Blog|The Rev. Canon Anna E. Rossi
I knew exactly how dire the pandemic was two years ago when Orthodox and Roman Catholic bishops waived fasting from the Lenten regimen. I (and I suspect we) relaxed as much as we could, and undertook a perilous journey through a different variant of spiritual wilderness. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we have come far enough that I am eager for Lent’s arrival, for the paring back and stripping down that brings God’s presence into clearer focus. My colleague Mark Stanger has often used the metaphor of Lent as spring training, and my sense is that we have just enough buoyancy around us to also invite a little spring in our spiritual steps
The season of lent, a 40-day pilgrimage of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, begins on Ash Wednesday, this year March 2. Ashes are a powerful symbol of our mortality and unity with all creation — ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The ashes used in the Ash Wednesday liturgies are made from the palms from last year’s Palm/Passion Sunday. Please bring your palms from last year (or prior years) to any service on Sunday, February 27. Palms to Ashes will take place as the concluding rite of the 6 pm Vesper Light on February 27, where we’ll process out to the plaza and burn the palms with prayers and the chanting of Psalm 51.
On Ash Wednesday, we’ll offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or Confession, on the Outdoor Labyrinth from 11 am to 11:50 am and 1 pm to 5 pm (around in-person Eucharists with Distribution of Ashes at 12 pm and 6 pm). Confessions in the Chapel of Grace will also be available in the afternoon by appointment only. Please watch Ash Wednesday page for details and scheduling. Lent is historically a time when adults prepare for baptism, confirmation or reception at the Great Vigil of Easter. This year, the Rev. Canon Mark Stanger will guide that formation in a series entitled Our Ancient Faith, Our New Life in Christ, beginning next Thursday, February 24.
But first, let the good times roll! Christians have often thrown a party before the Lenten fast — Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Grace Cathedral’s tradition is Carnivale, an evening of revelry that is also a principal fundraiser for our community, integral to the programming, services and staff that carry out the church’s mission. Participate in person or online, and with tickets beginning at just $25, there’s a way for just about everyone to contribute, and have a heckuva good time in the process.
Lastly, in case you missed the announcement at our annual meeting: I’m delighted that the Rev. Miguel Bustos has joined the community as Cathedral Deacon. In this limited, volunteer role, Miguel will contribute meaningfully to our liturgical life, and support the efforts of the Social Justice Working Group and the budding End Slavery for Good Campaign. This role serves as a beautiful complement to Miguel’s full-time role as Chief of Global Strategy and Senior Director of the Center for Social Justice at GLIDE. We will welcome Miguel formally at a date to be announced soon!
All good things,
The Rev. Canon Anna E. Rossi
Director of Interfaith Engagement
P.S. Fulfilling a childhood dream is something special. Dean Young was able to fulfill his dream last week as he preached a sermon at St. John the Divine. Watch on YouTube today!