Thursday, January 29, 2015


Blame it on my sister. First class of women at Yale (1972). Topped off with a Masters of Divinity, Masters of Sacred Music, and a PhD in Religious Studies, all at Yale. Her speciality was the Roman Catholic Liturgy. Yes, she was the sort of person who would write course papers so good that the next term they would be added to the syllabus as required reading.

So, it is her fault that I know words like anamnesis and epiclesis. I understand what it means for a priest to be "bi-ritual". I have been invited to historical re-enactments of ancient liturgies and I have eaten dinner while listening to accounts of the martyrdom of Felicity and Perpetua. Thanks, Pam.

Anamnesis, in a Christian context, "has its origin in Jesus' words at the Last Supper, 'Do this in memory of me.'" My sister would be quick to point out that the exact translation is "for my recalling." And this is not the passive reminiscing of, "Oh, I recall Jesus..." but rather an active re-calling into the present. Imagine Mary bustling about the house, "Jesus! We have guests! Get in here right now. Don't make me call you again!"

Here you have, in a nutshell, the dispute within Christian denominations: do we receive Holy Communion as a memorial, or does the Holy Eucharist literally re-call Jesus?


Today would have been Dennis Lane's sixtieth birthday. Those of us who knew him will be gathering at Clyde's today to raise a glass, maybe even eat a Twinkie (a Dennis Lane birthday tradition.) Perhaps I'll see you there.

Dennis was raised as a Roman Catholic and yet I am guessing he wouldn't care two hoots about issues over anamnesis or transubstantiation. In fact, he'd probably think this entire post is a little bit silly. Because, for Dennis, it wouldn't be about remembering or re-calling. It would be about celebrating.

And so we will.


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