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St. Catherine of the Night

 

IMG_1975(This is the first in a series of reflections on St. Catherine of Siena, and the Oratory  that bears her name.  They were inspired by my visit to Siena in September, and the photographs were taken then.  The season of Lent is a good time to reflect on those who have gone before us in the faith. )

 

Sometimes, saints (and other people) are portrayed sleeping as a metaphor for death.  This statue of St. Catherine asleep, however, can be found in the Night Chapel of St. Maria Della Scala, and it commemorates a place where the saint often found rest.  St. Maria Della Scala in her day was a massive hospital complex, and St. Catherine ministered there to the sick, injured, and dying at all hours.

On a stone slab there in the Night Chapel, it is recorded that St. Catherine slept, recovering strength and energy to go on with her work.

Now St. Maria Della Scala is a remarkable art museum, which preserves and displays its history, as well as art that spans the centuries.  One of the places preserved is that very chapel where St. Catherine rested.  Dark and quiet, the chapel attracts few of the tourists that come to see the exhibits on the upper floors.  The sense of sanctity still lingers however, and it is easy to visualize the saint and those who followed her praying for those that they ministered to.

The Night Chapel is very much a part of the hospital, almost at its very heart, and yet it is separate enough that one can find a restorative solitude and a place for silent prayer.  And so there is a cycle of ministry and prayer, action and rest that we should all take to heart.

I pray that the Oratory that bears her name here can be a similar place of refreshment, worship, rest, and prayer, to equip those who attend with the strength and resolution to carry on their ministries in the world.

 

 

Lenten Services

The Eucharist will be celebrated every Sunday during Lent at 10:00 a.m.:

February 14, 21, 28

March 6, 13

Palm Sunday (March 20)

Easter (March 27)

There will also be additional services during Holy Week: Maundy Thursday (3/24), Good Friday(25) and Easter Vigil (3/26), as well as a eucharist during the Bishop’s visitation (details to come).IMG_8069

During Lent, the Oratory will be celebrating the eucharist using Rite I of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, a service that combines traditional language with reminders of the solemnity of Lent.

As always, all are welcome to join us.  For more information, feel free to email the Chaplain at beguine2@yahoo.com or call her at 401-529-7780.

 

 

Mass Schedule for December, January, and February

The Eucharist will be celebrated on:

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December 20 (Fourth Sunday in Advent)

December 27 (First Sunday after Christmas)

(NOTE:  There will not be a service on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day)

January 3 (Second Sunday after Christmas)

January 31 (Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany)

February 7 (Transfiguration Sunday)

February 14, 21, 28 (First, Second and Third Sundays in Lent)

The Chaplain will be out of the country for most of January, but may be reached via e-mail at beguine2@yahoo.com if necessary.

There will be an Ash Wednesday service on February 10.  If you are interested, please contact the Chaplain for details.

We will continue to celebrate the Tridentine mass from the English Missal until Lent, when we will switch to the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, Rite I.  That use will continue through Lent, unless there is a pastoral need to change it.

You are welcome at any of the services.

 

Mass Schedule for September and October

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Upcoming Mass Schedule for the Oratory:

The Chaplain will be in in Italy (Rome and Siena) for the first two weeks of September, and away several weeks in October as well.

All services are at 10:00 AM in Beverly, MA.  In keeping with the Independent Catholic Christian Church’s hallmark of diversity, we will be celebrating the Mass using the Roman Catholic form of the Novus Ordo on a regular basis.  We may, on occasion, use the English version of the Tridentine Mass (from the English Missal) or one of the Rites from the Book of Common Prayer, depending on the pastoral situation.

E-mail the chaplain at beguine2@yahoo.com for more details if you are interested. All are welcome.

August 30
September 20, 26
October 4, 18

Mass Schedule for the Oratory

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The eucharist is celebrated most Sundays at 10 am at the Oratory in Beverly, MA, and all are welcome.  Recently, we have begun using “A Simple Service Book” (put out by Rene Vilatte Press through Lulu.com).  This includes a Tridentine mass in English, which we are using through Epiphany.  We will be holding services on:

Dec. 21

Jan. 4, 11, 18

Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22

Good Neighbor Novena, Days 6 and 7: The Environment

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“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.”  Scripture begins with those words, and they are fundamental to our life in God.  Human beings were created to be part of and stewards of creation.  All too often, though, we have selfishly abused the earth’s resources.  The intention over these two days is for Christians to make wise decisions and take right actions for the welfare of all, and to be “good neighbors” to the earth and generations to come.

Good Samaritan Novena, Days 4 and 5: Racism

I didn’t post yesterday about my intention, but based what I was seeing in the news, the intention was for the church’s role in reacting to racism.  The immediate trigger for this concern was the situation in Missouri, but the intention was wider than that. I was particularly struck by the story of the woman pastor who was struck by a rubber bullet by police, when it was clear that her role in the conflict was mediation and peacekeeping.  My not-so-neutral prayer in all of this is that we take our role as radical peace makers seriously, respecting the dignity of every human being even if it means personal risk.

There is enough troubling about this issue that today’s mass will also focus on praying that our fear of the “other,” the ones who differ from us, will not blind us to our commonalities.  Yesterday the focus was specifically on racism here in the United States; today the focus will expand to the church’s response in all of the areas where racism is an issue.

You are invited to voice your concerns, and to join in this intention.

 

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Good Samaritan Novena, Day 3: Those Struggling with Suicide, Depression, and Mental Illness

This isn’t what I had planned to focus on for this third day of the novena (August 13), but in light of Robin Williams’ suicide, it seems appropriate. 

Especially since as I was sitting at the Hamilton train station tonight after seeing my therapist, two police officers stopped by and asked for my name and the name of the other woman waiting there. It turns out that they were looking for a potentially suicidal woman named Amanda. As they left, my companion on the platform turned to me and said, “I’ve thought of suicide.” She went on to spill out a story of addiction and isolation–not asking for anything, except a listening ear. There wasn’t anything I could do except listen, and offer her the hope that things could get better.

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Your prayers are asked for Amanda and Chris and all who struggle with “the black” and other mental “demons.”  Pray too that the Christian community will respond with compassion and gentleness.

Good Samaritan Novena, Day 2: Refugees

Today’s intention focuses on those who have left their homes because of persecution, violence, catastrophe, or oppression.  May we remember that our God is one who loves the alien and the foreigner.  Pray for those who aid these refugees, and those in authority making the decisions love mercy, act justly, and walk humbly with God.  (Micah 6:8)

An image from the separation wall

Good Neighbor Novena, Day 1: Syria/Iraq

August 11: Prayer for the Christians and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, who are facing brutal violence for their faith. Prayers are offered for them and for those who would come to their assistance. Prayers are also being offered for wisdom among the leaders of the world, that they would be led to right actions to defend the helpless.

From the Roman Catholic organizati0n Aid to the Church in Need comes this prayer composed by Patriarch Sako of Baghdad:10547635_10152582394847342_6053012912554885883_n

Lord,
The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.

Glory be to you forever.
Amen