Gloucester Cathedral is inviting visitors to join with worship during Holy Week, which begins with the Palm Sunday Eucharist at 10.15am on Sunday 2 April. Later that day at 4.15pm, there will be a performance of ‘Les Leçons de Ténèbres de François Couperin’ by two of the Cathedral’s Lay Clerks, accompanied on the organ by Assistant Director of Music, Jonathan Hope. This is an elegant piece of French baroque style music, and admission is free with a retiring collection in aid of Cathedral music.
From Monday 3 April to Wednesday 5 April, Compline will take place at 7.30pm. This is a short reflective time of prayer held at the end of the day, hosted at St Mary de Lode in Gloucester and held in partnership between the Cathedral and the parish.
Thursday 6 April is also known as Maundy Thursday, when the Last Supper is commemorated; at 11am all are warmly welcome to attend The Chrism Eucharist which will feature the blessing of holy oils and will be led by The Right Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester. There will also be a Maundy Thursday Eucharist at 7.30pm.
On Good Friday, the day on which Christians remember the Crucifixion, visitors are invited to come and see ‘The Way of the Cross’, a powerful piece of theatre which re-enacts the last few hours before Jesus’ death. It will begin at the Cathedral at 10.30am, before moving along the streets of Gloucester. The Liturgy of Good Friday will then take place in the Nave of the Cathedral from 12noon, a solemn three-hour devotion at the cross. It will be led by The Revd Dr Mark Oakley. The Cathedral Choir will also perform Bach’s ‘St John Passion’ at 7pm; all are welcome, with tickets available to book in advance via the Cathedral website.
This will be followed by The Liturgy of Easter Eve at 8pm on Saturday 8 April. This service will include the confirmation of those who wish to publicly reaffirm their faith.
Easter Sunday will begin with a special Eucharist at 10.15am, which will celebrate the Resurrection with traditional readings and hymns in the Nave of the Cathedral. This service will be followed by Choral Evensong at 3pm, sung by the Cathedral Choir.
Over the Easter Holidays, there will be plenty on offer for families. The brand-new ‘Cheeky Chick Easter Trail’ will be available during normal Cathedral opening hours from Saturday 1 to Sunday 16 April, excluding Good Friday. Visitors can collect a trail sheet from the Cathedral Welcome Desk, which will task them with finding a flock of cheeky chicks that have escaped around the Cathedral! As they do so, they’ll learn more about this beautiful building and the Easter story.
There will also be family activity sessions running in the Chapter House of the Cathedral from 12.30-3.30pm between Tuesday 11 and Thursday 13 April, with the chance to take part in fun Easter-themed arts and crafts. These sessions are free, but visitors are asked to pre-book a timed entry slot in advance.
For those who wish to explore the Cathedral in more depth, there will be guided Highlights and Crypt Tours taking place on a daily basis, excluding Good Friday. These tours take place at various times throughout the day, with tickets available to purchase via the Welcome Desk. In addition, on Saturday 15 April, there will be the chance to join a Library Tour and look inside this awe-inspiring space, whilst seeing some of the items in our collection that tell the Easter story. There will also be Tower Tours on various dates throughout April, which are not to be missed if you want to experience breath-taking views of the city and surrounding countryside. Tickets for the Library and Tower Tours can be booked online in advance via the Cathedral website.
The Revd Dr Rebecca Lloyd, Canon Chancellor and Director of Learning and Participation at Gloucester Cathedral, said:
“During Holy Week and Easter, we will be remembering Christ’s death and Resurrection and all the hope that it brings.
Do join us during this period and discover your Cathedral afresh, whether that be for worship, to experience world-class music, to take part in our family activities, or to simply reflect and enjoy the peace of the space around you.
This is your Cathedral and we look forward to welcoming you.”
Further details about all these events and activities can be found on the Cathedral website.
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