Four years ago I was hospitalized for what turned out to be a bacterial brain abscess. I feel extraordinarily thankful for the healing and the care so many gave to me when I was so very ill that I could do nothing for myself. An MRI showed the abscess the first day I was in the hospital. It took some days and several tests to determine I didn't have meningitis or something else wrong with me.
As it turned out my physicians were never able to determine exactly which bacterium had jumped the blood-brain barrier. The fluid from a third spinal tap was sent to the lab at the Mayo Clinic. When that lab didn't come up with any results they decided they didn't really need to know what had gotten into my brain. The abscess was healing (more MRIs) and they focused on getting me well.
As is so often the case, once the physicians had gotten the main thing right their work was not done. More things went wrong along the way, nothing unusual, but they continued to be very attentive to the course of my healing.
It was the first week of October 1995 that I got sick. I guess it's not at all unusual for me to be thinking about it right now, an anniversary of sorts. I do take myself back to the experience in many positive ways. Again, I will never, never forget how extraordinarily generous and kind so many people were to me when I was so very sick.
I also was surprised with my emotional life during the course of the illness. Save for one ten or fifteen-second period the first week I was in the hospital I never worried about whether I would be well. My reflexes were set, as it were, to wonder what I needed to do to get better each and every day. And that's what I focused on. I can easily obsess about things - and my fifteen second fright was a complete head-to-toe worry about suffering serious disability - but when my body was really in trouble, my mind took control of my emotions and kept me steady. It is hard for me to recall any other instance when I put a worry out of my mind so completely. It was a great grace.
Another "life lesson" for me was and is that it is not necessarily helpful or useful to focus on how one gets into a particular situation. Much more important is how one is going to move forward and where one wants to go. Right along with this is the need to be clear about one's goals and to keep focused on them. One can count on things creeping up along the way to attempt to sabotage healing and many kinds of forward movement in life.
All of this continues to have relevance for me. In my personal life and in my work as a parish priest there are so many opportunities not to be clear about the big picture. There is always someone or something tempting me to look away from the future or the larger picture and to get mired in something that does not matter very much. I want to grow throughout my life as an individual and as a Christian person. I want to savor the peace that passes all understanding more deeply and completely, the peace Jesus attempts over and over again during the course of our lives to give us.
I am so glad my physicians didn't worry about the bacteria that put me in the hospital. (Spinal taps - I forget the "real" name for them that they use in the hospital now - aren't as bad in actuality as one fears; but the headache afterwards is pretty brutal.) They concentrated on making the future better and for that I am so very thankful. Perhaps I repay them every time I look forward. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Margaret, Warren, Myrian, Katherine Rose, Margo, Nettie, Shirley, Thomas, Rich, Maureen, Julia and Owanah . . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 31: 1964 Earl Brandt Bird; 1990 David Hessing; November 1: 1997 Mark Hamilton; November 2: 1957 Elsinore Janmott; 1958 C. Y. Wong, 1960 Mabel Amelia Hoover, 1970 John Arthur Schwartz, 1973 Howard Montague Smith, 1973 Dori White, 1976 Winona Claire Peterson, 1982 Robert William Kennedy, 1983 Marie Anne Andokian, 1987 Clasine A. Van de Geer, November 6: 1988 Beatrice Emily Clark.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Micah 3:5-12, Psalm 43, 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13, 17-20, Matthew 23:1-12 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Breidenthal, Preacher: Mr. Lawson, 10:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Shin, 11:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector, 5:00 PM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Shin . . . On Saturday, October 30, Father Gerth will hear confessions . . . On Saturday, November 6, Father Shin will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . MCs and subdeacons, please remember the meeting on Saturday morning, October 30, from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM . . . Warren Olson's surgery has been postponed again as his physicians prepare him for it. Please keep him in your prayers . . . The Board of Trustees meets on Monday evening, November 8, in Saint Benedict's Study . . . Attendance last Sunday: 138.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . On Sunday morning the Rector's Class meets in Saint Benedict's Study from 10:00 AM to 10:45. We are studying the Mass. This week we will be talking about the Nicene Creed and the Prayers of the People . . . Sunday School meets at 11:00 AM for children in the parish in Saint Benedict's . . . Coffee hour follows the Solemn Mass in Saint Joseph's Hall . . . Also following the Solemn Mass, Journey in Faith, our catechumenal process for adults, meets from 12:45 PM to 2:00 PM with Father Shin in Saint Benedict's Study . . . Monday is All Saints' Day. Low Mass is at 12:15 PM. Father Breidenthal will celebrate & preach his first Solemn Mass at Saint Mary's at 6:00 PM. There will be a reception in Saint Joseph's Hall following Mass . . . Tuesday is All Souls' Day. Low Mass is at 12:15 PM and the Solemn Mass is at 6:00 PM . . . On Wednesday, November 3, the next Christian education series begins, "Marian Devotion & Christian Spirituality." Father Shin is taking the first class, "Historical Perspective." The class meets in Saint Benedict's at 6:45 PM, following the Wednesday evening Mass . . . On Saturday, November 6, the all-parish workshop on the Spirituality of the Child will be held in Saint Joseph's Hall from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Please register through the parish office.
ANOTHER CATECHUMENAL GROUP . . . Father. Shin is beginning another Catechumenal Journey class for those who cannot make it Sunday afternoons. The class will be held Tuesday evenings at 7 PM. The first meeting for this new group will be on November 9. The Catechumenal Journey is for people who want to become Christians and for those who want to participate in a reaffirmation of their baptismal covenant. The parish clergy will be happy to answer questions about the Journey if you think this is something that may be of help to you. Newcomers to the parish community are especially welcome!
Worship at Saint Mary’s
The Holy Eucharist
On Sundays Mass is said at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. A Solemn Mass is offered at 11:00 AM. Monday through Friday Mass is said at 12:15 PM and 6:15 PM. On Saturdays Mass is said at 12:15 PM.
The Daily Office
On ordinary Sundays Morning Prayer is said at 8:40 AM and Evening Prayer at 4:45 PM. Monday through Friday Morning Prayer is offered at 8:30 AM, the Noonday Office at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM. On Saturdays the Noonday Office is offered at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM.
The Reconciliation of Penitents
Confessions are heard on Saturdays between 11:30 and 12:00 and between 4:00 and 5:00. Appointments can also be made with members of the parish clergy for the Reconciliation of Penitents at other times.
The ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
The Calendar of the Twenty-fifth Week after Pentecost
Monday All Saints' Day
Tuesday All Souls' Day
Wednesday Richard Hooker, priest
Thursday Parish Requiem (A-G from the All Souls' Day list)
Friday Parish Requiem (H-M from the All Souls' Day list)
Saturday Of Our Lady
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Allen Shin, curate, The Reverend Thomas Breidenthal, assistant,
The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft, The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison,
The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa, assisting priests, The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.