Posted by: annmucc | December 1, 2009

Advent Procession

Last week Michael came across a post about an Advent Procession held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday (with a repetition on Monday). It was listed as ‘One of the year’s most dramatic services’, and as Michael hadn’t been in the Cathedral before (you normally have to pay to visit…and I’ve been in it a couple of times for work) so he asked if I was interested. It was probably one of the first times (if not the first ;)) that Michael was the one pushing a religious activity, so who am I to argue?

So we arrive at the Cathedral, walking in with this whole throng of people: it definitely is a popular service! Luckily St Pauls is enormous, so it could easily seat us all :).

The service started with the priests and the choir (I apologise in advance if anyone who is Church of England is reading this and I am using the wrong terminology…being Catholic that is the terminology I know, but I have already been told off once for saying mass not service O:)…so I apologise in advance if I offend anyone ;)) near the front door. With a service interspersed with readings and singing, the choir slowly made its way at intervals to the nave, then the transepts, then under the dome, and finally in the choir, with each step lights being lit in the new area, so that gradually the cathedral passed from a state of darkness to a state of light.

Being a regular church-goer when I was back home, I was never all that interested in going to a sung mass (mainly cos it made the service longer, and less interesting to me :P). However, now that I am going less regularly, and also as mainly I end up going to a different denominational service rather than Catholic, I am starting to enjoy these services more, and appreciate the singing more than just something I need to wait out. In this case, having booklets with the words to be sung in Latin and an English translation was great…I could understand the words being sung (and could follow), and even more I was proud of myself that I could understand a great deal of the Latin…woohoo! (and no…I have never studied Latin, but it is sufficiently close to Italian and all the other bits and pieces I have learned from biology classes and from other services in Latin I have attended). There was only one hymn/song/anthem which I found VERY weird…the boys in the choir where in the transept singing what to me sounded very eerie, while a guy in the centre of the nave sung the melody…very eerie and weird in deed.

What did I think? I wouldn’t be all that excited if I was attending it every week :P. But it was really interesting for once a year (or once in a lifetime!). Certainly something to experience!

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