Choirs Hit the Right Notes at Magnificent D&G 800 Diocesan Evensong
The week of celebrations marking Dublin & Glendalough’s 800 years together closed on a high note yesterday afternoon (Sunday November 20) with a Festival Choral Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral. The uplifting service was sung by the Combined Choirs of Christ Church Cathedral with parish choirs from all over the dioceses and Christ Church Brass. The choir of St Macartin’s Cathedral in Enniskillen also took part in the service.
The Dublin & Glendalough 800 week of exploration in Christ Church Cathedral centred around the Octave of St Laurence O’Toole, the 12th century Archbishop of Dublin. A series of lectures, exhibitions and special tours were bookended by services of Choral Evensong. Opening the week, the combined choirs of Christ Church Cathedral were joined by the Girls’ Choir of St Mary’s Pro Cathedral for ecumenical Evensong. The preacher was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Diarmuid Martin.
Yesterday’s service featured singers from a total of 20 choirs. These included the Christ Church Cathedral Choir, the Christ Church Cathedral Voluntary Choir, the Christ Church Choral Mentoring Scheme, Christ Church Cathedral Past Choristers, All Saints’ Grangegorman, Christ Church Bray, Zion Parish Church, Holy Trinity Killiney, Monkstown Parish Church, All Saints Blackrock, St Brigid’s Stillorgan, St Patrick’s Greystones, St Patrick’s Enniskerry, All Saints Raheny, Howth Parish Church, Newcastle Parish, the Seafield Singers, St Cecilia Singers, Blessington Chamber Choir and the Choir of St Macartin’s Cathedral.
Archbishop Michael Jackson preached at the service and spoke about the life of Laurence O’Toole and his contribution to the rebuilding of Christ Church Cathedral as well as his connection to Glendalough.
The service took place on Christ the King and the Archbishop said, as the Season of Trinity drew to a close, it was time to reflect on the church, the Spirit, the creation and the call to worship.
“As Christian people we are called to worship even more than we are called to worthiness; we are called to being even more than we are called to doing; we are called to the unity of the Spirit within, and the imperative to the bond of peace without. Whatever we do for ourselves, we must do for others. We can return to the life of St Laurence to see history return to live in our day: people who are homeless, children who are orphans, numbers of people who are foodless – in the city of Dublin; warfare and destruction, enforced emigration worldwide, fearful arrival as refugees – in the country of Ireland. It is in such a world as this and at such a time as this that Christ is The King; it is into such a creation as this that the Son of God comes as the Child of Bethlehem. In the spirit of St Laurence and celebrating 800 years of the uniting of Dublin and Glendalough Dioceses, we prepare for Advent and ask the same God: …Stir up, we beseech thee, o Lord, the wills of thy faithful people …,” he said. [You can read the Archbishop’s sermon in full below]
During the service the Archbishop presented a number of certificates to those who had completed various levels of the Archbishop’s Course in Church Music. Margaret Stokes successfully completed the Foundation Course in Church Music. Christopher May completed Year 1 with Honours. Thomas Maxwell completed Year 2 with Distinction. Janet Armstrong completed Year 2 with Honours. Jonathan Stanley completed Year 2 with Distinction.
Top: Christ Church Cathedral’s Director of Music, Ian Keatley, conducts the cathedral and diocesan parish choirs at the D&G 800 diocesan Festival Evensong.
Bottom: Dean Dermot Dunne, Archbishop Michael Jackson and Ian Keatley following the D&G 800 diocesan Festival Evensong.
