Mass Schedule – Week of Easter IV (May 18, 2014)
19, St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988 A.D.
21, Alcuin, Deacon and Abbot of Tours, 804 A.D.
24, St. Vincent of Lerins
+ Dunstan was born near Glastonbury in the southwest of England about the year 909, ten years after the death of King Alfred. During the Viking invasions of the ninth century, monasteries had been favorite targets of the invaders, and by Dunstan’s time English monasticism had been wiped out. In its restoration in the tenth century, Dunstan played the leading role. He was born of an upper-class family, and sent to court, where he did not fit in. At the urging of his uncle, the Bishop of Westminster, he became a monk and a priest, and returned to Glastonbury, where he built a hut near the ruins of the old monastery, and devoted himself to study, music, metal working (particularly the art of casting church bells, an art which he is said to have advanced considerably), and painting. A manuscript illuminated by him is in the British Museum. He returned to court and was again asked to leave; but then King Edmund had a narrow escape from death while hunting, and in gratitude recalled Dunstan and in 943 commissioned him to re-establish monastic life at Glastonbury. (Glastonbury is one of the oldest Christian sites in England, and is associated in legend with King Arthur and his Court, with Joseph of Arimathea, and with other worthies. It has been said that the Holy Grail, the chalice of the Last Supper, is hidden somewhere near Glastonbury.) Under Dunstan’s direction, Glastonbury became an important center both of monasticism and of learning. The next king, Edred, adopted Dunstan’s ideas for various reforms of the clergy (including the control of many cathedrals by monastic chapters) and for relations with the Danish settlers. These policies made Dunstan popular in the North of England, but unpopular in the South. His sixteen-year-old nephew Edwy, whom Dunstan openly rebuked for unchastity, succeeded Edred. The furious Edwy drove Dunstan into exile, but the North rose in rebellion on his behalf. When the dust settled, Edwy was dead, his brother Edgar was king, and Dunstan was Archbishop of Canterbury. The coronation service that Dunstan compiled for Edgar is the earliest English coronation service of which the full text survives, and is the basis for all such services since, down to the present. Dunstan took an active role in politics under Edgar and his successor Edward, but under the next king, Ethelred, he retired from politics and concentrated on running the Canterbury cathedral school for boys, where he was apparently successful in raising the academic standards while reducing the incidence of corporal punishment. On Ascension Day in 988, he told the congregation that he was near to death, and died two days later.
+ Alcuin was an Englishman from York, born into a noble family about 730, and educated by a pupil of the Venerable Bede. Having become a deacon, he was made head of the cathedral school at York around 770. In 781 he was asked by the Emperor Charlemagne to become his minister of education. He accepted, and established schools at many cathedrals and monasteries, and promoted learning in every way he could. In the preceding years of constant wars and invasions, many ancient writings had been lost. Alcuin established scriptoria, dedicated to the copying and preservation of ancient manuscripts, both pagan and Christian. That we have as much as we do of the writings of classical Roman authors is largely due to Alcuin and his scribes. (He is credited with the invention of cursive script, in which the letters are connected for greater speed of writing.) To Alcuin, backed by Charlemagne, belongs much of the credit for the revision and organization of the Latin liturgy, the preservation of many of the ancient prayers, and the development of plainchant. He and his fellow theologians at Charlemagne’s capital of Aachen (or Aix-le-Chappelle) were important advocates of the doctrine that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son jointly. Unfortunately, the East, which regarded the Emperor at Byzantium as the sole Emperor, resented Charlemagne’s assumption of the title of Holy Roman Emperor, and this hardened their opposition to the aforesaid doctrine, thus contributing to the rift between East and West.
+ St. Vincent of Lerins was a leading theologian of the Church of Gaul in the 5th century and he settled in the island monastery of Lerins off the southern coast of France in order that “avoiding the concourse and crowds of cities… I can follow without distraction the Psalmist’s admonition, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Here he wrote his celebrated Commonitorium, a “Reminder,” where he wrote down “those things, which I have truthfully received from the holy Fathers,” which they “have handed down to us and committed to our keeping.” Among these things is the celebrated definition of orthodoxy as quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus: that which has been believed in the Church “everywhere, always, by everyone.” St. Vincent lived in an age of great historical uncertainty; barbarian tribes were a constant menace and although four hundred years of Christian tradition had already passed, the foundations of the faith had been only recently clarified by decisions made in the Ecumenical Councils–the Council of Nicea (325), the Council of Constantinople (381) and the Council of Ephesus (431). It is, therefore, not surprising that St. Vincent was so concerned to preserve the authority of Christian tradition. This is not to say that he was opposed to progress or doctrinal development; each age must face its won particular problems and develop a Christian response in answer to them. “But it must be progress in the proper sense of the word, and not a change in faith. Progress means that each thing grows within itself, whereas change implies that one thing is transformed into another. The growth of religion in the soul should be like the growth of the body, which in the course of year develops and unfolds, yet remains the same as it was.”
+ Daily Mass is celebrated Monday through Saturday at 12:15 p.m. You and your family members are all remembered by name at the Altar of God every week. Please take an All Saints parish prayer list home with you & remember your fellow parishioners in your prayers!
+ All Saints Men’s Group which meets Tuesdays at 7:00 a.m. in the undercroft will meet next Tuesday, May 20.
+ Our Monday morning Bible study will meet May 26, 2014 in the Undercroft. For further information about the Monday morning Bible Study please contact Priscilla King, 540-456-6458 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
+ All Saints parishioner may obtain a Mass card from the Church office. A Mass card is a greeting card given to someone to inform him or her that a deceased loved one or friend was remembered and prayed for at a weekly Mass. It is a specifically Christian way to express one’s love. Call Julie McDermott at the Church office (434-979-2842) and she will help you fill out the form. The celebrant will sign the card and we will mail it from the Church to the family of the loved one.