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The First Estate: February 29, 2012

Observing Lent Through Evensong,

Rites of Welcome, and Meals

As part of this season’s Evensongs at Christ Church, the landmark Cobble Hill parish presents a Lenten Evensong and Benediction this Sunday.

The Cobble Hill Consort, composed of the Christ Church Choir and the Canoni Chorale, both under the direction of Donald Barnum, Jr. will provide music for the sixth of this season’s Evensongs, at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 4.

This Lenten service will conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Officiating is The Very Reverend Ronald Lau, Rector of Christ Church and Dean of Saint Mark’s Deanery, with the liturgical assistance of the Rev. Mr. Anthony Bowen, Deacon for Saint Mark’s Deanery.

In keeping with the Lenten practice of simplicity in living, the Lenten Evensong will offer plainsong, Psalm settings, Evening Prayer canticles of the Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, Prayers and Suffrages, and Benediction canticles O Salutaris, and Tantum ergo. Anthems and motets will be sung a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment). The Cobble Hill Consort will sing Renaissance-era works: Call to Remembrance (Richard Farrant, c.1535-1580), Ave Verum Corpus (Josquin des Prez, c.1450–1521), and, as a specially-requested delight, Miserere Mei, Deus (Gregorio Allegri, c. 1582-1652).

Allegri composed the Miserere, a setting of Psalm 51, during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins as part of the exclusive Tenebrae service of shadows prayed during the Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week. It was the last of twelve Miserere settings composed and chanted at the service since 1514 and the most popular. At some point, adding to the aura mystery surrounding this work, someone forbade transcription of the music, punishable by excommunication. Moreover, permission to sing it was granted only at those particular Tenebrae services. Popular legend has it that the 14-year-old Mozart was visiting Rome, when he first heard the piece during the Wednesday service. Later that day, he wrote it down entirely from memory, returning to the Chapel that Friday to make minor corrections. Mozart was summoned to Rome by the Pope. However, instead of excommunicating the boy, the Pope showered praises on him for his feat of musical genius!

This Miserere, written for double-choir, one of five and one of four voices, is an example of Renaissance polyphony surviving to the present day. One of the choirs sings a simple version of the original Miserere plainsong chant; the other, spatially separated, sings an ornamented “commentary” on this. This setting has become one of the most popular and enduring a cappella choral works.

* * *

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn welcomed almost a thousand catechumens to the Rite of Election on the First Sunday in Lent.

The Diocese of Brooklyn welcomed 949 individuals to Rite of Election. Bishop DiMarzio presided at the liturgy, held at Christ the King Regional High School in Queens.

Because of the large number of attendees, the Rite of Election was done in two sessions.

During the Rite of Election, the Catholic Church acknowledges that one enters the universal faith community of the church in addition to his/her particular parish. The Rite of Election is part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RICA), and marks the final stage of preparation for those preparing to join the church at the Easter Vigil, this year on Saturday night, April 7.

“What makes this day so wonderful is that it is a sign of growth in the church,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “I believe it is one of the most festive days we celebrate in the Diocese of Brooklyn.” Participants give testimony to their readiness and witness their acceptance of God’s call.” Bishop DiMarzio explained that the ceremony will be celebrated for 409 catechumens entering the church through the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (Holy Communion). The book of the elect, consisting of the signed scrolls of the catechumens, was presented to Bishop DiMarzio at the Rite of Election ceremony.

Also recognized were 49 candidates who will enter into full communion with the church by a profession of faith. They had already been baptized in another Christian tradition whose baptism rite is considered valid by the Roman Catholic Church.

An additional 491 candidates who will be completing their initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil participated in the Rite of Election. Pastors, parish catechumenate teams, godparents, and sponsors accompanied the catechumens and candidates.

* * *

All Saints Episcopal Church in Park Slope offers a Lenten Study Series, “Reading the Bible with New Eyes.” The study will be offered during the five Thursday is March (1, 8, 15, 22 and 29), from 7 to 9 p.m. A light supper will be served.

* * *

Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Cathedral provides several ways for its parishioners to observe Lent, from Tuesday Scripture Studies, to Friday night devotionals and suppers.

Monsignor James Root leads Scripture study on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m., in the Cathedral’s Saint Rafqa Chapel.

Each Friday in Lent, one of the many Cathedral groups takes its turn sponsoring a Lenten Supper. Last week, the Cathedral Confraternity made supper. Continuing on Fridays, from March 2 to March 3, a Lenten Reflection will be offered, along with Stations and Benediction of the Cross, at 7:30 p.m.

* * *

Eastern Orthodox Christians began their observance of the Great Lent on Ash Monday, February 27. During Lent, St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Boerum Hill and St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Bay Ridge will take turns hosting Great Compline, a nighttime service of multiple Psalms, and prayers that are recited at the Small Compline as well.

St. Nicholas Cathedral offers a Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts on Wednesday nights, in lieu of the Divine Liturgy which, during the Great Lent, can be celebrated only on Sundays. The priest consecrates an extra host during each Sunday’s Divine Liturgy, which is then used during the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, allowing the faithful to receive Communion for perseverance during Lent. Those who receive Communion are required to have fasted from at least the noon meal.

