“Hosanna to the Son of David, blessings on Him who comes in the name of the Lord” With these words we walk in procession today waving palms to mark the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and begin the Solemn Celebrations of Holy Week. As well as the normal schedule of Masses today there will be an evening sung service of Tenebrae in the Cathedral at 7.30pm. This is a service of reflections on the betrayal, suffering and death of Christ – after each of the sung reflections a candle is extinguished until the last light – the Christ candle – is put out after we hear the final psalm, the Miserere, signifying the Lord’s death on the cross, concluding with a final prayer and departure in silence. This prepares us for the week ahead as we walk the journey of Christ’s passion leading to the glory of the resurrection.
The Feasts to which all of the season of Lent prepares us for are the Sacred Triduum days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (Easter). The Office of Readings and Morning Prayer at 10am on each of these days provide a time of prayer for us to prepare for the later liturgies. On Holy Thursday we re-enact the Lord’s Supper which he shared with his apostles on the night he was betrayed and arrested. The second reading from St Paul on the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Gospel account of the washing of the disciples feet outline the principal focus of the evening service at 7.30pm. The Archbishop will wash the feet of 12 of the congregation accepting the Lords ‘mandatum’ to do this in memory of him and we, the church community, renew our service of one another and our devotion to Christs presence in the Eucharist. We conclude the evening celebration by processing to the altar of repose to watch in quiet prayer in memory of the Lord’s Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Good Friday we keep as a day of reflection on the Lords Passion and Death with prayer and devotions in the morning (Office at 10am, Stations of the Cross at 11.30am) leading up to the Solemn Service at 3pm. We mourn the Lords Death and Venerate the Cross as the sign of the triumphant symbol of Christ’s victory over sin and death. Apart from the sung office on Saturday morning there are no celebrations of the Sacraments until the Easter Vigil at 9pm at both the Cathedral and St Vincent’s. (NB there is no Crypt Vigil Mass next Saturday).
Holy Saturday is a day of waiting and preparation as we await the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection, the Lord has been laid in the tomb only to be raised on high. There is a walk of witness starting from the steps of our Cathedral down to the Parish church of Our Lady and St Nicholas at 2pm led by Archbishop Malcolm and Bishop Paul Baines.
I am hoping to attend the funeral service for Ken Dodd this Wednesday at Liverpool Cathedral. Ken had supported events here over the years without any expectation of a payment or fee. Most recently he compered a Dickensian Christmas concert and spoke at last year’s SAMM Service. He was not only a great entertainer but also a man of strong faith. So many people on Merseyside have fond memories of him – May he rest in peace.
Please see our information sheet for the full list and times of services in Holy Week.
Canon Anthony O’Brien