Forgery of a medieval choir illuminated manuscript attributed to the 'Spanish Forger,' tempera,  ink and gold on parchment, late 19th or early 20th c., the Metropolitan Museum  of Art, New York

Sunday, December 23
The Fourth Sunday
of Advent

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer 
8:00 a.m. Said Mass (Rite I)
9:00 a.m. Sung Mass 
11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass 

Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
Mass in the Dorian Mode

"Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, 
'Blessed are you among women and 
blessed is the fruit of your womb.'"

Luke 1:41-42

Saturday, December 22
Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, transferred
Morning Prayer, 9:40 a.m. - Mass for Healing, 10:00 a.m.

  The First Mass of Christmas
Monday, December 24
Midnight Mass with the Ascension Choir
Confessions, 10:15-10:30 pm  +   Prelude , 1 0:30  pm
Solemn Procession to the Christmas Cr è che,
and Solemn High Mass, 11: 0 0 pm
Mozart, Coronation Mass; Biebl, Ave Maria;
Handel, Tecum principium from Dixit Dominus
Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25
Morning Prayer, 9:30 am    - Choral Mass with the Ascension Choir , 10 am
Victoria, Missa O magnum mysterium; Poulenc, Hodie Christus natus est;
Tavener, A Christmas Round
Wednesday, December 26  +  Feast of St. Stephen
O ne mass only, at 12:05 p.m.

Saturday, December 29  + Feast of the Holy Innocents (transf.)
Morning Prayer, 9:40 a.m. - Mass for Healing, 10:00 a.m.

First Sunday after Christmas Day, December 30
Morning Prayer, 7 :30 a m  +  Said Mass, (Rite I), 8:00 am
Sung Mass, am  +   Solemn High Mass, 11 am
Palestrina, Missa O magnum mysterium; Victoria, O magnum mysterium

Wednesday, January 1  +  Feast of the Holy Name
One mass only, at 12:05 p.m.

  Feast of the Epiphany, Sunday, January 6, 2019
Morning Prayer, 7 :30 a m  +  Said Mass, (Rite I), 8:00 am
Sung Mass, am  +   Solemn High Mass, 11 am
Organ Recital, 3:30 pm
Choral Evensong and Benediction, 3:30 pm

This Week at Ascension + December 19 , 2018


From the Rector
Also from the Rector
Holiday Office Hours
Ascension Book Group
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
The Ordination of Deacon Anna Broadbent
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


Blue Christmas

Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
- Romans 12:15
Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again.
- Simon & Garfunkel, 1964
Pray for us now and at the hour of our birth.
- From Animula, TS Eliot, 1929

Dear people of Ascension,
   We'll soon be greeting one another with Merry Christmas, and we'll no doubt mean it. Many of us will feel it. And then there are those who do not and will not feel all that merry. Some of us may be among those souls for whom depression and loneliness are annual visitors. Others who normally relish the holidays are this year, due to some recent loss, caught off guard by grief.
   A number of churches in different traditions nowadays offer what are widely called Blue Christmas services. You or I might find the notion or content of such rites to be liturgically, uh, peculiar, not our cup of tea. Even if so, perhaps we can appreciate the needs they aspire to meet and those who find refuge and comfort in them.
   If you're one of the merry ones-great! Please keep in mind, pray for and reach out to those who could use it now. If you're among those for whom this time is more blue than bright, please ask for care and prayers. And take heart, if you are able, keeping the faith that the world's blue shadows are the exact places that Christ is coming to be born.

First Coming
by Madeleine L'Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace
He came when the Heavens were unsteady
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was
deep and great.
He died with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait
till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
He came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Regarding 'Blue Christmas' ...
  • The only nearby Episcopal parish of which I'm aware that has a 'Blue Christmas' service is Grace Place, in the South Loop - tomorrow evening, Dec. 20, at 7:00 p.m.
  • Click on this title, Stress, Depression and the Holidays: Tips for Coping, by Mayo Clinic staff, for one of many articles you can find online on our common mental health and relationship challenges at this time of year. A second article, 'The Psychology of the Holiday Blues' is added at the end of the first feature.
  • Needless to say I and your other parish clergy are available - now and always - to any and all who need and seek pastoral support.

Conversations about the prospect of women priests at Ascension
took place at the Vestry meeting this past Saturday (12/15) as well as after the 9am mass and the 11am mass on Sunday the 16th. I personally benefitted from hearing your thoughts and, in particular, your questions. My own notes, representing only what I heard and remember, are too long to include but may be viewed in a separate document here.

The well-loved after-Midnight-Mass reception is ON for Christmas Eve , thanks to Jay Jacot and Ken Kelling. Please contact either of them directly if you can help in any way - including, yes, clean up! And, for better or worse, the platter of cookies shown here is a stock photo, but Ken has already told me some of the home-baked varieties he plans to bake.
End of year church giving, budget and finance notes.
  • Your Wardens, Vestry members and Treasurer will be grateful for your paid-up 2018 pledges, for your 2019 pledge commitments and for any special gifts you may wish to make by year's end. Please remember that we cannot give credit for contributions that are postmarked or given in person after December 31.
  • Our Treasurer has reported a few instances of 2018 expenditures being made without prior authorization - nothing alarming, just a reminder that anyone who imagines they will be reimbursed for a parish-related expense should check before incurring the expense.

Help with Christmas flowers, please! All able-bodied worshipers who can help after this coming Sunday at about 12:30 p.m. (following the Solemn High Mass) are encouraged to help with the Christmas floral décor! No need to tell anyone or sign up. But do show up if you can. Thank you!
Our parish newsletters for the next two weeks will likely be short! Deadlines are as follows:

Items for the  Dec. 26th newsletter should be submitted by  9 a.m. on Monday, 12/24.
Items for the  Jan. 2nd newsletter should be submitted by  9 a.m. on Monday, 12/31.

See  Holiday Hours below.

My sermon for this past Sunday, the Third Sunday in Advent, may be viewed here.


The Ascension Church Office
will close at 1:00 p.m.  on Christmas Eve
and will be closed on Christmas Day.

The Ascension Church Office
will close at 1:00 p.m.  on New Year's Eve
and will be closed on New Year's Day.
For December the Ascension Book Group will read  Christmas at Thompson Hall: and Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope (1815-1882).   Christmas at Thompson Hall: and Other Christmas Stories brings together the best of the Christmas stories of Anthony Trollope, one of the most successful, prolific, and respected English novelists of the nineteenth century. Characterized by insightful, psychologically rich, and sometimes wryly humorous depictions of the middle class and gentry of Victorian England-and inspired occasionally by missives in the "lost letter" box of the provincial post office that Trollope ran-these tales helped to enshrine the traditions of the decorated Christmas tree, the holiday turkey, and the giving of store-bought gifts. Today, they open a window onto a time when Christmas carolers filled the streets and each house's door displayed a wreath of evergreen boughs, a time at once distant and yet startlingly familiar.  The Ascension Book Group will gather to discuss  Christmas at Thompson Hall: and Other Christmas Stories on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 7:00pm in Wheeler Hall. Refreshments will be provided. If there are any questions or comments, contact Ken Kelling at or at (773) 853-2337.

Christmas at Thompson Hall: And Other Christmas Stories
Penguin Classics  ISBN 978-0143122470


The  Sunday Lectionary readings Schedules of Acolytes, Lectors & Ushers as well as Hymnody, Motets and Organ Voluntaries for  Sunday, December 23, 2018 may be found by clicking  here

The Lector's Pronunciation Guide may be found here .


Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Thomas Holden, Brenton Boitse, Charley Taylor, Marlea Edinger, David Belding, Jr., August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ann Halikas, Emily Cole, Fr. Richard Daly, Kenvert Samuel, Carnola Malone, David Reeves, James Krusas Sr., Regina Krusas, Dean Pineda

Prayers for the departed
Prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of  Dawn Discher.

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


The Approved Minutes of Vestry meetings are now available online to parishioners who request the link.  If you would like Internet access to the Approved Vestry Minutes, please email the  Church Office and request the link. 
Once you access the web page, you can read all recent Approved Vestry Minutes.  In addition, if you click on the subscribe button at the top right, you will be given email notice whenever a new set of Approved Minutes is added. 


     Thus it Was
By Dag Hammarskjöld
I am being driven forward
Into an unknown land.
The pass grows steeper,
The air colder and sharper.
A wind from my unknown goal
Stirs the strings
Of expectation.
Still the question:
Shall I ever get there?
There where life resounds,
A clear pure note
In the silence.

Sonoma County hills and pasture, Ansel Adams, 1951

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office