One of the real joys of my new ministry at the Cathedral is the weekly “Faith Development” I lead with our Boys or Girls Choir after worship on a Sunday morning. We have been spending time in these first weeks thinking about the pivotal events that mark our Christian calendar such as Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
One of the boys was recently asking about “Halloween” and it was an opportunity for me to explain the Christian roots of this festival in “All Hallows’ Eve” or as we now call it, “All Saints’ Day”. Halloween was traditionally the precursor to All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1st and 2nd.
Many of the distinctions between All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day lay in pre-Reformation times. Today, it is probably helpful to see All Saints’ and All Souls’ as two sides of the one coin. Each articulates the same Christian hope through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but the two contrasting days reveal two important contexts to that one hope.
On All Saints’ Day we rejoice and give thanks for the lives of all of God’s saints. There is much to rejoice in: the example of their lives; the thrill of their stories and adventures; the communion and fellowship we share with them now and in eternity; the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us with love and prayer and provides us with hope amidst our own frailties and sins. On All Souls’ Day we recognise the other context of the passage from death to life: our experiences of parting and grief; the knowledge of absence as well as presence; the reality of the separation we feel despite the hope held out to us all through our loving Saviour. We offer our prayers for those we miss most deeply in the same hope whilst acknowledging the painful reality of the separation and loss we are likely to feel. All Souls’ Day has a particularly renewed global resonance in our time of pandemic.
On All Souls’ Day this year the Cathedral will be hosting a Eucharist at 7.00pm and included within the worship will be the Requiem Mass set to music by Gabriel Fauré. Our Director of Music, Alex Berry, has written more about this below.
During the Intercessions at this Eucharist we shall be reading out the names of those known to us who have died. Should you wish a dearly departed loved one to be named at this service you can request this either by writing their name on the physical list that is presently in the Cathedral, or alternatively, you can use this link.
You are, of course, warmly invited to join us in the Cathedral on Tuesday, November 2nd at 7.00pm as we reflect on both our personal experiences of bereavement, and also the sadness and grief the pandemic has brought to all our lives.
However, just as vitally, we shall do this in the context of our faith and hope in the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Canon Philip Gray
Acting Canon Precentor
The Requiem in D Minor by Gabriel Fauré is one of the great masterpieces of the romantic choral repertoire. It was written between 1887 and 1890, and is normally performed by choir, orchestra and organ. Here, the Cathedral Consort performs it in a stripped-back arrangement by David Hill, for organ, violin, cello and harp. This skilful arrangement highlights the intimacy of Fauré’s writing – this is chamber music at its very best. We are delighted to be working with the violinist, James Woodrow, cellist Waynne Kwon, and harpist, Eira Lynn Jones.
Alex Berry, Director of Music