As I write this on Thursday I am grateful for the wonderful liturgies we have had the past few days. On Sunday we celebrated the Feast of All Saints, and the choir did a beautiful job as is often the case. I particularly enjoyed the unaccompanied setting of In Paradisum during communion, as well as Sam Lam's fanfares during "For all the saints." On Wednesday we observed the Commemoration of All Souls, normally kept on November 2. As I said before, since November 2 was a Sunday this year, All Souls is normally transferred to November 3. When this is done, the commemoration of Richard Hooker is displaced, for his day is November 3. However, I have a special devotion to Richard Hooker, one of the truly great Anglican divines. Rather than displacing this great theologian of our tradition, I decided to transfer All Souls to November 5, an open day in our parish liturgical calendar. Pastorally this worked very well, for it gave our Altar Guild a couple of rest days between All Saints and All Souls. They could prepare the church for All Souls this past Tuesday, rather than having to do it last Sunday evening after our congregational evensong for All Saints Sunday. Setting up the catafalque with the candles requires some care, and it was nice not to be rushed. We are a small church with a small altar guild with a big liturgical program, so such considerations need to be made from time to time.
On Wednesday in addition to our evening solemn mass of requiem, we had a said requiem in the morning. Following the morning requiem, about thirty of our kupuna gathered in the Parish Hall for brunch and a discussion about funeral planning including planned giving. This session went over an hour as our seniors asked many interesting questions. Topics covered included the lava flow on the Big Island covering graves, the proper use of eulogies (many funny, if not embarrassing, stories were shared), the use of the funeral pall, the use of the flag at military funerals, white or black vestments, among others. Everyone seemed to agree that they would like their funeral to be in the church, and that they would like to have a requiem mass.
I must also thank publicly the Queen Emma Outreach Guild and the Christian Formation Ministry for last Sunday's forum after high mass. Liz Nelson and Linda Rich from the Institute for the Healing of Memories were our guest speakers. We had over thirty people at the forum, our highest turnout yet. During December we will have a purely social rector's forum. It will be a potluck on Sunday, December 21, when we will gather for good food, fellowship, and the decorating of the church for Christmas. More information will be forthcoming.
There are many items to bring to your attention in the coming days. Next Tuesday is Veterans Day, and on this day we commemorate St. Martin of Tours, the patron saint of soldiers. On this public holiday, mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am with a special intention for our veterans. (We will also pray for our veterans this weekend at all masses.) Martin of Tours is a fascinating guy, so come to the mass next Tuesday to learn more about this saint. We are attracting more military personnel at St. Mark's these days, so it is important to honor their vocation when we can as a church family.
If you have not turned in your pledge for 2015 yet, please do so soon. You can also pledge online through our website. On Sunday, November 23 we have our Stewardship Celebration Barbecue at 4:00 pm, and we want everyone to come and simply enjoy being a part of St. Mark's. I was recently doing some research on our parish history, and I was reminded of how the Feast of Dedication of our current church building is the Feast of the Holy Sovereigns. The actual feast day of the Holy Sovereigns is November 28, but we always celebrate this feast in conjunction with the last Sunday of the church year, Christ the King Sunday, which is November 23 this year. It will be a great day when pledge cards are blessed, we rededicate ourselves to our mission, and we celebrate one of our patron saints, Queen Emma.
As we look ahead to Advent, be sure to order your copy of Watch for the Light, and plan on joining us for our Advent Parish study on Wednesday evenings. You can also sign up this coming Sunday to help with our Family Promise dinners this Advent. Information will be forthcoming soon about our Christmas basket drive for low-income seniors. Stay tuned for how you can help with this particular project, and please make room now for the Advent Parish Study and for the Family Promise dinners. Take note of the Choral Evensong and Benediction service planned for December 7, the Eve of the Conception BVM. On the First Sunday of Advent, November 30, we will have the Admission of Catechumens at high mass. If you know an adult or teenager who would like to be baptized, confirmed, or received into the Episcopal Church, please let me know. Christmas will be a big-time secular business again this year. Think now about how your Advent and Christmas will reflect the true reason for the season. Your parish family is here to help you make the most of your faith.
Father Paul Lillie+