This evening, March 20
Dinner and Lenten Program
'Stations of the Cross:
The Passion Isn't Over'
with the Very Rev. Joy Rogers
6:10 pm Evening Prayer
6:30 pm Low Mass
7:15 pm Dinner, Presentation, Conversation

Sunday, March 24
3rd Sunday in Lent
 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

" A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard ..."   Luke 13:6

Feast of the Annunciation
Monday, March 25
7:10 a.m. Morning Prayer
6:10 p.m. Evening Prayer
6:30 p.m. Sung Mass
followed by a meal featuring
George Pineda's famous chili!

This Week at Ascension + March 20, 2019


From the Rector
Also From the Rector
Ascension Connection
Dear Father D Still Available
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


Stations of the Cross
            Those dear tokens of his passion
   still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
   to his ransomed worshipers
with what rapture with what rapture
   gaze we on those glorious scars!
         - Charles Wesley, Hymn 58, v. 3
Dear People of Ascension,
   Most of us know the trajectory of the stations of the cross.
+ The first station: Jesus is condemned to die.
+ The 14th station: Jesus is laid in the tomb.
     Between the first and last stations, intermediate steps, including our Lord's death on the cross. The stations arise here, in part, to encourage your presence this evening at our first Lenten program, to be led by Mother Joy Rogers.
   Bringing the Stations to the fore may also lead you to the Stations of the Cross that we walk, pray and contemplate on Friday evenings in Lent at 6:30 PM, followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Please be present at least once in Lent if you are able. I believe you'll be blessed.
Two images from the annual Good Friday 'Way of the Cross' re-enactment in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.
   The notion of the Stations could also lead us to a variety of worthwhile Lenten reflections. We may, for instance, be led down some classical avenue of reflection on suffering: ours, others' or the world's. (See the Merton passage in today's Last Word.)
    Alternately, the template of the Stations might lead us to recognize and better appreciate the repeating 'stations' that form routines in our lives. Our ministry at the church. A regular care visit to someone. Even doing the dishes. Can we see ways in which, through our routines, we are laying down our lives for others?
     Or what about the 'station' we are at relative to some arc of life? Is there some long-term work of love that may take months or years to complete? Have we become stuck at one station? What insight, nudge or other grace do we need to move on to the next?
     Finally, at each of the Stations of the Cross we stop to pray. I trust we are all stopping to do so more often and faithfully.


My black bean soup for tonight's Lenten meal may not look as good as what's in this lovely stock photo, but I trust it will be sumptuous and it will be accompanied by a tossed salad, fresh fruit, tortilla chips and sparkling water. Oh, and the soup's vegan ...

Thanks be to God! The pinnacle  of the altar is now back in place, and it looks great (and reassuring).

Two workers from Deprato Rigali Studios, Reuben and Omar, have been working steadily since Monday morning. Since the top of the spire had already been reconstructed, their time has mainly been devoted to cleaning the entire altar. We believe the scaffolding will be down before Sunday ... but plan on seeing it when you are here this evening!

Feast of the Annunciation ... and Chili ... not two things I normally associate, but I absolutely trust George Pineda and his good taste, culinary gifts and hospitality. He's agreed to make a pot of his famous and delicious chili so that we may enjoy fellowship and food following the 6:30 p.m. Monday sung mass. All are welcome, but if you read this and can let the parish office know you're coming , we can get a better head count! And if you can contribute something to the meal, please contact George .
The Rosary comes to mind in conjunction with both the Annunciation and George Pineda. He's been leading the devotion - first Sunday of each month following the Solemn High Mass - over the past few months as Jim Berger has lately been unable for reasons of health. George has been enlisting folks from the pews and numbers are growing. I thought it would be a good idea to upgrade our rosaries and recently acquired a few dozen of those shown (not a stock photo!). The ushers typically make them available on first Sundays. Let me know if you'd like an extra to take home - I'll be happy to make one available. Next Rosary, Sunday, April 7.
Easter flower responses have so far been disappointing ... I've been told by the parish treasurer. We'll have envelopes available on April 7 and 14 (Sundays), OR you may use the envelope that came to your home in the Lenten letter mailing, OR you can use online giving through our website , however, please know that the church pays a percentage fee on your gift - so checks are preferred.
Parishioner Jim Lenz has asked me to share with all two timely matters related to his own diverse and robust ministry and community interests:
A free reception at St. James Commons on Thursday evening, April 11, 6-8 p.m.,will feature information on Holy Land pilgrimages and on the ministry of the Episcopal/Anglican church in the region and ... "Enjoy Middle Eastern Food"! The event is sponsored by American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem

The 18th District of the Chicago Police Department hosts regular community meetings in conjunction with CAPS (the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy). Ascension is in Beat #1821 of the 18th Police District - meetings for which are held on the 2nd Tuesday of every odd month at the District headquarters at Division and Larrabee. You may read more on the CPD website here.

My sermon from Sunday, March 17 may be read here.


Preston Bradley Hall's Tiffany Dome
Dame Myra Hess Concert
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington
Preston Bradley Hall, 3rd Floor
Wednesday, March 27
Meet at 11:30 at Washington entrance
If you would like a reserved seat, let me know by noon, March 26. We'll meet at 11:30 so that we have plenty of time. Even though the concert starts at 12:15, we have to be sitting in our reserved seats by 11:45 or we lose them. Plan on lunch afterwards.
ShawChicago , "The Doctor's Dilemma", directed by Jr. Warden Gary Alexander,  Saturday, April 13 at 12:00. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N Dearborn.

The play presents some thought provoking scenarios. There will be a discussion afterwards. The Rev. Dr. Jackie Cameron who is in fact a medical doctor will share her perspective on themes in the play. If at least 10 people sign up we will get a significant discount. Do let me know.

Good Friday Walk
The Good Friday Walk is a neighborhood event.
There will be more details in upcoming TWAA newsletters.

Cynthia Perrizo
Senior Warden and Chair of Ascension Connections


DiAnne Walsh says that copies of Dear Father D are still available at Shutterfly. Compiled by DiAnne as  a memorial gift to Father Jim Dunkerley's partner Sal Martinez and Father D's four siblings in England, the book includes many photos from Father D's years at St. Peter's, Church of the Atonement and here at Ascension, as well as a number of reminiscences written since his death in August 2018. The book has a beautifully simple presentation that masks the big endeavor that it represents! For more information email DiAnne here.


The  Sunday Lectionary readings Schedules of Acolytes, Lectors & Ushers as well as Hymnody, Motets and Organ Voluntaries for  Sunday, March 24, 2019  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, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Kenvert Samuel, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Rachel Barton Pine, Demos Kukeas, Norb Bragiel, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Fred Malek, Pastor Fred Overdier,  Kristen Halvorsen, Helena Wilson, Denise Gordon, Vicki Giusti, Sr. Barbara Louise OSA, Bazelais Suy, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal

Prayers for the departed
Richard Raclawski, cousin of Mary Jane Kowalski
Lorice Coleman, sister of Carnola Malone

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. 


Excerpts on suffering and the cross of Christ
from Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation, 1949.

The Christian must not only accept suffering: he must make it holy.  Nothing so easily becomes unholy as suffering.
Merely accepted, suffering does nothing for our souls except, perhaps, to harden them. Endurance alone is no consecration.  True asceticism is not a mere cult of fortitude.  We can deny ourselves rigorously for the wrong reason and end up by pleasing ourselves mightily with our self-denial.
Suffering is consecrated to God by faith - not by faith in suffering, but by faith in God.  Some of us believe in the power and the value of suffering.  But such a belief is an illusion.  Suffering has no power and no value of its own.
It is valuable only as a test of faith.  What if our faith fails the test?  Is it good to suffer, then? What if we enter into suffering with a strong faith in suffering, and then discover that suffering destroys us?
To believe in suffering is pride: but to suffer, believing in God, is humility.  For pride may tell us that we are strong enough to suffer, that suffering is good for us because we are good.  Humility tells us that suffering is an evil which we must always expect to find in our lives because of the evil that is in ourselves.  But faith also knows that the mercy of God is given to those who seek him in suffering, and that by his grace we can overcome evil with good.  Suffering, then, becomes good by accident, by the good that it enables us to receive more abundantly from the mercy of God.  It does not make us good by itself, but it enables us to make ourselves better than we are.  Thus, what we consecrate to God in suffering is not our suffering but our selves.
Only the sufferings of Christ are valuable in the sight of God, who hates evil, and to him they are valuable chiefly as a sign.  The death of Jesus on the cross has an infinite meaning and value not because it is a death, but because it is the death of the Son of God.  The cross of Christ says nothing of the power of suffering or of death.  It speaks only of the power of him who overcame both suffering and death by rising from the grave.
The wounds that evil stamped upon the flesh of Christ are to be worshiped as holy not because they are wounds, but because they are his wounds.  Nor would we worship them if he had merely died of them, without rising again.  For Jesus is not merely someone who once loved us enough to die for us.  His love for us is the infinite love of God, which is stronger than all evil and cannot be touched by death.
Suffering, therefore, can only be consecrated to God by one who believes that Jesus is not dead. And it is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.

To know the cross is not merely to know our own sufferings.  For the cross is the sign of salvation, and no one is saved by his own sufferings.  To know the cross is to know that we are saved by the sufferings of Christ; more, it is to know the love of Christ who underwent suffering and death in order to save us.  It is, then, to know Christ.  For to know his love is not merely to know the story of his love, but to experience in our spirit that we are loved by him, and that in his love the Father manifests his own love for us, through his Spirit poured forth into our hearts.
The effect of suffering upon us depends on what we love.  If we love only ourselves, suffering is merely hateful.  It has to be avoided at all costs.  It brings out all the evil that is in us, so that the one who loves only himself will commit any sin and inflict any evil on others merely in order to avoid suffering himself.
Worse, if a person loves himself and learns that suffering is unavoidable, he may even come to take a perverse pleasure in suffering itself, showing that he loves and hates himself at the same time.
In any case, if we love ourselves, suffering inexorably brings out selfishness, and then, after making known what we are, drives us to make ourselves even worse than we are.
If we love others and suffer for them, even without a supernatural love for other people in God, suffering can give us a certain nobility and goodness.  It brings out something fine in our natures, and gives glory to God who made us greater than suffering.  But in the end a natural unselfishness cannot prevent suffering from destroying us along with all we love.
If we love God and love others in him, we will be glad to let suffering destroy anything in us that God is pleased to let it destroy, because we know that all it destroys is unimportant.  We will prefer to let the accidental trash of life be consumed by suffering in order that his glory may come out clean in everything we do.
If we love God, suffering does not matter.  Christ in us, his love, his Passion in us: that is what we care about.  Pain does not cease to be pain, but we can be glad of it because it enables Christ to suffer in us and give glory to his Father by being greater, in our hearts, than suffering would ever be.

Ascension's 11th Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office