We remember the great mystic Dame Julian of Norwich (d. 1417) on 8 May, and St. Gregory Nazianzus (d. 389, namesake St. Nazianz, Wisconsin) on 9 May. St. Nazianzus was instrumental in formulating the orthodox understanding of the Holy Trinity.
St. Augustine of Canterbury, the very first Archbishop of Canterbury, who came to England in 587 is also a May saint (on the 26th). The Gospel book given to Augustine by Pope Leo the Great is still used in the consecration of each Archbishop of Canterbury. It is kept as MS 286 in the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and can be viewed online at http://corpus.cam.ac.uk/parker/images/luke_l.jpg. The entire gospel book is being made available at www.parkerweb.stanford.edu.
The Feast of the Ascension falls this year on 14 May (a Thursday). This is one of the “principal” feasts on the Church calendar; i.e., it cannot be moved to another day, must be observed by the congregation, and is considered a feast which of equal obligation as Easter and Christmas. We will celebrate Holy Eucharist at Grace on the Eve of Ascension, at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 May. This will allow us to join our tripartite ministry partners (St. Dominic R.C. Church and St. Peter Lutheran Church) at St. Peter’s for a joint service of Ascension, on the 14th at 6 p.m.
The story of Jesus’ ascension into heaven is found at Act 1.6-11, ending with angels telling the disciples that Jesus “... will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Traditionally, churches are “oriented” (worship faces east), because we expect Jesus to return from the east. This is also why graves face east, that at the Second Coming the dead may rise to meet their judge.