...for Candlemas at Westminster Cathedral. Things are depressing in any British city as 2011 opens. The Christian presence seems - at best - muted, the increasing presence of Islam is the most notable religious feature. Lurid magazines shriek pointless headlines about the sexual antics of nonentity TV "celebs". Young people seem angry and cross and sulky and frightened - you don't often hear laughter or giggles and the predominant noise from groups of people is often sullen sexual expletives or very loud crude obscenities as an argument breaks out.
Then the Cathedral and people are drawn to its presence as it is illuminated at night and looks warm and glowing across the piazza. Inside, people hold candles, and faces are lit up, and music soars. A great rumble of voices responds as the back-and-forth of the Mass begins. There is appropriately glorious music at the Gloria. Christ is our light!