The Angelus

Volume 17, Number 5


My brother called a little less than twenty minutes before the 5:00 PM service on Christmas Eve. He was calling to tell me that our father had just died. My father had had pneumonia and had been in the hospital for the last couple of weeks, much of that time in the intensive care unit. He was eighty-two years old, born in 1932 on what, twelve years later, would become D-Day, June 6. Ralph and I only talked for a few minutes. It occurred to me that if I didn't share the news right away, I would be able to preside and preach at the Mass-and that's what I did.

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Volume 17, Number 4


On Monday, December 1, I went up to the Yale Institute of Sacred Music to hear the Reverend Dr. Paul Bradshaw, professor emeritus of liturgical studies, University of Notre Dame, give a lecture. His topic was, “The Changing Face of Early Christian Worship.” He cautioned us that when it came to questions of early Christian worship, we probably need to think—if my notes are correct—about “probabilities” instead of “certainties.” That said, two probabilities seem to be very strong: (1) early Christian communities gathered for food and fellowship in the Lord’s name, and (2) it was expected that all present would be fed real food, food that sustained the body, not just the soul. It was out of this fellowship of food and also genuine care for the poor among the believers that what we come to know as Eucharist emerges.

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Volume 17, Number 3


Liturgical color, along with flowers and other outward and visible signs, began to return to worship in the Anglican Communion in the wake of the Oxford Movement. Color has become a visual guide to the calendar of the church year for most Christians. As these signs returned, the question of color arose. No one particular color scheme has ever been prescribed. History presents a wide variety of practices. That said, for the most part Anglicans have generally come to use the color schemes most other Christian denominations use.

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Volume 17, Number 2


“Upon a clear, cold and windy afternoon of November 1867,” two men, Henry Kingsland Leonard and the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, after conversations with each other and the bishop of New York, found vacant lots on West Forty-fifth Street, owned by John Jacob Astor, Jr. Upon learning they were to be used for a new parish for Longacre Square, Astor gave the land to the new parish with the following stipulation, “that the Church should be free [that is, would charge no pew rents], and positively orthodox in management and working” (Newbury Frost Read, The Story of St. Mary’s [1931] 16–17).

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Volume 17, Number 1


I never thought much about the shape of the Advent season until I read a footnote in a short book by the late New Testament scholar Raymond Brown (1928–1998). Concerning the “end of time” focus (church term: eschatology) of Advent readings he wrote, “We should conclude the eschatological emphasis with Christ the King and prepare for Christmas by a different type of Sunday readings” (Christ in the Gospels of the Ordinary Sundays [1998] 36). I wondered for a number of years what Father Brown thought those different readings might be until I asked Jay Smith, who had been Brown’s student, if he knew: Brown thought we should prepare to hear the Christmas stories (Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 2:1–14) by reading what Matthew and Luke wrote at the beginning of their narratives to introduce them.

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