October 13, 2021 - 11:10 AM

Lamentation, Thanksgiving, and Hope

In recognition of the COVID-19 pandemic’s almost unimaginable human toll, the Cathedral will dedicate three days of worship services, art installations, and public events to mourning the dead and honoring those who cared for the sick and dying with Lamentation, Thanksgiving, and Hope, beginning Sunday, October 31 through Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

Members of the public are invited to share images and stories, or leave physical mementos of their loved ones to participate in the collaborative building of Día de los Muertos altars within the sacred space of this great cathedral. To share images of your loved ones with the Cathedral, please email [email protected] or send them to us on Instagram/Facebook. The altars will remain up at the Cathedral until late November, where the public is invited to leave offerings in honor of those they've lost.

November 1 and 2 are recognized as All Saints and All Souls Day respectively in the Episcopal calendar, and are days of somber meditation and joyous promise as Christians reflect upon life, death, and the promise of eternal salvation. Led by Cathedral and interfaith religious leaders, New York and national political figures, and artists and thinkers on the human condition and the interconnection of life and death, the Cathedral will this year invite people from throughout New York City and the nation to remember the trauma and the blessings of the past 20 months and to look ahead in hope.

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has wreaked a deadly toll on communities of color in particular. In recognition of this racial disparity, and in celebration of the New York Mexican-American and Latinx communities, the Cathedral invited artists to build the Día de Los Muertos altars starting on Saturday, October 30. Collaboratively crafted by professional artists together with members of the public, and incorporating rich symbolism of ancestry, life, death, and rebirth, these sacred objects will become monuments to all those lost to the coronavirus, and will be prayed at over the course of the following three days of services and events.

See below the full schedule of events and services planned for Lamentation, Thanksgiving, and Hope:

On Sunday, October 31, the Eve of All Saints, the Cathedral will hold a festive Evensong at 5 pm, culminating in a procession outside onto the Cathedral steps and Amsterdam Avenue. The 5 pm evening service will include the premiere of a setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Daniel Ficarri, the Cathedral’s newly-appointed Associate Organist.

Monday, November 1, the Feast of All Saints, will begin with a service of Choral Morning Prayer, honoring and giving thanks for medical personnel and others who tended the sick and those who made life possible during the days of lockdown. Images and remembrances of the over 700,000 American victims of COVID will put faces and names to the scale of ongoing trauma the country has suffered since 2020, humanizing and bringing home the immensity of the pandemic. The Reverend Dr. Malcolm J. Byrd of Harlem’s historic Mother AME Zion Church will preach at the Cathedral’s November 1 midday Holy Eucharist service. Through interfaith worship and cross-cultural dialogue, the Cathedral will once again commit itself to its community.

On All Souls Day, November 2, all are invited to participate in a morning service of prayer and remembrances led by The Reverend Paul Daniels. The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche, Bishop of New York, will preach at the Cathedral’s November 2 midday Holy Eucharist service. Later in the day, the Cathedral will host a National Memorial Service, speaking to the depths of grief New Yorkers and people across the country have experienced. Speakers on November 2 will include Thomas Lynch, poet, essayist, and funeral director, whose reflections on mortality have helped millions come to terms with their own lives. On the evening of All Souls Day, immediately prior to the National Memorial Service, the Cathedral’s renowned choir, led by Director of Music Kent Tritle, will present Gabriel Fauré’s evocative Requiem, adding the power of music to soothe and comfort to the weekend-long series of gatherings. In solidarity with all those who have suffered, and with all those who continue to risk their own lives to save others these three days of Lamentation, Thanksgiving, and Hope will envision a continuing path of healing, health, and hope.

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