I would like to wish everybody (especially my loyal readers) a very, very Happy Christmas 2008!
This year, I decided to attend the midnight mass at Leeds Cathedral (a.k.a. St Anne's Cathedral) to experience a real, British Christmas mass, complete with a full choir and a pipe organ.
The cathedral was packed by the time I arrived. Fortunately I managed to secure a seat at one of the pews.
The service started at 11:30pm with some Christmas Carols interleaved with readings.
The carols finished 10 minutes before midnight. During this time, the smoke from the incense triggered the fire alarm (^^;) (British and their fire alarms.... >.<)
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The Bishop was the main celebrant of the mass.
Mass started with the entrance hymn "Adeste fideles" (a.k.a. Oh Come All Ye Faithful).
I have never in my life thought that I would be overwhelmed by this hymn, especially not when it's sung in a traditional style, and Latin at that! This happened especially during the 3rd verse when the choir joined in with their harmonies. The majestic sound of the pipe organ, the angelic voices of the choir along with the congregation's singing all blended together and gave me goosebumps. I was touched. Words cannot describe how I felt at that moment. Here is a recording, but it does not do any justice to the real, live experience I had at all, which was much much more intense. Mind you, I recorded this from quite near the back of the cathedral, so you can imagine how intense the real thing was.
Anyway, I do not want to bore you with the details of the mass. Other hymns included my all time favourite "O Holy Night" (classical style, complete with a soprano lead and the choir) and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". There was also Credo III (Apostles' Creed) sung in Latin.
I was happy to have experienced this midnight mass. I will leave you with a picture to serve as a reminder of what Christmas is really all about.
Happy Christmas everybody!
25 December 08
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