Cathedral Bulletin | November 24, 2020
Scroll down for: Register for this weekend's Masses; Thanksgiving Food Drive; Advent Giving Tree; Poem of the Week; and coming online opportunities
Holding onto hope
Dear Friends,

During these darkest and shortest days of the year – and in the midst of a pandemic that is steadily gaining its grip on our world, not losing it – I have found myself reflecting on how important it is to hold onto hope, to keep hope alive. But, to be honest with you, it’s not always easy. Some days are better than others. And something tells me that your experience is probably much the same. There are so many things that militate against hope, aren’t there? So many things can cause us to become cynical and sour.

Of course, some people are naturally inclined to be more hopeful than others. Maybe you are among them. Speaking for myself, I’d have to own that sometimes my Irish melancholy and fatalism can get the best of me! However, in my better days, I am able to see the bright side, and I thank God for that.

And people, of course, look for hope – and find hope - in many different places. Many of us, these days, find the growing likelihood of the availability of a vaccine for COVID-19 to be a real source of hope although, as we all know, there are people – an alarming percentage, it seems – who make it clear that they have no intention of availing themselves of a vaccine when it does become available. And in the wake of a bruising national election, there are tens of millions of people who are hopeful about a new administration taking over in Washington, but you hardly need me to tell you that there are nearly as many millions who are disbelieving and anything but hopeful at the prospect! All this to say that it’s somewhere between difficult to impossible – if we look at the world scene and the national scene - to come to any kind of agreement on what we have to be hopeful about.

But enough of the war between hope and hopelessness! Let me remind you of a reason we all have to be hopeful. We are about to enter the month of December, and on the Church’s calendar, that means the beginning of Advent, our great season of expectant hope. It’s no accident that Advent comes during the very darkest days of the year. In Christian antiquity, when a date for celebrating Christmas was settled on (no one, of course, knew what time of year Christ was born), the time of the winter solstice was chosen – the time when pagans celebrated the feast of Sol Invictus (the Invincible Sun). What more appropriate time to mark the coming of Christ into our world, Christ who is the Invincible Sun (and Son!), Christ who is our light in darkness, our hope!

Who doesn’t love Advent with its purple vestments, its haunting melodies, its flickering candles, its ringing bells, its quiet anticipation, its sheer – if restrained – joy? And this year, more than any I can remember, we need Advent. We really do. In 2020, more than ever before, we need a ray of light in darkness, we need a rekindling of hope, the hope that the coming of Christ at Christmas brings.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could anticipate that Coming with the joy and excitement that children have at Christmas? And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we would not only look with wonder at the Christ child, poor and vulnerable, lying in the manger, but also look with love at the Christ living in so many of our sisters and brothers who are as poor and vulnerable as he was?

We have had to let go of so many of our beloved traditions this year. And I am painfully aware that many of us are isolated and homebound, separated from our families, friends and loved ones at the very time we most look forward to being together. But let me offer just a few suggestions on how we can still enter into Advent this year, feeding our spirits and finding Christ in our brothers and sisters.

  • Mass. We have four Masses every weekend, and more and more of you are coming. It’s our most important prayer, and if you’re able to, it’s the perfect Advent prayer. If you’re concerned about being around a lot of people, consider slipping into the Cathedral for daily Mass at 8:00am during the week, where you’ll encounter much smaller numbers and a serene and quiet atmosphere.
  • Musical Prayer from the Cathedral. Even though we can’t pack the Cathedral for our December concerts, we can still enjoy the peace and beauty of Advent music. Each Friday during Advent, at 6:30pm, join in a short livestream concert. It’s a wonderful way to experience a half hour of pure beauty at the end of the week.
  • The Advent Giving Tree is online this year. Visit the Cathedral website to see a wish list and as you do your Christmas shopping, consider also buying a gift for someone who needs it—whether a young mother living in poverty, a youth in juvenile detention, an immigrant family, or a child of migrant workers in the Skagit Valley.
  • Advent Readings and Carols. We can’t gather in person for Advent Readings and Carols this year, but tune in on Sunday, December 20 at 6:30pm for a livestream service that will help prepare our hearts and spirits for the coming of Christmas.

           My friends, during these days of the pandemic when we might be inclined to turn in on ourselves a bit - chafing against the limitations placed on us and worrying about the future over which we have no control – perhaps the thought that we can be a source of hope for others will charge our batteries and re-focus our energies as we reach out in love to those who have far less reason to hope than we do. Wouldn’t this be the perfect way to celebrate Christmas – and capture the meaning of Christmas – during an Advent and Christmas unlike any other we’ve ever known or, please God – ever will know!

Father Michael G. Ryan

Thanksgiving Day Mass and Food Drive
Thursday, November 26, 2020 at 9:30am

There are still a few spots left!

As always, you are invited to bring non-perishable food items with you to share with the needy in our community. This year, because of the limitations on the size of our gathering, we are collecting items all week. You can drop items them by the office between 9am and 5pm on November 23, 24, and 25. Or bring them with you to Mass on Thanksgiving morning, November 26.

The Mass will be livestreamed on Facebook and Vimeo for those who cannot attend in person.
Register for this weekend's Masses
There are FOUR options for public Mass in the Cathedral this weekend (click on a date/time to register).

We have put many precautions in place to make sure these celebrations are safe and comfortable. This is not business as usual! The following are important important instructions for those who wish to take part in Mass:
  • Registration is required, and registered persons will be checked in as they arrive. The Archdiocese of Seattle recommends registration both to limit the numbers in attendance and to provide for contact tracing should we learn that anyone present has been exposed to Covid-19.
  • Masks/face coverings must be worn throughout the Mass except when receiving Holy Communion. Your mask needs to cover both your nose and your mouth at all times.
  • On arriving at the Cathedral, you will be greeted by staff who will check you in and show you your place for the Mass. You will NOT be able to choose your own place to sit, nor will you be able to move about the Cathedral once you have been seated. Household groups will be seated together. We thank you for your patience and understanding.
You will notice a number of changes to the Mass. All these changes are designed to ensure our safety as we gather together for Mass:
  • The Sign of Peace will not be shared, and Communion will not be offered from the cup.
  • Communion will be given only in the hand, not on the tongue.
  • There will be no congregational singing.
  • Because we are not able to gather or socialize following Mass, we ask that you depart quietly after the celebration.
Please remember that there is no obligation to attend Sunday Mass at this time. While we do our utmost to make the Mass safe, anyone who attends does so at their own risk. Particularly vulnerable persons are strongly encouraged to continue to shelter in place. Anyone who is experiencing any symptoms whatsoever, such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, MUST remain at home out of consideration for the health and well being of others.
Livestream Masses this weekend
The First Sunday of Advent
Sunday, November 29, 2020

MASS with Archbishop Etienne
Streamed on the Archdiocese of Seattle Vimeo/Facebook pages


MASS with Father Ryan
Streamed on the Cathedral Vimeo/Facebook pages

Sacrificial Sunday Giving
Parishioner Gregg Alex shares his Cathedral story
Sacrificial Giving is all about giving back to God what God has given to us. Through our gift to the parish, we reach out—together—in the name of Christ to the poor, the elderly, and the immigrant. We celebrate in a powerful way the mysteries of our faith; and we provide a refuge to so many who live on the edge of loneliness in these trying times.

Thank you for your prayerful response and for all the ways you make this parish family what it is!
Giving Tree
Our annual Giving Tree is online this year! As you're doing your Christmas shopping, please consider picking up one or two items to be donated to a person in need, whether it's diapers, socks, a toy, or a gift card.

Items can be dropped by the Parish Office Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, or can be shipped directly to the office: St. James Cathedral, ATTN Patrick Barredo, 804 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104.

Livestream Musical Prayer

Friday, November 27, 2020 at 6:30pm
Sam Libra, Cathedral Associate Organist

ICYMI: Musical Prayer on November 20
Alexander White, trumpet, and Joseph Adam, organ

Poem of the Week
Louise Glück, "Vespers"

Jackie O'Ryan reads the poem by Nobel Laureate Louise Glück, and Corinna Laughlin provides context and commentary.
Advent Evening of Reflection, December 2
My grandmother, Dorothy Day
Information and registration, Patrick Barredo,
Advent liturgies open to the public
WEEKDAY MASSES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Monday—Saturday this week, the 8:00am Mass is open to the public without prior registration. On Tuesdays, 8:00am Mass is followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, concluding with rosary at 12 Noon.
CONFESSIONS IN ADVENT Traditionally, Advent is a time to confess our sins as part of our preparation for Christmas. We have expanded hours for confession this month for those who wish to do so. Please note these special times for confessions: Confessions will be heard on Saturdays, December 5, 12, and 19 at 2:00pm in the Cathedral Chapel. Confessions will also be heard on Wednesday mornings, December 9, 16, and 23, following the 8:00am Mass. All are welcome without appointment or registration.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION IS DECEMBER 8 Masses in the Cathedral for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be on Tuesday, December 8 at 8:00am and 10:30am. All are welcome without prior registration – check in at the Terry and Marion corner of the block.

SIMBANG GABI On Saturday, December 12, at 11:00am, Archbishop Etienne will celebrate the annual Mass to bless parols (star-shaped lanterns) in preparation for the Simbang Gabi novena of Masses, which will take place in parishes around the Archdiocese. The Mass is not open to the public this year but you are invited to join in via livestream on VIMEO or FACEBOOK.
VESPERS AND BENEDICTION on Sunday afternoons at 4:00pm is open to the public. No advance registration required.
St. James Cathedral
804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104