News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
This year we have a Lent free February with the consequence that Easter and the subsequent feasts will be quite late in the spring and early summer of 2019.
We begin the month with the Feast of Candlemas on the first Saturday which will mean that it will rather get neglected in favour of the weekend celebrations of the 4th Sunday – it is a shame that it wasn’t transferred to the Sunday celebrations for this year.
On the afternoon of Sunday 3 February there is a Service of the Word as the formal opening ceremony for the Diocesan Synod to mark the start of the journey of preparation and discussion leading up to the final assembly in October 2020. The members of the Synod will be commissioned at this ceremony to which you are all invited.
Archbishop Malcolm will preside at the Annual Mass to celebrate Marriage and Family Life on 17 February at 11.00 am. As part of this Mass any couples who are celebrating significant anniversaries this year are invited forward for a special blessing by the Archbishop at the end of Mass.
The rest of the month of February is taken up with exams and social events in the Crypt and apart from services, choral and singing events in the Cathedral. Looking ahead there is the Annual Civic Mass at 11.00 am in the Cathedral on Sunday 3 March followed by Ash Wednesday on 6 March.
A time of reflection
by Dr Christopher McElroy - Director of Music, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
February is possibly the quietest month of the year here at the Metropolitan Cathedral. The busyness and excitement of Advent and Christmas give way to the calm of Ordinary Time. With Easter being quite late this year Ash Wednesday doesn’t fall until March 6th.
A quieter time such as this gives us an opportunity to reflect on why we do what we do. The cathedral musicians and choristers gather on a daily basis to make music here in the Cathedral. The Church teaches that we gather to pray and sing for two reasons. Firstly, to give glory to God. Secondly, for our own sanctification.
When we give praise to God we are doing so because we are thankful for all that God has given us, particularly the gift of his Son who died that we might be saved
If you have ever been to the Sistine Chapel in Rome you may have seen the famous creation scene which Michelangelo completed in 1513. The famous (and recently deceased) Jesuit liturgist Father Robert Taft made the astute observation that we see in the scene God’s outstretched finger almost, but not quite, touching the outstretched finger of Adam. As Father Taft puts it, liturgy (and its music) fills the gap between these two fingers.
God created us, gave us life, saved us and redeemed us. We respond by giving unceasing thanks and praise. We gather together in the liturgy as a Church because God has called us to do so. God is constantly phoning or texting us to ask us to answer his call. But we must answer. We must pick up the phone or respond to the text message. Only then can we accept the call. Our response is that of giving glory to God. Through this giving back to God what is his, we sanctify ourselves and seek to live as his disciples here on earth.
Music has historically been one of the most expressive ways to respond to God’s call. The famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach used to conclude his compositions by writing ‘Soli Deo Gloria’. To the Glory of God alone.
The music that we use in liturgies at the Cathedral allow us to express the praise of God in ways that words simply don’t allow us. Music allows us to draw nearer to God, and to experience his presence in our midst.
This is why we sing and make music each day here at the Cathedral!