The Third Sunday of Advent:  Gaudete

Saint John the Baptist in Prison Visited by Two Disciples , Giovanni di Paola ca. 1460, Art Institute of Chicago

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer

8:00 a.m. Low Mass (Rite I)

N ursery available, 8:45 a.m.

9:00 a.m. Sung Mass

11:00 a.m.  Solemn High Mass

This Week at Ascension + December 11, 2019

An Invitation from David Knox
Christmas Flower reminder
From the Rector
Upcoming at the Ascension
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


Dear people of Ascension,

Advent is a weird time of year. It comes at the end of the calendar year, but it's the beginning of the church year. Historically The Church associated Advent with themes of heaven, hell, death and judgement - the Four Last Things. In our day it is more commonly associated with love, peace, joy, and hope. It recalls the coming of Jesus at his birth, but it also calls us to anticipate that Christ will come again, to fully establish his reign with righteous judgement.

It is a liminal time. Like a beach. Like sunrise and sunset. Like falling in love. Sometimes you just can't be certain where you are, what time it is, or who you are.

Like being a Christian. In the world but not of the world. Sharing in the resurrection life of Christ, but trapped in mortal bodies. Holy because of the death of Christ and the waters of baptism, but struggling with sin and human weakness and ignorance daily.

Then there is the culture we live in that thinks this is the Christmas season when of course Christmas is twelve wonderful days that START on Christmas Day. So we are partying with friends while being penitent with The Church.

Maybe only I feel this cognitive dissonance. But if you feel a little bit of this too, I invite you to join us this Saturday as we spend a few hours in a quiet morning contemplating the Four Last Things, to prepare our souls to encounter our Lord in a fresh way, and to still our minds for a few hours to hear the Voice of God.

Saturday December 14th 8:45 to 12-ish. See you then!

May the Lord grant you a blessed Advent!


Please remember your Christmas flower donations!  You may use the card and envelope mailed to your home,  or use an offering envelope in the pews, or give through the Donate button on our website.
If you give via the website, please be sure to indicate memorials and thanksgivings. We will include in the Christmas bulletins all gifts received by Tuesday, Dec. 17th.
Thank you!


The 'holiday haiku' to the right, by Peter Strimer, should have been in last week's newsletter (following 1 Advent) but it delighted me enough when I found it a few days ago that I imagined some of you would overlook the timing. I actually didn't know until I was noodling around the Internet a bit that 'holiday haiku' is apparently a thing ...

Father Gary Lawler will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his ordination to priesthood this coming Sunday, December 15. Yes, it's also properly known as the Third Sunday of Advent and 'Rose' or 'Guadete' Sunday. Our magnificent rose vestments, used only twice a year, were beautifully restored since last used and should be a special blessing to see again.

Ascension Young Adults will also meet on Sunday the 15th, following the 11am Solemn High Mass, for our last gathering and meal of 2019. Place to be determined and announced Sunday. No prior participation necessary. Contact me, for now, for more information.

News from the Diocese of Chicago

Ordinations will take place Saturday, December 14, 11:00 a.m., at St. James' Cathedral, including the ordination to priesthood of Shawn Evelyn. Please keep those to be ordained in prayer.

The Bishop Search Profile for the Diocese of Chicago has been posted to the separate website dedicated only to this search, and you should be able to find it here.

From the more esoteric pages of the Book of Common Prayer ...

Remembering the mission of the Church in your legacy planning ... In my 1 Advent sermon I mentioned a little-known rubric in the Book of Common Prayer regarding estate planning. The rubric, shared verbatim below, is found in the rite titled Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child. (p. 445)

The Minister of the Congregation is directed to instruct the people, from time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent provision for the well-being of their families, and of all persons to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses.

Consider yourself instructed. More importantly, whether or not you will remember church or charity in your estate plan, please do tend to your end-of-life plans, not only a will and/or trust, but designation of power of attorney for health care and for your temporal matters.

After Joe Biden was recently denied the Sacrament by a Roman Catholic priest at a parish in South Carolina , an Ascension parishioner inquired if Episcopal clergy have the authority to deny Communion. The answer is yes. The answer to your next question, for better or worse, is one time, in my own ministry. You may read the 'Disciplinary Rubrics' here. (Too long to include below.)

Last Vestry meeting of 2019: Saturday, December 14, 2:15 pm, in the parish library. Most of our agenda will be devoted to planning for our January 26 Annual Meeting: finalizing a 2020 operating budget, if possible, and discussion of nominations, bylaws review and the format of the meeting itself.

Mother Judith Marie, OSA, offered 'A General Introduction to the Blessed Virgin Mary'  at the October morning retreat for the Society of Mary, and later provided me with her remarks, which you can read here . My apologies to Mother Judith for failing to share this more timely; I was reminded of it at our Immaculate Conception celebration. Speaking of which, the shrine, as shown here, with a rose-festooned wreath of greens, was especially lovely that evening. 

You may read The Rev. Gary Lawler's sermon for the Immaculate Conception mass here.

Some in attendance for the Society of Mary Dec. 7th gathering were (L-R) Jay Peterson, Samuel Sommers, Louise Gram, Fr. Gary Lawler,  Marlea Edinger, Chris Raymond, Cheryl Peterson, Mthr. Judith Marie OSA,  Ken Kelling & George Pineda.

Wednesday, December 11th
Advent Feria

Evening Prayer, 6:10 p.m.
Said Mass, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 14th
Commemoration of
John of the Cross

Morning Prayer, 9:30 a.m.
Healing Mass, 10:00 a.m.

Saturday, December 14
Advent quiet morning
8:45 a.m. - Noon
led by seminarian David Knox
Tuesday, December 24
Christmas Eve
10:30 p.m. Motets & Carols
     11:00 p.m. Procession and  Solemn  High Mass of the Nativity
Wednesday, December 25
Christmas Day
10:00 a.m. Choral Mass
Monday, January 6, 2020
The Feast of the Epiphany
7:00 p.m. Sung Mass with Ascension Schola


The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for  Sunday, December 15, 2019  may be found by clicking here . More information on the Choral repertoire may be found by clicking here . The Clergy Rota for this week's and upcoming masses may be found here.


Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Fr. John Graham, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Bazelais Suy, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Doreen Finn, Monica, Jim Lo Bello, Jack Johnston, Patricia Johnston, Andy, Jim Walsh, Char Yurema, Stewart Marks, Ronn Garton, Vanessa Rogers, Bob Sparacio, Jonathan Jacobs

Prayers for the departed
Lindsay Beagles and Christen Johnson , Cousins of Jenna Jones

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. 

For Evening Prayer at Ascension, we often read from a compilation of writings by (mostly) Early Church luminaries. Those of us taking part in Evening Prayer on one recent evening were particularly moved by the passage below ...  - Fr. Raymond +

"We must open the heart of our compassion to all the poor and to those afflicted with misfortune no matter what the cause, in obedience to the exhortation to rejoice with the joyful and weep with the sorrowful. Since we ourselves are human beings, we must set before others the meal of kindness no matter why they need it - whether because they are widows, orphans, or exiles; or because they are brutalized by masters, crushed by rulers, dehumanized by tax-collectors, bloodied by robbers, or victimized by the insatiate greed of thieves, be it through confiscation of property or ship-wreck. All such people are equally deserving of mercy, and they look to us for their needs just as we look to God for ours."

Oration 14, On the Love of the Poor, Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople, 389
Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church, J. Robert Wright
Church Publishing Inc., New York 1991

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office