Sunday, 21 November 2010

A gentle winter’s evening

Sunset at Skerries Harbour this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

Patrick Comerford

Winter has truly set in, and Advent begins next Sunday. And it was a beautiful morning in Christ Church Cathedral today as we celebrated the Kingship of Christ.

The canon-in-residence and preacher this morning was Canon David Moynan, and the Cathedral Choir was its best with the setting for the Choral Eucharist – Mozart’s Missa in C (Orgelsolo) (K259).

There was an additional treat when the choir also sang Zoltan Kodaly’s setting of Pange Lingua by Thomas Aquinas as the Communion Motet.

Winter lights at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

After coffee in the crypt, four of us headed off to La Taverna in Dublin’s Italian Quarter for a lingering, lazy lunch. At one stage during lunch, the rain was pouring down heavily, but it had eased off by the time we had finished and two of us headed out to Skerries, where I wanted to explore locations and venues for an Ash Wednesday retreat.

At the harbour in Skerries, standing in front of the Sailing Club, the sun was setting quickly, but there was a beautiful orange and purple glow on the western horizon, and it looked so warm it was tantalising enough to imagine that this was only early autumn.

By the time we had walked the pier the sun had set and darkness had fallen. We skipped back behind the Sailing Club onto the South Strand, and a full, silver moon was breaking through some wispy clouds. The tide was out, and there was a gentle sound of rolling waves in the distance.

We strolled on down the beach to Gerry’s to buy the Sunday newspapers, and also bought the Skerries Calendar, produced by Emily and David Diebold for Skerries News, with a rich collection of images local photographers.

The moon continued to move in and out from behind the clouds along the coast road back to Rush, and it was a gentle winter’s evening. I had worked without a break for almost two weeks, and I have been feeling a little “worse for the wear” with the symptoms of my sarcoidosis over the past few days. But this morning’s Cathedral Eucharist, this evening’s walk on the beach in Skerries and the sunset at the harbour were good for my sense of wellbeing.

I’m looking forward to next weekend in the cathedral. On the eve of Advent, we are having an Advent Quiet Day on Saturday next [27 November] led by the Revd Garth Bunting and Celia Dunne, and with an opportunity to explore our spiritual lives using a labyrinth in the South Transept.

On Sunday next [28 November], the First Sunday of Advent, when I am the preacher and the canon-in-residence, and the setting for the Cathedral Eucharist is Jean Langlais’s Messe Solemne. Then, at 5 p.m., we have the Advent Procession, with music and readings for Advent Sunday, with the combined cathedral choirs. This beautiful service has become one of the highlights of the year in the cathedral, and an appropriate way of preparing for the Coming of Christ.

Meanwhile, the labyrinth will continue to be available in the cathedral throughout the season of Advent.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin