Advent Procession 2019

The Advent Procession begins the season of Advent with an evocative service at 4.30pm on Sunday 1 December, the First Sunday of Advent. Subtitled From Darkness to Light, the service captures an idea that is central to our keeping of Advent: the recognition that the beautiful world in which we live is marred by our human wilfulness, greed and violence.

The light that shines in the darkness of the church represents the light of Jesus Christ shining in our dark world. That light dispels the darkness, but not without showing up the dark places of our world, and of our lives. The light of Christ sees us as we are; it judges all, but it is also the illumination and the warmth, the guiding light, which leads us from darkness into light.

The Advent Procession is punctuated by sung phrases, drawn from scripture, known as the Advent Antiphons. With one exception, all refer specifically to Jesus, who is regarded – by Christians at least – as the fulfilment of Jewish expectation and Old Testament prophecy.

Also included is a later addition, the antiphon O Virgo Virginum, which clearly refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary is given prominence among the Advent Antiphons as the human agent called by God to bring forth God’s own word and being. The readings are chosen to reflect the theological imperatives contained in the antiphons with many coming from Prophetic texts.

The service takes the form of a Great Procession, moving throughout the building, with the Cathedral choir pausing to sing at several stations.

Music to be sung includes:

Attrib. Palestrina – Matin Responsory

MacMillan – O Radiant Dawn

Beamish – In the stillness

Goldschmidt – A tender shoot

Bruckner – Ave Maria

Joubert – There is no rose

Guerrero – Canite Tuba

Lauridsen – O nata lux

Attrib. Palestrina – Vesper Responsory

There will be well-known Advent Hymns for the Congregation to sing, including Come, thou Redeemer of the earth, Lo! He comes with clouds descending and O come, O come Emmanuel.

The Advent Procession is one of the most atmospheric services of the year, beginning with one solitary light and a voice singing ‘I look from afar’, and ending in a blaze of light.

All are welcome.