From the Rector: Ascension Day Notes
Ascension Day celebrates the Risen Lord going to heaven. It is one of the seven principal feasts of the Church year in our present calendar. It has not always been thus. The earliest and continuing pattern of Christian worship is the celebration of Sunday with the Eucharist in the morning and Evening Prayer at night.
From the late first century Christians were already celebrating Easter Day at a time near Passover. (The date for the celebration of Easter, of course, remains a matter of debate among Christians.) On the Sunday before Easter, the celebration of the Lord’s Passion emerged within a generation. To the present time, the principal focus of the Sunday before Easter is not the Liturgy of the Palms but the Mass of the Passion.
As the Church overtook the Roman world in the fourth century, it did new things. A cycle of feasts connected with events in Jesus’ life overlays the original Sunday worship pattern. An early addition to the Sunday cycle was a fifty-day season for Easter. The fourth century pilgrim Egeria finds the Church in Jerusalem celebrating the Lord’s ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church on the final Sunday of the fifty-day Easter season. At the same time, in Augustine’s church in North Africa, Ascension Day emerged as a fixed commemoration on the fortieth day during Eastertide.
Ascension Day is something I associate with my life as an Episcopalian. It obviously celebrates an important event in the life the Lord and of his disciples. In my early twenties as a new Episcopal Christian, there was something really wonderful about discovering church festivals. Ascension Day is blessed with great liturgical texts, great readings, great hymns and great music. Two Prayer Book texts for your reflection:
After his glorious resurrection he openly appeared to his disciples, and in their sight ascended into heaven, to prepare a place for us: that where he is, there we might also be, and reign with him in glory. (Page 379)
For to your faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not ended; and when our mortal body lies in death, there is prepared for us a dwelling place eternal in the heavens. (Page 382)
At Saint Mary’s our principal celebration will be Thursday evening, May 17, at 6:00 PM. Solemn Pontifical Mass will be offered. A reception will follow in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The Right Reverend C. Christopher Epting, ecumenical officer of the Episcopal Church, will be celebrant. The Reverend Michael P. Basden, rector, Trinity-by-the Cove Church, Naples, Florida, will be our preacher. Bishop Epting is well-known to our congregation. Many will remember that Father Basden and his wife Jill Basden were here at Saint Mary’s on September 11, 2001 because Father was to preach at our Solemn Mass on Holy Cross Day, September 14. They were most definitely here. He did preach. And I remember having to send a server to ask Jill Basden to help take up the collection at the Noon Mass on Holy Cross Day that year because there were so many people in church.
I hope very much you will be able to celebrate the Ascension here or elsewhere. (It really is a feast that many Episcopal parishes do celebrate on the day, even if with a simple said service. That’s O.K. Find one.) As is our custom on principal feasts, our commemoration begins on the eve with Solemn Evensong at 6:00 PM. On Ascension Day, Morning Prayer is sung at 8:30 AM and the 12:10 Mass is a Sung Mass. From our final hymn at Solemn Mass, “Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!” Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Pamela, Ron, Hilyard, Aaron, Charles, Virginia, Daisy, Joseph, Michael, Ana, Kevin, Gert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, William, Gabriela, Eve, Virginia, Mary, Gilbert, Rick, Suzanne, Thomas, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Sean, David, Barron, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher and Timothy; and for the repose of the soul of Robert . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 15: 1981 James Thomas Gordon; May 16: 1960 Minnie Packard Rounds, 1992 John Francis Arnold; May 18: 1949 Don Patterson.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Robert McDermitt’s father, Robert Paul McDermitt, died on Wednesday, May 9, after a long illness. The funeral will be on Saturday, May 12 in Beaver, Pennsylvania. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Robert Paul, for Robert and for all who mourn.
