Worship at the Cathedral of Saint Paul follows what the Church has indicated for cathedral churches. This teaching is especially distilled in the Second Vatican Council document on the sacred liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which tell us that liturgical life should be held in great esteem in the Cathedral (no. 41) and that cathedrals are especially to promote sacred music and have choirs (no. 114). Moreover, Latin is to be preserved as a liturgical language (no. 36) – especially through the singing of the principal Mass parts (no. 54) – and the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem (no. 120).
The Church also teaches us about the principle of “progressive solemnity”, such that some liturgies are more solemn than others, according to their liturgical rank. This principle is observed at the Cathedral and therefore, generally speaking, our ordinarily daily Masses are recited, our Saturday 5:00pm Mass has musical accompaniment but tends to be simpler, Sunday 8:30am has cantor and sung prayers, and Sunday 11:00am has choir, sung prayers, and incense. Solemnities that fall on weekdays have music at the principal Mass. Holy Days of Obligation usually follow the schema of the early Mass being recited, the mid-day being accompanied with cantor, and the evening having choir, sung prayers, and incense. Some variation occurs due to changes of celebrants or other circumstances.
In addition to our weekly Masses, we also have seasonal liturgies, such as Solemn Vespers on the Sundays of Advent. The Church encourages that there be the public celebration of the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours in churches — especially in Cathedrals; at present our observance is limited to Advent and is preceded by a concert or recital.
Many details contribute to fitting divine worship, from the ars celebrandi or “manner of celebration” of the celebrant to the skill of the musicians; from the quality of the sacred vessels to the beauty of the sacred vestments. It is also important that those attending and worshipping the sacred liturgies participate actively (in the sense of uniting themselves to the prayers and actively following the sacred action) and express a reverent and recollected attitude. Part of our reverence is the way that we dress for church. We should put on our “Sunday best”, in preparation for our meeting with the King of kings and Lord of Lords in our worship and prayer.
In fact, many parishioners have wanted to contribute to the enhancement of our worship by helping purchase those things that make it more beautiful. In the last several years, our members have bought vestments, commissioned a chalice and purchased other sacred vessels, statues, and other items for our beautiful church. These purchases often make great memorial opportunities. Please contact Fr. Jerabek at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to consider such a contribution.
Finally, children must also learn how to pray, for they are part of the Body of Christ. We welcome all children and their families at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. We are blessed to have many young families in our membership. And we do not have a cry room – there is not sufficient space in our church building to have one, but even if there were, we would not, for we want all children to be with us in the congregation. That is where they learn how to be still before the Lord and to worship God in beauty and holiness. Sometimes children do challenge us (and especially their parents!) because of the difficulty in sitting patiently, but we are glad to hear their joyful noises, which we recognize as signs of life and indications of a healthy parish. We desire that all families feel welcome at the Cathedral of Saint Paul!