The flowers at Easter
St George’s publishes a magazine called the Messenger every three months. The next issue for June to August is now out.
From the Rector
Lent is now over, when we walked the way of the Cross. My thanks as ever for the huge support over Easter. It is wonderful to see the parish helping in all the myriad jobs that need to be done to make a joyful Eastertide. Now after Easter, we still are walking with Our Lord, as on the Road to Emmaus, when we are invited to have our hearts burn within us as we listen to him. Jesus is always taking us somewhere, inviting us to come and follow, so naturally one of the big challenges of our “Christian walk” is making sure that it is not happening on a treadmill.
A pretty simple way of determining that is remembering Our Lord’s summary of the law: to love God and our neighbour. This tells us that growing in holiness means growing in that love, and that no matter where Our Lord calls us to follow, he’s always leading us to love.
Of course, sometimes we feel more loving because we are, but even then, it’s our actions that confirm that. The reason is that our bodies and souls were made to work together; we cannot love with just one or the other. Part of what makes Lent such a fruitful time is that our bodies get a greater spiritual focus than usual, and so it is always good to reflect on whether that focus can continue in some form.
Another very basic way we can practice keeping our bodies and souls together is to end our time spent in prayer by making a resolution. It doesn’t have to be theologically profound or heroically virtuous; it just needs to be some simple, concrete action we can take, preferably related to the content of our prayer. For example, if the gospel reading at Mass refers to the Pharisees looking down on the tax collectors and sinners coming to Our Lord, I might resolve not to join in bad-mouthing someone or resolve to think well of and pray for someone we don’t naturally like. Or if in my prayer, I’m reminded of how someone supported me in a difficult time or just on a bad day, I could resolve to look for an opportunity to go out of my way to help someone. While this might seem difficult at first, it will get easier with practice, and it also doesn’t hurt to have a list of ideas on hand for the times we get stumped.
When this becomes a habit, a couple of things happen. The first is that our prayer will stay with us even after the time is over. It will continue on some level while we’re looking for an opportunity to keep our resolution, but the action itself can sometimes make an impression we’ll never forget, even if it seemed insignificant when we made it. The other is that we begin to naturally associate an encounter with Our Lord with putting ourselves at his disposal and taking action. Then the more we put ourselves in a position to act in love, the more we give Our Lord the chance to love through us. Once we have started down that road, we quickly find that that is the only way to truly love God and our neighbour, and that it always leads us somewhere.
Back on the day to day life of our Parish: the Parish Council and the Education Association have supported the re-opening of the Bric-a-Brac shop. However, we need volunteers to look after the shop. We are looking at opening Thursday to Saturday, around 11 am to 3 pm. We need people who can commit to one day a week and those who can stand in when necessary. The shop in the past has proved to be a good fund raiser for the parish, as well as a great way to reach out to the wider community of Goodwood. It was lovely this past Christmas to see a few visitors to our midnight mass who had made connections with our parish through the shop.
Our new Gregorian Chant Group sung for the first time for our Tenebrae Service before Easter. This is a wonderful little group open to all, and you don’t need to have musical skills to learn, I assure you. We meet every Wednesday at 7.30 pm in the hall.
For the first time in memory we had the RSL service at St George’s the Sunday before Anzac Day. It was wonderful to have our significant War Shrine used and honoured by the attendance of our local member David Pisoni, mayor Lachlan Clyne and former governor Kevin Scarce.
We have Catholic Renewal Sunday coming up in July when we commemorate the revival of the Church in the 19th Century through the exploration of the Catholic heritage of our Church. This year I have invited a newly ordained deacon, Richard burr, to preach.
The lighting in the nave is now mainly up, with only the spot lights on the pictures and the ceiling to be completed. The new lighting in the alcoves in the nave and the windows is very beautiful. It has been fascinating to watch its progress week by week.
We are presently waiting for our next order from China which will be for the rest of the nave lights and the chancel. The outside lighting is still to be organised.
CATHOLIC RENEWAL SUNDAY
Sunday 16 July
8.00 a.m. Mass
10.30 a.m. Procession & Solemn Sung Mass
Preacher: Deacon Richard Burr
Followed by a shared lunch.
Our fellowship group meets once a month on the first Tuesday of the month at 1 pm for a short talk and social afternoon tea. It’s open to all and sundry.
Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham
The next meeting of the Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham will be on Saturday 1 July 2017 at 9 am for a mass and shared breakfast at the rectory.
Gregorian Chant Group
Our group meets weekly on Wednesday nights 7.30 to 8.30 with our Director of Music Sarah Clay. This is a great way to learn how to sing chant, the most ancient music of the Church. It’s not hard, but fun.
From the Register
Lyndon Murray died on the 20 May. A talented musician and the Director of Music at St George’s for many years, he has enriched the life of St George’s immeasurably.
We have also had the baptism of Annie Marqus on the celebration of St George’s Day on 30 April.
The Unley Council continue their upgrade of Goodwood Road. We are expecting some disruption in front of the church while they relay the pavers. There will be new spotlights on the War Shrine. The parish is also paying to have the drain near the road entrance covered over in June.
A treasured item of St George’s is…
A Eucharistic vessel given in 1921 to Fr Wise by St Peter’s Cathedral in Peterborough, England to mark the silver anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. This vessel is the small ciborium used regularly on Sundays at the 8am mass and at masses on weekdays.
Designed to hold communion wafers, the ciborium dates back many centuries. A chalice-like vessel with a lid, it most likely derives its name from the Greek “kiborion” or “cup”. At St George’s we have three ciboriums (or to be pedantic – “ciboria”), the one mentioned above and a larger one given in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI. A third ciborium holds the Reserve Sacrament and is kept in the tabernacle behind the high altar.
Ideally a ciborium should be made of gold or silver, with the interior of the cup lined with gold. The cup of the ciborium given to Fr Wise is of silver with an inner lining of gilt, with a stem and base of plated silver. It has recently undergone repair and should continue to serve St George’s for many years to come.
In earlier times a dome-shaped permanent canopy over a high altar, supported by columns and shaped like an inverted cup, was also called a ciborium, but nowadays this structure is usually referred to as a “baldachino”.
The Merry (or Mary’s) Month of May
The observant among you may have noticed that during May on Sundays and Tuesdays, as well as on feast days of Our Lady, the candles and lamp at the Shrine of Our Lady at the chancel steps were lit. This was our contribution to the good Catholic practice of observing the month of May as “Mary’s Month”.
How did it all begin? The origin of May as Mary’s Month is multi-faceted. Some accounts tell us that a move to devote the month of May to Mary was introduced among the Jesuits at the end of the 18th century to “counteract infidelity and immorality among the students”, the oldest instance of a devotion extending over an entire month, and that this practice was popularized in the 1880’s with the publication by the Pope of a series of Encyclicals on the Rosary.
However these accounts add only yet more layers to links between Mary and May that have been around for centuries.
Why May? In the ancient traditions of Greece and Rome, May heralded the coming of spring and the beginnings of new life and fecundity – a motherhood connection not lost on Christians who came to associate May particularly with Mary, the Mother of God. Then there were the pagan celebrations that took place on May Day, the spring festival, during which a “Queen of the May” was crowned. The dedication of the month of May to the Blessed Virgin at the end of the 13th century was a move on the part of the Church to appropriate this secular festival to itself (something Christians were very good at doing). By the 16th century there were books that fostered this Marian devotion.
And one more question – might “merry” in the “merry month of May” be a corruption of Mary? Or vice versa? The jury is out on this one.
Saints and Symbols
Can you match the saint and the symbol?
|James the Greater||Keys|
|John the Baptist||Child on Shoulder|
|Mark||Sword and Scales|
Andrew – Transverse Cross; Anthony – Bell; Augustine – Books; Bartholomew – Knife; Catherine – Wheel; Cecilia – Organ; Christopher – Child on Shoulder; George – Dragon; James the Greater – Shell; John – Poisoned Chalice; John the Baptist – Lamb; Joseph – Lily; Lucy – Lamp; Luke – Winged Ox; Mark – Winged Lion; Matthew – Money Bags; Michael – Sword and Scales; Patrick – Shamrock; Paul – Sword; Peter – Keys; Stephen – Stones
One of the things I love about being a Catholic Christian is the way time is sanctified, and we take after our Father in this. “In the beginning” God invited us into a day of rest to remind us of the nature of our relationship with Him, and every Sunday we celebrate the way that invitation was transformed by inviting Jesus to rest in us when we receive Him in the Eucharist. Bringing the presence of Jesus into our lives is behind everything on the Church calendar. Through the various liturgical seasons the Church provides a rhythm for life with Jesus. In Advent we prepare for His birth at Christmas. In Lent we share in His time of trial in preparation to share in His death and Resurrection. The Easter season prepares us for life as the Church, His body on earth, where He will be present in a new way during our “ordinary” time. Ordinary Time also leads us to look forward to His coming again, which is part of our Advent focus.