A SPECIAL SUNDAY EVENSONG . . . The Reverend Thomas Heard will be preacher at Evensong on Sunday, May 13. Father Heard is a senior at the General Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon December 20, 2006 and is to be ordained priest at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, on June 29, 2007. Tom has been our seminarian for two years. He and his wife Cheryl Winters-Heard have been very much a part of this community since their coming here. I invite you to be here on Sunday evening to hear Father preach. We are going to miss them terribly. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Join us on Friday, May 18, at 7:00 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall for Saint of 9/11, the documentary about Father Mychal Judge, a compassionate champion of the needy and forgotten, and beloved New York City Fire Department chaplain. The film portrays Father Judge’s life as a spiritual adventure and an honest embrace of life, in which alcoholism and sexuality were aspects of his very full humanity. If you can, bring a few dollars to help with the cost of food and beverages . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, May 12, by Father Gerth, and on Saturday, May 19, by Father Mead . . . Father Mead’s Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study on the Maccabees continues this week. The class follows the 6:20 PM Mass and meets in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . Attendance last Sunday 351.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before Mass today is an improvisation on ‘Richmond’. The postlude is Christ ist erstanden, BWV 627 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis F-dur, KV 192 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). An early work, this setting was composed in Salzburg in 1774. Compared to some of the composer’s more extended settings, it is relatively brief with a condensed setting of the text, as is the case with several of Mozart’s other masses of that period. This may be due to the views of Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg, who preferred simple and straightforward music during the liturgy. The anthem at Communion is Christ rising again by John Amner (1579-1641) . . . The organ recital at 4:40 PM is played by Andrew Kotylo. Robert McCormick
THANK YOU TO JOHN RUST . . . Once again, we offer great thanks to John Rust, a friend of Saint Mary’s and of our organ. A recent gift from Mr. Rust allowed our organ curator, Larry Trupiano, to finish re-leathering the Swell division during Lent (the first portion of the work was undertaken this past summer). Leather is a vital component in an organ’s mechanisms, and re-leathering must be completed in each of the organ’s divisions once every twenty years or so. R.M.
HONDURAS UPDATE . . . Thanks to the generosity of many parishioners, neighbors and friends, our Maundy Thursday offering resulted in almost $5,000.00. Along with another contribution, we have been able to send a check to our friends at San Juan Evangelista to support the weekday children’s lunch program and several of the micro businesses that support the program. Not only are children fed, but women from the community budget, purchase, and cook the food; a bakery has begun as well as a sewing industry.
’TIS THE SEASON OF WALKS, RUNS AND MARATHONS . . . Emily Helming, a parishioner and altar server, is running a marathon in Alaska in June to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Support her at http://www.active.com/donate/tntnyc/ehelming . . . Join the Saint Mary’s team next weekend as they try to raise $15,000.00 for the fight against AIDS. Our goal is to have 25 walkers from Saint Mary’s. As we go to press we have 20 walkers and have raised a total of $9,150.00.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION. . . Mr. Robert Picken concludes his study of Anglo-catholic Hymns and Hymnody in Saint Benedict’s Study on Sunday, May 13 . . . Sister Deborah Francis and Sister Laura Katharine will lead a discussion about Anglican Religious Life on Sunday, May 20, after the Solemn Mass. The sisters will present an overview, brief history and casual conversation about Anglican religious orders and what it is like to be an Anglican nun.
Postage rates go up . . . This coming May 14 the postage rates for a one ounce letter will increase to 41 cents. The cost of mailing the Angelus will rise from $107.25 to $112.75 per week. The yearly total will increase to $5,863.00. The cost to e-mail the Angelus is 03 cents per mailing at a savings of 38 cents per person. Sign up now to receive Angelus by e-mail and help save Saint Mary’s $5,434.00 a year! Contact Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org to make the change to e-mail today. If you can’t get e-mail please consider a gift of fifty dollars to offset the cost of printing and mailing the Angelus. We appreciate your support as we continue to look for ways to save money.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixth Sunday of Easter
Monday Easter Weekday
Tuesday Easter Weekday
Wednesday Easter Weekday
Eve of Ascension Day
Thursday Ascension Day
Friday Easter Weekday No Abstinence
Saturday Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction. Childcare from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 6:00 PM Evening Prayer, 6:20 PM Mass.
Saturday in Easter Week: 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass.