Oktoberfest Around the Corner
Last year our Oktoberfest numbers were at record levels, with some 150 guests on Sunday night, half that many on Monday, and a good number still on Tuesday. Each day was easily a record attendance.
This year we hope to draw a large crowd, too, for several reaons. First, now that the numbers have come in as high as they did last year, we can expect a higher number of returning guests. Second, we have another big name guest as a draw.
Dr. William Weinrich is another renowned confessional Lutheran scholar, especially in the area of early church history. He was one of your pastor’s chief instructors (and now also for my son Peter), and he returned to Concordia Theological Seminary where he taught from the 1970s to the early 2000s. He then became rector at the Lutheran seminary in Latvia and served there until last year when he returned to Fort Wayne. His influence on Lutheran scholarship is well known.
Registration numbers are flowing in, so we can expect another great success.
So we are hoping for participation from everyone who can. Especially on Saturday, the 8th of October, we’ll be needing a large turnout of volunteers to help with decorations, which Charlene Sovanski has graciously agreed to spearhead. The same day I’ll be cooking the brats, and as usual there will be lots of preparatory activity that day.
The choir has been working toward augmenting the celebrations with specially prepared music. Seminarian Peter Eckardt will be our special guest organist.
Dr. Weinrich is expected to speak briefly at the banquet, and then to hold forth at our Monday seminar, on the topic of “Baptism in the Gospel of John.” Monday’s events open with Holy Mass at 9:30 am., and run until 3:15 in the afternoon. Dr. Weinrich is also slated to preach at Mass.
I will lead our Tuesday events, which will involve a workshop and seminar discussing rubrics especially intended to highlight the Real Presence in the Holy Sacrament.
Members’ registrations are at the reduced cost of $15.00 or $25 per couple (children free), which includes meals. If you wish to treat a guest, the additional cost would also be only $10.00.
Mighty are the preparations!
+ Pastor Eckardt
Steve Peart, Grant Andresen, Larry Campbell
10/1 Richard Melchin
10/1 Sue Murphy
10/2 Diana Shreck
10/3 Matthew Fisher
10/9 Mary Hamilton
10/9 Kevin Thompson
10/20 Ed Woller
10/24 Robert Jones
10/24 Corey Peart
10/28 Carmen Sovanski
10/30 Sharon Hartz
10/31 Marjorie Lamb
10/4 Linda and Larry Rowe
10/23 Otis and Deanne Anderson
Pastor presenting at Conference in Algoma, Wisconsin
Pastor will be returning from Algoma, Wisconsin on Wednesday, September 28th, where he is scheduled to lead a conference of pastors on Monday and Tuesday of that week. He will be speaking on his book The New Testament in His Blood.
Altar Guild Notes
Wednesday, September 28th we will observe Michaelmas, for which the color is white.
Wednesday, October 19th we will observe St. Luke’s Day (actually the 18th) , for which the color is red. We will not observe St. Luke at Tuesday morning mass on the 18th.
There are five Sundays in October. Paraments for the first four are green. The fifth, October 30th, is Reformation Sunday. Paraments are red (also for Saturday night the 29th).
For Oktoberfest, Sunday evening October 9th and Monday morning October 10th are green. Tuesday morning October 11th ((Motherhood B.V.M.) paraments are white. Tuesday vespers, at 3 pm, should have green paraments. Wednesdays are green all other days of the month.
First Monday is now First Tuesday
The First Tuesday events are scheduled for October 4th: Altar Guild at 6 pm; Vespers at 6:45; Elders following.
This series, containing brief liturgical questions and Pastor Eckardt’s answers, began to appear in 1995, as a regular feature in this newsletter. It was then published, about ten years ago, as a Gottesdienst book.
Why does the celebrant elevate Host and cup after each is consecrated?
