FROM THE RECTOR: EUCHARISTIC SHEPHERD
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) has played an important role in my spiritual life and my work as a priest since I first encountered it at Saint James’ Cathedral, South Bend, Indiana, in the winter of 1989. CGS is a Montessori approach to religious formation for children ages three to twelve. Though Roman Catholic in origin, it has been adapted by other denominations, including our own. This ecumenical approach was encouraged by its founding leaders, the late Hebrew scholar Sofia Cavalletti (1917–2011) and her Montessori colleague Gianna Gobbi (1919–2002). Cavalletti and Gobbi believed that God was at work in every child’s life. This catechesis provides an environment for every child to work on the relationship with God he or she already had in his or her life.
One of the most powerful presentations given to younger children in CGS is called, if memory serves, “The Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd.” This presentation for three- to six-year-olds builds on another presentation, “The Parable of the Good Shepherd.” The materials for this first presentation include a model sheepfold, ten sheep, and the figure of a shepherd with a sheep on his shoulders—and the accompanying Scripture booklet (John 10:3–5, 10b–11, 14–16).
For the eucharistic presentation, the church is described as a sheepfold. Ten figures of sheep are placed around a table at the center of a sheepfold. Bread on a plate and a cup with wine are placed on the table. Then a small people-sized figure of a shepherd is placed beside the bread and wine. In my notes, the catechist, that is, the presenter, says, “In the Eucharist the good shepherd gives all of himself. He does this when he says, ‘This is my body, which is given for you.’ ” (It’s worth noting that this presentation omits the words over the cup, “Drink this all of you: This is my Blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you.”)
Then the catechist asks, “Who are the sheep that receive such a wonderful gift?” One by one, nine of the ten sheep are replaced by images of people. The last sheep is replaced by the image of a priest in Eucharistic vestments. The catechist says, “the priest is the one who speaks the words of Jesus . . . It is through this special calling that the Holy Spirit transforms the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.”
In John’s gospel, bread and wine are not associated with Christ’s death and sacrifice, as in Mark, Matthew, and Luke, but with food, his flesh being the bread of life (John 6:51). In John, Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). When the baptized gather in the Lord’s name, Jesus Christ himself is present. A priest leading worship does not stand in the place of Christ, but with Christ’s body, as a fellow member of his body. Though there is much to be said for the traditional admonition to an Anglican bishop, “Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not” (BCP , 558), all of us by grace belong to him. With respect, Mass can only be celebrated if Christ’s body, the baptized, are present. We are all the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Julie, Sharon, Barry, Lauren, Steve, Rick, Aaron, Sandy, Guy, Grady, Toussaint, Joanna, Rebecca, Ethel Mary, Eudine, Dennis, Burton, Lily, Sally, Sam, Jean, Heidi, Billy, Karen, Catherine, Takeem, Arpene, Mazdak, Donald, Sidney, deacon, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, Harry, priest, and Louis, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas. . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 17: 1885 Paul Everhardt Luttjen; 1911 Harold Jack Bloy; 1913 Victor Edmund Cook; 1917 Cornelia Smith Waugh; 1920 Ann Catherine McClain; 1925 Henry Dutton Pierce; 1943 Josephine C. Rust.
SAINT MARY’S TEAM FOR AIDS WALK 2016 . . . On May 15, Saint Mary’s plans to join the thirty-first annual AIDS Walk. We invite you to join our team or contribute to our team. Last year, the Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk team, eighteen people strong, ranked Number 7 in fundraising among all of the teams that walked. We raised $56,813.00. We were able to do that because we received nearly 400 separate, and very generous, contributions. Our goal this year is a very ambitious $60,000 as we walk in solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS and with those who support and care for them. We invite you to join our team and to raise money along with us; or, if you are not able to join the team this year, we invite you to make a donation to our very determined Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk Team. You can join the team or you can make a contribution by clicking on this link. You can also direct your questions to Father Jay Smith or to co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support this very important outreach effort so faithfully and so generously.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, April 20, 12:10 PM, Sung Mass . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class has finished its reading of the Book of Isaiah. The class will resume in October, when it will begin its reading of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans . . . Thursday, April 21, 12:10 PM, Mass with Healing Service.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Altar Flowers are needed for all the following Sundays: May 1, May 15 (Day of Pentecost), May 22 (Trinity Sunday), May 29 (Corpus Christi), as well as for Ascension Day (May 4 & 5). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away from the parish from Sunday afternoon, April 17, to attend Leadership in Ministry workshop in Lost River, West Virginia. He will return to the rectory on Wednesday night and to the parish office on Friday, April 22 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 204.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . All Saints Service, the Mass setting that we will hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, was composed in 1986. It is the sixth of David Hurd’s fourteen Mass settings composed to date. It was composed for All Saints’ Church, East Sixtieth Street, Manhattan, where Dr. Hurd was director of music from 1985 to 1997. It is a concise setting of the traditional English Prayer Book translations of Kyrie, Gloria in excelsis, Sanctus and Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. The predominant texture of the music is homophonic in four to six unaccompanied voices. Much of the text is declaimed clearly in rhythmic unison, and the harmonic envelope of all movements favors F-major. During the administration of Communion on Sunday, the choir will sing a motet, “The Lord is my shepherd,” by the English composer Lennox Berkeley (1903–1989).
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, April 17, Matthew Jacobson will continue his four-part series, Reading the Fathers: An Exploration of the History, Spirituality & Theology of the Early Church. On Sunday, the class will be reading the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp . . . The Adult Forum will not meet on Sunday, May 1, because the Annual Meeting will take place that day . . . On Sunday, May 8, Stephen Morris will give a presentation on his new book, When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality (McFarland, 2015) . . . During the next year or so, we hope to offer an ongoing series in the Adult Forum entitled Dealing with the Hard Stuff, in which we will hear presentations on such issues as depression, anger, and grief. On Sunday, May 15 & Sunday, May 22, parishioner Charles J. Morgan will be discussing bereavement and grief. Dr. Morgan is a member of Saint Mary’s. He is a psychiatrist who lives and practices in Connecticut. His particular areas of interest are alcoholism, mood disorders, and substance abuse. He studied at the Cornell University Medical College and did his medical residency at Yale New Haven Hospital . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class has concluded its reading of the Book of Isaiah. (Father Smith is very grateful to all those who attended the class during the past two years—Isaiah is not a short book! He is grateful to all those who shared their ideas, insights, and questions so thoughtfully during that time.) The class will resume in October, when it will begin reading Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . . Sunday, April 24, The Fifth Sunday of Easter is Genocide Remembrance Day . . . Sunday, May 1, The Sixth Sunday of Easter: May Crowning & Annual Meeting . . . Wednesday, May 4, Eve of Ascension Day, Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 5, Ascension Day. Solemn Mass 6:00 PM. The principal celebrant and preacher at the Solemn Mass will be Bishop William Franklin . . . Sunday, May 15, The Day of Pentecost . . . Sunday, May 22, Trinity Sunday . . . Sunday, May 29, Corpus Christi
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are collecting warm clothing (coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves) in addition to packets of socks and underwear for distribution here at the parish. Please bring donations to the parish kitchen on Sunday or contact Father Jay Smith or Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B. Sister Monica and parishioner Clint Best have been organizing the clothing in recent weeks in order to expedite distribution . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street. —Jay Smith