The Cathedral of St. John The Divine Honors the Dead and Celebrates Life with Service for the Feast of all Souls and El Día De Muertos
Thursday, November 2, 2023
7:30 – 9:00 pm
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street)
Observance will incorporate ofrendas for el Día de Muertos
In observance of the Feast of All Souls and el Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, the Cathedral of St. John Divine opens its doors to the NYC community to grieve their beloved dead and celebrate the beauty of life on Thursday, November 2 at 7:30 PM the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street).
The Cathedral will observe All Souls Day with a 7:30 PM Evensong service. Daniel Ficarri will lead the Cathedral Choir in a service framed by movements of the Fauré Requiem and including music by Amy Beach, Florence Price, Jean Sibelius, Samuel Barber and chant. Organ Scholar Jacob Gruss accompanies. The Very Reverend Patrick Malloy, Dean of the Cathedral, will preach, and the names of departed loved ones will be read aloud in mourning and commemoration.
The Cathedral’s observance will blend the Anglican traditions of Evensong with el Día de Muertos, the Mexican and Indigenous American holiday that honors the memory of departed family, loved ones, and ancestors. The culturally-rich celebration can be traced back to the time of the Aztecs, 3,000 years ago. The Cathedral’s service will incorporate altars, or ofrendas, for el Día de Muertos, created by Mexican-American, New York-based designer and artist Sebastián Gámez. The ofrendas will be traditionally adorned with Cempasúchil (marigolds), calaveras (skulls), calacas (skeletons) and catrinas (richly dressed skeletons). Alongside these symbols of the beauty and fragility of human life, the altars will contain photos and mementos of those who have died. In addition, this year’s ofrendas will have a special focus on the impact of gun violence across the United States. So far this year, there have been over 500 mass shootings in the U.S, and targeted shootings are on the rise, disproportionately impacting certain marginalized groups.
Prior to the 7:30 PM service, at 6:30 PM community members are welcome to come to the Cathedral’s Chapel of St. Ansgar to meet with clergy and staff and bring an offering in memory of their departed loved ones. Visitors are invited to bring photographs or mementos of their loved ones to place on the ofrendas. The altars will remain on view and interactive throughout November.
For more info on the Cathedral’s All Souls service and other upcoming gatherings, visit stjohndivine.org.