This Week at Ascension + March 10, 2021

"Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." - Psalm 96
Three Lenten program opportunities in eight days
Please note the idiosyncratic times

This evening, March 10:
Neighbors, in conversation with Fr. Sam Portaro.
Via ZOOM starting at 7:15 p.m. following the 6:30 mass VIA YOUTUBE

Sunday, March 14, 11:30 a.m. Via ZOOM
Transforming Bread and Wine
In conversation with Deacon Meghan Murphy-Gill

Wednesday, March 17, at Noon Via ZOOM
How do YOU create? And why?
In conversation with Beth Hall and Fr. Patrick Raymond

More information may be found below.

Mass for March 10, Wednesday in the
Third Week of Lent

6:30 p.m. Live-Streamed Mass
Homily: Fr. Sam Portaro

Image: Moses receiving the Law,
Marc Chagall, 1963
Connections updates . . .
We've continue to receive positive feedback and helpful observations regarding our new technology and live-streaming via Ascension's YouTube channel (click here). We continue to use Zoom and/or Facebook Live for the Daily Offices (see the schedule later in this newsletter). Look for more updates in the weeks to come -- for now, we are mainly focusing on week-to-week improvements and employing the technology for our Holy Week and Easter liturgies.
Sunday, March 14
The Fourth Sunday in Lent

9:30 a.m.
Morning Prayer
10:00 a.m. - In-Person &
Live-Streamed Mass with organ, hymn improvisation and
choir motet

11:15 a.m. - Virtual Coffee (1/4) Hour
11:30 Lenten Program

Image: Feeding the 5000, Jesus Mafa Project, Cameroon mission, 1970s

Note: After clicking on the link, you will be able to see how many spots, if any, are still available for a particular mass.

When you register online, you will be sent an email confirming your online registration. This same link will also have a
Please note: if you have not yet taken part in an in-person mass, please click here to see some basic information that you will want to know before registering, upon arrival and during and after the mass.

From a nearby neighbor -- Fr. Sam Portaro

"Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love,
show us how to serve
the neighbors we have from you.

"Neighbors are rich and poor,
neighbors are black and white,
neighbors are nearby and far away.

"These are the ones we should serve,
these are the ones we should love.
All are neighbors to us and you.

"Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love,
show us how to serve
the neighbors we have rom you."

Hymnal 1982, #602, Chereponi, Chorus & vv. 2,3
Dear Ascension neighbors,
For twenty-two years I served as Episcopal Chaplain to The University of Chicago located at Brent House. Ours was not the only Episcopal presence in the neighborhood; the Church of St. Paul & The Redeemer and Montgomery Place are both nearby. All offer Eucharistic worship and pastoral care, and all are served by Episcopal clergy.
Communicants from all of our congregations were welcomed to share, and often did, in the worship, learning, service and fellowship offered by any of these three ministries. A collegial relationship of mutual respect and grace prevailed. Finding kinship on common ground enriched us all and modeled the love that Jesus maintained is the mark of the faith in God we claim—and an outward, visible sign of the generous capacities of Anglicanism essential to our mission and our most potent expression of evangelism.
In a January conversation with Fr. Raymond, whom I’ve known for many years, I shared some of what I’ve learned of the histories and opportunities of our two congregations – Ascension and St. Chrysostom’s (where I now serve in retirement as an assisting priest). He invited me to speak briefly at your January Annual Meeting. I noted that both parishes were founded by communicants of St. James Church (now Cathedral) – Ascension in 1857 and St. Chrys’ in 1893.
Although ‘siblings’ of a sort, some might say we were ‘separated at birth.’ Experiences of and comments about our two parishes often emphasize our differences. I hope you may join me in questioning that generalization and looking with me (and others at St. Chrysostom’s) for common ground, both in our Anglican identity and in opportunities for mission amongst our neighbors.
Christian discipleship is based upon the relationships signified in baptism. We are descendants of the first followers and adherents of Jesus, whom he called friends. Discipleship is founded on friendship. But making and sustaining friendships is particularly challenging now, in a culture of isolation and suspicion and due to the rigors of a prolonged pandemic. It’s all the more important for us to recognize that true and enduring friendships are a discipline—a holy discipline—to be taken up not only for a Lent but a lifetime. Shall we try? 

From the Rector
Did you know? The church shown in these photos is no doubt familiar to many of us from trips up and down Clybourn Avenue. I only made a connection, by way of a recent conversation with Fr. Portaro, that this was once an Episcopal church. Read today's Last Word for some more information ... and some related questions.
Don't forget
Daylight Saving Time
begins this coming Sunday, March 14.
'Spring ahead' one hour!
requiescat in pace
Longtime Ascension parishioner Ethel Martin died in the early evening on Monday, March 8. She had been in declining health and last joined us at Ascension on a Sunday in 2019 when her son Ricardo Avila served as a lector for a Sunday Solemn High Mass. I regret that I have no photo to share. The image here conveys some of what I knew and learned of Ethel; she was learned, wise and faithful, and could be gracious and kind and also, on occasion, fierce. I was able to speak with 'Ricky' yesterday. We are not able at this time to plan a requiem or interment in the columbarium, but he reminded me that he came to Ascension with his mother when he was six years old and Fr. William Orrick was Rector, and he asked me to '...give my love to everyone there; Ascension is my second home."
Holy Week and Easter Liturgies will take place according to the schedule below. All will be in-person by registration and also live-streamed. Next week's newsletter (3/17) will include registration information and starting times for registration.

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
March 28, 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday in Holy Week
March 31, 6:30 p.m.

The Liturgy of Maundy Thursday
April 1, 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Stations of the Cross
April 2 at Noon

The Liturgy of Good Friday
April 2 at 7:00 p.m.

Holy Saturday Liturgy
Saturday, April 3, 10:00 a.m. in the Our Lady of Victory garden.

The Great Vigil and First Mass of Easter
Saturday, April 3, 8:00 p.m.

The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ: Easter Day
Sunday, April 4, 9:00 a.m.
Sunday, April 4, 11:00 a.m.
Hearing Assistance? YES, NO and Maybe
YES, our new technology system includes personal hearing assistance units. One was given a test run this past Sunday, and the report was best communicated by a huge smile!
NO, we cannot yet make these units generally available. We need to develop systems to keep track of them, explain them to users and to sanitize, recharge, trouble-shoot and more.
MAYBE someone reading this will understand the needs and opportunities here and let me know that they are willing to serve as an organizer and coordinator of this ministry, so that it can be available sooner and regularly to others waiting to smile.
Welcome, neighbors from St. Chrysostom's,
some of whom may be reading this newsletter and joining us for this evening's conversation with Fr. Portaro. The image shows the altar and reredos in the St. Chrysostom's Church sanctuary.
Our Lenten Program continues ...
  • All programs are via the Ascension meeting place on Zoom.
  • Four programs are 'coffee hour conversations' on the four Sundays in March.
  • One program will take place on a Wednesday evening - March 10.
  • One program will take place on a Wednesday at Noon - March 17.
  • Keep an eye on the newsletter for any changes.

Descriptions of the programs for Wednesday, March 10, and for this coming Sunday, March 14, are included below, as are the titles and presenters' names for remaining programs. To view a one-page document with descriptions of all programs, click here.
Wednesday, March 10, 7:15 p.m. THIS EVENING!
Father Sam Portaro
Father Patrick Raymond

Father Portaro will invite us into more thoughtful and faithful consideration of and questions about our neighbors ‒ knowledge, assumptions, needs, questions ‒ and our responses to and relationships with them. Long known for his campus ministry, writings and community involvement, Fr. Portaro now lives only a few blocks from Ascension and serves as an assisting priest at St. Chrysostom’s Church, on North Dearborn Parkway. He is eager to explore the potential for shared neighborhood ministries and relationships. 
Sunday, March 14, 11:30 a.m.
Transforming Bread and Wine
Deacon Meghan Murphy-Gill

To make bread and wine, a transformation must take place. Fermentation changes flour, yeast, and water into bread and yeast and grape juice into wine. It takes time, persistence, and faith. Examining and reflecting on what happens for bread and wine to become bread and wine may lead us deeper into the mysteries of ways that we are transformed at Christ’s Eucharistic table.                                                                         
Wednesday, March 17, Noon
How do YOU create? And why? 
Beth Hall and Father Patrick Raymond
(Image to the right Beth with husband Samuel Sommers.)

Sunday, March 21, 11:30 a.m.
Noah Riggenbach
Lenten Liturgies & Links ...

I. Rite I will be used for Sunday masses during Lent.

II. The orders of worship or bulletins for which links are provided in this newsletter may be updated after the newsletter is sent but, with God's help. are in final form by the end of the day on Thursdays at the latest.
III. The Stations of the Cross rite with mezzo-soprano Cassidy Smith and Organist David White that was recorded in Lent 2020 may be viewed and prayed here. Regrettably, for a number of reasons, we cannot presently share the traditional Lenten Friday evening Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament here at the church in person. We hope to be able to do so in coming weeks.
Organ Repertoire for Sunday, March 14
Præludium in e minor BWV 548
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
David Schrader, Organist Emeritus
At the Offertory
Organ Improvisation on LAND OF REST

Fugue in e minor  BWV 548
Johann Sebastian Bach
David Schrader, Organist Emeritus

About our 2021 Repertoire
As I develop a long-range plan for repertoire each year, I choose a theme or area of emphasis, often complete works or a complete large-scale work by one composer. During 2021, organ music by women composers and African-American composers is being and will be featured in voluntaries and recitals throughout the year. There are some little-known gems waiting to be discovered, as well as music by major composers, with whom works for the organ are not generally associated. Enjoy!
Choir of the Ascension:
Now on Soundcloud!
Please visit SoundCloud and listen to our playlist! There are currently 40 tracks, and several more will be added each month.

