Throughout the month of December many thousands of people young and old will attend one of the many carol or memorial services at the Cathedral hosted by various charities and organisations in the lead-up to Christmas. For some it may be the only time that they will attend church over the Advent/Christmas period, and each year one of our principal aims in December is to try to offer as warm a welcome to visitors as we can and thus encouragement to join us for services over Christmas itself.
Along with the celebration of Mass for the First Sunday of Advent, we mark the change of liturgical season with a special Advent Sequence service of readings and music at 5pm on the first Sunday in December. The Celebration of Christmas, meanwhile, is a night of carols and Christmas favourites for all the family featuring BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips and the choirs of the Cathedral on Saturday 15 December at 7pm. We also have our Traditional Festival Carol Service at 5pm on the final Sunday of Advent, 23 December – the next-best thing to Carols at King’s College, with room for all and free.
First Vespers of Christmas and the Blessing of the Crib takes place at 3pm on Christmas Eve, marking the beginning of celebrations for the Feast of Christmas. Then Archbishop Malcolm will celebrate the First Mass of Christmas at midnight. Thankfully it will not be broadcast this year so I am looking forward to a calmer, stress-free celebration. We have a number of Masses on Christmas morning, my own favourite being the Christmas Day Mass at 11m with lots of families in attendance, the beautiful Prologue from St John as the Gospel reading and the choir in full voice before their Yule break.