For the first time, Sunday 15 May will see the city’s two cathedrals teaming up with Liverpool City Council and Visit Hope Street Community Interest Company (CIC) to expand their biannual celebrations into a full day event.
Pentecost - the celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles – has been marked in Liverpool for 34 years with a ‘Two Cathedrals Walk” which sees thousands of people process between the two cathedrals on Hope Street in a show of unity and celebration.
In 1982, Pope John Paul II visited Liverpool at Pentecost and processed along Hope Street between the two Cathedrals and celebrated Mass. Since that time, the two cathedrals’ service has regularly taken place on Pentecost Sunday, with thousands of pilgrims celebrating uniting by walking along Hope Street.
Starting at midday and running until 3pm, this year's free event will see music, dance, performance and colour all the way along one of the most iconic streets in the UK, with five main performances spaces creating a unique atmosphere and experience.
Samba bands, the Merseyside Welsh Choir, stilt performers, dancers and creations from the Liverpool Lantern Company will fill the length of the street. The aim is to produce an atmospheric journey for the audience – including performances which will allow the crowds to reflect on momentous moments in people’s lives such as marriage and birth, whereas later on in the journey the music soundtrack will provide a celebratory carnival atmosphere.
At 3pm the traditional procession will take place and anyone intending to join in is asked to wear to wear red or white clothing - the colours associated with Pentecost. The parade will culminate with a major act of worship from the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Director of Culture Claire McColgan, said: “We made a commitment to support events which showcase the different sides of the city – whether that’s in terms of a story that’s there to be told, or the location in which it will unfold. Pentecost achieves just that – a street of hope which is bookended by two inspirational cathedrals creates a magnificent canvas on which a truly international story of hope can unfold.
“By programming a whole host of activities, it is a real opportunity to enhance the already popular ‘Two Cathedrals Walk’, which will attract more people and shine a spotlight on what is a fascinating and culturally overflowing area of the city.”
Matthew Linley, CEO and Artistic Director of Unity Theatre and Creative Director for the event, said: "Pentecost is a fantastic opportunity for Hope Street to work with the Cathedrals and the Free Churches to bring the area alive and showcase what can be achieved here. We hope this is the first of many such events."
The Bishop of Liverpool, The Right Reverend Paul Bayes, said: “Hope is always something to be celebrated and for the church a great outpouring of God’s grace and hope came at the festival we call Pentecost. This hope is for all and how better to mark this than with a vibrant celebration of music, art and colour on one of my favourite streets in this great city.
“I am delighted the city has embraced this desire to celebrate and I invite everyone to join in for a lively afternoon on this famous street.”
The Archbishop of Liverpool Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon, said: ‘The Feast of Pentecost is recognised as the birthday of the Church so it is fitting that so many from our city and region can come together to celebrate with music and worship.
“Our celebrations take place in our Cathedrals joined by a street called Hope - what better symbol of unity for our Churches and for those who will rejoice with us.’
The event is being co-ordinated by Liverpool City Council in partnership with Visit Hope Street CIC.
BBC cameras will be present at the event to capture the sights and sounds for a future Songs of Praise
More information on the event can be found at www.hopestreet.co.uk.