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Advent Liturgies

To mark this holy season of longing and waiting, we change some of our usual liturgical practices.  The procession is modified and the altar is decorated more simply. During the liturgies, a greater role is given to silence, to the chanting of psalms, and to the ringing of bells. In accordance with a very ancient tradition in the church, the use of the organ is reduced during Advent.

Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a devotion Catholics have adopted from the Lutheran tradition. Prior to each Mass, the priest gathers with the liturgical ministers for the prayer and candle-lighting associated with the wreath. With each succeeding Sunday of Advent, an additional candle is lit on the wreath, a symbol of the dawning of the light of Christ into the world. The Advent wreath used in the Cathedral this year was designed by Father Josef Venker, SJ of Seattle University. The weathered wood base suggests the scripture heard each year during this season: A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom (Isaiah 11:1).

Evening Prayer with Music from Taizé

On Friday, December 1 at 6:30pm, this beloved monthly prayer service returns, with music, candlelight, and silence. Start your weekend with the meditative, peaceful spirit of Taizé.
Vespers: Evening Prayer

4:00pm Sunday afternoons. You are invited to join in the universal prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours, a forty minute service of sung prayer concluding with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. This beautiful candlelit service is the perfect conclusion to a December Sunday.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation

is celebrated each Saturday morning in the Reconciliation Chapel, from 8:30am until 9:30am.
Communal Reconciliation Service

will be held on Monday, December 18 at 7:00pm. During this beautiful service of readings, reflection and song, we will open ourselves to experience the gift of God’s gracious and loving forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.
The Immaculate Conception

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Friday, December 8. Masses for the Holy Day will be Thursday, December 7 at 5:30pm, and Friday, December 8 at 8:00am, 10:10am (with O’Dea High School), and 12:10pm. 

Madre de las Americas

Saturday, December 2, 11:30am, Entrance of the Dancers. 12:10pm, Mass with Bishop Elizondo. The Hispanic community of Western Washington comes together at this celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mother of the Americas. All are welcome both for the procession and the Mass!
Simbang Gabi Celebration

Saturday, December 9, 11:00am Mass. Join Bishop Frank Schuster and participants from some dozens parishes for the festive opening celebration of Simbang Gabi, a novena of Masses in which we prepare for Christmas in company with Mary. This colorful and prayerful Mass includes the blessing of parols (traditional star shaped lanterns from the Philippines) and helps us to focus our Christmas celebration on the coming of Jesus, Light of the World. All are welcome.

Cathedral Dedication Anniversary

Friday, December 22 marks 116 years since St. James Cathedral was dedicated in 1907, and 29 years since it was rededicated in 1994. We will celebrate this anniversary with a special Mass on Thursday, December 21 at 5:30pm, with the lighting of the dedication candles. Father Ryan will preside.
Advent Retreat: Enlarge the Space of Your Tent

Sunday, December 10, 1:30pm-3:45pm, Cathedral Hall. In the midst of the noise and frantic pace of December, take time to enter into the mysterious gift of Advent stillness. Reflect on how God invites us to enlarge the spaces of our own hearts and lives to receive the Christ who comes to us every day. This afternoon retreat will allow participants to gather in quiet and includes Advent points for prayer, scripture, ample time for quiet reflection, and for those who choose, space for small group sharing. Participants are encouraged to conclude with Evening Vespers at 4pm. Our afternoon will be led by Steve Donaldson, experienced retreat leader, who brings a rich background of leading others in prayer and discernment. Registration, Patrick Barredo, 206-382-4515 or pbarredo@stjames-cathedral.org. Information, Patrick Barredo, 206-382-4515 or pbarredo@stjames-cathedral.org.  
The Giving Tree

Stop by the Mary shrine to pick a tag off our annual Giving Tree, or visit the Cathedral website for the virtual Giving Tree. Each tag contains a gift wish from someone in need in our community. It’s easy and fun to participate: simply shop for the gift and return it after Sunday Mass in the Cathedral Chapel or have it shipped to the Parish Office by Sunday, December 17. Information, Patrick Barredo, 206-382-4515 or pbarredo@stjames-cathedral.org .
Sock Drive

Our Annual “Warm Hearts and Soles” Advent Sock Drive is underway! Our Goal: 2,024 pairs of socks for homeless men. Please drop socks off in the Cathedral Chapel or in the Parish Office. If you're ordering socks online, have them shipped directly to St. James Cathedral!

Christmas Masses

The celebration of Christmas begins with the Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24 at 4:30pm (**please note time change this year!). The celebrations continue with the Mass during the Night—Carol Service at 9:00pm, Mass at 10:00pm on Sunday, December 24. The Masses of Christmas Day on Monday, December 25 will be at 8:00am, 10:00am, 12:00 Noon, and 5:30pm. Solemn Vespers of Christmas will be at 4:00pm on Christmas Day.
Candlelight Mass on New Year's Eve

On Sunday, December 31 at 5:30pm, we end the year with a contemplative celebration of the Eucharist, hundreds of candles, and the music of the ecumenical community of Taizé. What better way to bring 2023 to an end, and pray for joy, peace, and reconciliation in the year ahead?

Mary, Mother of God

This year, because the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God falls on a Monday, it is not a holy day of obligation. We will have two Masses for this great solemnity on Monday, January 1 at 8am and 10am. The Cathedral will close following the 10am Mass.


Musical Prayer for Advent

Saturday, December 2 at 8:00pm
Medieval Women’s Choir
Hodie Christus Natus Est! A Medieval Celebration of the Nativity

The Medieval Women's Choir and the Boston Camerata (Anne Azéma, Artistic Directror) come together for a glimpse of Christmas spirituality from Medieval France, Italy, England, and Provence, including music of the church and songs of private devotion around the joyous theme of the Nativity. Included are songs to the Virgin Mary, processionals from Saint Martial of Limoges, hymns, lyrics, and miracle ballads, sung in Latin, Old French, Old Provencal, Saxon, interlaced with Medieval English texts. Tickets and more info at https://medievalwomenschoir.org/events/ or 206-717-4550. A limited number of pay-what-you-can parishioner passes are available at the Cathedral parish office reception desk or through the music office.

Saturday, December 9 at 8:00pm

Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble
The Flower of Peace

Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble welcomes the holiday season with a stunning program of choral music for Advent and Christmas. Celebrate the Joy and Mystery of the season and enjoy moments of quiet reflection and soaring grandeur—all shimmering in the heavenly acoustics of St. James Cathedral. This program includes Pierre Villette’s Hymne á la Vierge, Ola Gjeilo’s Serenity, and a rich selection of music by Pacific Northwest composers, including Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, Jessica French’s Fix Your Eyes Upon the Star, and John Muehleisen’s Invocation. As we close out this year, may the beauty of these choral works bring you a sense of peace and hope. Tickets ($20-$40, students pay what you can at the door w/id) and more info at opus7.org or call 206-782-2899. Pay-what-you-can parishioner passes are available at the parish office reception desk or through the music office.

Friday, December 15 at 7:00pm
A Service of Readings and Carols

St. James presents our annual Service of Readings and Carols. In the soft glow of candlelight, St. James Cathedral’s youth choirs and organists offer music for the Advent season, with traditional readings from Holy Scripture heralding Christ’s birth. This prayer is open to all; freewill offering.
Information, 206-382-4874 or www.stjames-cathedral.org/music


Return to St. James Cathedral Parish Website

804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303