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Christmas Journey
A pilgrimage of prayer through St. James Cathedral

During the Year of Prayer and Renewal, 2005-2006, we offered special "ways" of prayer in the Cathedral for the various feasts and seasons of the Church’s year. This Christmas Journey guides you to the art and images in the Cathedral that speak to this holy season of Christmas.

1 The Year of Prayer and Renewal (North Aisle)

Gracious God, for one hundred years
you have blessed this Cathedral parish.
We give thanks to you for the countless men and women
whose prayer in the name of Jesus Christ
has made this a holy place.
Be with us during this year of Prayer and Renewal.
Help us to walk in Jesus Christ,
faithful to the promises of our baptism.
As we gather Sunday after Sunday
around the table of your Son,
may we grow together in faith, hope, and love.
We ask this through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

2 The Infant Jesus of Prague (North Aisle)
For centuries, Christians have had a special devotion to Jesus as the Holy Child. The statue of the Child Jesus in Prague has been a favorite of Catholics since the 17th century.

O God, hidden in the guise of childhood,
in you I behold the King of Heaven.
If you wished, a thousand legions of angels
would come at your call,
sprinkling your swaddling clothes with golden stars.
(St. Thérèse)

 

3 St. Anthony of Padua (North Aisle)
In art, St. Anthony is traditionally represented holding the Child Jesus.

O gentle and loving Saint Anthony,
whose heart was full of sympathy,
whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet infant Jesus,
who loved to be folded in your arms.
(from a traditional prayer to St. Anthony)

 

4 St. Therese, the Little Flower (South Aisle)
Thérèse’s name in religion was Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, reflecting her great devotion to Jesus Christ, holy Child and crucified Lord.

In the Orient a star appeared,
and we followed its mysterious course.
Heaven protects us, and our procession
Follows the brilliant star, braving rain and snow!
Let each one get ready… the star is coming to rest!
Let the celebrating begin, let us adore the Child!
(St. Thérèse)

 

5 St. Joseph (South Aisle)
This image, the work of an Italian studio, has been part of St. James Cathedral since its dedication on December 22, 1907.

Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. (Matthew 1: 20-21, 24)

 

6 Our Lady of Grace (North Transept)
This image of Mary as Our Lady of Grace dates from 1907. The North Transept windows above this beloved image of the Mother of God represent the Nativity of the Lord, with the shepherds (left) and the Magi (right). They are the work of Charles Connick, and were installed in 1918-19 as part of the rebuilding of the Cathedral following the collapse of the great dome.

Father, source of light in every age,
the virgin conceived and bore your Son
who is called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace.
May her prayer, the gift of a mother’s love,
be your people’s joy through all ages.

(Prayer for January 1 - Mary, Mother of God)

 

7 Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The image of Mary holding the Child Jesus dates from the 19th-century. It is based on the famous medieval altarpiece of Blaubeuren, Germany.

You are my Son, I will rock you with lullabies.
I am your Mother, but I will give honor to you.
My Son, I have given birth to you,
but you are older than I am.
I have carried you in my womb,
but you sustain me on my feet.
I don’t know how to explain that you are silent,
when I know that all thunder resounds in you.

(“Mary’s Cradle Song,” St. Ephrem the Syrian)

 

8 Nativity Triptych (in stairwell leading to Chapel)
The triptych is the work of Cathedral Iconographer Joan Brand-Landkamer. The image of St. John the Evangelist was part of the Cathedral’s pulpit from 1950 to 1994.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
(John 1: 14)

 

9 The Renaissance Altarpiece (Cathedral Chapel)
This magnificent altarpiece by Neri di Bicci (ca. 1456) depicts Mary about to nurse the child Jesus. They are surrounded by saints, witnesses to Christ from various times and places.

My sweet Jesus, you appear to me on your Mother’s breast,
all radiant with love.
Love is the ineffable mystery
that exiled you from your heavenly home…
Near you, O morning Star, I shall find a foretaste of heaven.
The ever-pure arms of your dear Mother
form for you a cradle, a royal throne.
(St. Thérèse)

 

10 The Christmas Manger Scene (Cathedral Chapel)
The manger scene in the Chapel will remain set up in the Cathedral Chapel through Epiphany, celebrated this year on January 8.

Lord our God,
in this Year of Prayer and Renewal,
fill us with your light.
May the simple beauty of Jesus’ birth
summon us always to love what is most deeply human,
and to see your Word made flesh
reflected in those whose lives we touch.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

(Prayer for the Second Sunday after Christmas, adapted)

 

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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303