At this point in the Mass we have reached the heart of our Christian faith: we affirm with this elevation that here is where Christ is to be found: “This is My Body,” said He; and therefore we believe that this consecrated Host is truly His Body; so likewise with the cup. While many deny the possibility of this, since it does not sound very reasonable at all, we not only affirm it, but we affirm it with all boldness. The elevation of the elements is therefore an unspoken statement of faith. We wouldn’t elevate mere symbols, after all; we wouldn’t hold high for adoration and worship some earthly, corruptible thing, as a mere piece of bread would be. Certainly not, for that would be blasphemy! Let anyone who denies the real presence in the Sacrament come and accuse us of blasphemy, then, for if he does, then we will know that by elevating the elements we are doing the right thing! Should not our faith be offensive to such a one, seeing how offensive likewise it is to us to say these elements are
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anything less than what Christ Himself said they were? For what could truly be more blasphemous than to declare that these are not His Body and His Blood? He is the One who said they were. How, then, might we show that we affirm what He Himself has said? Surely, elevation of the elements is in order. And the people, seeing the elements elevated so, will surely do well to bow or genuflect in reverence toward the holy Body and Blood of Christ. For Christ Himself has said it.
THE PAX DOMINI
Why does the pastor hold aloft the Host and cup and face the people for the Pax Domini, following the Words of Institution?
Immediately after the Words of Institution, the celebrant turns to face the people, holding the chalice aloft in his left hand and the Host above it, while saying, “The peace of the Lord be with you always.” This is because of the words of the risen Christ to His disciples, “Peace be with you.”
These words indicate the putting away of their sins, even as the Resurrection itself demonstrates this. When the celebrant repeats these words here, while holding the elements of the Sacrament aloft, he is making a clear connection between the eternal peace of Christ, won for us by His bodily crucifixion and the shedding of His Blood, and this very same Body and Blood, given to us here in the Sacrament.
Why does the celebrant say, after the Words of Institution, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” while holding high the elements?
This practice was taught by the Reverend Wilhelm Loehe, the German pastor who supplied the early Missouri Synod with its first pastors in the mid-nineteenth century. The practice has from antiquity been a traditional part of the Western rite, said in connection with the Agnus Dei (“O Christ, Thou Lamb of God,” etc.). The high point of the Mass having just been reached with the recitation of the Words of Institution, it is most fitting for the celebrant now to do exactly as John the Baptist did. Recall how John had said these same words when he saw Jesus coming to him (John 1:29). Here, in the Sacrament, is the same Christ. It is proper, then, for all the congregation to utter a robust Amen in response, as well as to sing the Agnus Dei.
THE AGNUS DEI
Why does the pastor kneel during the singing of the Agnus Dei?
After the Words of Institution have been spoken, the celebrant turns and holds Host and cup before the people, declaring, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” to which the people respond with the traditional response of ancient Israel, “Amen!” Next, the people sing the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”), in preparation for reception of the Lamb of God in the Sacrament.
Meanwhile, the pastor is kneeling at the altar. This is the traditional posture of the celebrant for the Agnus Dei, during which he prays the secreta, which is the “private” prayer of preparation for his own reception of the Sacrament. In this the celebrant mimics and portrays Jesus, who in Gethsemane withdrew from His disciples a stone’s throw away (Luke 22:41), to pray privately. Here again the distinction between celebrant and Christ is blurred, as the iconic nature of the office becomes manifest. The pastor will commune immediately after the Agnus Dei, since the celebrant always communes first and then feeds the people.
The traditional secreta includes the following: “I will receive the bread of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord. Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof. Only say the word and my soul shall be healed” (cf. Ps. 116:17, Matt. 8:8).
Another appropriate form of the prayer of preparation is St. Bonaventure’s thirteenth-century Prayer of Humble Access—appropriate, in fact, for anyone to pray before receiving the Sacrament—which runs as follows:
O Lord, who art Thou, and who am I, that I should presume to place Thee in the foul sewer of my body and soul. A thousand years of tears would not suffice for once worthily receiving so noble a Sacrament. How much more am I unworthy, wretched man, who daily sin, continue without amendment, and approach in sin. Yet Thy mercy is infinitely greater than my misery. Therefore, trusting in Thy mercy, I presume to approach.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443