One of the most beloved Orthodox Lenten liturgies is the Akathist (Maydeyeh) Service to the Theotokis (Mary, the God-Bearer). This liturgy, on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., is connected to the Feast of the Annunciation, on March 25, the only feast day observed during Great Lent. Akathist is celebrated on the first five Fridays of Lent. A program with guest speaker follows the liturgy.

* * *

St. Nicholas Antiochian Cathedral hosts Pan-Orthodox Vespers on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Bishop Nicholas will preside and be guest speaker, at this liturgy, Sunday, March 4 at 6 p.m.


* * *

Outstanding Parishioners

Honored at Maronite Feast

Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans each have their Mardi Gras festivities before the start of Lent. The Maronite community of Brooklyn, New York also celebrates the Lebanese version of Mardi Gras — this time honoring a patron saint.

Earlier this month, Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral celebrated the Feast of our patron, St. Maron.

A liturgy was celebrated on Wednesday, February 8, the vigil of the Feast of St. Maron, in the Cathedral for our community. Concelebrants, with the Most Reverend Gregory Mansour, the Eparchial Bishop, were our rector, Msgr. James Root and the pastor of the Virgin Mary Melkite Church, Rev. Antoine Rizk. Also in attendance was the Rev. Michael Elias, pastor of St. Mary Syrian Antiochian Orthodox Church. Each year, this feast reminds Maronites of the humility and sacrifice which characterized the life of the Lord’s servant, St. Maron. We are encouraged to live a life cultivating those same qualities.

Three days later, the Cathedral community gathered at the Rex Manor in Bensonhurst, for the 87th annual banquet and hafli celebrating St. Maron. Co-chairing the program were Norma Haddad and Majida Mahfouz who did a sterling job. Eddie Osama and his group kept the musical beat up all evening to the delight of the crowd who danced, with dabke lines snaking throughout the room all evening.

The evening’s highlight was the presentation of the NAM-sponsored Silver Massabki Award and the Faith of the Mountain Award. These awards are given to a couple or individual who has faithfully served the church and community over a span of time. The recipients of the awards this year went to Marion Sahadi Ciaccia and Anthony Houayek, respectively. Not only has Marion Sahadi Ciaccia served our Cathedral in her spirited fashion but she was also named “Outstanding Delegate of the Year” within the Eparchy of St. Maron, Mid-Atlantic East Region, at the 2011 NAM Convention. As she has said, “I love spreading our Maronite heritage…,” and we know we can count on her to do that!

Anthony Houayek, now attending university, has been an altar server for many years, an inspiration to our youth and has trained the altar servers following him. He always finds time to return to us and can be counted on to serve in spite of his other activities at school. He is truly faithful.

Submitted by Salma T.Vahdat

* * *

Knitting Bee Reaches Out to Mariners

Responding to popular demand, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church will host its Knitting Bee more frequently. All knitters (and crocheters) are invited to the Knitting Bee, next meeting this Saturday, March 3.

Knitting Bee offers lively conversation and community knitting in support of the Seaman’s Church Institute’s outreach to mariners on the seas and waterways of the world. Donations are welcome from any crafters with extra yarn or needles to share. Knitting Bee runs from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Parish Hall at 157 Montague St.

* * *

Community artists and Pratt Institute students will participate in an art show this weekend that St. Luke’s Lutheran Church is hosting. The art show runs on Sunday, March 4 from 3 to 6 p.m. at The Clinton Hill church; and will resume on Thursday, March 8, from 7 to 10 p.m. St. Luke’s Lutheran Church is at 259 Washington Avenue.

* * *

Purim Festival Also

Emphasizes Outreach

March 4 heralds in the Purim festival.

A Kids’ Purim Extravaganza at the Kane St. Synagogue has for different age groups. Toddlers to age 5 will be treated to unforgettable musical puppet show by Yellow Sneaker, hamantaschen-baking, face-painting by real artists, crafts, games and hamantaschen eating! This section runs from 10:15 to noon. Admission is $10 per child.

The afternoon carnival, for kids ages 6-11, will include fun games and competitions, hamantaschen, more face-painting and lots of cool prizes. This portion runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Admission: $10 per child.

Purim isn’t all fun, games and celebration; there is a vital outreach element — Mishloach Manot — Hebrew for the delivery of food — to ensure that all may enjoy Purim.

Traditionally, on the morning of Purim Jews deliver food and special treats, such as hamentaschen, to friends and family members, in according with the teaching from the Book of Esther 9:22. Members of Kane St. Synagogue can donate at certain levels to send a food basket for the entire congregation after worship, or to individuals.

* * *

The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue will also observe the tradition of delivering food — but with a different twist this year. The baskets will be brought to those in the synagogue and communities “for whom it will make the most difference” to receive them. The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue will continue its custom of assisting the New York City Family Justice Center’s Brooklyn facility through the custom of Mishloach Manot.

Purim celebrations arrive at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue on Sunday, March 4, with activities, games, and even ponies! A few days later, the Megillah will be chanted starting at the onset of Purim, at sundown on Wednesday, March 7.

February 29, 2012 - 12:15pm


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