Holy Days Newsletter Schedule

Monday, December 23
provide material by 10:00 a.m. on the 23 rd

Monday, December 30
provide material by 10:00 a.m. on the 30 th

Wednesday, January 8 - resume normal Wednesday circulation
provide material by end-of-day on Tuesdays

December 22nd, The Fourth Sunday of Advent

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
with The Ascension Choir

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

December 24th, Christmas Eve

10:30 p.m.
A Prelude of Organ Voluntaries & Congregational carols

11:00 p.m.
Procession to the Crèche
& Solemn High Mass of the Nativity
with The Ascension Choir

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Missa brevis in C major "Orgelsolo", K. 259
December 25th, Christmas Day

9:30 a.m.
Morning Prayer

10:00 a.m.
Choral Mass with The Ascension Schola

Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi (c. 1554-1609)
Missa Ne timeas Maria

This Week at Ascension + December 18, 2019

From the Rector
Also from the Rector
Last Sunday's Sermon
Upcoming at the Ascension
Jay Peterson in Recital
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Greek Orthodox Bake Sale
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word



O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
Dear people of Ascension,

My first thought about today's message was: Keep it simple; we're all so busy now. I thought to simply share today's O Antiphon, above. Then I got drawn in ...

The O Antiphons, as you may know, are seven ancient praises in anticipation of Christ's coming. Over centuries they became fixed in Roman practice, prayed - whether in Latin or, later, in translations - as part of Vespers during the Octave before Christmas.

The O Antiphons are also fluid. You must know by heart at least a few verses of O come, O come, Emmanuel - based on the O Antiphons. Anglicans and even Presbyterians and Baptists have relished and newly translated the O Antiphons. Consider and pray, for instance, this freeform translation of today's O Antiphon, by an evangelical author, Thom Turner, that I've stumbled upon:

O Lord of your chosen people, you have spoken to us
through prophets. Through burning bushes and flaming tongues
you have given us your law: to love God and love others.
Come with your outstretched arms and bring salvation to all.

Painting by Robyn Sand Anderson, one in a series inspired by composer Arvo P ä rt's 1988 setting of the O Antiphons
Today's Last Word invites our further exploration and prayer. For now, please take a moment to wonder with me about how you and I translate and reframe the prayers, proclamations and hopes of Advent and Christmas in ways that keep us and our faith alive, curious, and growing.


Social Media provides a number of simple ways for you to share Ascension and what's going on here with others. I encourage those of you who do not follow us on Facebook or Instagram to do so if you are able. AND if you already do follow us, please explore ways to Share, Like and Comment. I'm sure some of you share my reservations about social media. Even if so, please ponder with me the words of a younger soul who recently said to me: If you're an organization and you're not using social media, you don't exist. Your help, participation and thoughts are welcome.

Your cookies don't have to look as good as those here! (But it's OK if they are.) Calling all bakers or local bakery shoppers. If you're able please bring something to share for the reception following our Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. If you miss baking Christmas cookies and want to do so here at the church, Ken Kelling and the Hector sisters plan to fire up the ovens this Sunday the 22nd, starting at about 1 pm.

New stairs and light fixtures: As if we didn't have enough going on ...  two big projects this week. Yesterday the exterior stairway to the sexton's apartment on the third floor of the rectory was demolished. The stairs partially collapsed this past summer. Further inspection revealed more hazards and code violations. That project is scheduled for completion by week's end. Tomorrow, Thursday, a major electrical project will result in replacement or re-lamping of dozens of light fixtures or bulbs, in hallways, offices, kitchen and the church proper. I'm guessing we will have some residual issues. We had to move on this project to take advantage of a ComEd grant that will cover 80% of the cost and required the work to be finished in 2019.

The recent restoration and cleaning of our rose vestment set
should not go unnoted! This set was a gift to Ascension from St. Gregory's Abbey, Three Rivers, Michigan, decades ago. According to one possibly apocryphal story, Abbot Benedict was once in Indianapolis, soliciting a large contribution from a member of the Eli Lilly family. In the course of the visit, he noted some beautiful draperies and remarked: "That fabric would be perfect for rose vestments!" And so they became ... Or something like that. Whatever the origin, they were worse for wear, particularly the linings of the chasuble, dalmatic and tunicle. Sunday was the first time we've used them since a thorough cleaning and work-over in recent months.

Warden and Vestry Nominees to be elected at the January 26, 2020, annual meeting were identified and endorsed by the Vestry at its meeting this past Saturday. Cheryl Peterson has agreed to be nominated for service as Warden. Kelly, Colomberti, George Pineda and Enrique Vilaseco have agreed to be nominated for 3-year Vestry terms. Additional nominations may be made in coming weeks, and the Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for floor nominations. You may view and print the Vestry service overview here and the nomination form here.  
Please consider taking part in the food pantry ministry on January 4. Given holiday schedules that can go into the New Year, there may be an opportunity for extra hands that day. Volunteers show up starting about 8:30 a.m. and are going full steam by 10:00 or 10:30. Due to recent volunteer efficiency, we will begin serving our guests at 11:00 a.m. starting Saturday, February 1. Deacon Farrell and volunteers are also exploring other new systems and services. We're experimenting with having the food delivered to Ascension (rather than renting a truck to go get it at a wholesaler), and we believe that, at no extra overall cost, we will be able to add toilet paper to the toiletries already provided. Special thanks to existing, long-time volunteers, as innovations are being explored on a trial and error basis, mostly with goodwill and success!


