A Warm Welcome Back
It is great to be able to have public Masses once again and share Mass with those of you who feel able and safe enough to attend Mass at present and welcome people back to services. During the last four weeks of lockdown the Cathedral has been very quiet with very few private visitors. It almost felt as though we had gone into hibernation for that short period. Behind the scenes there was a great deal of work going on with filming and recording to complete online services and reflections for Advent. Fr Peter and Dr McElroy have been busy producing these and I think the results have been very impressive. They are the Cathedrals’ equivalent of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas! I hope you are have found them a helpful part of our Advent journey for this difficult time.
Not only did the clergy miss our Sunday congregations over these last few weeks. The Cathedral sound system also went into a sulk and misbehaved over the last few weeks for the live streaming services. We eventually discovered that the problem was all to do with having to tone the volume down due to the echo and reverberation within an empty building without a congregation. This meant that the balance of the two systems, one for the sound of the choir and the other for the spoken word was all out of sync with each other which affected the volume and clarity of some of the sanctuary microphones. Now that we are returning to congregational volumes we are hopeful that this problem should be resolved for the live streaming. I have made a mental note not to turn down the microphones even if we have an empty Cathedral when we are streaming even if we hear our voices echoing back at us in an empty building.
Looking ahead to the celebrations at Christmas-time in the Cathedral we have now published all the times of Masses and services. The uncertainty of the numbers attending, along with our much reduced capacity in order to maintain everyone’s safety has meant that we have had to introduce a ticketed system for attendance at the major services over the period. It is not a decision that has been taken lightly as we would normally want to have services open to all who come but we have been left with either this or the chaos and awkwardness of having to turn people away. We are however aware that not everyone will be able to book online, and that some services have already been fully booked prior to us reopening for public worship. For those of our regular congregations if you need help obtaining a ticket or have any queries regarding the various services please do get in touch with the Claire at Cathedral House as soon as you can on 0151 709 9222 or email@example.com.
The online ticketing site is ‘Eventbrite’ and this can be accessed from the link on our website. The times of our services for Christmas are as follows. The First Vespers and Blessing of the Crib is at 3pm on Christmas Eve. There is Christmas Vigil Mass at 6pm and Midnight Mass (with people being requested to arrive 30 minutes in advance to allow for everyone being safely seated). On Christmas Day there are Masses at 8, 9 and 11am. There are also two ‘Carols at the Cathedral’ services at 6pm on Saturday and Sunday 19th and 20th December. There are 250 tickets available for all of these Masses and services. The Midnight Mass, 11am Christmas Mass and First Vespers Service will all be live streamed. Once again if you have any problems regarding tickets please contact Cathedral House and if for any reason you have booked tickets and are not able to come please do cancel them so that those places can be available to others. We do expect that there will be a considerable demand for tickets.
Canon Anthony O’Brien Cathedral Dean