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Newsletter, April 6, 2017

Highlights of Holy Week and Easter – Welcome to St George’s parish – Jason Noble’s mass – Invitation to sing in the choir – Invitation to visit Chagall exhibition – Social Service Society Annual General Meeting – solar lanterns – contacting the office

Dear Friend of the Cathedral

Because we are so close to Holy Week this letter will be mainly about its observance in the cathedral. The traditional observances start this Saturday with making palm crosses (see last week’s letter for details). The schedule of Holy Week services is attached again this week with the addition of the names of those presiding and preaching, along with a short list of the music being performed. Perhaps you might like to share it with some of your friends. We will be welcoming priests and parishioners from St George’s Place du Canada to our Holy Week services, a great joy to be able to worship together.

Patrick and the choir will be part of all next week’s services, leading the procession around the cathedral on Palm Sunday, participating in the liturgies of Holy Week, shivering in the forecourt when the paschal fire is lit on Holy Saturday and rivalling the brass quintet in their exuberance on Easter Sunday. I believe they, either as the full choir, or as a quartet, will be singing at 14 services between Palm Sunday at 10 am and Festival Evensong on Easter evening.

Here are some highlights. The simple and beautiful medieval monastic service of compline will be sung on Monday and Tuesday, the office of Tenebrae on Wednesday. From the bulletin comes this description of Tenebrae: “Apart from the chant of the Lamentations (in which each verse is introduced by a letter of the Hebrew alphabet), the most conspicuous feature of the service is the gradual extinguishing of candles and other lights in the church until only a single candle, considered a symbol of our Lord, remains. Toward the end of the service this candle is hidden, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil. At the very end, a loud noise is made, symbolizing the earthquake at the time of the resurrection (Matthew 28:2), the hidden candle is restored to its place, and by its light all depart in silence.”

The service on Thursday evening remembers the Last Supper and the Institution of the Eucharist, when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, broke bread and drank wine with them, telling them to do this in remembrance of him. Donald will preside and Josée Lemoine will be the homelist. After the service the Gethsemane Watch begins. You are invited to spend an hour during the night praying with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Please let the office know if you are planning on participating during the night. David Burnstun will be watching the door and letting people in.

Good Friday is notable for its solemn and beautiful services. The peaceful oasis inside the cathedral is a huge contrast to the bustling crowds on the street and an important witness to the many who join in our worship, perhaps for only 10 minutes, perhaps for the whole 4 hours. The services start at noon with Way of the Cross for All Ages, “a bilingual meditative and musical presentation of the story of the passion for all ages, that honestly but gently teaches the story.” This will be followed at 1 pm with music for Good Friday and meditations by Jean-Daniel Williams, Joel Amis and Kat Speeckhaert. This part of the service concludes with the beautiful setting of Psalm 51, Miserere Mei by Allegri. The next hour follows the liturgy for Good Friday with Steven Mackison presiding.

Easter celebrations begin with the Great Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. Our bishop, Mary, will preside and Amy will preach. The service begins in the forecourt with the lighting of the new fire and the blessing of the paschal candle. Curious passers-by enjoy the spectacle of these crazy Christians setting the world alight, and often join the service. During the service we will be welcoming several people from the cathedral and from the diocese who will be baptised, confirmed or received into the Anglican Church.

Easter Day, will be marked by a special Easter Mass, Missa Vitae Novae, composed by Jason Noble. Jason, a faithful tenor in the choir, is a doctoral candidate in composition in the music faculty at McGill. The cathedral commissioned him to write a mass for Easter last year. The dedication on the front page reads “For Patrick Wedd, the Christ Church Cathedral Singers and Paul Kennington” (who of course was then our dean). This page is attached. Do take a look. It features the score for the Agnus Dei and when you see it you will realize that only a choir and a director of the caliber of ours could interpret this piece. The choir sang the mass at Pentecost as well as Easter last year, so the coming Easter celebration is the third time you will have a chance to hear this remarkable work scored for organ, brass quintet, handbells and choir. Patrick describes it as “a remarkable achievement, indeed brilliant, colourful, astounding, challenging and joyful”.

Finally, the choir will sing their hearts out one last time at Festival Evensong, broadcast as always by Radio Ville Marie, 91.3 FM.

We are enormously blessed by the many people; clergy and lay, singers and joyful participants; who make our Holy Week prayers and Easter celebrations so special.

The music committee wants us to know that they are actively recruiting new members for the choir. They need all voices (female and male) and are looking for people who love singing and can read music. They rehearse on Thursdays at 7 pm and sing on Sunday at 10am and 4 pm. Everyone gets one Sunday a month off. Please take a look at the attached notice and share it as widely as you can. Interested people should apply to Patrick Wedd at

Please take note of two dates for upcoming events

Saturday April 22nd 2017, the LGBTQ+ and their allies plan a visit to the exhibition Chagall : Colours and Music at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, followed by a coffee in the surroundings. Please join them in the Museum lobby at 3pm. Questions? See Jean-Jacques or Louis

On April 23, 2017, after the 10 am service, the Annual General Meeting of Christ Church Cathedral Social Service Society will take place, over a light lunch. They will be receiving financial reports, discussing their works, and their donations, and looking ahead to the refugee sponsorship. All are welcome.

Would you like a solar-powered lantern? Please see the poster from Mile End Mission. They are selling these eco friendly lanterns as part of a fund raiser.

It’s tempting but ….Please don’t reply to the newsletter when you want to contact the cathedral office. It jams up the inbox! Please write to or phone (514) 843-6577 local 236. You can even write to1444 av Union, H3A 2B8 . The pastoral emergency number after hours (and only for a real emergency) is (514) 608-1754.

For your meditation, the earliest Christian poem, written in Anglo-Saxon times, The Dream of the Rood (the cross of Christ) translated by Richard Hammer. The cross is speaking:

It was long past – I still remember it –
That I was cut down at the copse’s end,
Moved from my root. Strong enemies there took me,
Told me to hold aloft their criminals,
Made me a spectacle. Men carried me
Upon their shoulders, set me on a hill,
A host of enemies there fastened me.

“A rood I was raised up; and I held high
The noble King, the Lord of heaven above.
I dared not stoop. They pierced me with dark nails;
The scars can still be clearly seen on me,
The open wounds of malice.

You can find a longer extract and two other poems at

Wishing you a blessed Holy Week

Ann Elbourne

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