For more photographs from the service see our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/DublinandGlendalough/posts/1149849858384390
Christ the King Sunday November 20th 2016 Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin – Closing Service of Evensong in The Octave of St Laurence O’Toole
Readings: 1 Samuel 8.4–20; St John 18.33–37
a sermon preached by the archbishop
1 Samuel 8.19, 20: … No, they said, we must have a king over us; then we shall be like other nations, with a king to rule over us, to lead us out to war and to fight our battles …
KINGSHIP – EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY
It would be interesting to know what each one of us remembers as significant about Laurence O’Toole. It is, I suggest, important for us ALL to remember on this day that he was a regal person, he came from a kingly family. He sought to serve and to lead and to put his own regal lineage at the service of Almighty God and of Christ the King. One of the delightful things about him is that, while himself being an ascetic, he was a generous host. As his guests were offered wine, he himself drank wine–coloured water, in order not to spoil or dampen their fun. Advent beckons; we could do a lot worse! In his time as archbishop of Dublin, Ireland was invaded by the Anglo–Normans. He supported his people in two sieges and a famine, opening his house to feed the poor, setting up care centres for children abandoned by their parents or orphaned in the city. It sounds significantly and alarmingly contemporary and pertinent to Dublin 2016. His generosity and hospitality therefore were not those of the bon viveur but of the shepherd of his people whom he clearly knew sufficiently well to be able to say of them on his deathbed in France: ‘Alas, you poor, foolish people, what will you do now? Who will take care of you in your trouble? Who will help you?’ Such realism and insight elude many.
GLENDALOUGH AND DUBLIN
Laurence has been commemorated on his Saint’s Day on November 14th internationally, and in a very special way honoured on November 13th in this cathedral church which he re–built. And on that recent occasion my friend and counterpart Archbishop Martin was present and preaching. Laurence had entered the monastery at Glendalough as a young man; had become its abbot aged 26; and, aged 32 had left the monastery to become archbishop of Dublin. Having accompanied some fifty or more hardy members of the United Dioceses myself on part of their pilgrimage to Glendalough two weeks ago, I have some sense of how and why Glendalough truly mattered to him and how it magnetically drew him back annually, again and again, for the Season of Lent as a re–connecting with God, community and creation. Nature speaks volumes about the integration of sense, survival and imagination. It is on such re–connectings that we today also feed and need to keep feeding. Glendalough is packed with people from right across Ireland and the world. Glendalough is part of our living tradition as the Godly children of these dioceses.
DEATH AND RESURRECTION – THE DYNAMIC OF SANCTITY
One of the truly positive things about the attitude of the Irish Church to saints is that we are encouraged to commemorate and to celebrate a saint on the day of his or her death. This is a powerful pointer to resurrection as the goal of our life and to communion as the nature of our relationship. Those words of another archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, ring loud and clear: O almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord … Our belonging is earthly and heavenly, our belonging is human and divine, our belonging is in Christ as is also our continuing discipleship. It is this imperative of inclusion and integration and this circle of love and life that shines through in The Communion of Saints and in the appropriate joy that communities the world over have in marking the day of the saint of their place and of their people. This was done rightly in the presence of Archbishop Martin last Sunday and we do this again today as the Octave of St Laurence concludes for 2016.
CHRIST IS THE KING, O FRIENDS REJOICE
Today is Christ the King, the Sunday when we draw together all of the teaching and the learning of the Season of the Trinity and focus it on the Risen and Ascended Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Collect takes up well the theme and the energy of All Saints’ Day: … Keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet … while also extending, expanding it. As The Year of Mercy, suggested and offered to the world by Pope Francis, concludes, we reflect today on the church, the Spirit, the creation and the call to worship. As Christian people we are called to worship even more than we are called to worthiness; we are called to being even more than we are called to doing; we are called to the unity of the Spirit within, and the imperative to the bond of peace without. Whatever we do for ourselves, we must do for others. We can return to the life of St Laurence to see history return to live in our day: people who are homeless, children who are orphans, numbers of people who are foodless – in the city of Dublin; warfare and destruction, enforced emigration worldwide, fearful arrival as refugees – in the country of Ireland. It is in such a world as this and at such a time as this that Christ is The King; it is into such a creation as this that the Son of God comes as the Child of Bethlehem. In the spirit of St Laurence and celebrating 800 years of the uniting of Dublin and Glendalough Dioceses, we prepare for Advent and ask the same God: …Stir up, we beseech thee, o Lord, the wills of thy faithful people …
St John 18.37: You are a King, then? said Pilate. Jesus answered, “King” is your word.