The Vigil of St. Mary: Beginning as we intend to go on

In the Coptic Christian tradition, the six weeks before the Feast Day of St. Mary is spent in prayer, fasting, and preparation.  Today is the Feast Day of St. Mary, and our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church are ending their spiritual practice.  However, at St. Mary’s in Cypress, we are in our second day of spiritual renewal as we prepare to celebrate Mary’s Feast Day, transferred, on Sunday, August 28.
It’s been our practice for several years to celebrate in community the feast day of our patron, Mary, on a Sunday nearer the beginning of the new school year.  We believe that Mary, being a mother, would understand trying to accommodate the needs of our parish families.  But in the waiting, we have decided this year to spend time intentionally allowing God to ready us for what God has in store.
It was fitting that we began yesterday during worship.  It was a day with flooded streets and some parishioners unable to find a way to church.  The Welcoming Retreat had to be rescheduled because the leaders’ roads to church were undriveable.  Our bread baker was flooded in.  Our nursery staff were unable to find safe roads to St. Mary’s.  However, we had two hundred faithful souls join us for worship between our Saturday night Youth Sharing Faith event, three Eucharists, and home communions.  People stepped up and stepped in (even with wet shoes and socks), and by the 10.30 Eucharist, the nursery and chapels were open to serve the children of St. Mary’s, and our Eucharistic Visitors were able to bring the Lord’s meal to most of our ill and infirm.  We ate wafers for communion instead of baked bread.  
And we began to pray even more intentionally for our parish family.  It was a very fine day.
Will you join us in praying each day for people of the church where God has called you?  And to the folks of St. Mary’s in Cypress, Texas, you are especially invited, by me, your rector, to pray for us as we prepare to begin another year together.
This is our Vigil of St. Mary daily prayer: 
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


One thought on “The Vigil of St. Mary: Beginning as we intend to go on

  1. I needed this today, Beth. I had a dream a short time ago in which I was being rescued and the one thing I finally took with me was my Mary medal from Russia. I think it was after my grandson Emmett was born August 2nd and before I learned August 7 that Mark has taken another call. His last Sunday is August 28, the day of my baby granddaughter Avacamille's baptism. One of her gifts from me is an antique miraculous medal with Our Lady of Grace on it. She will be baptized in the Catholic church. I need Mary with me in the time ahead. The vestry was meeting tonight and the Senior Warden wants to speak with me soon. They meet with Diocesan rep on 22nd. Avacamille's heart surgery is Sept. 2. I know you and your church are still struggling and I will keep you in prayer as I ask you to keep me.

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