Chalice is a group of parishioners and clergy praying for whatever is in the hearts and minds of the people of St. Paul’s. Each Sunday evening the prayers of the people from Sunday’s Mass are emailed to the team. The team then prays for these intercessions and thanksgivings throughout the week. Needs that arise during the week may also be added to the prayer list. Members use a variety of approaches to prayer. We pray at home, work, school, gym, St. Paul’s chapel, or wherever we can. What matters most is that the parish, its concerns, and thanksgivings are being held in prayer day after day. The chalice team meets once a month to share insights, difficulties, questions, and resources with each other. The only requirement for membership is an ability to maintain confidentiality; a team member can opt out for any reason whenever they choose. Members generally find the practice to be a fulfilling part of their own spiritual growth, and a simple yet profound way to support the parish. For additional information or to add a request to the list, please contact Deacon Stephen Crippen.
“Benediction” means blessing. The devotional liturgy known by the same word is a service which often concludes another service (Evening Prayer, for instance) and in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a monstrance or on the altar surrounded by candles. At the end of the service, which includes the singing of hymns and a time of silence in contemplation of the Word made flesh, a priest takes the monstrance and makes the sign of the cross with it over the people.
In his book Benediction, Anglican theologian John Macquarrie described Benediction in this way: “Benediction is a popular service, that is to say, a people’s service. The clever and the sophisticated do not come much to Benediction, but the simple, the poor, those who acknowledge an emptiness in their lives that only God can fill…. I think of some of those with whom I have knelt at Benediction: harassed citydwellers in New York, working-class people from the back streets of Dublin, soldiers serving in the deserts of North Africa, Indian Christians living as a tiny minority in a great Hindu city … They have all had the grace of humility. Those who seek a blessing come with empty hands. “How blessed are those who know their need of God!” (Matthew 5.3) God cannot give a blessing to the proud, the self-sufficient, the superior, those who secretly despise the simple devotion of their brethren. So we can only come to Benediction waiting and expectant. As we sing the hymns and look upon the Host, we open our hearts to God, knowing that he who sent the blessing of his Son to lighten the darkness of the world still sends through the same Son his blessing to us.”
St. Paul’s offers Evensong and Benediction quarterly on Saturday evenings at 5:30 PM in the Church conjunction with The Feast of Corpus Christi, The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin and The Feast of Christ the King.
We honor Mary for many reasons: She was the mother of Jesus and was theotokos, the God bearer. She reveals much to us about Jesus’ own humanity. In her song called the Magnificat she praises a God who identifies, blesses and lifts up the lowly. She shows us what Christian life is all about in that she is always turned toward Christ. Read more about Marian spirituality.
At St. Paul’s, both the Nave and All Saints Chapel have a Mary shrine. These areas are always available for prayers in the presence of Mary. As a Church community, we also offer the following times of prayer in the presence of Mary or connected to a Marian theme: prior to our 11:15 Mass, the praying of the Angelus at the Mary shrine in the Church, the praying of the Angelus at the conclusion of Wednesday Evening Prayer at 5:30 PM in the Chapel, a full celebration of The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin on the Sunday closest to the feast day (August 16) as well as Evensong and Benediction on the Eve of that celebration, and, finally, a week of Evening Prayer with a Marian emphasis at 5:30 PM in the Chapel prior to our celebration of the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin.