Cathedral diary: April 2019

By Canon Anthony O'Brien, Cathedral dean

We journey through the final days of Lent and on to Holy Week and the celebration of Easter throughout the course of the month, and the solemn liturgies celebrated in the Cathedral really emphasise the meaning and great importance of this time.

The final two talks in our Lenten series ‘Walking in the footsteps of the Saints’ take place the first two Tuesdays in April at 7pm in the Gibberd Room. On 2 April Fr Denis Blackledge SJ will be discussing St Ignatius of Loyola and his ‘spiritual exercises’. The following Tuesday will be the turn of Archbishop Malcolm, who will be talking about St Augustine of Hippo and his ‘Confessions’.

We begin Holy Week by gathering in the Cathedral garden for an 11am blessing of palms on 14 April, weather permitting. This is one of the two days in the year when the Passion narrative is sung (the other being Good Friday), which heightens the drama and meaning of the narrative. On Palm Sunday evening at 7.30pm there is a special Holy Week Tenebrae service.

On Wednesday evening we assemble as a diocesan family to take part in the 7.30pm Mass of Chrism. At this service the priests renew their commitment, and the oils to be used in parishes across the diocese for the celebration of the Sacraments are blessed.

The three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday all start with a Choral Office of Readings and Morning Prayer at 10am. These help define a structure of prayer throughout these days focusing on the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord. The Evening Celebration of the Lord’s Supper is both a thanksgiving for the gift of the Eucharist and a renewal of dedication to follow Christ through lives of service; this concludes with watching until 10pm.

On Good Friday Bishop Williams will lead a service of Stations of the Cross after the sung office, and Archbishop Malcolm will preside in the afternoon at the 3pm Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion.

All are welcome to join us for an ecumenical Walk of Witness through Liverpool City Centre on Holy Saturday, beginning 2pm. Later that evening, at 9pm, our Easter Vigil commences outside the Cathedral main entrance with a blessing of the Easter fire and procession to celebrate, in Vigil and Eucharist, the Resurrection of the Lord.

Easter Sunday Mass times are like a normal Sunday, though we have a special Easter Choral Evening Prayer at 3pm for Easter Day.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter!