High Mass

"Within the biblical tradition the Eucharist is ranged, and in a pre-eminent place, among those signs which announce before people, and inaugurate among them, that reality which is included in the eternal purpose of God... It is the sign of the kingdom of God... conceived as a feast for its citizens" - Geoffrey Wainwright

The spiritual life of the parish is focused on the Sunday liturgy of the Eucharist.

The "Eucharistic banquet" is the time at the beginning of the week when we can leave aside our worries and come together to be thankful and joyful. Listening to Holy Scripture and its message of wisdom, bringing to mind prayerfully all who are in need, and finally offering, consecrating and sharing the bread and the cup is what early Christians did and we keep doing to this day.

"We pray that this bread and this cup which we offer you in humility may really be the sign of our surrender to you." - The Underground Mass Book (1968)

From September through June, the Eucharist at Christ Church is celebrated as High Mass; in the months of July and August as Simple Mass. In all cases, music and ritual action or "ceremony" are central to our celebration of the Mass, i.e. the Eucharist, along with a prayerful spirit and a contemplative attitude.

"Ceremony is a necessary part of the worship of the Church. Ceremony is what we do together. Without ceremonies, we would be left with nothing but pages and pages of words to be said aloud. Ceremony is based on the recognition that we must worship God, not only with our minds, and ideas, and words, but with our bodies and our senses. Ceremony can engage the whole person in the worship of God." - Jon H. Olson

Parishioners are actively involved in the liturgical action at High Mass in many different ways. As the ceremony of High Mass in the Anglo-Catholic tradition requires, besides a priest, a deacon and a subdeacon, around the year 1970 Fr. Jon Olson decided that, in absence of ordained deacons, several lay parishioners trained by him would fill the ceremonial roles of deacon and subdeacon on a rotating basis. The same applies to other "minor" roles in the liturgy of High Mass: crucifer, thurifer, torch-bearer, and server. This arrangement has not only allowed the ritual of High Mass to be celebrated, but has brought about a considerable level of spiritual growth in the parish as a whole. Readers of Holy Scripture or prayers are also employed. Those in charge of hospitality for that particular Sunday process to the altar at the Offertory with the "gifts" of bread and wine. Anybody who attends the parish regularly may be trained to fulfill one or more of such liturgical roles.

"Christ Church Parish has long been committed to a continuing program of thoughtful and informed liturgical renewal. Our goal is to permit the sacred action of our worship to gain in clarity, power, and openness to the full participation of all. Worship is not a beautiful spectacle at which worshipers are merely an audience, but a communal activity, in which the Community of the Faithful express the Mystery of Faith." - Jon H. Olson


Sunday Mass (i.e. the Holy Eucharist) is celebrated at 10:00 a.m.

and is always followed by hospitality


For more on music in our Mass and other liturgies, click here


Note: Frankincense is always used at High Mass and often at Vespers.

Here you can find some notes by Dr. Jack Coogan, professor of liturgy and a longtime member of the parish, reflecting on the liturgical changes put in place by the Rev. Can. Jon Olson some thirty years ago.

The statue of St.Mary at the entrance of the parish church
Blessing of Palms before High Mass on Palm-and-Passion Sunday 2018
On top of page: Censing the altar and the gifts during the First Mass of Easter (2018)