Texanglican

"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament


Tonight at St. Vincent's our evening's worship began with a first-rate, all Bach organ recital by our organist/music director, Barbara Burton, followed by choral Evensong. Our worship concluded with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Driving home I began to wonder--how many Anglican parishes in the US regularly participate in the Benediction? The parish at which I worshipped in Chicago did so periodically (the ultra-high Church of the Ascension on LaSalle Street). But how common is the Benediction at Episcopal parishes? If any of your home parishes, dear readers, offer the Benediction on a regular basis, would you please leave a comment and let me know? If you comment anonymously you will not have to register with Blogger, but do please leave your initials within the comment to let me know who you are if you are a friend of mine, OK? Also, click on the image above to read the order of service we normally use for the Benediction portion of the service. The setting of Tantum ergo/Genitori tonight was by Victoria (and, btw, we normally finish with a rousing rendition of "Holy God, we praise you" from the 1940 Hymnal). Is this order for the Benediction similar to that used at your parish? How similar is this to the order typically used in Roman Catholic parishes in the US today? Thanks much!

24 Comments:

Anonymous Ron Turner said...

Interesting poll, Randall. I belong to a v-list for the Verger's Guild and I've posted the question there. I'll add comments in a few days on the results.

9:12 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Thanks, Ron. Keep me posted on results.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Mimi Catherine Chen said...

Hm very intersting. as a Roman Catholic, benediction can take in many forms but the one that is used often is almost exactly the same with slight variations, like we have a prayer for Christian Unity after the first hymn. and we end with another hymn which i can't think of its name but it goes in English "Now Praise the Lord all you nation, proclaim his Glory all you peoples.... etc etc"
during the repose of the Bl. Sacrament to the Tabernacle...

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do Benediction every Wednesday night here at NH, Randall. Pretty much the same service, but we add in the Litany of Reparation from time to time. It depends which priest is leading the Benediction service.

Chad Nusbaum

7:00 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Thanks, Chad and Mimi. Not too surprising that NH does Benediction regularly--if anywhere within ECUSA does, it should be there!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

Randall,
I pass by Ascension every Sunday on my way to Church. It's gorgeous!
:)

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randall,
As far as the situation at my alma mater, Sewanee, goes when a group of us wanted to get a chapter of the C.B.S. going, with regular benediction, we got strange looks.

I will say that some of the "affirming catholic" seminarians were interested, since they thought it was "neat." Let's just say I'm glad to be at Nashotah.

Jonathan Duncan

11:37 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Ma, check out the large stone crucifix outside on the LaSalle Street side. It says under it, "Is it nothing to you, ye who pass by?" (Somehow I don't think most of the passersby are cut to the heart.) If you are ever passing by on foot when it is open, drop inside. It is one of the rare Episcopal parish churches with both a rood screen and a proper oriented, high altar. Yes, a proper east-facing High Mass is said there every Sunday--very rare in ECUSA these days! And the music, both organ and chant, cannot be beat anywhere IHMO.

12:54 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Thanks for your input on Sewanee, Jonathan. It doesn't really surprise me, from what I have already heard. Too bad.

12:55 PM  
Blogger J. Gordon Anderson said...

We do Benediction at least once a quarter, and once a week during Advent and Lent. Maryland churchmanship is historically very low, so it is not done a lot in general - even at the historically anglo-catholic ECUSA parishes.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

Randall,
I never knew it said that, I guess because I've never passed by on foot. That's just heartbreakingly beautiful, especially in light of the hurried, uber-wealthy secular folks who live in its midst on the Gold Coast.
I will most certainly stop in, I can't wait to see it.
Jonathan-
Sewanee in TN? My neice is a Rhodes scholar from Sewanee this year!
:)

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ma,
Yep, same Sewanee. Congrats to your niece. What is her name?

Jonathan Duncan

12:20 PM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

Her name is Katharine Wilkinson.
She's Sewanee's second Rhodes scholar in three years!
That must be some school...
:)

12:33 PM  
Blogger John J. O'Sullivan™ said...

St. Anthony's Hackensack has Solemn Benediction every Friday in Lent. Before Benediction, we do a bi-lingual Stations of the Cross. We sing Benediction in Latin, using the traditional plainsong tones for the O Salutaris Hostia, Tanto Ergo, and Adoremus in Aeternum. We do it up proper.

-j

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have attended the Benediction Service at St. Vincent’s and thought that it raises an interesting question, what do Episcopalians believe other than the bible and the creed? The 1801 Articles of Religion as found in the back of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, at Article XXV, say in part that the “Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them.”

Please don’t degrade this question by saying that the Articles are just a historical document, there must be some basis for having included this subject. Or, is this just more of the current “pick and choose “mentality of the Episcopal Church?

Randall, I know you can have fun with this question.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Every other Friday at our parish in England.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

Texanglican: About Ascension, the music really is fantastic, isn't it? I really miss that place so much here at NH. But, I am trying to beat the chant :-)

5:57 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Amen, sister. I miss the music there as well. But keep up the good chant fight at NH, OK?

7:14 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hmmmm, Bach! I just bought Bach's complete organ works and am glad!

No Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at my church. But then we're not very high church REC.

-------

http://wannabeanglican.blogspot.com/

9:59 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

There is no question that the people who created the 39 Articles were Reformed Christian who fully intended to get rid of Eucharistic adoration. That is the simple truth of it. But the question is, "What authority do the 39 Articles have today?" I am not degrading the question you asked, simply pointing out that the Articles were never the equivalent of the Augsburg Confession or the classic confessions of the Reformed tradition and they are not considered binding by much of the world-wide Communion today. The 42 Articles (later reduced to 39) were polemical instruments attempting to force through a Reformed settlement on a deeply divided 16th century English church. They were slightly modified in their Elizabethan incarnation to allow a broader range of churchmanship, but still take a strongly Reformed and anti-Catholic line. They really only were binding on the clergy, even in England, in former centuries and in most of the Anglican Communion lost even that status in the 20th century. The simple fact is that for many Anglicans (including myself) the Catholic revival of the 19th century rendered several of the anti-Catholic articles a dead letter (including the one you cite). [BTW, if one wants to claim some authority still exists for the Articles, I suppose you can point out that the one you cite simply states that Christ didn't command Eucharistic adoration, but it doesn't say that he forbade it! Bicknell's fine book on the Articles produced in the early 20th century was designed to show Anglo-Catholics how they might subscribe to them in good conscience--he gives a Catholic read to all of them--brilliant but trying too hard if you ask me. Give it a read!] I am aware that some orthodox Anglicans on the evangelical end of the spectrum (such as those at Trinity Episc. School for Ministry) now are using the 39 Articles as a kind of touchstone for orthodoxy, but I have no interest in that. (We have Scripture, the Creeds,and Sacred Tradition--that's touchstone enough for me!)

I consider myself a Catholic Chrisitan, not Reformed, and I do not believe Anglicanism has required adherence to Reformed distinctives in a very long time. The Articles are, by and large, exactly what the 1979 Prayer Book says they are--"Historial Documents" describing a stage in the development of Anglicanism. So my honest answer, yes the 39 Articles probably forbid Eucharistic adoration, but so what? I hope this answer is what you are looking for!

6:40 AM  
Blogger Derek the Ænglican said...

Every Sunday after Solemn Evensong during the academic year we do Benediction at Smokey Mary's (St Mary the Virgin, Times Square)

3:48 PM  
Blogger Derek the Ænglican said...

And amen on the 39... I see them as the legacy of a protestant "phase" that the church went through... ;-)

3:50 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Grace and St. Peter's in Baltimore (ECUSA, Anglo-Catholic) has Benediction every Friday in Lent after Low Mass and Stations of the Cross. Also, after Solemn Evensong several times a year and after Mass and Procession on Corpus Christi Sunday. The order is similar, but the traditional English is retained, the petitions in the Divine Praises about the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Our Lady are retained, and it ends with Psalm 117 and the "Let us forever adore the Most Holy Sacrament" antiphon. I think that's all.

4:11 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Thanks for the info, Adam. I hope that your busy week has calmed down a bit.

8:10 PM  

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