Dear Friends in Christ,
Several items for your consideration:
1. Our stewardship guidelines ask every household at St. Mary’s to divide your biblical tithe in this way: 5% directly to the parish in the primary offertory, 1% directly to our Bishop in the Annual Appeal, and 4% to other charities of your choice. And I have a suggestion for one of those other charities:
2. Habitat for Humanity of Greenville has received a challenge gift from an anonymous donor in honor of Pope Francis. The unknown benefactor will contribute half the cost of building a new home if area churches can raise the other half in donations and labor, and as with all homes built by Habitat for Humanity, the beneficiary will be a local family in need who otherwise would never own a home. If you would like to make a donation of money or time, please be in direct touch with Habitat for Humanity by contacting Barbara Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864.370.1458.
3. This week is the annual diocesan Convocation of Priests, and most of the area clergy will be in Charleston through Thursday afternoon. For this reason, we will not have our Wednesday afternoon Holy Hour or Confessions, and there is no Mass at noon this week. We will, however, continue to have Mass at 7 am from Monday through Friday.
4. From time to time, we are blessed to host Evensong at St. Mary’s, and these celebrations are the work of the Community of St. Anselm, part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter – the pastoral structure created by Pope Benedict for Anglicans received into full communion with the Catholic Church. On Sunday 1 February at 5 pm, Father Chalmers will preside at a celebration of Evensong, and all are welcome to come and bring a friend to experience thirty minutes of beautiful music and peaceful prayer.
5. Lent begins this year on 18 February, just over a month away, and now is the time to think about a way to deepen your commitment to the Lord Jesus so that when Ash Wednesday arrives, you’ll be ready to keep a holy Lent. One of the very best ways to make the 40 Days fruitful is to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and that is why we will gather at 5 pm on each Sunday of Lent to sing Vespers, the Church’s evening sacrifice of praise. Please plan now to make Sunday Vespers a central part of your lenten observance.