We also hallow individual days in the context of these seasons. The various feasts and fasts call our attention to a specific event in the life of Jesus, like His Transfiguration. We venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints on their feast days, because as members of His Body, the Church, they give us pictures of Jesus living outside the gospels. Building on the Jewish hours of prayer, the Church even provides a structure of devotion throughout each day in Morning and Evening Prayer and Compline.
Not as well-known, however, are the meanings or intentions assigned to the days of the week and the months of the year, which give us the opportunity to deepen our devotion and understanding of a particular aspect of the faith. I’ll talk about the intentions for the months as they come along (April is the Eucharist and May is the Blessed Virgin Mary, see below), but these are the meanings I’ve seen most consistently assigned to the days of the week.
Sunday – The Resurrection and the Holy Trinity
Sunday is the day for renewing Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice during the Holy Mass, and enjoying our new Sabbath rest.
Monday – The Holy Souls in Purgatory
There is a lot of scriptural evidence for purgatory as a state of our souls, and on a purely rational level, our hearts long for it. Jesus tells us that it’s the “pure in heart” that “see God,” but most of us die still imperfect. Does that mean that we’re out? Not at all, but it does mean that something has to change in our hearts before we can stand before God. Our free will often makes a change of heart difficult, and since we’ll still have our free will after death, it’s important to pray for those who have died. I’ll say more about this in November, which is the month for Holy Souls.
Tuesday – The Holy Angels
Angels were created to adore God, implement His will, and to reveal His will to men, and we see them doing these things at significant moments throughout scripture. Revealing God’s will is probably what comes to mind most readily, and the word “angel” is based on this, as it comes from the Greek word “aggelos,” which means “messenger.”
We also each have guardian angels, which are more than sentimental, fairy godmother- type stories. They’re heavenly mediators (Matt 18:10), guides (Heb 1:14), and protectors (Ps 90:11-12). Also, many saints, like Padre Pio (1887-1968), not only had great devotion to the angels, but were known to have sent and received messages through their guardian angels. St. Leo the Great encouraged us to “make friends with the holy angels,” and we can do that by asking for their help along with our prayers.
Wednesday – St. Joseph
We benefit from making friends with the saints as well, and this is especially true of St Joseph. As the earthly father of Jesus, he had the unique role of protecting, providing for, and instructing him early in life. Because holy relationships are not ended, but perfected in heaven, this vocation continues with the “earthly Jesus,” which is His body, the Church. St. Joseph models all kinds of heroic virtues, like loving without possessing, stewardship, fidelity and obedience, courage, etc., and so the Church recommends that we make a special effort to welcome him into our life of faith.
Thursday – The Holy Eucharist
In Holy Week we’re reminded that Our Lord instituted the Eucharist on a Thursday, and so it’s fitting that we remember it on this day. Many people do this by spending time praying in front of Blessed Sacrament, but if that’s not possible, we can also make a “spiritual communion,” asking Jesus to dwell in us in a special way even though we can’t receive Holy Communion, and ask for the grace to receive Him with greater devotion and awareness when we can.
Friday – The Passion
On Good Friday, Jesus was scourged, mocked, and crucified, which is why Friday is always a day of repentance and self-sacrifice, with the most familiar practice being abstaining from meat. It’s also a day to reflect on the passion narratives in the gospels or the Stations of the Cross, and to do some self-examination.
Saturday – The Blessed Mother
There are a number of reasons why Saturdays are devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but maybe the earliest and most significant is the tradition of her steadfast faith on Holy Saturday. Saturday is also traditionally a day for making a Confession, which follows naturally from the Friday practice of self-examination and sacrifice and prepares us for Communion with our Risen Lord on Sunday.
These do vary a bit from place to place, but the main purpose is the intentional deepening of our faith and devotion. That doesn’t by happen by accident, which is why we should join the Psalmist in praying, “so teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
From all Saint’s San Diego Parish Magazine