Remember to set your clocks AHEAD one hour
before going to bed on Saturday night!

See Coronavirus information below .

The Second Sunday In Lent
March 8, 2020

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
8:00 a.m. Said Mass Rite I

Nursery Available from 8:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

9:00 a.m. Sung Mass
11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass

Join us for fellowship in Wheeler Hall
after each Mass.
Christ and Nicodemus: A Night Piece ,
engraving, Peter de Jode the Younger, 17th c.
Art Institute of Chicago

I forgive you

“Whenever you stand praying, forgive,
if you have anything against anyone;
so that your Father in heaven may also
forgive you your trespasses.” 
      - Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 11:25)

Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who
love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly.
We need to forgive and be forgiven every day,
every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love
among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.  
     - Henri J.M. Nouwen

Resentment is like drinking poison and then
hoping it will kill your enemies.
    - Nelson Mandela

Dear people of Ascension,
    They are among the hardest words we can say, aren’t they? I forgive you. Even harder to get out can be: Please forgive me .
    The words are not hard to say because they’re hard to pronounce. They’re hard to say because the whole enterprise of forgiveness is like open heart surgery. There’s so much at stake. So much can go wrong. Most of us feel that we are (and we may well be) ill-equipped. And, anyway, why forgive if no one else is doing so? The prevailing cultural MO seems to prefer revenge and finds it more satisfying.
    Nonetheless, Christ calls us to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.
    The theme of forgiveness stood out for me in a conversation I had last fall with Joey Keegin, an Ascension newcomer. I immediately thought: Lenten Program. Why? Because I myself wanted to hear more. And because I sensed that many of us may have something to learn from Joey’s story of and thoughts about and ongoing engagement with the enterprise of forgiveness. 
    Please join the conversation Sunday. And whether or not you can be with us, take some time this Lent to keep climbing the learning curve of grace by practicing forgiveness. Imagine if each of us, with good and faithful intention, vowed to say Please forgive me and I forgive you at least once a week through Holy Week. I wonder if, by doing so, we might be better prepared for resurrection. 
More Lenten Program Notes
My thanks to Christopher Poore for being the #1 Lenten program presenter, this past Sunday. And thanks to 48 souls who showed up to take part – a record turnout in my fifth Lent here at Ascension – and thanks to Cheryl and Jay Peterso n for the sumptuous soups. 
The Lenten programs are NOT a series – that is, each one stands alone. So if you missed last Sunday’s first Lenten program, you won’t feel left behind by coming joining us on any remaining Sunday in March.
Next up, Sunday, March 8, the Second Sunday in Lent …
Joey writes: “What does it mean to forgive? How does the forgiveness demanded of us by Christ differ from that of other religious and philosophical traditions? Why is forgiveness so important in Christian tradition? I can't resolve these questions exhaustively – but by sharing a story about a time when I learned something essential about our need for forgiveness, perhaps I can help make room for God to show us the answers.”
Joey’s exploration of forgiveness arose from personal experience and need and contributed to his embrace of the Christian faith as an adult. Joey holds a Liberal Arts MA from St .John’s College, Annapolis, and has worked as German language tutor, cook, music columnist and more. His published writings include features on ‘fanzines,’ music-fan-based magazines, book reviews and short fiction.
All programs take place in St. Michael Hall and
begin with a simple soup lunch at 12:45 p.m.
You may also see Noah Riggenbach this Sunday, another of our young adults, a well-read and thoughtful senior theology student at Moody Bible Institute. Noah and I are putting together a ‘senior internship’ for him that will mainly take place in May, June and July. We’ve agreed that the best internship experience will result by some initial informal polling of parishioners – a sampling of longtime and newer members. Remember this face! Noah may be asking for your help this Sunday.
To briefly divert from Lent … this may be a good place for me to also introduce Clementine Wehe , fiancée of Noah Rigginbach. ‘Clem’ and Noah will be married May 20 (the eve of Ascension Day), at St. Luke’s, Evanston, and have asked me to preside. In addition to also being a ‘Moody senior,’ Clementine is a photographer, designer and entrepreneur. Please keep them in prayers as they anticipate their nuptials.

Sunday, March 15, the Third Sunday in Lent …

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

Can you HELP in the kitchen or with coffee hour in Wheeler Hall? 
I clearly saw this past Sunday that we’re going to need more help in the kitchen! Thanks not only to the Petersons but also David Reeves, Marilyn Evans, the Kowalskis, Eway McLaughlin (a sometime Ascension guest!) and others who, on Sunday, saved me from my poor planning. I know I can’t count on being so blessed every week without a better kitchen strategy. I may get around to calling you to ask for your help … but if you would kindly click here to let me know that you can help and on which date or dates , THANK YOU! (Need help March 8, 15, 22 and 29; please put ‘kitchen help’ and the date or dates in the subject line.) By the way, all food and drinks are taken care of. We mainly need servers and cleaner-uppers.

Last week I mentioned another Lenten opportunity, offered by
Br. Michael-Francis Smith . He will be pleased to hear from anyone who would like to read, reflect on and discuss the spiritual classic , Introduction to the Devout Life, by Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622). I have acquired two copies of the book and am happy to share them. Please contact Br. Michael-Francis directly if you are interested or have questions. Contact me about the book.
The Coronavirus Covid-19: a Via Media (for now). We are all no doubt carefully monitoring diverse aspects the rapidly evolving coronavirus news. We must naturally wonder about our safety at the church, as elsewhere. As of today I am not suspending any worship services, ministries or programs at Ascension. (Before doing so, I would take counsel with the Wardens.) I do, however, offer the following directions and guidelines (some reprinted from previous related communications):
 • For anyone at the church in any role for any reason: Remember what your mom told you. Cover your mouth. Wash your hands. Be thoughtful (cautious) about contact with others, with regard to their maladies or yours.
All clergy and lay worship ministers are directed to wash hands upon arrival at the church, prior to vesting and following worship.
Clergy are directed to use hand sanitizer prior to the Canon of the Mass.
Bottles of hand sanitizer have been placed around the church. Use it – especially if you are clergy, a lay minister serving at the altar, usher or coffee hour host.
With regard to passing the Peace, I support the decision of those who would prefer not to have direct contact with others, though at this point I don’t wish to limit those who wish to shake hands or hug. Please be sensitive to others’ spoken requests and/or their hand signals or other body language.
With regard to receiving the Sacrament:
We use fortified wine for Communion – 18% alcohol . It’s widely thought to prevent the spread of germs, viruses, etc. Even so, the Church has always recognized the spiritual sufficiency and acceptability of receiving Communion in one ‘species’ only. Those preferring to refrain from receiving the chalice should do so.
Please receive the eucharistic Host at Communion only in your hand . Clergy are always diligent when placing a Host on the tongue. Even so, for caution’s sake, I feel we should refrain from this practice until further notice.
I am directing that all means of Intinction – dipping the Host in the wine – be suspended for now. The inevitable closer physical contact makes this prudent for the sake of your health, the health of the clergy or other eucharistic ministers, and fellow Communicants.
To my knowledge, Bishop Lee has not provided related instruction, although if you do a news search on the internet (or read the Tribune) you will be aware of guidance given to Roman Catholic parishes by the Archdiocese and other related stories about churches.
If I feel in between Wednesday newsletters that we should all be aware of some new development or any additional changes from the norm, I will send out a special edition news and information update.
PS For some time now, disposable gloves , in both M and L, have been available in the church kitchen … please use them! 
A Vestry retreat at our diocesan center (on Huron at Rush, adjacent to St. James’ Cathedral) this past Saturday was a first in almost a decade. All but one member were able to be present. In three working sessions we:
+ Discussed the relevance of organizational development principles and tools for churches in
general and Ascension in particular.
+ Examined opportunities and leadership needs in two current high-priority areas: newcomer
ministries and hospitality (both Sunday coffee hours and special occasions).
+ Began to lay the groundwork for a more extensive examination of our identity relative to
race, class and culture, and our mission beyond our own needs and interests and in addition to
the food pantry. (This conversation will continue at the March 21 Vestry meeting.)
+ Began to translate all of our findings into some individual leadership commitments.
Don’t worry if you don’t recognize your wardens and Vestry members in the photo … one
retreat outcome was a decision for Vestry members to begin wearing name tags on Sundays …
Following their attendance at the Ministry for the Common Good conference, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, Kelly Colomberti, Marlea Edinger and Cheryl Peterson were inspired to compile a Lenten Devotional Booklet for the Ascension Congregation. The hope is that the devotions will inspire a new spirit of connection between the Ascension and its urban Chicago neighborhood. Copies of the booklet may be found in the Narthex. You may also find the booklet here.
All are welcome to join our next lunch gathering at 12:35 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 . We will enjoy some friendly conversation and some good food. Menu plans right now call for: Veggie lasagna, green salad, garlic bread, and blueberry cobbler. The theme will be "March--Madness, Miracles, Memorable Moments."  Since we are in the middle of Lent, it would be interesting to think about how we are participating this year in a particular Lenten discipline--or not--and what we have learned during previous Lenten observances. On a slightly different note, we will also discuss a couple of questions regarding the future ministry and direction for this group. Your thoughts are needed!!

Join us at Mass (12:05 p.m.) and stay for lunch and BRING A FRIEND.
Contact Cheryl at 773-322-7995 if you have questions.

Wednesday, March 4
Lenten Feria
Evening Prayer, 6:10 p.m.
Said Mass, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 7
Lenten Feria
Morning Prayer, 9:30 a.m.
Healing Mass, 10:00 a.m.

THE SUNDAY ROSARY FOR MARCH will take place on Sunday, March 8, the Second Sunday in Lent. In the event you are unaware, we provide both rosaries and devotional booklets, particularly for the benefit of those for whom the rosary is unfamiliar. The booklets begin with an illustration that briefly introduces the prayer beads, their order, what prayers are said on what beads, and why.
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 Three and Four of East of Eden in Wheeler Hall on Sunday, April 5 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

The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for  Sunday, March 8, 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, 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, Canon Edgar Wells, Nicholas Carl, Joshua, Ellie, Catriana Patriarca, Carmen Castro, Mary Drell, Jim Lo Bello, Judy Cook, Steve Waltz, Lillian Alexander, John Mulcare, Mary Lou Devens, Ted Jennings

During this time of transition , the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Chicago asks for prayers for the church, our diocese, our clergy and lay leaders, our retiring bishop, and those who may be discerning a call to become the Thirteenth Bishop of Chicago.

P rayers for the departed
Chris Marston, uncle of John West

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 acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem
and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry,
that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ –
all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least
of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover
that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars,
the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself –
that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the
alms of my own kindness – that I myself am the enemy who must be loved –
what then? As a rule, the Christian's attitude is then reversed;
there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering;
we say to the brother within us " Raca ," 1 and condemn and rage
against ourselves. We hide it from the world;
we refuse to admit ever having met this
least among the lowly in ourselves. 
Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections , 1959
1 Jung is here referencing a derogatory Aramaic term used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, the exact meaning of which has long been debated by scholars. One traditional source, the Strong’s Concordance, describes it as ‘ a term of utter vilification .’
Image: Remorse, or Sphynx Embedded in the Sand , Salvador Dali, 1931
The Very Rev. Patrick Raymond, Rector

Susan Schlough, Treasurer

Br. Nathanael Deward Rahm BSG, Parish Office