Bishop likens carers to stonemasons carving the presence of Christ for the sick and vulnerable

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Bishop Tom Williams, auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, celebrated a special Mass for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with a particular focus on those caring for and helping the sick and vulnerable in society.

Bishop Williams, who worked as a hospital chaplain for many years, used his homily, preached in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, to herald the tireless efforts of front-line carers.


You can listen to the homily here.

Full Homily

This evening’s Mass from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is an invitation to all who are sharing and joining in to pray – and pray the prayer of Psalm 50.

This is one line: “Dear Lord, indeed you love truth in the heart, then, in the secret of your heart, teach me wisdom.” Now, those of you who are carers and have cared for others in these COVID times, you may have asked yourself the question that my mother frequently posed in times of frustration, difficulty and stress – and there were many of them in her life. She’d raise her eyes to heaven and simply say, “Dear God, why, oh, why do I bother?” She had a strong faith – a faith that never wavered. But that didn’t stop her from continually asking the same question. I am certain that there are many of you, me included, and particularly those on the front line of caring, who have expressed, and often, exactly the same sentiment.

There’s a well known tale which many of you may have heard before, and it may be fictitious, but it’s still worth telling. It was during the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London when the architect, Sir Christopher Wren, visited the site in the middle of the construction. He approached a workbench where three stonemasons were busily carving away. To each one, he asked the same question: What are you doing and why?

He received three contrasting answers. The first replied, “I’m carving this piece of stone as best as I am able. It’s my job. I have a wife and three children to feed. And this is how I do it.” The second said, “I am a stonemason of forty years experience, and it’s a privilege to be able to use my skills and crafts in this way with the gifts that God has given me.”

The third mason simply said, “Thanks to you, I’m building a beautiful cathedral.” Now, they were three excellent answers, but only one had that extra vision and understanding of the whole picture – and especially of his own small but essential part in what the architects wonderful design was to become. If that story is true, and I hope it is, I hope also that Sir Christopher Wren gave the job of carving the cornerstone of that cathedral to that same third mason.

As people of faith, we believe that Jesus Christ, our Saviour, our seat of wisdom and understanding is our cornerstone. And we are His great design – His cathedral.

A special thank you tonight to each and every one of you that form the Caritas network of England and Wales. This Mass is especially for you. It’s a network made up of 48 Catholic, diocesan and specialist Christian charities serving the poor and the vulnerable. Thanks to all of you. Each of you is working on that same workbench of our cathedral. Each of you have been stonemasons, carving the presence of Christ to those you meet – whether you know it or not. Whether you’re stonemason one, two or three, it is in the secret of your own hearts that you will find the wisdom of your actions.

Thank you and God bless you all.

In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.