The Rose at Westminster Cathedral

  • Jo Siedlecka

Over the weekend, the front of Westminster Cathedral was dominated by a huge work of art: Mick Stephenson's 'The Rose'. This stunning installation, part of the Lumiere London exhibition, was made up of recycled bottles, transformed into a beautiful window, and lit up by energy provided by pedal power from lines of bikes. The artist's idea was that The Rose should remind us that light is a luxury we take for granted, exploring issues relating to poverty, sustainability and climate change, but at the heart of this message is that with light communities can be transformed.

In a reflection on the Cathedral website, Fr Andrew Gallagher wrote: "That description can easily be used for the Church and the light that should emanate from it. In our Gospel this weekend we are told of the calling of Simon and his brother Andrew, and then of Zebedee and John, as they cast their nets into the sea. It is easy to forget how shocking this calling was. The Messiah was not meant to call fishermen to help him save Israel, he was meant to call soldiers and the well educated who could help him conquer their oppressors; but instead Jesus picks the most unlikely characters to be his disciples. With hindsight, we can see that out of these seemingly broken and unlikely characters Jesus made something beautiful. With his creative eye and his light shining through them came the Church. And just like those recycled bottles that have been in our piazza this weekend, individually there were still blemishes, and by themselves they could not have spread the Gospel as they did. But combined with the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, God created something that he knew could shine beauty in our world, that could transform our community.

"So perhaps this weekend as we walk past this Rose window we could remind ourselves of our own role in this great work of art of the Church today. Of how we are called by God to play our part in shining his light in our community through being members of his Church. Through our contribution to this Cathedral parish, through working together to help those suffering from poverty, loneliness or ill-health, through praying for each other - this is how we can make sure that the beauty of Westminster Cathedral shines out beyond our Piazza and into the darkest corners of our city."


Lumiere London 2018 -

Westminster Cathedral -

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Tags: Westminster Cathedral, The Rose, Lumiere London

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