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Grace Notes

VOLUME 2, NUMBER 27, MAY 29, 2011

Call and Discernment
If you've been paying attention during the Prayers of the People, you've heard an extra petition in the last few weeks. We have been praying for Ben, our Aspirant, and for his discernment committee. The Ben in question, of course, is Ben Martin who is discerning a call to the Holy Order of Deacon. His discernment committee is a group of people who have been asked to do the holy work of helping Ben get some clarity about his call to ministry. I invite you to pray for this group and for Ben in your personal prayers as well (it is in fact a good thing to pray for all of those for whom we pray in the liturgy in your own personal prayers and encourage you to do so).

Ben is discerning a call to ministry. The concept of "call" is central to the life of God's people. First of all, the whole people of Israel is called to the ministry of being a holy people—a people set apart in service to God and for the salvation of all peoples.

But there are also examples throughout scripture of particular people being called to ministry. The story of Israel and the Church is full of "call" stories from the call of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-20) to the call of Moses (Exodus 3:1-4:17), to the call of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-21), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-10) and so many other prophets of Israel, to the call of Andrew and Peter (Mark 1:16-20) and the rest of the twelve and so many others Jesus called to follow him during his ministry and even to the call of Paul (Acts 9, 22, 26 and other places), which we usually think of as a conversion, but was clearly the beginning of a long and impressive ministry.

It is a mistake, however, to think that God only calls prophets or apostles or bishops, priests and deacons. God calls each and every one of us. The call may come as a gradually increasing sense of God's presence in our lives—a growing sense of urgency. It may come as a gentle whisper. It may come like a thunderbolt in a stormy time in our lives. It may come once in a way that marks our entire lives. It may come again and again, directing and re-directing us more and more deeply into God's inscrutable purposes. But God's call comes to each of us. And no call is more important than another. In the small, but important book, Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, we read that the "call of a priest, monk, or nun, however sacred, is, in and of itself, not superior to the call of an architect designing a house, a mechanic repairing a car, or a nurse caring for the sick. It is our faithfulness to God and not our station in life that honors a call." (Listening Hearts, p. 8)

God calls each of us. God has also called Grace Church. May each of us and Grace Church as a community hear God's call and answer it faithfully. The Fifty Days of Easter continue. Happy Easter!

--Father Rhodes

ALTAR GUILD MEETING... There will be a meeting of the Altar Guild on Saturday,June 4th at 10 am. We would like to welcome any members of the congregation wishing to learn more of the works of the Guild to join us as we discuss our plans for the Fall/Christmas season.

Feasts near and at the conclusion of the easter season... Easter is a fifty day celebration which ends on the Feast of Pentecost. Forty days from Easter Sunday is the Ascension, the day on which Christ was carried up into heaven as described at the end of the 24th chapter of Luke's gospel and in the 1st chapter of its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles. We will celebrate that feast with a Mass at 7:30 pm on June 2. Following Ascension by about ten days (June 12) is the second greatest feast of the Church year (after Easter), Pentecost, also known as Whitsunday for the white garments placed on the newly baptized (Pentecost being the second most appropriate day for Baptism after the Great Vigil of Easter). We are lucky to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism on that day at the 10 am Solemn Mass. The next two Sundays are also celebrations of some import and will be celebrated with Solemn Processions and other ceremonies at the 10 am Masses on those days: Trinity Sunday on June 19 and Corpus Christi on June 26.

FOOD FOR FRIENDS, AN EASTER THOUGHT... Easter is the greatest feastof the Christian year, and the Easter season lasts for 50 days. During that time, we can surely reach out to include needy persons in our continuing celebration, especially by donating to the Food for Friends food barrel on Sundays through Pentecost, June 12 this year. During these times of unemployment and underemployment, the need is great. The Food Pantry especially welcomes high protein items, such as beans and canned meats, as well as tuna, cereal, peanut butter, rice, coffee, and pasta. Alternatively checks may bedrawn in favor of St. Paul's CDC and marked Food Pantry. Please send checks directly to St. Paul's at 451 Van Houten Street, Paterson, NJ 07501.Thank you.

Ascension Day

Thursday, June 2
Solemn Mass
7:30 pm

Ministers of the Assembly

May 29May 29
MP Officiant and LEM (8 am)Charles KeilAndy Smethurst
Lay EucharisticTom BisdaleBen Martin
Ministers (10 am)Evans RoacheJim Davidson
LectorMack HarrellJohn Martin
Intercessor (Prayers)Daisy ToppinRandy Scott
Chief ServerEvans RoacheLeslie Bisdale
AcolytesJustin HirstiusRebecca Bisdale
Emily ThomasIy Okunlola
ThuriferWarren HirstiusBen Martin
UshersJim ClokeLarry Toppin
Janet DelaneyDaisy Toppin
CountersLarry SundenAki Okunlola
Randy ScottSusan Schneider
Altar GuildDaisy ToppinChris Scott
Leslie BisdalePat Landi
Coffee HourChris ScottNancy Sobeck
Randy ScottUna Thomas