Pastoral Notes 13th December, 2015

There are many different and lovely local or family traditions around Christmas. There are also some ancient Advent traditions in the Church, marking the days 17th to 24th December with a special daily chant at Evening Prayer before saying the ‘Magnificat’, Our Lady’s song of praise, ‘My soul glorifies the Lord’. These chants are called O Antiphons, titles for Our Lord ‘O Wisdom’, ‘O Key of David’, and so on. We read them now at weekday Mass.

Bishop Peter has now inaugurated a Holy Year in Northampton Cathedral, with its own special Door. In the Holy Year of 2000 AD we had the stained-glass windows inserted in the swing doors of St Edward’s, reading ‘I am the Gate of the Sheepfold’, MM AD. May we joyfully welcome the Lord born for us this Christmas, full of ‘mercy and compassion’. Perhaps we will have a chance to visit Northampton Cathedral in this Year of Mercy inaugurated by Pope Francis, and pass through the Holy Door there.