Paul's Cathedral in London this month.  Jesuit priest, Dr James Hanvey SJ, who teaches systematic theology at Heythrop and is theological adviser to the Bishops' Conference, will be reflecting on the great taboo of our society, and the great universal: death (24 October).  This will be followed by Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ, a sister of the Congregation of Jesus and a lecturer in Theology and Spirituality at Heythrop, whose topic will be happiness (31 October).

The talks will form part of a programme of debates and services at St Paul's addressing Love, Suffering, Death and Happiness. 'The services are simple and informal and aim to provide a peaceful environment for quiet prayer and reflection, weaving together music, readings, reflective sermons and prayer,' says Elizabeth Foy from the Cathedral.  The first service attracted about 200 people who heard Fr Nicolas Stebbing CR, a Zimbabwean priest and the founder-director of the Harare-based Tariro - Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe - speak about suffering.

At Dr Hanvey's evening, music will be by Handel and Finzi and will include settings of Shakespeare sung by the mezzo-soprano Clare McCaldin.  Clare will also be singing on 31 October. 'Images which offer happiness bombard us on every side, but happiness itself eludes or proves transient.  What leads to happiness, or contentment, or joy?' asks Sr Gemma who has worked among women and street children in Brazil and is a volunteer on the chaplaincy team in Holloway Prison.

Elizabeth Foy says there is no need to book ahead; people can just come along. Both events begin at 6.30pm. The doors are open at 6pm.   For more information, see www.stpauls.co.uk or e-mail forum@stpaulscathedral.org.uk