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In 1933, one of the Cathedral priests, Rev. Edward McFadden, defined liturgy as:  "divine service in which all the human arts are used to form a method of expression, a language in which we speak to God and express our sentiments of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, propitiation, and petition."  He describes the liturgy of the time:  "Here at St. James' Cathedral we try to carry out the ceremonies of the Church as perfectly as possible.  There has grown up a tradition of good ceremonies.  Blessed with a fine, spacious Sanctuary well adapted for carrying out the ceremonies, a very fine Choir that carries out the prescriptions of the Holy Father on Liturgical Music, an interested group of altar boys, we hope to continue this tradition, always striving for perfection."

The liturgy at St. James Cathedral has reflected through the years the changes in the Church.  Through every age, the spirit remains the same.  As Father McFadden said, liturgy--the work of the people--is "an attempt of the finite to express the infinite; of the human to describe the divine; in a word, to express the inexpressible."

A procession around the Cathedral block in honor of Bishop O'Dea's silver jubilee as a bishop, 1921.  Courtesy of the Archives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle.

Bishop O'Dea gathers with children from throughout the diocese for the celebration of his silver jubilee as bishop of Seattle.  Courtesy of the Archives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle.

High Mass with Bishop Shaughnessy in the 1930s (Bishop Shaughnessy is seated in the Cathedra in the background of this photo).  Archbishop Howard of Portland is in the foreground with train-bearers and MC.

Installation of Bishop Thomas A. Connolly as coadjutor bishop of Seattle, 1948.

Palm Sunday procession on Columbia Street, 1950s.

Ordinations in the Cathedral, 1970s.  The 1994 renovation of the Cathedral renewed the liturgy in ways we could never have imagined at the time.  Click here to view a photo album of recent Cathedral liturgies.

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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303