We seek to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness," following the Anglican liturgy found in the Book of Common Prayer (1928) and the Anglican Missal.
NOTA BENE: Beginning this week and continuing until Wednesday, February 10, we will have NO WEEKDAY SERVICES at St Joseph’s and our parish offices will be closed. Tanya Wilcox will have major surgery on Tuesday, January 19 and be hospitalized from 3-7 days after, to be followed by two weeks of at-home therapy during which she will not be able to drive. I’ll be at home during the whole of this time, caring or her or reading (not necessarily in that order). I am grateful to Deacon Lee, who will be bringing me to Sunday services each of these weeks, so THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE IN OUR SUNDAY SCHEDULE. Please remember Tanya in our prayers. Her doctor told me she’ll be in considerable pain during the weeks of her recuperation.
Until further notice, due to the pandemic, on Sundays Morning Prayer will be read at 9.00 AM, the Holy Eucharist offered at 9.30, and Evening Prayer will be read at 1.00 PM.
On Wednesdays, Thursday, and Fridays, Morning Prayer is read at 11.45 AM, the Holy Eucharist is offered at noon, and Evening Prayer is at 7.00 PM
Our Schedule (after the Pandemic is over) is:
7.35 AM Morning Prayer
8.00 AM Holy Eucharist (said)
9.15 Bible Class
10.30 AM Holy Eucharist (sung)
11.45 AM Fun, Food and Fellowship
As much fun, food and fellowship as Anglicans allow themselves to have
1.00 PM - Evening Prayer during the summer
4.00 PM - Evening Prayer rest of the year
4.00 PM - Evensong on the Second Sunday of each month
Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays
11:45 AM - Morning Prayer
12:00 noon - Mass
7.00 PM - Evening Prayer
Holy Days as above
For each weeks schedule of Saint's Days and Holy Days, see the schedule on our "About Us" page
Reading St Augustine’s The City of God IX
“…in the discussions making up Cicero’s Republic, the Roman commonwealth, it was said, had degenerated into ‘a cesspool of iniquity,’ and Cicero himself said it had ‘long since perished’…[in their discussion] Scipio said, ‘As different notes come together to form a harmony…so the State is formed into a concordant whole by the consent of very diverse elements…the closest and strongest bond for the commonwealth, and without which it cannot maintain itself is justice.’ This topic the participants took up with great eagerness and insisted that it be thoroughly discussed…during which, Scipio won the agreement of all that ‘the commonwealth exists for the well-being of the people,' and defined the people as ‘not a mob or unruly mass gathering, but the multitude come together by a mutual recognition of rights and a mutual cooperation for the common good.’ He concluded that a true commonwealth can be administered either by a monarch, a ruling body or by all the people, as long as justice is the common, binding cord…in the absence of justice, the discussion ran, any commonwealth is not only evil but ceases to exist…such, Cicero states, is the present state of the Roman commonwealth. ‘It is no state at all.’
…Cicero goes on ‘What is there left of the ancient virtue which undergirded the Roman state? It has been so utterly cast to the winds that morals are not only unobserved, but ignored... the old customs have been lost, and for all this great evil we ourselves are not only are responsible but deserve punishment…By our own vices, not by chance, we have lost the republic, though we retain the name.’
Let those men really take a look at the republic and its true practices. Let them ask when true justice ever flourished or if it was not, as their own statements suggest, merely a thin paper painting of justice…their ancient state was never, by Cicero’s own words and definitions, a true republic, because it never practiced justice…
However, using their definitions there is a true commonwealth (if I may call it that) better-governed than that extolled by Cicero and his companions. It has as its Founder and Ruler Jesus Christ and this is certain: True justice for all reigns only in that commonwealth of which Holy Scripture says: ‘Glorious things are said of thee, O City of God.’” – St Augustine of Hippo, The City of God
Parish Food Closet
We collect non-perishable food items throughout the year and every two months we caravan the donations to the New Braunfels SOS Food Bank.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, due to severe shortages in town, we're collecting food in boxes on the front porch of David Hall for a weekly trip to the New Braunfels SOS Food Bank. Come anytime, day or night, and leave food on the porch.
Options for Life
Every Lent we raise money for an annual gift to the New Braunfels "Options for Life" Program, supporting young, single mothers struggling to raise their children. We also have an OfL Collection Jar in our parish hall for through-the-year donations.
On Memorial Day and Veterans' Day we take up special collections to help wounded and disabled veterans. At Christmastime, we lay wreaths at the graves of departed veterans.
When you come by the church, take a look at our "new" old bell, a bronze 100 -year-old beauty with a rich tone that carries all the way down to the river when it rings! The stained glass windows in the church are less than 20 years old, but are closely-patterned after stained glass seen throughout the South from about 1870-1920 (St Joseph's boasts the only Men's Room in central Texas with its own stained-glass window). St Joseph’s chalice and paten were originally given as a gift to the first Episcopal Bishop of Quincy, Illinois, the Rt Rev Thomas Burgess, in 1878. As the hallmark under the base of the chalice shows, it was made by the Gorham Manufacturing Company, the leading silversmiths of 19th century America. How St Joseph’s came into the possession of a chalice & paten owned by a former Yankee chaplain in the War Between the States is a tale worth hearing (but at another time and in another place).
Receiving Holy Communion at St Joseph’s
At St Joseph’s, any baptized person is welcome to receive Holy Communion. We have a kneeler in front of the table we are using for an Altar. At communion-time, form a line and approach after the person in front of you has received the Sacrament. If you cannot kneel (or get up easily), please remain standing and receive. The priest will place the Sacrament in your hands (it is customary to support your right hand with the left): simply lift the Sacrament to your mouth. It is the sacramental Body of Christ. Please do not handle the consecrated Bread with your fingers. If you prefer to have him place the Host directly on your tongue, simply open your mouth as you approach and he will place it there. If you would like to have the Host dipped in the chalice rather than drink from it, continue to hold it in your open hand and the priest will take it, dip it into the chalice and then place it directly in your mouth. Please do not dip the host into the chalice yourself.
If you wish to drink from the chalice, the Chalice-bearer will be standing beside you at the kneeler and will help you drink from it directly.
If you do not wish to receive Holy Communion (or are not eligible to because you are not baptized), but would like a blessing, stand in line until your time comes, approach the kneeler and either kneel or stand and the priest will bless you. To let him know you wish to be blessed, cross your arms over your breast when you approach. He will make the sign of the Cross on your forehead as he blesses you.
Any baptized person is welcome to receive Holy Communion, but not everyone always should. If you are in a state of serious sin, it would be best not to present yourself for Holy Communion, here or elsewhere, until you have confessed your sins, resolved “to live a new life,” and received absolution. Anyone, baptized or not, can always come forward to receive a blessing.
– Fr Gregory Wilcox
the Festum Asinorum
Most all y’all know I have what some might think of as an inordinate, even uncritical, love of all things medieval. While there may be more than a bit of truth to that, there are some things that give even me pause. One of those – to some degree anyway – is a feast day celebrated in medieval France and England on this coming Sunday, the second after Christmas. It was the the Festum Asinorum, in French, le fête de l'âne, in England, the “Feast of the Ass.”
The Gospel read on the Second Sunday after Christmas tells the story of the Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt to avoid the murderous King Herod (St Matthew 2.14). The incidental celebration on this day centered on the sturdy donkey (“Sir Ass” in medieval England) who caried the Blessed Virgin and her Baby into Egypt and then brought them safely home after Herod’s death.
Beginning sometime in the 11th century, in addition to the usual ceremonies and liturgies marking the Second Sunday, a young woman carrying a child and seated on a donkey which was draped with fine silks and embroidered brocades. They would be led though the town to the parish church just before Mass. Much was made of the donkey, with special treats (especially apples and oats) given him all along the way. Songs were sung in his honor, one of the most popular was the nine-versed Orientis Partibus Adventavit Asinus (“From Eastern lands the ass is come”). The donkey was brought into the church during the sermon, and led up to the pulpit, where the preacher would customarily make a sermon on the Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s coming that were fulfilled at His birth in Bethlehem. As the Mass ended, the donkey was led from the church by the deacon or subdeacon who would say “hinham” (the medieval version of “hee-haw”) and the people responded with three “hinhams” of their own.
Though the Feast of the Ass and its attendant ceremonies were disapproved of in the churches of larger cities, in monasteries and cathedrals – and forbidden by many bishops – in rural areas of France and England, the Feast continued to be observed until about 1400, when it finally disappeared. The feast originated as part of a cycle of medieval “liturgical dramas,” (like the famous medieval English “Mystery Plays”) to instruct the largely illiterate populace about basic stories of the Bible. Before long, though, these plays became odd charades focused on the most incongruous elements of the stories. The Feast of the Ass was the oddest of the lot. Still, stripped of its liturgical elements, it has a simple charm. I’ve long thought, each time the Second Sunday comes around, how much fun it would be to bring a donkey to church, treat him to apples and oats, and have our pictures made with Sir Ass…
Sunday, January 17 - the Second Sunday after Epiphany
9.00 AM - Morning Prayer
9.30 AM - the Holy Eucharist
1.00 PM - Evening Prayer
Epiphanytide 2021 at St Joseph’s
The Epiphany season, commonly called Epiphanytide, varies in length from year to year, depending on the date of Easter. In 2021 we have an Epiphanytide of three and a half weeks from January 6th until January 30th.
Epiphanytide celebrates the revelation of God in the life of Christ. It celebrates the “showing forth” of His divinity in the midst of our humanity. This coming Sunday we commemorate Christ’s baptism by John in the Jordan River. As He emerged from the water, Heaven opened, the Holy Ghost, as a dove, descended on Him and a Voice from Heaven said, “This is My beloved Son.” A “showing forth” of Christ’s divinity not easy to forget. Next Sunday, the last one this season, recalls Christ’s first miracle, changing water into wine at the marriage in Cana. St John the Evangelist, who witnessed the event, concludes his account, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested forth His glory…”
This Sunday, recalling Christ’s baptism, we’ll recall our own. We’ll bless holy water (gallons of it!) for the coming year, renew our baptismal vows and have a bottle of holy water for each of y‘all to take home. Last Sunday, we blessed chalk and used a piece to mark the front doors of the church with the old signs of the new year: +20+C+M+B+21+. We have a bowlful of blessed chalk – several colors of it! – left in the narthex so if you want to take a piece home and “chalk your doors,” feel free!
Epiphanytide ends on Sunday, January 31 with the coming of Septuagesima Sunday, beginning the Pre-Lenten “season,” the days we set aside to prepared for Lent (Ash Wednesday is February 17). On Septuagesima we deck the church with purple and bury the Alleluia in our parish “cemetery” until Easter. These weeks before are still a time of celebration. Customarily the hymns we sing on the last Sunday of Epiphanytide are chock full of Alleluias, our last hurrah. We’ll still have a few treats yet to come before that solemn morning.
Vestry Meeting This Sunday
Our parish Vestry meets Sunday morning at 10.45. Among the topics to be taken up is the date of our Annual Meeting, which is usually early in February. Ass soon as the Vestry sets the day, I’ll send out a letter announcing it. Since there are quite a few business items also on the agenda, there will not be a sermon at Sunday’s Liturgy to allow the Vestry plenty of time to address them all.
Epiphany Kings’ Cake
Usually, the Sunday after the Epiphany Octave I announce the finder of the figure of the Christ Child hidden in one of the pieces of the King’s Cake we had last week, but no one who had a piece last week found it, and half the cake was cut and distributed for parishioners to take home to family members not here, and as of this writing Thursday night I haven’t heard from anyone yet. As you know, whoever finds the figure in his/her slice is named the King/Queen of our Shrove Tuesday celebration. The monarch will be crowned with a crown prepared specially for them, served the First Pancake on Mardi Gras, and be proclaimed Ruler of the Feast. If you were given a slice of the Kings’ Cake and haven’t had it yet, please do! A crown awaits you.
See this week's Liturgical Schedule on our "About Us" page
Saint Antony the Great, the Father of Christian monasticism, was born in Egypt in the village of Coma, near the desert of the Thebaid (the region of the ancient capital of Egypt, Thebes) in the year 251. His parents were pious Christians of illustrious lineage and considerable wealth. Antony was a serious child, respectful and obedient who loved to attend church services. By the time he was 20 (when he embraced the ascetic life), he had committed many of the Psalms and most of the Gospels to memory.
A plague killed both Antony’s parents when he was eighteen years old, leaving him to care for his young sister and manage the family estates. In 271, while attending the Sunday Liturgy, he heard Christ’s words read from the Gospel of St Matthew: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you have, give it to the poor, and you will have treasures in Heaven; then come, follow Me.” Antony took the words personally. After making provision for the life-long support of his sister (including a generous dowry), he entrusted her to the care of a group of deaconesses, sold his family properties and distributed the proceeds to the poor, the sick and the widows of the region. In the countryside outside his village, Antony built himself a hut and began living a life of prayer. He hired himself out as a manual laborer to earn money to feed himself and continue to give alms to the needy. He turned to a priest in the town for spiritual guidance.
Before long, Antony began to suffer terrible temptations. The devil troubled the young ascetic with thoughts of his former life, doubts about his chosen path, concerns for his sister, and fears of loneliness. He assailed Antony with lewd thoughts and sexual longings. During all these temptations, Antony recited the Psalms, meditated on the sufferings of Christ and received Holy Communion as often as possible. Though he fought mightily against them, the saint endured “temptations many and powerful” for the rest of his life. One of St Antony’s most well-known sayings is “Expect temptations until your last breath.” Antony adopted a strict rule of life. He ate only after sunset, got up in the middle of the night to pray the Psalms and limited the time he slept.
When he was thirty-five, St Antony decided to seek God in the complete solitude of the desert. He found an abandoned fort beside a river and settled there. For twenty years he lived in complete isolation and constant struggle with demonic temptations, and he finally achieved perfect calm (his temptations continued, but they disturbed him no longer). He began to receive visitors who sought him out for spiritual advice and direction. Some stayed, making themselves huts around the old fort. In search of solitude, St Antony found he had disciples.
In the year 311, news reached him that a fierce new persecution had erupted against Christians, instigated by the Emperor Maximian. St Antony left the desert and went to the great city of Alexandria. He ministered to those in prison, attended the trials and interrogations of his fellow Christians, and offered to exchange places with them, but this never happened. Authorities ignored his presence and ministry to the martyrs.
At Maximian’s death and the freedom granted to the Church under Constantine, the persecution ceased. The saint returned to the desert and continued his ascetic labors. From the time of his return, the Lord granted the saint the gift of exorcising demons and healing the sick by his prayer. Crowds congregated at this monastery so one night he moved farther into the desert. He settled on top a high plateau, but the brethren of the monasteries sought him out and people seeking his aid and counsel climbed the sides of the plateau to reach him. A group of pagan philosophers once came to visit Abba Antony, intending to debate him. He refused but did speak to them about his struggle with imperfection and many temptations. When the group left, four remained behind and became his disciples.
St Antony spent eighty-five years in the desert. Shortly before his death, he told the brethren that soon he would be taken from them. He instructed them to preserve the Catholic and orthodox Faith in its purity, to persevere in constant prayer, receive Holy Communion often and never to cease their struggle with temptation. “It is in the endless struggle with temptation,” he told them, “that a monk will be saved.” “Strive to be united first with the Lord and then His saints, so that after death they may receive you as familiar friends into the mansions of Heaven.”
The saint instructed his disciples to bury him in the desert. Saint Antony died peacefully in the year 356, at age 105, and was buried in the desert by his disciples.
In the year 544 the remains of Saint Antony the Great were transferred to Alexandria, and after the conquest of Egypt by the Saracens in the seventh century, they were transferred to Constantinople. The holy relics were transferred from Constantinople in the tenth-eleventh centuries to a diocese outside Vienna. Finally, in the fifteenth century they were brought to Arles (in France), to the church of Saint Julian. They are there today.
Your prayers, support and contributions will help us keep a faithful Anglican presence and traditional Anglican worship alive and kickin' here in the Texas Hill Country. We have a lot to do to bring our parish mission to this part of God's world: to be "Catholic in Tradition, Biblical in Faith and Sacramental in Worship." Your generous (and tax-deductable!) donations will help fund that mission and keep us movin'!
Copyright © 2018 St Joseph's Anglican Church - All Rights Reserved.