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Living the Paschal Mystery in the Atrium: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

On Easter morning, the women approach the tomb. They come bearing spices that they have prepared to anoint Jesus’ body. Though he has died, though he has turned out to be human, as vulnerable to death as any other, they wish to be near him. When they arrive at the tomb, they find the stone rolled away and the body of Jesus is nowhere to be seen. Two men in “dazzling clothes” stand before them and ask a question, Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. (Luke 24:5).

And everything changed.

Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew scripture scholar who developed the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with her Montessori collaborator, Gianna Gobbi, tells us, “The Resurrection is the bedrock of our Christian faith.”

As we journey through the Lenten season, leading up to Holy Week, where as a people we once again live the Paschal Mystery; Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, a question emerges, how do we present this most important, but at times troubling and dark, events to our youngest parishioners? Are children really able to penetrate the depth of the Paschal Mystery?

The answer is yes. The children’s entry into this mystery and their presence at the Triduum celebrations of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil require us to know how to invite them into this mystery in a way that will offer children the fullness of Easter joy. Cavalletti instructs,“the proclamation of the death of Christ should never be disjoined from the announcement of His resurrection.” Simply put, we never say, “Christ has died,” without saying, “Christ is risen,” in the same breath. She continues, “Second, we must live the passion of Good Friday, within the context of Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday. In the events of the Last Supper, the Passion, Death and Resurrection, we are actually living one moment, and only when we recognize this unity, we begin to interpret the Paschal Mystery.”

In the Last Supper, Jesus anticipates the events of the coming day for his disciples. He tells them, This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me… This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:19-20) In these words Jesus explains that “what will happen on Good Friday will be the gift of his whole self; Jesus will give himself completely as an offering to the Father and to us and in this way, Calvary is transformed. Cavalletti call this the scandal of the Crucifixion; “not a brutal, violent act; above all else, it is a tremendous act of love. A tremendous act of violence becomes a tremendous act of love.”

A colleague shared this story about a boy who has been in the atrium since he was three years old. He had been struggling with the brutality of the crucifixion. An over-zealous adult in his life had shared graphic details of Jesus’ passion. The catechists witnessed first hand, Cavalletti’s caution about sharing the detailed accounts of the passion with very young children: “At times these passages go into details that arouse horror, such as we could not bear in relation to anyone dear to us; why then should we dwell on them with respect to Jesus? We risk inciting sentiments that should not be aroused.”

The catechists accompanied this child as he wrestled with the darkness of the Passion, continuing to remind him of the light of the Resurrection. Eventually, one day, working with the city of Jerusalem, this boy told his catechist, “Do you know why the stone was rolled away? It’s because Jesus’ love was so great, it blew the stone off.” The child took hold of the stone and carefully held it over the city, “it covered everything, even Herod’s house” at this point the child stood up and approached the globe sitting on a nearby shelf. Tracing the stone in an arc over it he announced, “it was so great, it covered the whole world!”

Each time we participate in the Eucharist, our proclamation of “the Mystery of Faith” is a powerful reminder of the Christian vision of reality. As a parish, our greatest gift to our children can be to initiate them into this mystery, the mystery of life stronger than death, of light stronger than darkness. We, along with the child. affirm that the love evidenced in Christ’s passion and death, is the love that brought about the resurrection—the love that continues to cover the whole world.

Anna Hurdle, Director of Children’s Formation

This Week’s News

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church eNews

This Week at St. Peter’s – Wednesday, February 21

Wednesday
Lenten Evening Prayer, 5:30 p.m. in the Chapel
Lenten Class: Lenten Hymns and Scripture, 6:00-7:15 p.m., facilitated by The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector
“Building Resilience in Beloved Community” Class, 6:00 p.m., facilitated by Dr. Susan Campbell

Sunday, The Second Sunday in Lent
Holy Eucharist, Rite I, 8:00 a.m.
Holy Chow, 8:30 a.m.
Christian Formation for all Ages, 9:30 a.m.
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 10:45 a.m.
Choral Evensong with Holy Eucharist, 5:00 p.m.