The Rev. Gary Lawler's Advent 3 sermon may be read here.
Wednesday, December 18th
Advent Feria: Ember Day

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

St Thomas Saturday, December 21st
St. Thomas the Apostle

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


Last Wednesday was the final 2019 luncheon for Ascension's Sharing Lunch, Sharing Blessings. The group was treated to a Christmas smörgåsbord, prepared by our Swedish Chef-in-Residence. Some pics are below. Their discussion topic was Advent Practices. Cynthia Perrizo wants you to know about her Jesse Tree, which traces salvation history from Adam and Eve to the birth of Christ. To the right is Cynthia's Tree with ornaments made by her mother. Ask Cynthia about her Jesse Tree the next time you see her. She will be glad to share her wonderful Advent practice. And ask Cheryl Peterson for information about the Sharing Lunch, Sharing Blessings group as well.

Jay at the console in Lincoln Cathedral, UK, summer 2019

Parishioner Jay Peterson will present a thirty minute organ recital this coming Sunday, December 22, at 3:30 p.m. at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior, on the magnificent 1989 Flentrop organ.  Immediately following is an Advent Vespers liturgy featuring the Holy Name Choir--a fine opportunity for Advent reflections.

The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for  Sunday, December 22, 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, Stewart Marks, Char Yurema, Ronn Garton, Vanessa Rogers, Bob Sparacio, Jonathan Jacobs, Canon Edgar Wells, Thom Ehlen

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. 


With regard to the O Antiphons, for those wishing to explore and pray further ...
Wikipedia provides a good, basic introduction , with traditional Latin text and a traditional English Translation. The article includes a section on a medieval English variation on the O Antiphons-one additional day and Antiphon, O Virgo virginum (O Virgin of virgins)

O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be?
For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after.
Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me?
The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.

The image alongside my pastoral letter today came from an elaborate 2016 multi-media endeavor at Duke University Chapel, A Visual Interpretation of Sacred Choral Music.Wow! The Arvo P ä rt settings of the Magnificat and O Antipons are stunning! (IMHO)

If you like vividly colored interpretive contemporary art, click here for paintings on the O Antiphons by Sister Ansgar Holmberg , CSJ, a Roman Catholic nun living, praying and painting in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her 'Key of David' is shown alongside here.

Finally, in my letter today, I shared a freeform translation of today's O Antiphon by an author named Thom Turner. All of his O Antiphons may be read and prayed below, and I'll include as well his own introductory notes.

O Antiphons: A theological translation

By Thom Turner, 2010

My friend Tim Ghali asked me to contribute some liturgy for an Advent service, and I chose to use the O Antiphons as a base. The O Antiphons are the daily prayers for services during the week proceeding Christmas Day. The daily services leading up to church have mostly gone away in the West, but the O Antiphons live on in the hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," which is the O Antiphons put to music. What ended up happening through my changing of the King James Bible-like language of my copy of the O Antiphons was that I kept pushing the language and poetic nature of the prayers until I flushed out a re-imagining of the O Antiphons. When trying to describe it, the best term I could come up with is a "theological translation." I wanted to flesh out the theological underpinnings of the O Antiphons, and I did so by changing the O Antiphons from two lines to four lines. Enjoy! And please, if feel free to use them and let me know how they read in your faith community.

December 17 - O Wisdom ( O Sapientia )
O Wisdom, coming to us as the voice of God,
The rushing wind of your voice hovers over the earth,
calling us back to the peacefulness of Eden.
Come now and teach us discernment.
December 18 - O Lord (O Adonai)
O Lord of your chosen people, you have spoken to us
through prophets. Through burning bushes and flaming tongues
you have given us your law: to love God and love others.
Come with your outstretched arms and bring salvation to all.

December 19 - O Root of Jesse ( O Radix Jesse )

O Root of Jesse, out of you springs up the kingdom of God.
No other kings or nations have the power you possess,
so they keep silent before you and the witness of your kingdom.
Come with your kingdom now and save us.
December 20 - O Key of David (O Clavis David)
O Messiah, King of the Jews, you have given us the mysteries
of God and taught us the way of your kingdom. When someone
knocks you give to them freely and without reservation.
Come now and free those who are held captive by darkness.
December 21 - O Morning Star (O Oriens)
O Morning Star, bright light, eternal dawn, sun of justice,
shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow
of death; be our guide on the path of righteousness.
Come now and show us the light that brings eternal joy.
December 22 - O King of the Gentiles (O Rex Gentium)
O King of the Gentiles, the object of our desire,
you are the rock on which the church has been built.
You graft your chosen people together in one body.
Come now and save us who are but dirt and clay.
December 23 - O God-who-is-with-us (O Emmanuel)
O God-who-is-with-us, our coming king, composer of justice,
the nations will gather and bow down to you
who will come to judge the living and the dead.
Come now and save us, our God in the flesh.

Fr. Patrick Raymond,         praymond@ascensionchicago.org

Susan Schlough,                finance@ascensionchicago.org

Parish Office                      office@ascensionchicago.org