Risen! Ascended! Glorified!

Dear Parish Family,

This Thursday, we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Prayer Book Holy Day. Our Lord has now completed His earthly ministry and we await the descent of the Holy Ghost.

The Propers for the Day are found in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, pages 177-178.

Uhde, “The Ascension of Christ”, 1897.

From the Orthowiki website:

The Ascension of Jesus Christ is one of the Great Feasts of the Church, celebrated forty days after Easter (and thus always falling on a Thursday).

Forty days after the Resurrection, while blessing his disciples (Gospel of Luke 24:50-51), Christ ascended into heaven, taking his place at the right hand of the Father (Gospel of Mark 16:19 and Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed).

The first account of the Ascension found in the Bible is in the Gospel of Mark (16:14-19); the description is brief. Jesus and the remaining eleven disciples are seated at a table, presumably in a room in or near Jerusalem. Jesus commands his followers to spread the Gospel, and that those who believe will be known by their invulnerability to poison, ability to heal the sick, and the like. After delivering these final words, Jesus is received into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. No description of the Ascension itself is given; Mark simply states that it happened.

The Gospel of Luke is even more brief in its description (24:50-51). Jesus led the eleven to Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. While in the act of blessing them, Jesus was carried up to heaven.

The third, and most celebrated, account of the Ascension is in the Acts of the Apostles (1:9-12). For forty days after the Resurrection, Jesus continued to preach the Gospel. Jesus and the eleven were gathered near Mt. Olivet (or the Mount of Olives), to the northeast of Bethany. Jesus tells his disciples that they will receive the power of the Holy Spirit and that they will spread his message the world over. Jesus is taken up and received by a cloud. Some traditions say that he was taken up in a fiery chariot, much like the Prophet Elijah. Two men clothed in white appear and tell the disciples that Jesus will return in the same manner as he was taken. They say: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye
have seen Him go into Heaven” (Acts 1:11). Afterwards, the disciples return to Jerusalem rejoicing, remaining continually in the Temple.

The Gospel of Matthew ends at a mountain in Galilee, with Jesus commanding the disciples to spread the Gospel. No mention of the Ascension is made.


The Ascension of Christ shows the last stage in God’s plan for mankind: total union with Himself upon one’s departure from the world. According to V. Rev. George Florovsky, “in the Ascension resides the meaning and the fullness of Christ’s Resurrection….and with Christ, man’s nature ascends also.”

Propers for Easter Week

Prayer Book Holy Days

April 1: MONDAY in EASTER Week

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 166–168)

The Collect
O GOD, whole blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread; Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold thee in all thy works; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle and Gospel

April 2: Tuesday in Easter Week

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 168-170)

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with reverence the Paschal Feast may be found worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle and Gospel

Psalms and Lessons for Easter Week

[Morning and Evening Prayer are available daily at Cradle of Prayer.]

Propers for Holy Week

Dear Parish Family,

We now enter the week that changed the history of the world and the fate of all human beings. Our Prayer Book has some of the most beautiful Collects for each day of Holy Week as well as the appropriate Scripture readings.

I found some exceptional videos that amplify these Holy Days and have included them here.

~Fr. Rick

25 March, Monday before Easter

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 138–144)

The Collect
ALMIGHTY God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified; Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle and Gospel

26 March, Tuesday before Easter

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 144–147)

The Collect
O LORD God, whose blessed Son, our Saviour, gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame; Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle and Gospel

27 March, Wednesday before Easter

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 147–152)

The Collect
ASSIST us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation; that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts, whereby thou hast given unto us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle and Gospel

28 March, Maundy Thursday

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 152–156)

The Collect
ALMIGHTY Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, did institute the Sacrament of his Body and Blood; Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him, who in these holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal; the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle and Gospel

29 March, Good Friday

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 156–161)

The Collects
ALMIGHTY God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified; Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all estates of men in thy holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest* the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics; and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle and Gospel

30 March, Easter Even

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 161-162)

The Collect
GRANT, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with him; and that through the grave, and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection; for his merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

The Epistle and Gospel

Passion Sunday

Jesus Takes Up His Cross

Dear Parish Family,

Tomorrow is Passion Sunday. The Passion of Our Lord Jesus
Christ has always been controversial. It separates Christianity from other major world religions because it is God-Incarnate who suffers this torture on behalf of all humanity.

St. Paul calls it a stumbling-block to those who cannot understand or accept this truth. Yet, it is reality that Jesus Christ has suffered, died and risen from the grave, washing us from sin and granting us life eternal.

Count on it!

Faithfully yours,
Fr. Rick Gregory

[Photo: Statue of Jesus Christ bearing the Cross, The Grotto (National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother), Portland, Oregon, U.S.]

The Stations of the Cross

Good Friday
March 29, 7:30pm

The Stations of the Cross will be said on Good Friday at 7:30pm. All are welcome at this solemn service of prayer, meditation and Scripture.

Since ancient times Christians have relived the sufferings of Our Lord by following the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem, remembering the events leading up to the Crucifixion and beyond. In churches this tradition has been continued by depictions of the Stations of the Cross, with prayers, meditations and scripture readings popularized by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri. This video features the depictions of the traditional stations, with scripture readings (KJV) associated with each station, read by Alexander Scourby.

Ash Wednesday Liturgy

Wednesday, February 14, 7:30 pm

St. Bartholomews will offer the Ash Wednesday Liturgy with the Imposition of Ashes at 7:30pm in the sanctuary.

On Ash Wednesday, we move reflectively into Lent as we are reminded with love and grace that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. 

Come, enter the season of Lent with us.

January 2024 Shepherd’s Staff

Fr. McGrath, military chaplain, celebrates Holy Communion “in the field.”

The Shepherd’s Staff, the provincial newsletter, is filled with news and photos from APCK parishes around the country. St. Bartholomew’s is well-represented in this issue. Here are a few of this month’s articles:

  • Fr. Rick Gregory’s Ordination to the Priesthood
  • A story about our dear Mary Ellen Feagin
  • News from Fr. Daniel McGrath (USMC Chaplain)
  • Sneak Peek at the Diocesan ACW’s latest project

Read the January Shepherd’s Staff →

Letter of Call for the Annual Synod

Delegates (Clergy and Laity) gather annually for the Diocesan Synod.

On January 6th (The Feast of the Epiphany), the Rev. Donald M. Ashman made the formal call for the thirty-third Synod of the Diocese of the Western States.

The Diocesan Synod will be held from April 16-20, 2024 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Walnut Creek (CA). The parishes of Saint Joseph of Arimathea in Berkeley and Saint Martin of Tours in Concord will support the planning and work of the Synod.

Fr. Rick’s weekly parish email and the Shepherd’s Staff provincial newsletter will report additional information as it becomes available. To subscribe to either publication, contact Fr. Rick at info@st-bartholomews.org.)

Read Bishop Ashman’s letter →

Stories from last year’s Synod →

What is Twelfth Night?

Twelfth Night is a Christian festival that falls on January 5th, the last day of the 12 days of Christmas. In our Anglican liturgical calendar, Twelfth Night is also Epiphany Eve. Many of the customs surrounding Twelfth Night focus on the coming of the Three Kings and the transition from Christmastide to the Epiphany season.

Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, (illuminated manuscript), c. 1410

Popular Twelfth Night customs include eating king cake, singing Christmas carols, chalking the door, having one’s house blessed, merry-making, and attending church services (external links).

[Adapted from “Twelfth Night (holiday)” on Wikipedia.]

The Twelve Days of Christmas

What are the Twelve Days of Christmas?

The twelve days of Christmas, or Christmastide, begin at sunset on Christmas Eve and end on the Eve of The Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, on January 5th.

What about the Christmas Carol of the same name?

As the legend goes, religious wars in sixteenth century England made it dangerous to be a Catholic. Many people practiced their faith in secret. Catholic families developed unique ways to secretly pass the faith onto their children, like “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The well-known song was used to teach children about the Church.

The First Day of Christmas: A Partridge in a Pear Tree
A partridge in a pear tree symbolizes Jesus Christ, with the partridge representing Christ’s willingness to sacrifice himself and the pear tree symbolizing the cross.

The Second Day of Christmas: Two Turtle Doves
Two turtle doves represents the first and second testaments of the Bible.

The Third Day of Christmas: Three French Hens
Three French hens are the gifts of Faith, Hope, and Charity that define this day

The Fourth Day of Christmas: Four Calling Birds
The original song lyrics were “four colly birds.” Colly meant black.
So, it could be thought of as four blackbirds or ravens. When a raven
caws, you hear it, just as the Gospel calls out for each of us to hear it.

The Fifth Day of Christmas: Five Gold Rings
The five golden rings are the most valuable of gifts in the original
song. This is also where the song lyrics take a dramatic pause. On a
religious level, the rings represent the first five books of the Old
Testament, or the Pentateuch. These books are the history and law
given by God to Moses.

The Sixth Day of Christmas: Six Geese A-Laying
The geese laying represents creating a new life as God created all

The Seventh Day of Christmas: Seven Swans A-Swimming
Swans are graceful water creatures. The number seven represents the
seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are wisdom, understanding,
counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

The Eighth Day of Christmas: Eight Maids A-Milking
A milking cow is working. But the rewards of this work are sweet. Look to the beatitudes here as this is how God wants us to treat

The Ninth Day of Christmas: Nine Ladies Dancing
Nine ladies dancing represent the nine fruits of the spirit: love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When your life displays the fruits of the spirit, you become a wonderful expression of action and grace to others.

The Tenth Day of Christmas: Ten Lords A-Leaping
These Lords refer to the English Parliament’s House of Lords. They
were lawmakers so this loosely symbolizes the Ten Commandments.
As for why the Lords are leaping, one interpretation suggests that
maybe a higher law given by God could make them leap?!

The Ten Commandments

  1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have none other gods but me.
  2. Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
  6. Thou shalt do no murder.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  10. Thou shalt not covet.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas: January 04
Eleven Pipers Piping

Pipers were known for music that relaxed people. They also led
people in marches during the Middle Ages. These 11 pipers represent
the apostles of Jesus (minus Judas) who led the way for Jesus’
teaching around the world.

The Twelfth Day of Christmas: January 05
Twelve Drummers Drumming

Drummers keep people in line and stepping in unison, all with the
same rhythm. The Apostles’ Creed acts as a rhythmic reminder of
beliefs. With 12 main points in the creed, it is a powerful statement of

The Apostles’ Creed

  1. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
  2. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;
  3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary:
  4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell.
  5. The third day he rose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
  6. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  7. I believe in the Holy Ghost,
  8. The holy Catholic Church;
  9. the Communion of Saints,
  10. the Forgiveness of sins,
  11. the Resurrection of the body,
  12. and the Life everlasting. Amen.