The holy season of Lent is so rich with spiritual meaning and symbolism that it’s hard to choose what to address next. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the importance of prayer and choosing a Lenten Discipline, so let me take this opportunity to talk about Lent generally and the liturgical changes we will experience. The holy season of Lent began earlier this week on Ash Wednesday and this Sunday will be Lent I. In case you were wondering (and humor me if you weren’t), Lent is forty days long—echoing two things: the forty days Our Lord spent in the wilderness fasting and being tempted by Satan before he began his earthly ministry, and the forty years the Hebrew people spent in the wilderness after God delivered them from bondage in Egypt and before entering the Promised Land. But if you count forty days backwards from Easter, which this year is April 1, you will not arrive at Ash Wednesday. This is because Sundays are not included in the count of forty days. Every Sunday is considered a mini-Easter, even during Lent, because it celebrates, through the holy sacrifice of the mass, the Resurrection of Our Lord. And, if you notice, this fact is reflected in the words we use to describe the Sundays throughout the liturgical year. There are Sundays of Easter, Sundays after Pentecost, Sundays of Advent and after The Epiphany, but they are always Sundays in Lent. These Sundays are in Lent but not of Lent. Therefore, if you choose, you may suspend your Lenten Rule on Sundays during Lent.
Though the Sundays in Lent are mini-Easters, they are still affected liturgically by the character of the Lenten season, and you will notice several changes to our worship. By holy tradition stretching back centuries, statues and crosses are veiled during this season and purple vestments are worn. At St. Paul’s, we follow the northern European tradition of veiling these from the beginning of the season, as opposed to the southern European (read Roman) tradition of veiling only the last two weeks of Lent. This is the most dramatic change you will see in the church (with thanks to the Willners and their team who did all the hard word after mass this past Sunday). Another standard liturgical change is the suppression of the A-word, that is, “All*lu*a.” Technically, one is not even supposed to use it in everyday conversation during Lent nor even write it. In my last parish we had an A-basket, like a swear jar, into which people had to put $5 every time they accidentally said the A-word during Lent (the money went to charity, and course we had great fun trying to trick each other into saying it). The A-word is replaced during the mass by the Tract or at St. Paul’s by the Lenten Prose, the music for which will be printed in the bulletin. The A-word will return again in all its glory at the Easter Vigil. Several other St. Paul’s traditions come into effect as well. We switch to a simplified plainsong mass setting, we will use the Prayer of Humble Access (BCP, p. 337) just before Communion, and this Sunday, Lent I, we will begin mass with The Great Litany in procession.
In addition, we are adding three new elements to our worship for Lent this year. First, music for organ only such as preludes, postludes, and improvisations are not normally used during Lent, but I have asked Nathan Taylor, our organist, to gradually reduce these elements, both in character and volume, so that we will steadily slip into a more and more prayful silence as Lent moves toward Holy Week. Secondly, beginning on Lent II, February 25, we will begin mass with The Pentitial Order (BCP, p. 319), which includes the recitation of The Ten Commandments. Lastly, many of you have commented on the text that I have been using as an Invitation to Communion: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sins of the world.” These are the words spoken by John the Baptist as he sees Our Lord approaching him for Baptism (John 1:29). For Lent, we are adding the traditional response: “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.” This is an adaption of the words spoken by the Centurion in the healing story as told in Matthew. The Centurion, a Gentile, comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his servant, who is sick and dying. When Jesus offers to come to the Centurion’s house, he replies, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8). We, like the servant, are all in need of healing of one kind or another, and at that moment in the mass, we are about to partake of the Lord’s Body, taking him “under our roof,” as it were. These words of humility and faith have rung true for many centuries for Christians all over the world. This response, which will be printed in the bulletin, is said three times, each time accompanied by tapping your chest above your heart with your closed hand as a sign of penitence and supplication.
See you Sunday.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
TRAVEL NOTE: NO G OR F TRAINS THIS WEEKEND
According to the Weekender on the MTA website, neither the G nor the F are stopping at Carroll Street this weekender. For those you who arrive at St. Paul’s by subway, you’ll have to take the R to the Union Street stop and walk.
NO SUNDAY SCHOOL THIS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18
LENTEN CLASS BEGINNING THIS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18 (Lent I)
Anglican Identity and Spirituality
Father Wallace is teaching a five-session class exploring Anglican identity and spirituality, in the Library each Sunday afternoon in Lent from 1:15 PM to 2:15 PM, beginning February 18 (Lent I) and running through March 18 (Lent V). Please let Father Wallace know if you are interested. Each session will be relatively self-contained, so you may attend any or all of them as your schedule permits. Taking a class makes a great Lenten Discipline (hint, hint). The book for the class is The Anglican Way: A Guidebook by Thomas McKenzie, copies of which will be available at the first class. If you want to purchase the book for yourself, please see Fr. Wallace to make arrangements.
LENTEN FOOD DRIVE
The Sunday School invites you to bring donations for their annual Lenten food drive. Bins will be placed in the back of the church throughout Lent to receive your donations. As usual, the food will be donated to the food pantry at First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights. The children will deliver the food and stock the shelves on Good Friday. Of particular need are the following foods: peanut butter, tuna fish, Vienna sausage, canned vegetables, apple sauce, pasta, rice and canned soup. Please make sure that the donations are unopened and have not expired. If you have any questions, please feel free to speak with Jean Del Colliano. As always, thank you for your generous donations!
St. Paul’s is excited to congratulate Lilo Carr Rivera on being granted postulancy! This is a major step in her discernment process for the priesthood, and St. Paul’s is proud to be her sponsoring parish.
It is traditional for Christians to make their Confessions during Lent. If you have made your Confession before, simply schedule a time with Fr. Wallace. Confession is a spiritually fulfilling Lenten Discipline, drawing you closer to God. For those who have never made their Confession, or have not done so for many years, some instruction is required in order to prepare properly. Please see Fr. Wallace.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR! ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARISH DINNER
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Please join us on Saturday, March 17th, for the 2nd annual parish St. Patrick’s Day party. Corned beef & cabbage, Irish beer & fun, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Suggested donation: $15 for adults and $5 for kids, no family more than $30. All proceeds will go to support Episcopal Charities. A sign-up sheet will be posted in the parish hall. See Keith Edwards if you would like to help.
THE ST. PAUL’S LIBRARY
Thanks to the good work of Fr. Garrenton, our parish library is now organized by topic and open for browsing and borrowing. The organizational map is posted to the left as you enter the library. Using the honor system, you may record the books you check out in the loose-leaf binder on top of the shelf next to the door and return books in the deposit basket. See or e-mail Fr. Garrenton to join the library work team.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS AT SACRED HEART & ST. STEPHEN’S CHURCH
Fr. Guy Massey has invited members of our parish to join him for Stations of the Cross and Benediction at Sacred Heart & St. Stephen’s RC Church during the season of Lent. The schedule is:
Stations of the Cross: Fridays, 7:00 pm
Benediction: Saturdays, 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
Sacred Heart and St. Stephen’s Church is located at 125 Summit Street, between Hicks and Henry Streets. The schedule and prayer intentions for the services may be found at http://sacredhearts-ststephen.com.
COVENANT OF PRAYER WITH BISHOP PROVENZANO
Bishop Provenzano has asked every parish of the Diocese to join him in a covenant of prayer in 2018. A brochure with information about the Covenant and how you may participate is available on the table in the back of the church.
THIS COMING SUNDAY
The First Sunday in Lent
Solemn High Mass: 11:00 AM
Sunday's Appointed Readings
First Reading—Genesis 9:8-17
Second Reading—I Peter 3:18-22
Organ Prelude: Antiphon III: I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, Op. 18, No. 3—Marcel Dupré
Anthem at the Offertory: “The Blessed Son of God” from Hodie—Ralphn Vaughan Williams
Communion Hymn: “Lord who throughout these forty days,” St. Flavian, #142
Dismissal Hymn: “The glory of these forty days,” Erhalt uns Herr, #143
Organ Postlude: Solemn Melody—H. Walford Davies
HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE
March 29, Maundy Thursday, 7:30 pm—Solemn High Mass
March 30, Good Friday, 12:00 pm (noon)—Mass of the Pre-Santified
March 31, Easter Vigil, 7:30 pm—Solemn High Mass
April 1, Easter Day, 11:00 am—Solemn High Mass
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Clinton & Carroll Streets, Brooklyn.
718-625-4126 • email: email@example.com • Donate
The Rev. Dr. Sean M. Wallace, Interim
Alex Canovas, Music Director
Nathan Taylor, Organist