Our Worship and Liturgy
The Parish of St. Michael and All Angels is known for its wide variety of worship experiences, which are available on Sundays and all through the week. Worship is the center of our shared lives at St. Michael’s. It is from that center that we move out into the world and respond to God’s call for faith-based action. No matter where you are in your faith journey, St. Michael’s offers a rich and varied liturgical feast to suit widely different tastes.
Types of Services
Mass with Homily (Low Mass) – In a low mass, the liturgy is all read (not sung). At the 7:45 AM service, the organ is played, and hymns are sung by parishioners. The 5 PM service has music provided by a solo guitarist.
Solemn Mass with Sermon – For many years, the Parish has championed the High Mass (also called the Solemn Mass), featuring traditional music and a sung liturgy. It takes place at 10:15 AM on Sundays. At a Solemn High Mass, the priest is assisted at the altar by a deacon and sub-deacon. The priest sings much of the Mass, but the deacon and subdeacon sing some parts, particularly the Gospel and Epistle, respectively. The organ and choir are featured at high mass and hymns are sung throughout. Incense is also used.
Feast Days often have special observances associated with that day. In the video shown above, the Solemn Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi concludes with a procession of the Eucharist out of the church building and into the world.
Misa Bilingüe (Bilingual Mass) – Our Mass in Spanish is a bilingual low mass with homily, celebrated by Pastor Keith Hardy at 12:30 PM each Sunday. Baptisms, first communions, Quinceañeras, weddings, funerals. etc. are also available en español.
Morning Prayer is read daily from the Prayer book, in the contemplative atmosphere of the East Transept, in front of the Altar dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Family Mass – This low mass takes place at 9 AM on Sundays, and features contemporary versions of readings and music suited for children. Other group activities for children are held on Sundays and are announced on the calendar page.
Rite One Mass – This Mass takes place every Monday at 12:10 PM, and follows the older, more formal Rite One liturgy. On the first Monday of each month, this mass is offered for the dead of the parish.
School Masses – The Day School celebrates Mass in the church twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Guests are always welcome at these Masses. The organ is used at the Upper School Mass on Thursday mornings. Simpler music led by guitar and other instruments is used at the Lower School Mass on Tuesday mornings. School children take part in aspects of the liturgy and assist at the Altar.
Taizé (pronounced TAY-zay) is a contemplative service, mostly by candlelight, at the Marian altar. It is made up of music, prayers, spiritual readings, and silence. The service is at 6:45 PM and held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
What to Expect
How should I dress? You should dress modestly in a manner that is suitable to the occasion but comfortable to you. This can be anything from clean blue jeans and a nice shirt to a dress or a suit and tie.
How long are the services? The Low Masses run about 45 minutes to one hour. The Sunday Solemn Mass is usually 75 minutes.
What happens at the service? The service usually follows Rite II in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, using modern but formal language. After opening prayers, the service includes lectionary reading in the Liturgy of the Word, followed by the Liturgy of the Altar and the Great Thanksgiving, at the end of which Communion is distributed. Congregants follow along in the church mass leaflet. For further info, please see Mass Guide – http://www.covert.org/massguide/
Old and New Testament readings are scheduled according to the
For specific dates, readings, and even related artwork, please visit the
|Monday||7:30 AM – Morning Prayer|
|Tuesday||7:30 AM – Morning Prayer
8:10 AM – Lower School Mass (during school year)
6:45 PM – Taizé Meditation Service (1st and 3rd Tuesdays)
|Wednesday||7:30 AM – Morning Prayer
12:10 PM – Healing Mass with laying on of hands
6:00 PM – Evening Prayer
|Thursday||7:30 AM – Morning Prayer
9:40 AM – Upper School Mass (during school year)
|Friday||7:30 AM – Morning Prayer
8:00 AM – Low Mass (Rite One)
|Saturday||8:30 AM – Morning Prayer
9:30 AM – Contemplative Prayer at the House of Prayer
The Church Year
The Church year begins with Advent, and ends the following November with the feast of Christ the King. Readings are on a three year schedule. December 2015 – November 2016 is Year C. Each season has its traditional colors and vestments, and its own individual character.
First four Sundays of the Church year, immediately preceding Christmas Day
Advent is a season of hopeful anticipation of God’s breaking into our world and our time. It is a time of preparation, not just for a celebration of the birth of Jesus long ago, but for the renewal of our relationship with the living God.
December 25 to January 5
The proverbial Twelve Days of Christmas begin on Christmas Eve and end on Twelfth Night.
January 6 to Shrove Tuesday
A season of four to nine weeks, depending on the date of Easter, Epiphany runs from the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Gospel readings during this season describe various events that manifest the divinity of Jesus, including the coming of the Magi, The Baptism of our Lord, the wedding at Cana, the calling of the disciples, various miracles and teachings of Jesus, and the Transfiguration.
Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday
Lent is a time of repentance, sacrifice and renewal, as we turn again toward God. Parishioners are encouraged to seek the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) during this time. Icons of the church are removed or covered in purple cloth. All days in Lent, except Sundays, are days of special devotion (The Book of Common Prayer pg. 17). In the Prayer book, abstinence from eating meat is not required, but is traditional on all Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent.
Gospel readings follow Jesus as he visits Jerusalem for the last time, is acclaimed by the people and runs afoul of authorities with his teachings and the cleansing of the Temple. The final week of Lent is Holy Week, celebrating Jesus’s entrance into Jesusalem, Last Supper, arrest and burial.
Easter Sunday to Day before Pentecost
Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! The transition from the darkness of Lent to the light of Easter takes place during the Easter Vigil service. We enter by candlelight, but with the Gospel we turn on the lights and ring the bells in celebration of the Resurrection. Baptisms traditionally take place at Easter. Gospel readings recount the events of the Resurrection and its aftermath, leading to the Ascension. The Lord is risen indeed!
All days in Eastertide are feast days. Fasting and abstinence are not kept during this season. From Easter through the feast of Pentecost, there is no fast or abstinence, even on Fridays, So, we can eat meat, drink, and be merry as we celebrate the Great Fifty Days of the Easter Feast!
49 days after Easter and one week following
Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the apostles after the Ascension.
Between Trinity Sunday and Advent – approximately half of the year
During Ordinary Time, we focus on the meaning of all we have experienced in the rest of the year, and how we are called to live in response. Gospel readings focus on the teachings of Jesus.
Major Observance Dates:
Epiphany – Saturday, January 6
Ash Wednesday – Wednesday, February 14
Palm Sunday (Sunday of the Passion) – Sunday, March 25
Maundy Thursday – Thursday, March 29
Good Friday – Friday, March 30
Easter Day – Sunday, April 1
Ascension Day – Thursday, May 10
Pentecost – Sunday, May 20
Trinity Sunday – Sunday, May 27
Michaelmas (transferred from 9/29) – Sunday, September 30
All Saints’ Day – Thursday, November 1
Last Sunday in Ordinary Time (Christ the King) – Sunday, November 25
First Sunday in Advent – Sunday, December 2
Christmas Day – Tuesday, December 25
Take time to visit St. Michael’s Labyrinth in the courtyard near the Parish Center. Incorporated in the center of the Labyrinth is the baptismal pool, primarily used during Easter for baptism.
The design of St. Michael’s labyrinth is modeled after the one located in the floor at Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France.
St. Michael’s has over the years published sermons in both audio and text forms, depending on availability and the speaker’s preference. We have recently resumed publication of audio sermons. These, plus selected sermons in text form from 2015, can be found here. Many newer audio sermons will be uploaded soon.