DEVOTIONS

 

An important distinction obtains between Liturgy and Devotions. The former comprises the worship that the universal Church offers every Sunday and weekday and on specially appointed days throughout the year. The Holy Eucharist, the daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, and the liturgies appointed for Ash Wednesday and the Sacred Triduum are all elements of the Church's Liturgy properly so-called.

Popular Devotions can be thought of as optional extras that enrich the Church's life and deepen the piety of the faithful. The word "popular" is used here in its meaning of "of or belonging to the people." At St. Uriel's, three devotions holding a special place in the parish's life are the Stations of the Cross, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Holy Rosary.

Stations of the Cross

 

The Way of the Cross is a devotion of the Western Church commemorating Our Lord's Passion and Death.  The Stations originated many centuries ago among Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land who traced the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows) that Jesus followed on Good Friday. Gradually, Stations were installed in churches in Europe for those who could not make the pilgrimage or who wanted to relive a pilgrimage they had made.

At St. Uriel's fourteen reliefs are mounted on the interior walls of the nave depicting each Station. Usually on Fridays in Lent we offer public services of Stations of the Cross using the form provided by the Episcopal Church in its Book of Occasional Services. But individuals are free to follow the Way of the Cross around the church and meditate on the Stations at any time. Many forms of the devotion have been published and are available for such private use, either in the church or elsewhere.

The First Station

The First Station

Jesus is Condemned to Death

The Second Station

The Second Station

Jesus Takes Up His Cross

The Third Station

The Third Station

Jesus Falls the First Time

The Fourth Station

The Fourth Station

Jesus Meets His Mother

The Fifth Station

The Fifth Station

The Cross is Laid Upon Simon of Cyrene

The Sixth Station

The Sixth Station

Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

The Seventh Station

The Seventh Station

Jesus Falls the Second Time

The Eighth Station

The Eighth Station

Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

The Ninth Station

The Ninth Station

Jesus Falls the Third Time

The Tenth Station

The Tenth Station

Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

The Eleventh Station

The Eleventh Station

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

The Twelfth Station

The Twelfth Station

Jesus Dies on the Cross

The Thirteenth Station

The Thirteenth Station

The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Arms of His Mother

The Fourteenth Station

The Fourteenth Station

Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

In this devotion Jesus Christ is adored in the consecrated Host exposed on the altar, and the priest blesses the faithful with the Sacred Host.

 

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a monstrance - a gold or silver vessel with a glass opening through which the Sacred Host is visible. The word monstrance comes from the Latin monstrare, "to show." It is also called an ostensorium from the Latin ostendere, again, "to show."

 

Wearing a vestment called a humeral veil (from humerus, Latin for shoulder or upper arm), the priest blesses the faithful by tracing the sign of the cross over them with the monstrance.

 

In the Anglo-Catholic tradition, Benediction often follows other services such as Evensong or Compline but it can also stand on its own. At St. Uriel's, it usually follows Stations of the Cross during Lent.

Lent: Benediction
Lent: Benediction

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Lent: Benediction
Lent: Benediction

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Lent: Benediction
Lent: Benediction

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Lent: Benediction
Lent: Benediction

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Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

The Holy Rosary

Corporate recitation of the Rosary is one of the "Catholic privileges" that distinguishes Anglo-Catholic parishes like St. Uriel's.

 

The Rosary is a vehicle of deep meditation upon a series of selected scriptural episodes (known as "Mysteries"). The set prayers—Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be—combine with the tactile handling of the beads to help free our minds and imaginations to contemplate each Mystery. Many people experience the Rosary as profoundly calming and a great weapon against stress and anxiety. Others offer up their recitation of the Rosary as a powerful form of intercession for all who need their prayers.

 

All are welcome to join the group of parishioners who gather each week to pray the Rosary on Wednesdays at 9 am (before the 9:30 am Mass). The Rosary is relatively easy to learn, and once it becomes part of your prayer life, it is hard to let go.

The_Fifteen_Mysteries_and_the_Virgin_of_the_Rosary_MET_DT5754.jpeg

The Fifteen Mysteries and the Virgin of the Rosary

Anonymous, between 1515 and 1520

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Sacramentals

sacramentals.jpeg

Image from worldofsacramentals.com

The Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer, 1979, teaches that the Church's Sacraments are “patterns of countless ways in which God uses material signs to reach out to us” (p. 861).

 

Unlike the Seven Sacraments, which effect the grace they signify, Sacramentals are material signs that build up our faith and devotion insofar as we use them mindfully, reverently, and devoutly. 

 

The Church's tradition commends a veritable treasury of Sacramentals to assist our spiritual lives: holy water, crucifixes, altar candles, incense, and relics of the Saints—to name just a few. The ashes of Ash Wednesday and the palms of Palm Sunday are classic Sacramentals.

 

When you acquire such items as crosses, statues, rosaries, medals, icons, or prayer cards, you are welcome to ask the priest to bless them for your personal use. Immediately following Mass is usually a good time to do this.