In Your Midst

Cathedral Almanac

April 2008

Snapshots of life at St. James Cathedral, December 2007-March 2008


Madre de las Americas1.  Madre de las Americas, the annual Archdiocesan celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, gathered people from across Western Washington for a lively and colorful celebration, complete with dancers, drummers, even a Mariachi band!

8.  Simbang Gabi is a wonderful, colorful, prayerful way to prepare our hearts, in the company of Mary, for the coming of her Son, Jesus. Some 80 parishes brightened this celebration with their parols, symbolizing Christ, Light of the World.

14.  Archbishop Brunett celebrated the tenth anniversary of his installation as Archbishop of Seattle.

17.  More than five hundred gathered for our annual Advent Penance Service.

19.  The Greening of the Cathedral took place in the evening.  The St. James Young Adults once again came through big-time to prepare the Cathedral not only for  Christmas, but for our centennial finale.

Installation of Mensa in Cathedral Courtyard22-23.  Centennial of the Dedication of St. James Cathedral (and the conclusion of our three-year Centennial observance).  One-hundred years to the day when Bishop O’Dea in the presence of packed throngs blessed and dedicated St. James Cathedral, we marked the moment with especially beautiful liturgies and the blessing of a new historic marker in the Archbishop Murphy Courtyard (see December 2007 issue).  In his homily for this weekend, Father Ryan said:  “we have no less reason to feel those same emotions our forbears felt, no less reason to join their prayer of thanksgiving because we, too, have had a hand in building St. James Cathedral.  When I say that I am referring not only to the renovations, the expansions and additions, the art works newly commissioned and wonderfully restored that we have been part of.  I include those, of course, but I refer most of all to what I like to call the living Cathedral; for a church building, be it a great cathedral or a humble chapel, fulfills its highest calling not by being the church but by becoming a house for the church, a house for the People of God.  And we are that people.”  Read Father Ryan's entire homily here.

25.  Christmas.  Many thousands gathered to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord at St. James Cathedral—and to visit the beautiful Christmas Crib.  Father Ryan noted in his homily:  “we can approach the manger just as we are, with all our complicated histories, our sins, our dreary compromises, our false perceptions, our wrong starts.  Because of Christmas, we know that here and here alone we are loved and accepted for who we are, not for who we wish we were. On the messy floor of the manger God embraces each of us, embraces our poor flesh and charges it with divinity!”  Read Father Ryan's entire homily here.

31.  New Year’s Eve Gala.  The annual concert—as always, full to capacity— featured the music of J. S. Bach—and, of course, a Midnight Surprise!

Epiphany of the Lord Celebration6.  The Epiphany of the Lord.  At the Noon Mass on this feast, the Three Kings came in the procession and then joined the Christmas Crib in the Cathedral Chapel.

19.  Messiaen Concert.  Dr. James Savage conducted a splendid performance of Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine.

20.  Santo Niño Celebration.  Each year we celebrate the “Holy Child” with a blessing of images of the Child Jesus at the Noon Mass, followed by a magnificent fiesta in the Cathedral Hall. This year there were also educational displays about Filipino culture and tradition.


2.  Liturgy Day.  The Cathedral’s EMs, Readers, Ushers, and Emmaus Companions gathered for a day of renewal in their ministries and to celebrate Mass together on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

5.  Olivier Latry, titular organist of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris, gave a dazzling recital in the Cathedral this evening.  The P-I’s music critic, Richard Campbell, noted, “Like all first-class French organists, Latry is an accomplished improviser.  He ended his concert with an improvisation on two themes… not given to the organist until intermission.  What resulted was amazingly detailed and imaginative.”

6.  Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the season of Lent.  Father Ryan said in his homily for today:  “we need this season, all forty-plus days of it.  We really do.  We need Lent so we can learn to breathe again. We need Lent so we can breathe in the breath of God, God’s Holy and life-giving Spirit.  We need Lent so we can get in touch with the deepest longings of our hearts: our longing for God, and we can’t do that in a day.” Read Father Ryan's entire homily here.

7.  The Rite of Election was celebrated in the Cathedral not only for our own twenty catechumens—adults and young people—but also for hundreds of others from parishes across Western Washington, all preparing to be baptized at Easter.

Governor Gregoire with St James ESL staff20.  Governor Gregoire created Washington’s New Americans Policy Council today in a signing ceremony at our own Pastoral Outreach Center.  “The United States and especially Washington have flourished through the contributions of people who come to our nation with their skills and ideas,” Gregoire said. “We need to take a more systematic approach to helping them succeed and become citizens.”  The governor thanked St. James for hosting the ceremony and praised its community efforts, particularly its extraordinary St. James ESL Program.


8.  Holy Family Pilgrimage.  Each year, the parishioners of Holy Family Parish in White Center walk seven miles to the Cathedral, praying all the way, concluding their journey with Mass in the Cathedral followed by a picnic lunch (and a bus ride home!).  This year the group was more than 200 strong!

9.  St. James Cathedral was honored with a visit from H.R.H. Prince Philippe, Crown Prince of the Belgians, who was in Seattle visiting Microsoft, Starbucks, and other  local businesses.

11.  The Health and Healing Committee sponsored the third annual Parish Blood Drive in the Pastoral Outreach Center.  Forty-one people donated blood this year.

12.  Archbishop Brunett presided at the Chrism Mass, which gathers hundreds of priests and laity from across Western Washington for the blessing of the oils.

Palm Sunday Procession16.  Palm Sunday.  The annual procession of palms led us from the O’Dea Gym to the Cathedral at the beginning of the 10:00am Mass.  What a great way to start Holy Week!

20-23.  The Sacred Triduum of the Lord was celebrated with great solemnity.

22.  On Holy Saturday, fifteen adults and five young people were baptized by Archbishop Brunett at the Great Easter Vigil.

23.  It was a rainy, grey, very early Easter, but that didn’t prevent more than 6,000 people from celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord at one of five beautiful Easter Masses at St. James.  In his homily for today, Father Ryan said:  “Who but God could ever have even dreamed of Easter?  Certainly not ourselves because Easter flies in the face of all we know to be true; it flies in the face of all human experience and all common sense.  For common sense and human experience know that there is really ‘nothing new under the sun’ as the Scripture has it.  We are born, we live, we laugh, we weep, we dance, we mourn, we die.  But Easter says there’s more.  Easter is God’s cosmic announcement that there’s more—that death no longer has the last word. Easter says that everything is new—now that Jesus is new.”  Read Father Ryan's entire homily here.

29.  More than 100 parishioners and friends gathered at the Seattle Art Museum for a fun event celebrating Ghiberti’s magnificent Gates of Paradise—in Seattle for the first and only time!  Read more about Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise here.


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