We are overflowing with God's goodness this Easter season. This past week it has been my joy to be copied on multiple emails written by last weekend's retreatants. Everyone seems to have had a spiritually uplifting time, and it has been heartwarming for me to see how beneficial the retreat was for our parishioners. Father Hau'oli Tomoso joined us from Maui, and we truly enjoyed his energetic spirit, and we discovered that our retreat leader, Maxine Pollock, can also be quite the comedian! It was a gift to spend time in prayer with each other, and all eleven participants said they would enjoy doing the retreat again. I hope we can fulfill that wish as a parish, and that over time, more parishioners will avail themselves to the retreat. Choir members have already asked me if the retreat could be scheduled at a time when more choir members could attend. The answer shall be a resounding "yes."
Back at the church we are getting ready for multiple Eastertide celebrations. This Sunday at high mass we have our May Procession and Crowning. Don't forget to bring your lei! On Sunday, May 21, we celebrate Rogation Sunday, and in the evening we will have our first Rogation Walk through our neighborhoods of Kapahulu and Waikiki. We are blessed to have a bike path, local businesses, the beach, a dormant volcano, and the zoo in our proximity. So much of God's creation is right before us. On Thursday, May 25, we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, forty days after Easter. As is our custom, we will have a high mass at 7:00 pm in the evening to celebrate this great feast. The Ascension hymns in our hymnal are some of the best songs we sing all year. Father Christopher Golding, the Vicar at Emmanuel Kailua, will be our guest preacher for our Ascension celebration.
On the Sunday after the Ascension, May 28, Evensong and Benediction returns at 7:00 pm. Many of you have been gently nagging me about when Evensong and Benediction is coming back to our worship schedule. I have missed it too, however, I do believe we needed a little break after Holy Week and Lent. You will notice that we are calling this worship offering "Night Prayer and Benediction." This will give us the flexibility, depending on the time of year, and depending on the hour of sunset, to have either Evensong or Compline with Benediction. Several of you have mentioned how you enjoy singing both offices, so now you will have the chance.
A couple of weeks ago many of us went to our cathedral for a joy-filled confirmation mass. It was amazing to see so many candidates renew their baptismal vows through the various rites of confirmation and reception. St. Mark's had seven candidates at this mass, and overall I lost count of the number of people being either received or confirmed. It was a great day for the church. On the Day of Pentecost, June 4, we will have a brunch after high mass in honor of all our catechumens. Their gifts recently arrived in the mail, and on this day when the Spirit creates the Church, we will celebrate their lives among us at St. Mark's.
Our little Sunday School continues to blossom, partly because our Sunday School families keep inviting their friends! This is exactly how the church is supposed to work. We invite people, they come, and everyone receives God's blessing. This coming Sunday I will begin offering a class for adults called "the Anglican Ethos." Whether you are in the catechumenate, or whether you have been at St. Mark's for many years, please join us at this class. It will continue for several weeks, and our focus will be Anglican spirituality as offered through the our prayer book. Depending on the interest of people, I am willing to offer this class again after high mass. Come speak with me. I do realize that for a number of reasons, the 9:00 am Sunday morning time is problematic.
Finally, even during Easter we have the reality of death. Three members have had people close to them die, and we have one person who has gone into hospice, and another person continues in hospice care. I am reminded that life is fragile, and that our time may come at any moment. This Saturday, May 13, at 12:00 noon we have our Spring Requiem Mass for those who have death anniversaries during April, May, and June. The good news is that because of Easter, death has no power over us - this is our hope.
As we continue to celebrate the joy of Easter throughout these fifty days, may God be with you and your loved ones. Happy Easter!
Father Paul Lillie+