Monday
Bible Study, 6:30 p.m.

Links Mentioned in this Week’s News

For many of the items you’ll read about in this week’s news, there’s more information available online.
Life at St. Peter’s Magazine
Calendar of Worship, Programs, and Events
Learning for Adults, Youth, and Children
Worship at St. Peter’s
The Choir School at St. Peter’s – Serenade Gala
Lenten Concert: L’Academie du Roi Soleil
Gifts for Easter Flowers and Music
Giving with Gratitude: Support Life at St. Peter’s
Parents Connect Social
Ministry Areas at St. Peter’s
St. Peter’s Servant Ministry Partners

Lenten Enrichment Opportunities and Resources. The forty-day season of Lent invites us to take on and give up things that might create more space to deepen relationships with God and God’s Church and to increase our faith. Check out St. Peter’s 2018 Lenten Enrichment Opportunities and Resources including Evening Prayer and clergy-led Formation Classes to begin on Wednesday, February 21, 5:30 p.m.

Sunday Evenings at St. Peter’s. At 5:00 p.m., on most second and fourth Sundays through April 22, we offer the service of Choral Evensong (February 25, Burli Singers; March 11, St. Peter’s Choir). On every third Sunday, a contemplative Holy Eucharist is offered, patterned after the Taizé, France community; includes music for piano, moments for silence, and candle-lighting as a prayer form. These are in addition to Sunday morning celebrations of The Holy Eucharist, Monday-Friday, 8:00-8:30 a.m. Morning Prayer, and Tuesday, Noon Holy Eucharist in the Chapel. Visit Worship and Music on our website to learn more.

Loaves and Fishes Collections at St. Peter’s. Loaves and Fishes provides groceries to over 100,000 individuals and families in the Charlotte region who are in a short-term crisis. You can serve others through this parish Servant Ministry Partner by offering non-perishable donations to the collection bins located adjacent to the entrance to the Chapel. When grocery shopping or in your pantry, please remember our big red barrels, ready to receive on Sundays and weekdays. Visit www.loavesandfishes.org or contact Loaves and Fishes Parish Coordinator, Lynn Lewis (tekeweni@gmail.com, 704-332-4315) to learn more about our partnership.

Worship and Music

Guest Preacher, Dr. Paul Hanneman, February 25. St. Peter’s Formation Partner, The Reverend Dr. Paul Hanneman will preach at the 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. liturgies. Affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, Dr. Hanneman has served four urban congregations, and is currently assisting Urban Ministry Center with Room in the Inn administration. Occasionally, he offers small and large group courses, at St. Peter’s and other area congregations, on the Enneagram, spiritual development, formation, prayer, and the Christian mystical tradition; and has created educational materials on homelessness and the work to end chronic homelessness in Charlotte.

Visual Changes in Our Sacred Space during Lent. The 40-day covering of certain religious symbols, including images and processional crosses, is part of what is called the “Lenten Array” at St. Peter’s. Medieval symbols depicted in the dossal veil, which now covers the mosaic at the altar, are a rooster (crowed after Peter’s third denial of Jesus) and what is a combination of a lance (used to pierce the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross) and a sponge on the end of a forked rod (offering wine to Jesus as he hung on the cross). On either side of Jesus are Mary, Mother of God on the left and on the right, the disciple John depicted with his head uncovered and beardless. At the foot of the cross is the image of Jesus as Lamb of God.

Choir School Serenade Gala, February 24. Tickets may still be available for The Choir School at St. Peter’s biggest annual fundraiser. This “black tie optional” evening will include a seated dinner, silent and live auctions, and performances by the MasterSingers. Proceeds help to keep all the benefits of School’s excellent arts education program available to talented kids from every walk of life. Details are available online or by calling 704-749-6157.

Lenten Concert, Wednesday, March 7. Mark your calendar for March 7 at 7:00 p.m., spread the word, and bring guests for an extraordinary artistic offering for the season by L’Académie du Roi Soleil. Couperin’s Leçons de ténèbres pour le mercredi saint (1714) a setting of verses from the Lamentations of Jeremiah composed for the liturgies of Holy Week at the Abbaye royale de Longchamp. Two soprano voices (Margaret Carpenter Haigh and Hannah De Priest) sing both as soloists and in duet accompanied by Nicolas Haigh (organ) and David Bevan Ellis (viola da gamba). Learn more about this ensemble online.

Easter Flowers and Music Gifts. Special contributions in memory or honor of loved ones help to fund the beautiful flowers and glorious music for Eastertide observances, beginning with The Great Vigil of Easter on March 31. For names to be printed in the worship service leaflets, the deadline is Sunday, March 25. Envelopes are available in the public spaces at St. Peter’s; indicate “Easter Flowers and Music” on checks. You may also make arrangements online or contact Parish Administrator, Leigh Dixon (ldixon@st-peters.org, 704-749-6142).

Learning

Life at St. Peter’s Winter-Spring 2018 Calendar of Worship, Programs, and Events is available with a host of offerings for all ages. Take a look and share it with others. Learn more about our mission and ministry through the Fall 2017 edition of our parish magazine, Life at St. Peter’s. Copies of both are available for pickup in all public spaces at St. Peter’s.

Sunday Parish Hall Forum, February 25, March 4, 11 9:30 a.m. All adults are invited to weekly formation presentations offered by the parish clergy, lay leaders, and guests: February 25, The Joy of Reconciliation: Reflecting on the work of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu; March 4, Social Justice: Opportunity Task Force Report; March 11, Episcopal Aerobics: Praying with Your Whole Being.

Sunday Morning Bible Study for Adults. “Engaging Scripture: Liberating the Gospels,” led by Mary Lynn Sepkowitz, will gather weekly through March 18 at 9:30 a.m. in the Second Floor Conference Room, across from the Community Room and Parish Hall. Participants are invited to bring a personal study Bible or may use one available at St. Peter’s. No registration is required.

“Building Resilience in Beloved Community” Class, February 21. Parishioner/clinical psychologist, Dr. Susan Campbell is facilitating small group gatherings at St. Peter’s oriented around The Daring Way™ curriculum developed by Dr. Brené Brown. Building resilience helps us change the way we live, love, parent and lead. The last Winter class is tonight at 6:00 p.m. For more information about this subject matter and future offerings, contact Susan Campbell (susancampbellphd@gmail.com, 404-272-1841).

Wednesday Nights in Lent, February 21-March 21. All are invited to attend 5:30 p.m. Evening Prayer in the Chapel followed by 6:00-7:15 p.m. Formation Classes led by Parish Clergy: February 21, Lenten Hymns and Scripture; February 28, Forgiveness and Reconciliation; March 7, Lenten Spiritual Disciplines; March 14, Making Meaning of the Cross; March 21, Unpacking the Triduum: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter. For class locations, inquire upon arrival to the Parish House.

Monday Night Bible Study. Parishioners John Frederick and Ruth Woodend will facilitate a weekly Bible study at St. Peter’s on Mondays through March 19, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Participants will use Invitation to the Old Testament, a $12.00 resource book of the Disciple Short-term Series (Sinclair & Tabor). For more information, contact Ruth Woodend (704-661-4687, rwoodend@gmail.com or John Frederick (704-293-7800, jgmfrederick@yahoo.com.

Community Life

Giving with Gratitude: Support Life at St. Peter’s. 311 pledges totaling $925,194 have benefitted our 2018 Annual Fund as of Friday, February 16. We are still seeking support from all 485 parish households to reach the $1,000,000 in pledge income necessary to adequately fund the overall expenses associated with the operations, programs, administration, and outreach of our parish. Consider either making a first-time pledge or increasing your current pledge by at least $35 a month online or by contacting Parish Administrator, Leigh Dixon (ldixon@st-peters.org, 704-749-6142).

More Ushers Needed. The St. Peter’s Usher Ministry is looking for more volunteers to serve on a once-monthly basis at the 8:00 a.m. Sunday Holy Eucharist and other occasions. If you are interested in this hospitality ministry, contact Ministry Associate, Kristie Lauderbaugh (klauderbaugh@st-peters.org, 704-749-6141).

Parents Connect Social: Sunday, March 4. All parents of youth and children are invited to the Parents Connect Social on Sunday, March 4, 3:00-6:00 p.m. at the home of Laura and Sam Bowles, 855 Museum Drive, Charlotte, 28207. Please RSVP to Erin Chantry and sign up to bring a dish online. Children are most welcome at this event! (erin.chantry@gmail.com, 704-787-6812).

Coffee Hour Hosts Needed. Are you a natural host or do you enjoy preparing goodies for a group of family or friends? The Sunday Coffee Hour Hosts are looking for new people to join the fun of hosting on the first Sunday of each month. Teams prepare coffee, lemonade, and platters of snacks for fellowship after the 10:45 a.m. service. For details or to begin serving, contact Kristine Reid (kmrlady@ymail.com).

Young Adults Fellowship. All young adults are invited to consider Sunday and weekday formation (learning) offerings and, in addition to all parish events, several seasonal offerings. For more information email Jason Gingras (jason.gingras@gmail.com) or Mary Gotschall (marygotschall@gmail.com).

Chronic Care Support Group: First Fridays. The next gathering of this first-Friday group will be March 2, 11:00 a.m. in the Parlor. The Reverend Keith Lane and others facilitate this fellowship for persons with chronic illnesses of any sort and caregivers alike. Contact the Reverend Keith C. Lane, Assisting Priest (klane@st-peters.org, 704-332-7746 x355).

Pub Theology: Second Thursdays. On Second Thursdays through May, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Pub Theology is hosted by a member of the parish clergy. Pub snacks and both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at these casual, drop-in, holy conversation events. Stay tuned for the topic and plans for March 8.

Senior Class Luncheon: Third Tuesdays. The next monthly luncheon for this fellowship group will be on Tuesday, March 20, 11:30 a.m. at a location to be announced soon. For more information, call Hannah Craighill (704-334-6276), Barbara Partington (704-523-1831), or Dan Woodall (704-351-2279).

Outreach and Social Justice

Social Justice Film Night, February 28, 6:00 p.m. St. Peter’s Social Justice Team presents a film night screening of “February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four,” Wednesday, February 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the Church. This documentary, a national PBS broadcast and 2004 Global Peace Film Festival award winner, tells the story of four young college freshmen who staged a sit-in at Woolworth’s in 1960 to protest segregation practices.

Volunteer through Servant Ministry Partners. The parish has a long custom of partnering with community social service agencies whose programs benefit the welfare of our neighbors. Learn more online and pick up a copy of a Servant Ministry through St. Peter’s resource from the public spaces at St. Peter’s.

Room in the Inn Supplies Needed. On each Wednesday evening through March, St. Peter’s participates in Urban Ministry Center’s Room in the Inn (RITI) program by providing a warm, welcoming place where twelve neighbors can share a meal and sleep in our Parish Hall. On an ongoing basis, we need help with stocking our supply closet with toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant (men and women)‎. Donations such as socks, hand-warmers, and bus passes also are welcome. The RITI donation basket is located in the Parish House lobby. For more information, contact RITI Parish Coordinator, Bert Miano (bmiano@mianolaw.com, 205-222-7527).

Looking Ahead

Holy Week-Easter Day at St. Peter’s, March 25-April 1. Mark your household calendars for the events of The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, The Great Vigil of Easter, and The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day.

Room in the Inn, December-March season at St. Peter’s ends on March 28.

High Sunday Brunch: Parish Community Fellowship, April 8, 12:30 p.m.