Mass Schedule – Lent IV (March 6, 2016)
07, St. Thomas Aquinas, C.D.
08, Lenten Feria
09, Lenten Feria
10, Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste
11, Lenten Feria
12, St. Gregory the Great, B.C.D.
+ In the year 320, Constantine was Emperor of the West and Licinius of the East. Licinius, under pressure from Constantine, had agreed to legalize Christianity in his territory, and the two made an alliance cemented by the marriage of Licinius to Constantia the sister of Constantine; but then Licinius broke the alliance and made a new attempt to suppress Christianity. He ordered his soldiers to repudiate it on pain of death. In what was called the “Thundering Legion,” stationed near Sebaste in Armenia (Turkey), forty soldiers refused, and when promises, threats, and beatings failed to shake them, they were stripped naked one evening and herded onto the middle of a frozen lake, and told, “You may come ashore when you are ready to deny your faith.” To tempt them, fires were built on shore, with warm baths, blankets, clothing, and hot food and drink close by. As night deepened, thirty-nine men stood firm, while one broke and ran to the shore. However, one of the soldiers standing guard on shore was so moved by the steadfastness of the Christians that he stripped off his clothes and ran out to join them. They welcomed him into their company, and so the number of the martyrs remained at forty, and by morning, all were dead of exposure. One source says that the few in whom a little life remained were stabbed to death at dawn.
+ Only two popes, Leo I and Gregory I, have been given the popular title of “the Great.” Both served during difficult times of barbarian invasions in Italy; and during Gregory’s term of office, Rome was also faced with famine and epidemics. Gregory was born around 540, of a politically influential family, and in 573 he became Prefect of Rome; but shortly afterwards he resigned his office and began to live as a monk. In 579 he was made apocrisiarius (representative of the Pope to the Patriarch of Constantinople). Shortly after his return home, the Pope died of the plague, and in 590 Gregory was elected Pope. Like Leo before him, he became practical governor of central Italy, because the job needed to be done and there was no one else to do it. When the Lombards invaded, he organized the defense of Rome against them, and the eventual signing of a treaty with them. When there was a shortage of food, he organized the importation and distribution of grain from Sicily. His influence on the forms of public worship throughout Western Europe was enormous. He founded a school for the training of church musicians, and Gregorian chant (plainchant) is named for him. The schedule of Scripture readings for the various Sundays of the year, and the accompanying prayers (many of them written by him), in use throughout most of Western Christendom for the next thirteen centuries, is largely due to his passion for organization. His treatise, On Pastoral Care, while not a work of creative imagination, shows a dedication to duty, and an understanding of what is required of a minister in charge of a Christian congregation. His sermons are still readable today, and it is not without reason that he is accounted (along with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine of Hippo) as one of the Four Latin Doctors of the ancient Church. Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzen, Basil the Great, and John Chrysostom are the Four Greek Doctors. English-speaking Christians will remember Gregory for sending a party of missionaries headed by Augustine of Canterbury to preach the Gospel to the pagan Anglo-Saxon tribes that had invaded England and largely conquered or displaced the Celtic Christians previously living there. Gregory had originally hoped to go to England as a missionary himself, but when he was made bishop of Rome that ended that. He accordingly sent others, but took an active interest in their work, writing numerous letters both to Augustine and his monks and to their English converts.
+ Wednesday Agape & Christian Education for all ages begins the Lenten term this Wednesday, March 9, 2016. We will begin serving the meal at 5:45 pm and after a time fellowship we have classes for all age groups. Chris James will begin a lenten devotional series on St. John of the Cross’ The Ascent of Mount Carmel and St. Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle. All blessings!
+ All Saints Men’s Group will meets each Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. in undercroft of the parish church.
+ Our Monday Morning Bible Study is also into its Lenten term. The Bible study meets each Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. For further information contact Priscilla King at firstname.lastname@example.org.
+ The Holy Communion is celebrated Monday through Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
+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.