An article from the Cathedral Times
By Dean Sam Candler
Those of you reading these words probably know this already, but it is worth reminding ourselves: The Cathedral of St. Philip is very, very blessed.
Our richest blessing surely has to be our people; our congregation, our community. We are nothing, and we are surely not a church, without a very committed congregation. We—You!—are the ones who show up. We —You!—are the ones who pledge resources and money to the ministry of this place. We—You!—are the ones who shine with the light of Christ in this sacred community. We are much more than simply a building, or a set of programs, or a set of liturgies. We are a living and committed community. Thank you!
But I think of blessing today because I am thinking of our services of daily Eucharist. Because our Cathedral parish is blessed with solid resources of both clergy and space, we are one of the few Episcopal churches in the country who can afford to offer services of daily Eucharist. Maybe some of you do not even realize this feature of our daily life! I recommend the practice!
Yes, of course, we offer many different Eucharist services on Sunday, from 7:45 a.m. through 5 p.m. The word, “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving;” and “Eucharist” is our way of referring to “The Lord’s Supper,” “Holy Communion,” or even “Mass.” That grand service of Holy Eucharist is our way of giving thanks to God, our way of offering ourselves to God, so that God can bless those very offerings and then return them to us in the consecrated bread and wine of Eucharist. When we receive those offerings back, as the Body and Blood of Christ, then we become, sacramentally, the Body of Christ serving and going out into the world. It is a grand and liturgical mystery, at the heart of our common life.
The Holy Eucharist is the principal act of worship on Sundays, the Lord’s Day; and the Church recommends daily services of Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer. But, there is another spiritual devotion, which many practice. That spiritual practice is daily Eucharist. Yes, here at the Cathedral of St. Philip, we are able to celebrate Holy Eucharist Monday through Friday of every week. Every day of the week, a different priest on the staff celebrates Eucharist and delivers a short homily.
I admit that I am thinking of this habit right now, because—as I write this—my day is tomorrow, a Tuesday. Tuesdays are usually my weekdays to celebrate Eucharist. That means that I must prepare. I note the lessons assigned to that weekday. I note whether the day is a feast day of the Church. I note whether I might use the lessons many of us have already heard this past Sunday. Each priest has the freedom on weekdays to use lessons from one of several sources. And, each of us, in our turn, prepares a set of words—a homily—that we trust God will use for the edification of the community.
I recommend these Daily Eucharist services to all of you reading this article. Here at the Cathedral, daily Eucharist is celebrated at 12:15 p.m. in the St. Mary’s Chapel (above the Atrium) Monday through Friday. Sometimes, there are as many as 15-25 people there. More often, there are anywhere from 3-10 people.
But, most importantly, God is there. It is a simple service, but a powerful one. Stopping during the day for this most ancient of Christian practices, Holy Eucharist, reminds us that God is present for us every day, in the midst of whatever else is consuming us, or demanding things of us. Daily Eucharist is a place to bring our sorrows and concerns, and certainly our illnesses and pains (the Friday Daily Eucharist is particularly crafted as a Healing Eucharist).
Yes, God is present every day at the Cathedral of St. Philip, and giving thanks is a blessing. I invite you to give thanks with us every day of the week. Thanks!
The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip