The Seventh Sunday of Easter  Sunday, June 2

Detail from  La Prière Sacerdotale
 (The high priestly prayer) Eugène  Burnand, 1900-1901

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer;  8:00 a.m. Low Mass (Rite I)
8:45 a.m. Nursery care begins;  9:00 a.m. Sung Mass
11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass
Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Missa Choralis

This Week at Ascension + May 29, 2019

From the Rector
Also From the Rector
Ascension Connections Update
Sharing Lunch, Sharing Blessings
Ascension Book Group: June
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word

Praying, more or less, continued ...

"Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and,
lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 
While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them
and was carried up into heaven.
And they worshiped him, and
returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 
and they were continually in the temple blessing God."
- Luke 24:50-53

"With all our heart and with all our mind,
let us pray to the Lord, saying, 'Lord, have mercy.'"
- Bidding to the Prayers of the People, Form I, BCP p. 383

Dear people of Ascension,

   Last week, arguably, I made a case for praying less - by way of fewer spoken intercessions at our Sunday masses. Here, I want to make a case for and invite you to pray more. The invitation arises from a number of nudges that I received over the past week.
  • The gathering last Wednesday to explore a renewal of the Society of Mary included, of course, an invitation to be more devoted to praying the rosary. (Join us in doing so at the Mary shrine this coming Sunday after the Solemn High Mass.)
  • In his Sunday sermon, Bishop Daniel Martins reminded us of Rogation Days, periods (including these very weekdays prior to Ascension) during which we are bid to particular fasting and prayers.
  • Brother Michael Francis Smith, OSB, sent me a link to Thy Kingdom Come,"a global prayer movement ... started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England ..."
     Then there was another nudge, perhaps the most compelling. A layperson from another Anglo-Catholic parish in circumstances not unlike our own told me of that congregation's recent parish covenant: to pray for new members, to pray for spiritual renewal, and to pray for a new, energized sense of mission. He smiled and added, "You know what? It's working!"
     What if the Holy Spirit were to assign you to lead or play a role in such a covenant at Ascension?
     Praying more, as I see it, should not be about more piety merit badges or more smugness or more to add to already-busy lives. The more should fundamentally arise from a yearning and intention for more faith, hope and love, in our own lives, in the life of faith we share here, and beyond.

The ministry of Thy Kingdom Come , mentioned above, is particularly timely, as the founding invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York was to pray in particular during the upcoming days between Ascension Day and Pentecost. Br. Michael-Francis has indicated he is planning on sharing in the upcoming Novena, and I will join him. If you wish to join us or look it over, click here. Also, you may find it a little kitschy, but the website allows you to share your commitment to pray and to allow your personal light to be added to the lights of others on a global map.
Aren't these altar flowers magnificent?  I thought so when I arranged for them ... at the last minute ... this past Saturday ... when I realized that we'd have a visiting bishop with us and no one had signed up. Nice as the outcome was (IMHO), it's not the best organization of this ministry. This feature is a double request. First, make a visit soon to the sign up sheets in the parish house hallway and make a commitment to sponsor altar flowers on an upcoming Sunday. Second, consider if you can take part in the Flower Guild. It's a great ministry for those with a creative bent, and it's a few hours on a Saturday only once a month or so. Please contact Cliff Green or me if you are interested.
Parking Lot Resurfacing may (or may not) take place next week. Please call ahead or check the website and/or our social media if you're headed here and will need parking here any day next week. Today I'm in the process of negotiating and scheduling this work, with help from Senior Warden Cynthia Perrizo and Vestry member David Reeves (who's agreed to be the Vestry liaison for parking lot matters).
The memorial service for former Ascension member Bob Boyle will take place this Friday, May 31, 4:00 p.m., at Three Crowns Park, 2323 McDaniel Avenue, Evanston. I have been asked to preside at the informal service that will mainly feature remembrances and music. I believe I previously shared a link to Bob's Chicago Tribune obituary but also came across another, more extensive feature, also from the Tribune and published just yesterday, that focuses on Bob's vocation as teacher and can be read here .
Please check out the organ pipe in Wheeler Hall! Better yet, please know that it has a slot in the top for your contributions to our ongoing pipe organ renovation campaign. The slot is big! Checks, bills and change all welcome! Or you can donate online through our website, or write a check. Any and all gifts welcome. Thanks to Berghaus Organ Builders for the loan, and thanks to those of you who have made gifts or pledges to date, and thanks to those of you who may be reminded to act based on this invitation.


Ascension Connections will take a tour of the exhibits at LUMA  (Loyola University Museum of Art) on Saturday, June 8 at 1:30 p.m. It is the last day the museum will be open to the public. The tour will be led by parishioner Marlea Edinger, who has been a docent at LUMA for twelve years.

Of particular note is the D'Arcy collection which is comprised of European art from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque eras. It is noteworthy for its special focus on three-dimensional objects.
If you wish to take the tour, meet in the first-floor lobby of the museum at 1:15 p.m.
The museum is located at 820 North Michigan Avenue .  The tour starts at 1:30 p.m.


Think picnic!  Pray for sunshine and warm weather!  Our next gathering will occur on Wednesday, June 12th at 12:30 p.m .  The plan calls for us to enjoy a pleasant time in the garden with typical picnic foods like fried chicken, potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, and chocolate cake.  If you have a food item you would like to share with the group, please let me know and we will incorporate it into the menu.  

The theme for our picnic will be "For the Beauty of the Earth."  We will share stories together of our favorite trips or travels where we have formed a memory of just what the earth's beauty means to us.  Perhaps these will become the basis of our Creation Care Pledge to love God and God's creation.

This is our last gathering until September.


For June the Ascension Book Group will read  Brideshead Revisited
(1945) by Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966). They will meet to discuss  Brideshead Revisited  on  Sunday, June 23, 2019 in Wheeler Hall after the coffee hour. For any information contact Ken Kelling at

Brideshead Revisited Back Bay Books ISBN 978-0316216456


The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for Sunday, June 2, 2019 may be found by clicking here. More information on the Choral repertoire may be found by clicking here.


Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Brenton Boitse, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Bazelais Suy, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Pablo Illás, Doreen Finn, Donald Schmidt, Marlea Edinger, Ted Saunders, Ann Halikas

Prayers for the departed
For the repose of the soul of Levi West,  nephew of John West .
For the repose of the soul of The Rev. Dan Hanna.

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. 

The theme of my pastoral letter today is prayer, and I can't think of a better way to round out this newsletter than sharing some writing on the life of prayer by Father Sam Portaro, who will be our guest preacher at the Ascension Day mass tomorrow evening. The following are excerpts from Practicing a Life of Prayer, an essay in the 2009 book, All Shall Be Well: An Approach to Wellness , edited by William S. Craddock, Jr .     - Fr. Raymond
     "In my relationship with God I have rarely prayed in the traditional oracular sense. God knows (literally) the secrets of my heart; we long ago came to an understanding on that. But in every moment spent pondering the scriptures, sitting in thought and crafting sentences, God and I are in conversation. When I read, when I study the scriptures, I engage a conversation that allows the other to speak to me. When I write, I engage a conversation that includes those to whom I have listened, those who have spoken to me, and those to whom I speak or write.
   "When we distinguish too sharply between our daily activity and our prayer we indulge an unhealthy compartmentalization that diminishes both. Just as in human relationship we learn to express our very real love in small, even mundane gestures throughout our daily interactions, so in our relationship with God we may come to see, show, and speak the love between us in the ordinary. When we see the whole of our lives as an incarnate medium of prayer, we find integrity-wholeness-and fullness of life. We pray with the whole of ourselves, in the giving of our all to God, just as we promised in our baptism. Indeed, integrity is the mark of life's fullness, the abundance promised in John 10:10, where Jesus claims to have come that we might have life in all its fullness.
     "An integrated life saturated by the prayer of human action is a rich spirituality. And it is transformative. To see our daily activities not as tasks to be ticked off a to-do list but as opportunities and expressions of prayer, occasions to share communion with God, is to change-to re-value, literally to re-deem-every occasion. Activities are no longer valued for having been completed, but are treasured for what has been shared.
     "Having written at length of the full integration of spirituality into our lives, I offer only two spiritual practices, each embodied in phrases common to our everyday experiences. They are homely, ordinary, and spontaneous. But don't be fooled. These are two profoundly difficult disciplines to maintain, especially in our times and in our culture.
     "The first spiritual practice is this: pay attention. This is genuine sacrifice, to pay something of real value. My attention is exceedingly valuable. Commercial interests are paying huge sums of money for it; billions are spent every day for ads vying for my attention. The phone rings, the email beckons. I'm bombarded. Lord knows I try to hold it all at bay. Still, I confess that I lose a little ground every day. I have to be more intentional about paying attention, about being a steward of the gift of attention God has given me. A good beginning is just to embrace the value of attention .... Time is the currency of God's economy.
     "Moreover, paying attention is part of my giving to God, to neighbor, and to self. Am I paying attention to the people and concerns that have greatest value for me, that represent love for God, neighbor, and self? Am I giving the first fruits of my attention, the best of my attention to God? Or am I squandering it, throwing my precious attention away, tossing it down the proverbial rat hole, flushing it down the great cosmic toilet?
     "Pay attention. Pay it thoughtfully. Give your attention as you would your most precious gift, for indeed, it's worth as much and more. It's your life, the life God has given you, the only life you have in this world. Pay attention gratefully, out of love for the gift of attention itself, the marvelous gift of awareness that raises our stature above even the angels.
     "The second spiritual practice is this: take care. It rolls off the tongue easily, usually as we part. Take care, we say. The inference, of course, is be careful, a reminder to be more mindful. Take care of yourself, and of others. But I emphasize the verb "take." Take care. Receive, reach out, and seize hold of care.
     "That's counter-intuitive for us Christians; our vocabulary is mostly about giving, sacrificing, doing unto. Taking feels somehow heretical. We're discouraged from seeking, wanting, or taking anything for ourselves. And that's the heresy. The gospel is all about good news for us, about what God has done, is doing, for me and for you. It's about the gift of life freely offered to each of us. In a backward, upside down way, we've come to believe ourselves totally unworthy, undeserving of any gift.
   "But take the care that God holds out, offers in the hands of those who reach out to help. Take the care proffered in those friends God gives us, who manifest God's love in the flesh, the companions who are there for us, and with us in the inevitable dark nights, those who believe in us, love us even when we find it hard to believe in or love ourselves. Take the care that comes running to the door and leaps into your arms, happy that you're home, whether it's the love of your child, or the love of your dog. Take the care that comes your way, receive it as the gift of God that it is, and know that the blessedness of giving extends in equal measure to the blessedness of receiving.
     "Making these connections, discerning the ways that God continues to court us, to nurture us, to touch and hold us in all the mundane matters of our lives may be the most important spiritual discipline of the mature believer. Not learning a new or better way to pray, not seeking ever more archaic or clever or elegant or technologically sophisticated ways to speak to God, but discerning-which is a form of listening with eyes, ears, heart, and soul to the God who seeks to express the most profound love we can ever know. It's not something we find easy, or do well. I know. But I'm getting better. Now the gift comes more frequently ... In those odd instances when I'm paying attention to my partner, a colleague, or a stranger, or any of the ways the incarnate God is present to us in the person and the moment. In the briefest of moments, it washes over me, that surprising, mysterious awareness and appreciation of what it means to be in the heart of God, simply but profoundly loved just as we are.
     "Pay attention. Take care. Two spiritual practices. One invites us to give, the other to receive; each presents a challenge, and demands the sacrifice of something dear to us. But the gift is great; where once we used to have a prayer life, we find we have a life of prayer."

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office