December at the Cathedral

By Canon Anthony O'Brien

December at the Cathedral is a very special time of year, but it does bring with it the tension of balancing the anticipation of Christmas alongside remaining true to the season of Advent.

We mark the beginning of Advent with the rite of sprinkling newly blessed water at the start of all our Sunday Masses on 3 December, and later in the afternoon with a 5pm Service of Readings and Advent music entitled The Advent Sequence.

The Schools Advent Services are on 6/7 December and it is the Cathedral's turn to organise them – the script hasn't been finalised but the producer has informed the clergy that they have been demoted and won't be playing the part of the three kings this year! BBC Radio Merseyside then has its Annual Carol Service on 8 December from 7.30pm.
 
On the Second Sunday of Advent the choir will sing Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols after Evening Prayer at 3pm. Later that day, at 5pm, there is the Marie Curie Light up a Life Service in memory of all who have been connected with the hospice and its services. The following weekend we have our own Dickensian Carol Concert at 7pm on 16 December, compered by Roger Philips and involving our Cathedral Choirs and a variety of other musicians and singers. The next evening, from 5pm, the Festival of Carols takes place, incorporating readings, verse and Christmas music.
 
Our celebration of the Feast of Christmas begins with the First Vespers of Christmas and Blessing of the Crib at 3pm on Christmas Eve. Archbishop Malcolm will then preside at Midnight Mass which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4. Please note that this will begin at 11.30pm. There are also a number of Masses on Christmas morning, finishing with Solemn Mass incorporating the Christmas daytime readings and full choir at 11am.