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Police support for British cathedral's open door policy

The Catholic Cathedral of St Barnabas in the English city of Nottingham has secured police assistance to train a roster of volunteers to "watch and pray" while the Cathedral doors remain open 24/7.

Already 25 people have signed up for the scheme, which involves an undertaking to keep watch for one hour per week. The Cathedral needs at least 100 volunteers.

Nottinghamshire Police and Social Services support the idea and have offered training in handling difficult situations.

Monsignor Tom McGovern told Independent Catholic News: "The Cathedral used to be open 12 hours a day every day but there have been a few thefts and other criminal offences and although such incidents are rare we've been forced to lock the doors when there's nobody around.

"This is a step of faith by the mother church of the diocese following the lead of some other parishes which already run rosters. Our recent diocesan assembly revealed that people from far and wide want to come to the Cathedral and we're expecting an increase in visitor numbers."

Thousands of people visit the Cathedral each year. Some come for quiet prayer or contemplation, some to enquire about the Catholic faith and others to enjoy the Pugin architecture or to visit the tomb of Nottingham's Mary Potter who is nominated for sainthood.

Nottingham: Catholic cathedral begins 24 hour open door policy (Independent Catholic News 3/2/04)

Diocese of Nottingham
St Barnabas Cathedral (

4 Feb 2004