The Anchor of St. Clement

Let’s be honest, when people mention anchors in this neighborhood what first comes to mind is The Anchor Fish & Chips on 13th Ave NE. While I must admit that I am a fan of that establishment, there is also a deeper and more ancient reference that might go unnoticed. I refer to the iron anchor which was tied around the neck of the exiled Pope St. Clement of Rome as he was hurled into the deep.

That anchor was the instrument of his martyr’s death in the Black Sea in the early years of the second century. St. Clement’s fidelity to God, his generous service of the flock and his ‘success’ in winning pagan converts infuriated the civil authorities, right up to the Emperor Trajan. It earned him the “unfading crown of glory”, spoken of in the second reading from First Peter. Seeking to live in communion with Christ put Clement at odds with the powers of this world, but his heart was held steady by the hope which belongs to those redeemed by the Cross, according to the beautiful Latin phrase, “SPES ANCHORA VITAE” or “HOPE IS THE ANCHOR OF LIFE”.  

Having been a disciple of the Apostles and aware of their martyrdoms, Clement knew well the demands and risks of following Christ. Having served honorably as a successor to St. Peter in the metropolis of Rome, Clement’s banishment to forced labor in the marble quarries of the region of Pontus was embraced as a mere shift in his mission field, but his zeal was unflagging and he continued to lead souls to Christ.

In calm waters an anchor keeps a boat steady and saves it from drifting this way or that; in turbulent waters an anchor provides even greater reassurance and hope of survival. Perhaps at such moments of testing an anchor most proves its purpose. Interestingly, the ancient Christian artistic tradition saw the anchor as a melding of two profoundly important symbols, the sign of the rainbow given as a promise to Noah after the flood and the sign of the Roman Cross on which Christ was nailed to die. May St. Clement, a model of stability, strength and hope in difficult times be an intercessor for our parish and the neighborhood which is our mission field. As we celebrate the transferred Feast of St. Clement, one of our parish patrons, may we witness precisely in the place where we find ourselves.

A miscellany of notes:

+ If you have not yet picked up a copy of the Annual Financial Report I invite you to do so. Copies will be available at the entrances of church for the next few weeks.

+ For those who have begun giving through Simplified Giving online, I want to offer an additional encouragement to use the laminated cards available at the doors of church that can be dropped in the collection basket as a way to actively participate in the Offertory. For more information about utilizing Vanco for one time or recurring contributions, visit www.OurHolyCross.org/donate

+ This past Monday was Veterans Day. While our petition at Masses for those who have offered military service for our nation was inadvertently missed last weekend, our prayers of gratitude are with all veterans in our parish and those currently serving in the armed forces. As Thanksgiving comes may they be aware of the love and appreciation of a grateful nation. As GK Chesterton beautifully put it, “The true soldier flights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him”. For those who have died in service of our nation and given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives, we offer a prayer of suffrage for their eternal repose. Requiescant in pace. 

 + I would like to offer two clarifications with regard to Mass times:

1) With our wedding season completed for the year, Saturday evening Mass at Holy Cross will return to 4:30 pm, preceded by confessions at 3:45 pm. This will take effect on Saturday, December 1st. Thank you for your willingness to allow us to try a seasonal shift since August. Our intention is to maintain the 4:30 pm time indefinitely, although we continue to grapple with how to provide hospitality to the many couples who come to Holy Cross to be married.

2) Since the summer we have been offering two back-to-back Masses each Wednesday morning at Holy Cross. We did it on a trial basis, aware that we would not likely be able to sustain it, but seeking to offer an opportunity for an earlier Mass for those for whom even 6:45 am was too late to get to work. I wish to announce that as of Wednesday, November 28th, the 6:15 am Mass will be discontinued while 6:45 am will remain. Thank you to those who shared their feedback over the last couple of weeks. We do hope to continue providing an early 6:15 am ‘commuter Mass’ on Holy Days throughout the year. If you have never attended daily Mass, realize how blessed we are to have the range of daily Mass times that we do in our parish and throughout the metro area: there truly is something for everyone.

+ As you prepare for Thanksgiving gatherings with your family members and loved ones, consider making Holy Mass a part of your day. See the Mass times for Thanksgiving Day on page 6 of this bulletin.

Know of my gratitude for all of you in Christ,

Fr. Howe

I share some final words from St. Clement’s first century Letter to the Corinthians:

“Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made, who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulcher, and from utter darkness. He who made us and fashioned us, having prepared His bountiful gifts for us before we were born, introduced us into His world. Since, therefore, we receive all these things from Him, we ought for everything to give Him thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”