Monday, May 19, 2008

June 2008

A Feast of Title

The Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul the Apostles is June 29th. This is a very important day for our congregation, for two reasons.

First, it is what is called a Feast of the First Class. An old tradition of the church is to rank the importance of days as First, Second, Third, or Fourth. First Class Feasts are the highest. Although generally Apostles’ Days are of the Second Class—and consequently are not celebrated if they should happen to fall on a Sunday, which is of higher rank—this is not the case regarding this feast. It is of higher rank, because it is the feast of two apostles at once, and very important apostles at that. St. Peter was the leader of the Apostolic Band, and St. Paul was called Apostle to the Gentiles. Therefore the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul is a Feast of the First Class.

Secondly, for us here locally, it is called a Feast of Title. Our parish is named for St. Paul, as the icon which always graces this newsletter’s first page reminds us. Therefore, even if this feast were not a Feast of the First Class, for us it would be one.

Therefore we have twice the reason to celebrate.

How fitting that this day happens to fall on the day of our annual church picnic as well. Sunday afternoon we’ll be at the park for a day of time together (see more on this below).

The greatest part of this day will be our attendance at the altar, of course, when we feast on Christ the Bread of Life during Holy Mass. There we will also commune “with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven” – including these two great apostles.

St. Peter was among the first to suffer for the name of Jesus, and gladly did he suffer. He was imprisoned, beaten, and finally crucified. But he counted crucifixion as such a great honor that he did not think himself worthy to die in such a noble way as his Lord Jesus had died; therefore at his own request he was impaled with head downwards.

St. Paul likewise suffered greatly, though gladly, for the sake of Jesus whom he preached. Throughout his ministry he was persecuted, until finally in Rome he was martyred.

So the color for the day is red, and so we rejoice, since we know that these men were so courageous in the face of death for one reason: they had seen the risen Lord Jesus, and so were utterly convinced of His truth. They knew that they would live and reign with Him forever, and so had no fear of death – and therefore, neither need we fear the grave, having confidence in the same Lord Jesus.

So let us rejoice on June 29th: in church and in the park. A great day indeed.

+ Pastor Eckardt
To return to the St. Paul's Website, click here.

Church Picnic June 29th
Mark your calendars! Our annual church picnic is scheduled for Sunday, June 29th, at the shelterhouse at Northeast Park. We’ll head out there right after church for brats etc. as usual, and a day of frolick in the sun and some good times together.

As is also our custom, we have no Saturday evening mass that weekend, to encourage everyone to come on Sunday morning and then head out to the park.

Bring your Frisbees, your swimsuits, your tennis rackets, your bats and balls, or whatever else you’d like to bring, to have some fun.
June Ushers: Alan Kraklow (chairman), Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells, Bob Bock

June Birthdays:
6/5 Mirilda Greiert
6/5 Linda Rowe
6/11 Burnell R Eckardt
6/16 Berniece Harris
6/16 Betty Heaton
6/29 Sara Timberlake

June Anniversaries:
6/17/1967 Robert and Mary Beth Jones
6/18/1960 Sandra and John Verplaetse
6/18/1977 Rev. Fr. Burnell and Carol Eckardt
6/18/1966 Don and Sue Murphy
6/19/1977 Dana and Carol McReynolds
6/19/1966 William and Judy Thompson
6/24/1950 Leland and Betty Heaton
6/24/1989 Tony and Mindie Fisher
6/25/2005 Andy and Kristy Eckardt
6/27/1954 Monroe and Lucille Kemerling
6/27/1981 Steve and Gail Peart
6/28/1958 Dale and Anna Baker

Private Confession is always available to anyone between 6 and 6:30 pm on these Wednesdays (and also, as always, by appointment).

Altar Guild Notes
There was no meeting in May. A memo was provided for the members instead. Any member who did not get, or who lost the memo, contact pastor.

Oil candles are now being used again in the candelabra (beginning Saturday, May 24th), as we enter Ordinary Time (the Sundays after Trinity).

Trista Schoen has agreed to take over flower duties for Ruth VerShaw. Special thanks to Ruth for her years of service.

A CD player is in the sacristy with a new recording of Psalm 1, which may be played during the preparation of the altar.

Next meeting: Monday, June 1st, 6 p.m.

Shut ins
Carole Sanders and Mary Hamilton at home; Jack Stewart, and Evelyn Heinrich at Kewanee Care; Mirilda Greiert, at Courtyard Estates; Elva Garrison at Avon Nursing Home; Ruth Melchin at Hillcrest Home; Leland Heaton at Toulon Care Center; Jane Melchin at Lutheran Home, Peoria., Mark Baker at home, and Anna Baker (temporarily) also at home.

Thank you
Dear members of the St. Paul council,

As a senior now, I would like to thank you for making the Kersten Fund available to me as a scholarship in the past four years. It has been extremely helpful to me in receiving a great undergraduate education at Augustana College. My education here, with majors in German and Music and a minor in Classics, has been preparing me well for my future studies at the seminary. I am very excited to be graduating soon and to be starting a new chapter in my life. Thank you again!

Sincerely, Peter Eckardt

The Trinity issue of Gottesdienst had another beautiful cover, to match the quality contents on the inside.

Copies of the journal are still available in the narthex. Feel free to take one.

Better yet, why not subscribe to the journal sponsored by your own parish. Four times a year, Gottesdienst aims to kindle a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the Divine Service and the Holy Gospel in which our Holy and Triune God enlightens us with His gifts, sanctifies, and keeps us in the true faith.

A one year’s subscription is only $15 (four issues); $25 gets you two years. To get yours, see pastor or log on at

First Monday Vespers
This service, held on the first Monday of every month, includes as a special focal emphasis prayers for this parish and her members. Anyone may attend this service, which normally lasts about 20 minutes.

The schedule for June 2nd :
6 pm Altar Guild meets in Conference Room
6:45 Vespers (open to all)
Following Vespers: Elders meet

Pastor doing some teaching on the side

A teaching opportunity has recently presented itself for Pastor. Starting on June 9th, he’ll be teaching a Philosophy 101 course at the Blackhawk East campus.

This has resulted a temporary schedule change for the Tuesday nursing home communion schedule. For June and July it is moved to 11 a.m.

This course, according to college’s contact person, is usually taught by a local minister.

Pastor has also been teaching an online World Religions course in connection with John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois.

Fifteenth annual CCA Symposium on Catechesis

Each year in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the Concordia Catechetical Academy holds a three-day symposium on catechesis. This year’s topic is “The Sanctity of Life: Catechesis under the Fifth Commandment.” The Conference is set for June 18-20. Pastor Eckardt will be in attendance. For details, see him, or log on at

The Lighter Side

Church Announcement
There is the story of a preacher who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."
Instruction about Church
A Sunday school teacher asked the children just before she dismissed them to go to church, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"
Annie replied, "Because people are sleeping."
The Sermon Preparation
A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon.
"How do you know what to say?" he asked.
"Why, God tells me."
"Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?"
Bible Lesson
A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem.
A small child replied: "They couldn't get a baby sitter."
The Ten Commandments
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor thy father and thy mother," she asked,"Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"
Without missing a beat one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."
The Creation of Wives
At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and said, "Johnny, what is the matter?"
Little Johnny responded, "I have pain in my side. I think I'm going to have a wife."
Money for the Pastor
A little boy was given a five dollar bill to put in the collection plate. When the offering came around, he wouldn't put it in. But after the end of the service, when he went to shake the pastor's hand, he pulled out the five dollar bill and gave it to the pastor. The pastor asked him, "Why are you giving me this money? Why didn't you put it in the offering plate?"
And the boy answered, "Because my mommy told me you're the poorest pastor we've ever had!"

Keeping the Feast: A Study of the Holy Liturgy (continued)

The history of the liturgy

The Early Church

In 1912, Roman Catholic historian Adrian Fortescue published an admirable study on the history of the liturgy, under the unassuming title The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy. His meticulous attention to historical data makes the modest size of the work deceiving, and demonstrates the intensity of his desire to show that his work is all carefully documented: “Nothing is more useless or irritating than a vague allusion to early use or medieval practice, without a reference to control it” (Fortescue, x).

What Fortescue proceeds to show beyond all doubt is that the early liturgies were not created out of sheer cloth. The church was the outgrowth of the synagogue, and did not arise in a vacuum. Pentecost was not really the birth, but the transformation of the church.

What is especially informative about his accounts of the liturgy from Rome, Gaul, Africa, Alexandria, and Antioch, is that they all show a remarkable uniformity, at least to a basic structural outline containing first a ‘synaxis’, i.e., a ‘synagoguing’, or gathering for worship, based in a synagogue service and containing readings, psalms, hymns, prayers, almsgiving, profession of faith, and kiss of peace. Then followed a ‘Eucharist proper’, including a prayer of thanksgiving, the blessing of bread and wine, prayers of remembrance, and the eating and drinking. “The details developed naturally, the prayers and formulas, eventually the ceremonial actions crystallized into set forms. But the service is always the same. Different arrangements of subsidiary parts, greater insistence on certain elements in various places produced different liturgies; but all go back eventually to this outline” (Fortescue 6-7).

Fortescue quotes St. Clement (d 101) to demonstrate that the first century prayers “that everyone admits to be full of liturgical forms . . . a regulated order for the worship of God.” He quotes from Clement’s well-known First Epistle to the Corinthians, written about a.d 98:

We must do all things that the Lord told us to do at stated times, in proper order. For he commanded that the offerings and services should be performed, not rashly nor in disorder, put at fixed times and hours. And he himself by his most high will arranged where and by whom they should be celebrated, so that everything should be done piously according to his command and should be agreeable to his will. Therefore those who make their offerings at the appointed times are well pleasing and blessed; they follow the command of the Lord and do not err. To the high priest his own services are appointed; a special place is given to the priests, and levites [i.e. deacons] have their offices. The layman is commanded by lay laws. Each of us, brothers, should please God honourably in his own place with a good conscience, not transgressing the appointed order of his services. (Chapters 40-41, quoted in Fortescue, 11-12).

What may be noted about this remarkable passage is that in Clement’s commendation of good order (Gk: taxis), there is an easily discernable echo of the counsel of the Apostle St. Paul, who also exhorted, “Let all things be done decently and in order (kata taxin, I Corinthans 14:40), and who spoke of “joying and beholding your order” (taxis, Colossians 2:5). The former reference is set within an unmistakably liturgical context.

(Incidentally it is also clear that for Clement a kind of hierarchy is already in place—not only the distinction between clergy and laity, but even a distinction between various ranks of clergy. A hierarchical arrangement seems in some way to be part and parcel of what good order meant to one writing less than fifty years after St. Paul. The purpose for the hierarchy was in any event clear: to contribute to the good order of worship.)

The evidence presented by Fortescue serves to dispel the notion that the liturgy of the apostolic age was one in which liturgical life was free-flowing and without form. The Church’s liturgy was essentially that of the synagogue, though now with its fulfillment and completion in view. As the name and revelation of God were incomplete until Christ came, so the liturgy of the faithful was incomplete until His arrival. From the days of His resurrection, therefore, these Jews who worshiped Him now began to do so from a new perspective.

To return to the St. Paul's Website, click here.

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