Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 160 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Back to 'normal' - Rector's Rambling for July 17, 2022


After being away on vacation and then working this past week at the St. Michael’s Conference for Youth, I am looking forward, God willing, to returning back to a ‘normal’ routine.

A major part of the normal routine for me is to offer the Holy Communion Service during the week on Monday through Thursday.  It is one of the great honors (for which I am humbled) of the priesthood to be able to do so.

While away on vacation I prayed Morning and Evening Prayer every day—it s a part of the rule of life of the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC) and quite frankly a minimum requirement for clergy I would think.  And then at the St. Michael’s Conference for Youth we had choral Evensong every day—nothing beats singing the Daily Office with 60 people every day!  And we also had a full Solemn High Mass each morning as well, a Holy Communion Service with singing and all the liturgical trappings of the finest of liturgies.  I got to be the celebrant one of the days, and the other priests on staff the other days.  It is a nice change to be ‘in the pews’ for Mass, something I don’t usually get to do. 

But there is a wonderful sublime mystery to offering a simple weekday Low Mass (Holy Communion Service with no music/singing or other finery).  This Service is generally about 30 minutes long, and it is a chance to be quiet and intimate in prayer in a different way than a Sunday 10 AM  Service, which I also love very much!  Attendance varies from 2 to 10.

Fr. David Ousley, a retired priest in the Philadelphia area once wrote that the difference between a Sunday High Mass, and Low Mass on a weekday can be compared to a Grand Banquet with a King, and a simple weekday supper with the family.   Sunday is the grand banquet with lots of guests and the weekday Mass is a daily supper with the family.  Of course in both cases the King (of Kings) is the dad at the meal.

I would encourage you to attend a weekday Holy Communion.  We have parishioners who are regulars at these Services, and because they are usually in the church with the front doors open we have guests there as well.