Benjamin Rivera, Choirmaster
Other than for urgent or essential matters or for brief personal devotion in the church, visits to Ascension are presently to be avoided. Any (other) visit should be arranged in advance with Br. Nathanael Rahm. Thank you for your understanding.
Due to COVID-19, Church of the Ascension’s Treasurer and Bookkeeper are limiting the amount of time they spend working in the parish offices. All checks received at Ascension via the United States Postal Service, not always a reliable service in our area, will be bank deposited approximately every 4-6 weeks. You may contact the Treasurer by email anytime at 
Ascension Connections
(with your click and God's help)
Participate in Ascension masses at our YouTube Channel. (Look for other connections options soon.)
Meeting ID:
792 031 7452
Password: 1133
Join-by-Phone Option: (312) 626-6799

Weekly Ascension Schedule

For connections:
via Zoom (click here)
except for Morning Prayer,
via Facebook (click here).

9:30 a.m. Virtual Morning Prayer
10:00 a.m. Live-Streamed Mass
11:00 a.m. Virtual Coffee Hour

6:00 p.m. Evening Prayer via Zoom

6:30 p.m. Low Mass
Yes, but I still haven't Zoomed ...
For the Novice, Newbie, or tech-challenged: It may be easier than you know. We've simplified instructions on the sheet that you can view by clicking here. Please know that you can block your camera (and don't need one to start with), and you could join our Scripture study or Virtual Coffee Hour, for instance, without having to say a word. Give it a try.
Please give generously as you are able.
Treasurer Susan Schlough has asked me to remind you of Ascension's ongoing expenses at this time. To the extent that you are able, payment on your pledges or the offering of Holy Day or other special gifts will be greatly appreciated. You may still write a check and mail it to the church, or online payment is possible through the buttons at various places on our website. Thank you!
For our prayers: August 'Augie' Alonzo, Jim Berger, Dean Pineda,
David Byerly, Bonnie Joseph, Diane Burnett, Steven Wallis, Sarah Ponder,
Paula Budzban, Taffy Wehe, Neil, Carnola Malone, Rocky Ermilio, Catriana Patriarcha,
Charley Taylor, Richard Laibly, Faith Perrizo
Birthdays: Luis Vargas, Mary Jane Kowalski, Julie Kimani

Requiescat in pace:
Rosina Maria Bellomo, mother of Enrico Bellomo, 3/7/2021
Ethel Martin, mother of Ricardo Avila, 3/8/2021
Betty Jane Nordstrom, Kevin Perrizo, Mary Jane Dyenson

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them;
May their souls and the souls of all the departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

The Last Word
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Mission
I had long known that Ascension had established a mission on Clybourn Avenue in the 1880s. It was inspired by a preaching mission at Ascension led by priests of the Society of St. John the Evangelist -- and the mission and later the church were called St. John the Evangelist. Two citations from our official parish history are included below. A recent conversation with Fr. Portaro, however, revealed both that the people of St. Chrysostom's had also been involved in the mission and that the original mission moved from two storefronts into the building pictured below. A fascinating article (though undated) published by the Chicago Public Art Group explains that the church was built in 1901 and sold to the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1927. The neighborhood was by then known as 'Little Italy,' and the church was renamed St. Marcello's -- but apparently known affectionately as the 'Little Cistine Chapel' (for reasons unexplained in the article). Later the church was sold again and became the Welcome Stranger Missionary Baptist Church, serving what had become 'Cabrini-Green.' The article, from a yet-later era when that congregation had left the building, tells of a campaign to save a noteworthy mural that had been painted on the north face of the church. You may read the Public Art Group article here. Fr. Raymond +

From the History of the Church of the Ascension,
George C. Giles, Jr., 1984

"In May of 1877 priests of the Society of St. John the Evangelist conducted a second mission at the Church of the Ascension …. The press reported that the mission was to Chicago High Churchmen what the tabernacle tent revivals were to their Protestant brothers. The mission attracted people from all parts of the city, providing many an introduction to Catholic belief and practice …. Inspired by the mission, parishioners fitted out two brick stores on Clybourn Avenue as the Mission of St. John the Evangelist. One store was a chapel and the other was a schoolroom. Night school was conducted for men and boys three times a week and for women twice a week. Sunday school was also conducted. The Church of the Ascension supported the mission and supplied the teachers as an outreach to the poor of that area of the city." [p.10]

"Fr. Larrabee [the 10th Rector] was warmly received by the parish. In his first sermon he noted the appropriateness of his beginning his rectorate on Whitsunday, the birthday of the Church. By October of 1884 Fr. Larrabee was able, with support of the parish, to reopen the Mission of St. John the Evangelist on Clybourn Avenue, which Fr. Ritchie had abandoned during his troubles with the bishop." [p. 26]
The Rev. Patrick Raymond, Rector

Susan Schlough, Treasurer

Br. Nathanael Deward Rahm BSG, Parish Office
Vestry of Church of the Ascension
Cheryl Peterson, Sr. Warden; Kenneth Kelling, Jr. Warden; Kelly Colomberti, Marilyn Evans, Lynette Hector,
Jim Lo Bello, George Pineda, David Reeves, Samuel Sommers, Enrique Vilaseco, Amber Zelazny