Sunday, February 16
The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
8:00 a.m. Said Mass (Rite I)

Nursery available 8:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Sermon on the Mount, 17th C. etching,
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

9:00 a.m. Sung Mass
11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass
Andr√© Caplet (1878-1925)  Messe √† trois voix (1920)

Join us for Coffee Hour in Wheeler Hall after every Mass.

This Week at Ascension + February 12, 2020

From our Seminarian
From the Rector
Ash Wednesday 2020 at Ascension
Last Sunday's Sermon
Upcoming Mass Commemorations
Ascension Book Group
Two Upcoming Cathedral Music Events
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


From our Seminarian: Confirmation, anyone?

"Confirmation is more than a simple first reaffirmation of
baptismal vows. In confirmation one assumes responsibility for
carrying out what one committed oneself to do at baptism-serve
God with one's whole heart, mind, and soul."
      Kathryn Tanner, Anglican Theological Review, 2006

Dear people of Ascension,

It's been a pleasure to be back with you for the past two Sundays after seven weeks away. My family always visits my home in downstate Charleston at Christmas, and during Nashotah House's intensive 'Winter Term' in January, I studied Anglican Church History.

Father Raymond has asked me to focus in coming months on identifying and supporting those of you interested in exploring Confirmation in anticipation of Bishop Lee's visit on Ascension Day, Thursday, May 21. Technically, some might be 'received' into the Episcopal Church, if Roman Catholic or Lutheran, rather than confirmed, but preparation tends to be the same in either case.

Having a class with a dozen souls would be great! Otherwise, if only a few are able or interested at this time, I will work with individuals. Please be in touch with me soon so that we can anticipate a meaningful time of preparation, whatever form it takes. Text or email me please, using the contacts below.

I look forward to being with you on most Sundays through Ascension Day, and look forward to getting acquainted or reacquainted in coming weeks.

David Knox, Seminarian


Should you consider Confirmation or Reception? The concise introduction to the Prayer Book rite (p. 412) is shared below. Not only our Seminarian David Knox but any of our Ascension clergy will be happy to hear from you about your faith and questions.

"In the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop. Those baptized as adults, unless baptized with laying on of hands by a bishop, are also expected to make a public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism in the presence of a bishop and to receive the laying on of hands."

Our Lenten Program: All Five Sundays in March
I'm thrilled to share that five young adults who have been being taking part at Ascension for awhile now have agreed to lead our five-part Lenten program. The topics arose from a lively and wide-ranging group conversation in early January. As I shared in last week's newsletter, the program will take place on Sundays following the Solemn High Mass, March 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29. Count on a simple lunch featuring homemade soup, starting at 12:45 p.m. We'll conclude by 1:45 or 2:00 p.m. Look for more detailed information on the topics and presenters in coming weeks.
Our Lenten program presenters. Top row: Christopher Poore, Joey Keegin and Clare Kemmerer. Bottom row: William Pounds, Taylor Zimmerman and Fr. Bob Petite (serving as program developer and mentor)

+ March 1 -  "Broken Icons: The Damaged Goods of Lenten Practice" - Christopher Poore
+ March 8 - "Forgiveness, Christian and Otherwise" - Joseph 'Joey' Keegin
+ March 15 - "Naught Else But the Yearning of the Soul: Image & Imagination in Early                                Women's Devotional Practices" - Clare Kemmerer
+ March 22 - "Fear & Idols" - William Pounds
+ March 29 - "Suffering, Love, and Surrender" - Taylor Zimmerman

Upcoming Vestry meeting AND Vestry Retreat. The first meeting of the 2020 Vestry will take place this coming Saturday, February 15, 1 p.m. We also look forward to an Ascension Vestry retreat day, the first in many years, Saturday, February 9, at St. James Commons (the diocesan center). To prepare for both gatherings Wardens Gary Alexander and Cheryl Peterson and I prepared a draft list of certain, likely and possible parish and Vestry leadership needs for 2020. Click here to take a look at our draft, and feel free to comment.

A legal settlement with the former Diocese of Quincy (now our Peoria Deanery) was announced by Bishop Lee last week, by way of the February 5 diocesan Leadership News, which you may read by clicking here. The Leadership News issue also includes a number of other interesting features, some also preparing us and the wider church for Lent, and one on an upcoming workshop and an upcoming training by the diocesan Antiracism Commission.
My special thanks to those from Ascension who joined me for the annual Diocese of Chicago Men's Retreat this past Friday and Saturday, at the DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin. A number of us rode together and enjoyed a stop at a great taqueria on the way up. I was also floored and blessed that one of the retreat participants was Tim Berg (pic. R. below), now a parishioner at St. Augustine's, Wilmette, presented me to Bishop Montgomery for Confirmation in June 1982!

Retreat participants l. to r.: Jim Lenz, Christopher Poore, William Pounds, me, and Joey Keegin, at the altar in St. Mary's Chapel, the DeKoven Center

As mentioned last week, our Choirmaster, Benjamin Rivera, will lead Chicago a Cappella's Fiesta Mexicana concert programs in three more upcoming performances, February 15, 21 and 23. The group has been rehearsing here at Ascension and I've been captivated by what I've heard. You may find more information here.

Our weekly newsletter should have a tidier look in the coming weeks!
Trying to address some recurring troubles, Br. Nathanael has discovered that we have been working with an - ahem - 'legacy version' of Constant Contact (translation: outdated and no longer getting good tech support). The new version, when we get it going, will have a number of advantages, including, we're told, far better smartphone compatibility. Brother Nathanael and I always welcome - even encourage - your feedback with regard to newsletter content and presentation.


Ash Wednesday, February 26th

7:10 a.m.
Morning Prayer

7:30 a.m. & 12:05 p.m.
Said Mass with Imposition of Ashes

7:00 p.m.
The Penitential Order for Ash Wednesday
and Solemn High Mass

with the Choir of the Ascension singing
Johann Michael Haydn (1737-1806)  Missa Quadragesimalis, MH 552
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)  Exaltabo te Domine
James MacMillan (b. 1959)  Qui meditabitur (2010), from  The Strathclyde Motets

Over the next two Sundays please remember to bring palms that you may have at home or elsewhere from past years' Palm Sunday processions. We will burn them on the
eve of Ash Wednesday for the ashes to be used in the Ash Wednesday liturgies.



Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Commemoration of Absalom Jones

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

Saturday, February 15, 2020
Commemoration of Thomas Bray

Morning Prayer, 9:30 a.m.
Healing Mass, 10:00 a.m.
During the months of February and March the Ascension Book group is reading "East of Eden" (1952) by John Steinbeck (1902-1968). "East of Eden" is the sweeping tale of two families, the Hamilton and the Trask families.  In his journal Steinbeck called "East of Eden" "the first book", and it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth.  Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of the two families whose several generations reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.  This is both a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis.  The Ascension Book group will meet to discuss Parts One and Two of "East of Eden" in Wheeler Hall THIS SUNDAY February 16 at 1:00 p.m. after the coffee hour.  Refreshments will be provided.  For any questions, please contact Ken Kelling at (773) 853-2337.
John Steinbeck:  East of Eden
Penguin Books  ISBN 978-0142004234  

Treble Festival Evensong on Sunday, February 16th at 4 p.m.
Treble Choristers from Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin will sing with the altos, tenors and basses from the St. James Cathedral Choir in this beautiful Evensong. The group will be led by esteemed Episcopal musician R. Walden Moore. This service is free to the public.

Concert by the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge on Friday March 27th at 7:30 p.m.
Under the direction of Mr. Andrew Nethsingha, the Choir of St. John's College is known and loved by millions from its recordings, broadcasts and concert tours. Tickets are on sale now at

The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for  Sunday, February 16, 2020  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, Mary Lou Devens, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Jack Johnston, Patricia Johnston, Stewart Marks, Char Yurema, Bob Sparacio, Jonathan Jacobs, Canon Edgar Wells, Nicholas Carl, Joshua, Ellie, Catriana Patriarca, Carmen Castro, Mary Drell, Jim Lo Bello, Judy Cook

Prayers for the departed
John Marston, uncle of John West
Kiyomi Kakiuchi,  aunt of Kuni Sakai

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. 

From my Ascension office window since early autumn, I've watched as brave, skilled workers repair and reclad the steeple across the street at LaSalle Street Church. The work is now almost done. (See the photo below.) A poem by Chicago native James Schuyler (1923-1991) seems apt, due to the steeple view and, obviously, 'February.' Though his point of view is from a window in New York City, many of us may recognize and appreciate the urban perspective.    - Fr. Raymond +
           by James Schuyler

A chimney, breathing a little smoke.
The sun, I can't see
making a bit of pink
I can't quite see in the blue.
The pink of five tulips
at five p.m. on the day before March first.
The green of the tulip stems and leaves
like something I can't remember,
finding a jack-in-the-pulpit
a long time ago and far away.
Why it was December then
and the sun was on the sea
by the temples we'd gone to see.
One green wave moved in the violet sea
like the UN Building on big evenings,
green and wet
while the sky turns violet.
A few almond trees
had a few flowers, like a few snowflakes
out of the blue looking pink in the light.
A gray hush
in which the boxy trucks roll up Second Avenue
The LaSalle Street Church steeple under repair.
into the sky. They're just
going over the hill.
The green leaves of the tulips on my desk
like grass light on flesh,
and a green-copper steeple
and streaks of cloud beginning to glow.
I can't get over
how it all works in together
like a woman who just came to her window
and stands there filling it
jogging her baby in her arms.
She's so far off. Is it the light
that makes the baby pink?
I can see the little fists
and the rocking-horse motion of her breasts.
It's getting grayer and gold and chilly.
Two dog-size lions face each other
at the corners of a roof.
It's the yellow dust inside the tulips.
It's the shape of a tulip.
It's the water in the drinking glass the tulips are in.
It's a day like any other.

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office