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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 10th December 2023 Posted on Saturday 9 December 2023

Second Sunday of Advent

The pace of life here has picked up and increased considerably over the last week and I’m already starting to flag but there is not much chance of slowing down for the next few weeks. For this Second Sunday the Gospel Reading for mass announces the appearance of John the Baptist from the wilderness proclaiming a message of repentance and making ready for the salvation that is to come. This Sunday the Cathedral Boys choir will be performing Benjamin Brittens ‘Ceremony of Carols’ following Evening Prayer at 3pm. The Ceremony begins calling us to be ready to Wolcum the Saviour and Wolcum all who follow the Christ Child. Following this service there is a remembrance service ’Lights to Remember’ at 5pm in support of the work of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

St Mary’s College Crosby and then Bellerive FCJ have school prizegivings here on Monday and Wednesday. On Thursday Nugent have their annual ‘Light up a Life’ service at 12.30 and Clatterbridge come together for their pre Christmas Service in the evening. Our own Cathedral Pre Christmas celebrations have had to be all condensed over the weekend of the Third Sunday of Advent due to the following Sunday falling on Christmas Eve. On Saturday there is the ‘Celebration of Christmas’ Concert featuring Christmas Music and Carols and some festive fun to get us in the mood to celebrate Christmas. Then next Sunday evening at 5pm we will have our own Festival Carol Service.

The last of the Christmas trees have been put in place around the Cathedral buildings and at the start of next week the staff will begin putting the cribs in place in the Cathedral and Crypt. What may sound like small tasks within the home take on a different scale and have a different degree of  complexity  within a building such as ours. So they have to be carefully planned over a series of weeks. But the same satisfaction comes when each task is completed and the Cathedral slowly puts on the mantel of Christmas during these weeks.

This year we move from the Fourth Sunday of Advent in the morning to begin our Christmas liturgical celebrations with the First Vespers of Christmas and Blessing of the Crib at 3pm on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. We also have a Christmas Vigil Mass at 6pm in the Cathedral as well as Midnight Mass. Please be aware that the Midnight Mass this year will begin promptly at 11.30pm as it will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4. This will mean that the BBC crew will be here from Saturday morning, 23rd December, setting up their equipment and taking sound checks, rehearsals and recordings for service later in the year throughout that day. Our Christmas morning masses will be the same as on a normal Sunday morning.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean