Advent, the beginning of the Church Year, begins tomorrow [Sunday 28 November 2010], the First Sunday of Advent. I am the canon-in-residence in Christ Church Cathedral for this first week of Advent, preaching at the Cathedral Eucharist at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning, and taking part in the Advent Procession at 5 p.m. tomorrow evening.
As part of the development of a spirituality programme at Christ Church Cathedral, today [Saturday 27 November] is being marked as an Advent Preparation quiet day from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and again from 2 to 4 p.m.
During the day, we will be invited to explore prayer through walking in a labyrinth located in the south transept of the cathedral.
The two-hour sessions will be led by the Revd Garth Bunting and Celia Dunne, who will introduce the idea of walking a labyrinth while praying. They will be available too for prayer guidance.
The labyrinth will remain in the South Transept throughout Advent and you are free to come and use it any time during cathedral opening hours.
Special Advent and Christmas services in the Cathedral include a Charity Carol Service (1.15 p.m., Tuesday 7 December), a Christmas Concert with the combined cathedral choirs (8 p.m., Wednesday 15 December), a Service of Five Lessons and Carols with the combined cathedral choirs (3.30 p.m., Sunday 19 December), a Service of Nine Lessons and Carols with the combined cathedral choirs (8 p.m., Monday 20 December), the First Eucharist of Christmas (11 p.m., Friday 24 December), and the Festival Eucharist on Christmas Day (11 a.m., Saturday 25 December).
Meanwhile, Christ Church Cathedral is also having a Christmas market in the crypt today [Saturday, 27 November] and on three successive Saturdays (4, 11 and 18 December) 2010. Santa will arrive at the gates of the cathedral today in a horse-drawn carriage and then make his way to Santa’s Grotto in the cathedral crypt.
As I make my labyrinth journey,
teach me Lord,
to see myself as I really am;
a pilgrim in this world,
a Christian called to love and respect;
let my conscience be clear,
my conduct without fault,
my speech blameless,
and my life well ordered.
Help me to remember that true happiness comes from you;
lead me safely through the troubles of this life;
so that I may join with you in the endless joy of Heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Canon Patrick Comerford is a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, and Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute .