This morning’s Family Mass was in honor of the baptism of Jesus. The children of Holy Innocents and St. Columba’s performed many of the tasks that are done in a worship service, including a Bible reading and bringing the gifts of the people to the altar.
During the Eucharist, all were gathered around the altar as Fr. Ted prepared the communion elements. Afterwards, there was time for some questions, such as “Why are you doing that?” while Fr. Ted cleaned the chalice and bowl he had used to serve the wine and bread. There were a lot of other questions about how and why certain things are done during communion. Family Mass is a good place for getting some kinds of questions answered.
The sermon this morning was a simplified version of the one given at the two “regular” services at St Columba and Holy Innocents.
Back in 1976, America’s bicentennial year, a very creative writer came up with an intriguing idea. “Our nation is 200 years old,” he thought. “I’ll bet I can find someone who is alive today who is old enough that when they were a child, they remember someone who was then old enough to have been alive at the founding of the nation, a living link to the beginning of the country.” And, sure enough, he found such a person. He was a Kentucky farmer named Burnham Ledford, who was over 100 years old in 1976; and he remembered when he was a little boy being taken by a wagon to see his great-great grandmother who was then over 100 herself and who was a little girl when George Washington was inaugurated as the first American president.
When the writer asked Burnham what he remembered, he said he remembered being taken into his great-great grandmother’s house. She was feeble. She was blind. She was sitting in an old chair in the corner of a dark bedroom. “We brought Burnham to see you,” his father said. The old woman turned toward the sound and reached out with long, bony fingers and said in an ancient, cracking voice, “Bring him here.”
“They had to push me toward her,” Burnham remembered. “I was afraid of her. But when I got close to her, she reached out her hands and began to stroke my face. She felt my eyes and my nose, my mouth and my chin. And all at once, she seemed to be satisfied, and she pulled me close to her and held me tight. ‘This boy’s a Ledford,’ she said, ‘I can feel it. I know this boy. He’s one of us.'”
As young Burnham was recognized by his blind great-great-grandmother, Jesus was recognised by God at the moment of His baptism, and we are all recognised as Christ’s own forever.
St Columba of Iona
St Columba is our sister parish; we are “yoked” together. Their service is usually earlier than Holy Innocents’ in winter (in summertime we often switch service times). Normally their service is at 8:20 a.m., and the family service begins after it concludes, around 9:15 a.m. Children should arrive by 9:00 a.m. so they can be assigned a duty, such as carrying a candle or leading the procession.
Family Mass is held on the first Sunday of the month, but this month it was on the second Sunday due to the Epiphany feast last week. Next month’s service will be Sunday, February 6th.
- St Columba of Iona
- 1800 W. Irving Park Road
- Hanover Park, IL
- 8:20 a.m. Holy Eucharist
- 9:15 a.m. Family Mass (First Sundays of the month)
There was a procession to the baptismal font today in honor of the Baptism of Our Lord, and we were all well sprinkled with holy water after we renewed our baptismal vows. This is supposed to be a solemn moment, but it is a joyful one too; quite a few priests seem to feel it’s their duty to douse people as thoroughly as possible. Also there’s often a sporting element, such as going for distance or accuracy.
Not sure how Fr. Ted did it, but he managed to hit me in the eye – and I was wearing glasses this morning. “Full marks,” some might say.