Last Sunday at St. Michael and All Angels in Cambridge Junction we celebrated the Feast of St. Francis with our first ever virtual Blessing of the Animals! Along with the usual cats and dogs we also blessed guinea pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys, turtles, pigs, squirrels and a host of other wild creatures. It was a lovely service and a great reminder of the many ways in which God’s creation blesses our lives each and every day.
The service we used, properly titled A Liturgy in Thanksgiving for Creation and in Honor of the Feast of St. Francis, with the Blessing of Animals, was approved for use in the Episcopal Church at the General Convention of 2015 and was first available online in the 78th General Convention Blue Book Supplemental Materials.
The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music brings suggested new liturgies and updates to current liturgies and hymns to every General Convention of the Episcopal Church. We’ve addressed many of those from the General Convention of 2018 in this blog:
The blog post from September 17, 2018 titled, “Upcoming changes in our worship,” addressed Resolution A065 ~ Authorize Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018.
The blog post from April 23, 2019 titled, “Expansive language in our prayers,” addressed Resolution D078 ~ Authorize Holy Eucharist, Rite II (Expansive Language) for Trial Use.
The blog post from May 5, 2019 titled, “Words have power,” addressed Resolution D067 ~ Bias-Free and Expansive Language for God and Humanity.
The blog post from May 18, 2020 titled, “How we talk about God,” addressed Resolution D046 ~ Expansive-Language Liturgical Resources.
This week we have another resolution from the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music:
A218 The Proposed Book of Occasional Services 2018
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 79th General Convention approve the following services from the Proposed Book of Occasional Services 2018, as found on the General Convention website in English and Spanish. The following services shall be made available digitally for use by worshiping communities. (Note: This is an edited list)
Seasonal Blessings (p.11 as presented) Bendiciones estacionales (p. 11 como presentado);
Concerning the Advent Wreath (p. 22 with amendment only to the following) Lo concerniente a la corona de Adviento (p. 18 con enmienda solo a lo siguiente)
Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols (p. 24 with the amendment only to the following) Festival de lecturas y cánticos de Adviento (p. 20 con enmienda solo a lo siguiente)
Blessing of a Crèche (p. 37 as presented) Bendición de un pesebre (p. 36 como presentado);
Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols (p. 38 with the amendment only to the following) Festival de lecturas y cánticos de Navidad (p. 37 con emienda solo a lo siguiente)
Service for New Year’s Eve (p. 43 as presented) Oficio para la víspera de Año Nuevo (p. 42 como presentado);
Candlemas Procession (p. 50 with amendment to insert a collect on p. 52) Procesión de la Candelaria (p. 46 con emienda para insertar una colecta en p. 48)
Blessings over Food at Easter (p. 98 as presented) Bendiciones de los alimentos en la comida de Pascua (p. 91 como presentada);
Rogation Procession (p. 101 as amended on p. 112) Procesión de rogativas (p. 93 como emendada p. 104);
St. Francis Day/Blessing of Animals (p. 113 as presented) Letanía por toda la creación y bendición de los animales por el Día de San Francisco de Asís (p. 105 como presentada);
Service for All Hallows’ Eve (p 125 as presented) Oficio para la víspera de Todos los Santos (p. 118 como presentada);
Welcoming New People to a Congregation (p. 132 as amended) Acogida a nuevas personas en una congregación (p. 124 como emendada)
A Service of Renaming (p. 134 as presented) Rito para cambiar de nombre (p. 126 como presentada);
The Preparation for Baptism, or Catechumenate (p. 140 as presented) Preparación para el Bautismo o catecumenado (p. 131 como presentada);
Preparation of Adults for Holy Baptism: The Catechumenate (p. 142 as presented) Preparación de adultos para el Santo Bautismo: el catecumenado (p. 134 como presentada);
Preparation of Parents and Sponsors of Infants and Young Children to be Baptized (p. 153 as presented) Preparación de padres y padrinos para el bautismo de infantes y niños pequeños (p. 146 como presentada);
Preparation for Confirmation, Reception or other Reaffirmations of the Baptismal Covenant (p. 158 as presented) Preparación para la Confirmación, la Recepción u otras reafirmaciones del Pacto Bautismal (p. 152 como presentada);
Recognition of Ministries in the Church and the World (p. 163 as presented) Reconocimiento de ministerios en la Iglesia y en el mundo (p. 158 como presentada);
Celebration for a Home (p. 166, amended on p. 173) Celebración para un hogar (p. 160, emendada en p. 167)
A Shorter Blessing of a Home (p. 176 as presented) Bendición abreviada de un hogar (p. 169 como presentada);
Anniversary of a Marriage (p.179 as amended) Aniversario de bodas (p. 172 como emendada)
A Public Service of Healing (P. 182 as presented) Oficio público de sanación (p. 175 como presentada);
A Rite of Welcoming after Absence (p. 194 as amended to change the title of the rite) Rito de bienvenida después de una ausencia (p. 187 como emendada en el cambio del título del rito);
A Litany for the Mission of the Church (p. 252 as presented) Letanía por la misión de la Iglesia (p. 242 como presentada);
Guidelines for Use on the Occasion of a Retirement or Work Transition (p. 335 as presented) Pautas al uso en ocasión de una jubilación o de una transición laboral (p. 259 como presentada);
Liturgical Materials Honoring God in Creation (p. 337, as amended with change in titles on p. 340, p. 342, and p. 346), Materiales litúrgicos para honrar a Dios en la creación (p. 260 como emendada con cambio en títulos en p. 263, p. 265 y p. 270)
There are English PDF and Word versions as well as Spanish language PDF and Word versions of The Book of Occasional Services 2018 available online at no charge. In fact, all the liturgical resources approved at the 2018 General Convention are available online, including a PDF version of A Great Cloud of Witnesses, and both Word and PDF versions of Lesser Feasts and Fasts.
If you haven’t checked out the liturgies in The Book of Occasional Services online recently, I encourage you to do so. Our congregation has taken advantage of several of them and found them to be very meaningful.
I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to any new liturgies that might be proposed at next year’s General Convention! Until then, we’ll offer prayers of encouragement and thanksgiving for those who are charged with this good work.
Let us pray ~
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in
heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through
liturgy, art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on
earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty,
and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for
evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP pg. 819, modified)
~ The Rev. Diana Walworth, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council