First Sunday of Advent
We begin the season of Advent, which is one of the most beautiful and yet under-appreciated seasons of the Church year. The anticipation of the Feast of Christmas sadly seems to overshadow this season of waiting for the coming of the Lord. The readings this Sunday urge us to be awake to the presence of the Lord in our lives, and to be looking ahead to when he will come again. We are invited to be open to hear afresh the Word of God, a word of promise and of hope. This speaks of the past and the unfolding message of salvation through the coming of the Son of God, how this coming was longed for then and how it is just as urgently needed now and ultimately for the resolution of all things under God’s rule.
The entrance antiphon for Monday of the first week announces ‘Nations hear the message of the Lord, and make it known to the ends of the earth: Our Saviour is coming. Have no more fear.’ Below is a prayer to Our Lady of Advent.
‘O Lady and Mother of the One who was and is and is to come, dawn of the New Jerusalem. We earnestly beseech you, bring us by your prayers so to live in love, that the Church, the Body of Christ may stand in this world’s dark as a fiery icon of the coming of your kingdom. We ask you to obtain for us this mercy through Jesus Christ, your Son and Lord. Amen’
Along with the celebrations of the Sunday Masses over the 4 weeks of Advent there will be special choral services on each of the four weeks. On Sunday 2 December at 5pm there is an Advent Sequence Service of Readings and seasonal choral music.
On Sunday 9th at 3pm the choir will sing Bach’s cantata 140.
On the Third Sunday at 3.00pm the boy Choristers will perform Britten’s Ceremony of Carols after a shortened Evening Prayer.
At 5pm on Sunday 23 December all our choirs will be taking part in our Cathedral Festival Carol Service.
Over the last four weeks a group of about thirty very creative ladies have been busy working away in the Gibberd Room on a Tuesday afternoon taking part in the Creative Christmas Workshops. As well as flower arrangements they have been making everything from angels to picture frames out of materials that they have brought in themselves. I have occasionally sneaked in for a preview and been fascinated how what initially looks like a total mess can come together in a beautiful display over the course of a couple of hours with lots of fun, head scratching and sharing of ideas. The group will be designing wreaths and Christmas arrangements over the next two weeks.
On Wednesday evening NSPCC will hold their Christmas Carol Concert in the Cathedral beginning at 7pm. The music will be performed by Pop Vox which is a choir of 250 members and a Concert band from the Wirral.
On Thursday afternoon Bellerive FCJ will be holding their prize giving afternoon at the Cathedral.
A busy time!
Canon Anthony O’Brien