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Burning the Candle

Volume 10, Number 22, April 27, 2008


From the Rector: Burning the Candle

We manage to use up almost all of our candles one way or another here at Saint Mary’s. But one candle that has gotten very little use in recent years is the Paschal Candle. The one we buy is 55 inches tall. There’s always a lot left over, but not this year. The candle has been burning, whenever the church has been open, since it was first lit at the beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter. It will make it through Evensong on Pentecost, the last service of the Easter Season. There won’t be much left, and that is fine with me.
 
I really like seeing the candle lit during this season. It’s another way we can be reminded that Easter and the Easter Season are the center of the Church’s year, the Church’s faith – not Christmas, not Lent, not Ash Wednesday, not Good Friday. Our Paschal Candle is also simple and beautiful. One can buy candles with a lot of decoration, but ours is plain. The only decoration is the “incense nails” – the incense is embedded into the red wax along with a small nail – and the tracings in the wax of a cross, the year, and the Greek letters alpha and omega. (When you are at the altar rail and the light is right you can see these tracings easily.)  Especially in our building, this large plain candle is, again, beautiful.
 
The symbol of light is fundamental to the story of salvation history. At the very beginning of the Book of Genesis we read, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (1:3-5). Matthew quotes Isaiah, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (4:16). In Luke Jesus is the “light of revelation” (2:32). Of Jesus John says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (1:4).
 
Light shows us where we are. Light shows us the way we might go. Light illuminates the darkness. The light helps us to find what was lost. Light can show us something new that we didn’t even know we might find. Although the tune is familiar, one of my favorite hymn texts that is new to us Episcopalians in the Hymnal 1982 is “Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; all else be nought to me, save that thou art – thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light” (Irish, c. 700, versified by Mary Elizabeth Byrne, 1880-1931).
 
The Easter Candle has many meanings. Along with the fundamental symbol of resurrection, words from Matthew’s gospel come to mind for me: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (5:16). God’s light is not just for us to keep and hold on to but to share. Father Mead observed in a sermon this Easter season something I had not heard or thought about before. No one who heard about Jesus’ resurrection from the women and men to whom the risen Lord appeared was able to believe their testimony the first time they heard it. I think Father Mead was right when he said that we should not expect people to believe us. That’s in God’s hands. But Father Mead was right: God does want people to hear from us about the light we have seen. 
 
Today I also find myself thinking of the phrase, “actions speak louder than words.” Finally, when our hearts are dark, remember that God’s light shines. His light is eternal. I hope you and I in our own ways will always find new ways in which to burn, to shine. Stephen Gerth  
 
PRAYER LIST . . . Philip, Hector, Mary Katherine, America, Sam, Norah, Guy, Diane, Ovidiu, Doreen, Brooke, Allison, Bill, Eugene, Joe, Pedro, Terry, Mary, Gert, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, Carl, PRIEST, Gerald, PRIEST, Adam, PRIEST, and Charles, PRIEST; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Katharine, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Andrew, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher, Marc and Steve; and for the repose of the souls of A. David Carlson and Storey Twogood    . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 3: 1947 Rachel Howland; May 4: 1995 Alexandrina Patricia Hunte; May 5: 1965 Elizabeth Perrigo.
 
ASCENSION AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Ascension Day is one of the seven principal feasts of the Church year. Our observance begins on the Eve of Ascension Day, Wednesday, April 30, with Solemn Evensong at 6:00 PM. On Ascension Day, Thursday, May 1, Morning Prayer is sung at 8:30 AM. The 12:10 PM Mass is sung. Robert McCormick plays an organ recital at 5:30 PM. Solemn Mass is offered at 6:00 PM. A reception follows Solemn Mass in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
 
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . On Sunday, April 27, parish archivist Dick Leitsch will speak about Joseph Gail Hurd Barry, Rector of Saint Mary’s, 1909 – 1929, in the Adult Class at 10:00 AM. This is the fourth part of the “Christian Lives & Thoughts” series. The class is held on the second floor of the Mission House at 10:00 AM . . . Sunday evening we welcome the Reverend David Lowry, rector, Christ Church, Manhasset, as preacher at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM. The choir of Christ Church will sing at Evensong. Father Lowry has a distinguished history of service to the Church and has served as dean of Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans . . . Tuesday, April 29, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Visual Arts Program Gallery Opening in Saint Joseph’s Hall: Works by John Pañuelas and J-F Vergel . . . The Feast of Saint Philip & Saint James, Apostles, is observed on Friday, May 2, this year . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, April 26. Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, May 3.
 
COMING EVENTS . . . Christian Formation: Sunday, May 4, 10:00 AM, “Saint Mary in Poetry,” led by Ms. Rebecca Weiner . . . AIDS Walk 2008 is on Sunday, May 18 . . . Sunday, May 25, 11:00 AM: The Body & Blood of Christ: Corpus Christi: Solemn Mass, Procession & Benediction. Our guest preacher will be the Reverend Alan Moses, vicar, All Saints Church, Margaret Street, London . . . Sunday, May 25, summer schedule begins: Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM, Said Mass at 5:20 PM.
 
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Hector Rojas, building mechanic, continues on leave as he recovers from a surgical procedure. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Father Mead returns from vacation on Wednesday, April 30 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 324.
 
AIDS WALK 2008 . . . As of Tuesday, April 22, fifteen Saint Marians have registered to participate in this year’s AIDS Walk. So far the Saint Mary’s team has raised 26% of its $20,000 goal.  Individual team members do not contact their fellow parishioners for contributions.  Rather, they prefer to ask their fellow Saint Marians to support their parish team as a whole.  Last week three new donors made contributions to support the team effort! You can support your parish’s team and the fight against HIV and AIDS by visiting the AIDS Walk website and making a donation online or by writing a check.  In order to donate online, go to the AIDS Walk website , click the Team Info link on the left-hand side of the home page, scroll down and click on “2008 Registered Teams,” and then look for “Saint Mary the Virgin.”  For more information about making a contribution, sponsoring the team, or joining the team as a walker, please contact MaryJane Boland .
 
BRING A FRIEND TO CHURCH . . . Eastertide, which is immediately followed by Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi, is a very special time here at Saint Mary’s. If you’ve been thinking about inviting a friend to church, this may be a good time to do it: perhaps Christian Education at 10:00 AM, followed by Solemn Mass and Coffee Hour, or Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM, followed by a brief reception. Thursday, May 1, Ascension Day, will be a great day here at the parish.  The Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM is preceded by an organ recital at 5:30 PM, and is followed by a reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall.  Feast days are always a good way to introduce newcomers to Saint Mary’s.

NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Adagio from Première symphonie pour orgue, Opus 13/1, by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937). The postlude is an improvisation on Salzburg. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa O quam gloriosum by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). The Spanish Victoria, one of the greatest musicians of the late Renaissance, lived and worked for many years in Rome, though he is recognized as Spain’s finest composer of that period. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1575 by the last surviving English Roman Catholic bishop. This setting, a parody mass, is based upon his motet of the same name. Accompaniment is provided by chamber organ and Ronald Evans, dulcian. The motet at Communion is Christus resurgens by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594)  . . . The organ recital at 4:40 PM is played by Hervé Duteil . . . The choir of Christ Church, Manhasset, New York, sings for Solemn Evensong & Benediction, including works of Herbert Sumsion, Charles Wood and Vierne. The director is Kyle Babin . . . On Ascension Day, May 1, the organ recital at 5:30 PM is played by Christopher Creaghan, including works of McNeil Robinson, Mendelssohn, Franck and Guilmant . . . At the Solemn Mass, the setting is Missa brevis (1942-45) by Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967). The Hungarian Kodály originally wrote this piece in a version for solo organ. He arranged the piece for choir and organ (later orchestrating it) while he was hiding from Nazi persecution in Budapest. Missa brevis is a striking work with a complicated harmonic language; some commentators have suggested the influence of Franz Liszt. Perhaps most memorable is his setting of Dona nobis pacem, a dialogue between three solo sopranos (who sing in a very high register) and choir. Today, Kodály is remembered for devising a method to teach children music as much as for his compositional output. The motet at Communion is an arrangement by the music director of the spiritual Poor wayfaring stranger. The postlude is McNeil Robinson’s (b. 1943) Chorale Prelude on Llanfair. Robert McCormick

The Calendar of the Week
SUNDAY
THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
MONDAY Easter Weekday
TUESDAY Catherine of Sienna, 1380
WEDNESDAY Easter WeekdayEve of Ascension Day
THURSDAY ASCENSION DAY
FRIDAY SAINT PHILIP & SAINT JAMES, APOSTLES
No Abstinence
SATURDAY Of Our Lady

Last Published: April 30, 2008 11:15 AM
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