FROM THE RECTOR: FINDING MORE EASTER
One of my favorite collects begins, “Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity” (The Book of Common Prayer , 235). Since the deaths in 2013 of my mother and last Christmas of my father, I sense that I have experienced an increase in faith. The experience has not been any kind of reverie or dream, but a greater, almost physical, awareness of interior space, a very quiet place. No words, just awareness.
We changed chandlers this year for our paschal candle. Our previous vendor’s largest size plain candle is 55 inches. Marklin Candle Design, Contoocook, New Hampshire, makes one that is 62½ inches in length. It’s not enough. Next year we will order the 72-inch candle, their largest standard size. Some readers may not know that the paschal candle burns whenever the church is open during the Easter Season. It’s not so much that we don’t have enough length for Eastertide. I want more of the candle to plunge into the water during Baptism; I want more of the candle to be standing by a coffin or urn at the burial of the dead. What I really want, of course, is to continue to discover more Easter in my life and in the common prayer of the church.
There’s very little of the Risen Jesus himself in the New Testament. Only in Matthew and John’s gospels does the Risen Jesus speak on the morning of the resurrection. Before the 1979 Prayer Book, the Risen Jesus was heard from twice: on the first Sunday after Easter Day—when the gospel was John’s account of the Risen Jesus appearing to the disciples on the evening of the day of resurrection from John (20:19–23) and on Ascension Day in the first reading from Acts (1:1–11). Not a lot. Instead, on Easter morning the church heard about the empty tomb—and that’s what remains the Easter gospel for most Christians.
Quite honestly, until I was preparing sermons for Easter last year, I had not realized that the Risen Jesus was an absent Jesus, as it were, for Easter. The traditional Prayer Book gospel for Easter Day was John 20:1–10, where Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the unnamed disciple Jesus loved all get to the opened tomb. The passage ended with Peter and the other disciple going home. We never heard that Mary Magdalene remained and the Risen Jesus revealed himself to her. And, as there was no feast of Mary Magdalene in the old calendar, we never heard the story at Mass of the Risen Jesus appearing to her and making her the apostle of the resurrection: “Go to my sisters and brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17).
The original 1979 Prayer Book lectionary appointed Matthew 28:1–10 for use at the Easter Vigil every year. Since we use this lectionary those attending the vigil at Saint Mary’s hear every year the Risen Jesus say to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, “Hail! . . . Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matthew 28:9–10). (It’s worth noting that the traditional gospel for the vigil ended with Matthew 28:7—so the Risen Jesus didn’t speak in the old days either on Easter Eve or Easter morning.)
In all of the other years of the 1979 lectionary it is possible, but never required, to hear the Risen Jesus speak on Easter Day. For the record, here at Saint Mary’s on Easter morning we hear John in Year A (with the Risen Jesus speaking), Mark in Year B, and Luke in Year C, and, again, at the Easter Vigil we hear Matthew (with the Risen Jesus speaking).
The church continues to bring the Paschal mystery before us through the Easter Season. It knocks on the doors of our souls, as it were, that we already share in the fullness of life with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, a life, in Patrick Regan’s words, “beyond the reach of death” (Advent to Pentecost , 302). The final eight days of the Eastertide begin on Sunday, May 17. I hope many can join us. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Catherine, Jorge, Reuben, Bill, Dennis, John, Mazdak, Trevor, Andrew, Barbara, David, Abalda, Linda, Eric, Takeem, Arpene, Deborah Francis, religious, Peter, priest, Paulette, priest, Harry, priest, and James, bishop; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty; and for the repose of the souls of McNeil Robinson and Lenore Baksh . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 17: 1892 William Hiram Gillies Kelly; 1906 Lewis W. Parker; 1923 Alberta Osbal Krattinger; 1931 Clara A. Prindle; 1965 Shirley C. Carswell.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . McNeil Robinson died on Saturday, May 9, after a long illness. McNeil came to Saint Mary’s in 1965 as assistant organist to James Palsgrove. He became organist and music director in 1974 and served in this position until 1984. He made important contributions to our common life both during and after his tenure as music director. Our musicians studied with him, his students played recitals here, and his music was heard here during the liturgy. His last concert here was in 2006. Most recently, on Palm Sunday 2015, the choir sang his Missa in die tribulationis at the Solemn Mass. Please keep him in your prayers.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, May 17, AIDS Walk New York 2015: Members of the Team will be walking in three sections this coming weekend: Saturday morning, Sunday morning (along with the Walk’s other Gold Teams), and Sunday afternoon . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study class will finish the 2014–2015 season with its end-of-year dinner on May 20 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Friday abstinence is not observed during the Easter Season . . . On Saturday, May 16, confessions will be heard at 11:30 AM by Father Jim Pace and at 4:00 PM by Father Stephen Gerth. On Saturday, May 23, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioners Richmond Ellis II and Thomas Jayne were united in Holy Matrimony here at Saint Mary’s on Saturday evening, May 9. Please keep them in your prayers . . . Parishioner Mary Robison recently began a new job at the Yonkers Public Library. She tells us that she is enjoying the new job and the opportunities it provides to assist the public with a wide variety of reference questions, technological problems, and job-search issues. Congratulations, Mary! . . . Parishioners Eloise Hoffman and Pat Rheinhold have been living in Texas for several years. They have now returned to their home in New Jersey and have often been here on Sundays. It’s good to have them back with us again. Welcome home, Eloise and Pat! . . . Saint Mary’s has a large building complex and it is often a very busy place. We do not have a large staff and so we are lucky, and blessed, that so many members and friends of the parish step up and help out in a variety of ways. One group of volunteers works behind the scenes, and the work of those volunteers often goes unacknowledged. We are grateful to our office volunteers Clint Best, Gypsy da Silva, and Dick Leitsch for all they do for all of us . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 262, Ascension Day 178.
EARTHQUAKE IN NEPAL . . . A second major earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday, May 12, seventeen days after the first quake, killing forty-two and injuring 1,117, according to the Nepali government. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is now accepting donations to assist with the relief effort in Nepal. We invite you to consider making a donation. Please keep the people of Nepal in your prayers.
AIDS WALK 2015 . . . Thanks to the exceptional generosity of the members and friends of Saint Mary’s, and the friends and family of the members of AIDS Walk Team, we have raised almost $50,000, a new high for the Saint Mary’s Team. The Walk will take place this coming Sunday, May 17, but you can still make a donation until June 12. If you have not yet made a gift in support of the Saint Mary’s Team and its goals—education, prevention, medical research, the search for a vaccine and a cure, and treatment for people with HIV and AIDS, you can still do so by making a donation online. You can also direct your questions to Father Smith or to co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell. Our heartfelt thanks to all those who have already supported us. We never imagined that we would be able to achieve so much this year. We couldn’t have done it without you! —MaryJane Boland & Clark Mitchell
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN . . . The Capital Campaign Committee reports that it has received around seventy-five responses to its recent feasibility-study survey. We are grateful to all those who took the time to respond. The deadline for responding is May 15. However, if you have questions about the survey, or about the upcoming Capital Campaign, please contact the Parish Office and a member of the Committee will return your call.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Anthony Piccolo (b. 1946), a New Jersey native, attended Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore on a personal scholarship from conductor Laszlo Halasz. After completing a master’s degree at Peabody, he worked with the National Symphony Orchestra under Antal Dorati. Piccolo subsequently moved to England where he sang in the cathedral choirs of Litchfield, Canterbury, and Saint Paul’s, London. He composed twenty works for Canterbury Cathedral, several of which have become staples of the Anglican choral repertoire (including the Mass setting at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, Canterbury Mass). After he returned to the United States, Piccolo served as assistant conductor of the opera companies in Portland (Oregon), Wolf Trap, and New Orleans. For twenty years he served as assistant chorus master and children’s chorus director with the New York City Opera, and joined the staff of the Metropolitan Opera as children’s chorus director in 2009. At the ministration of Communion on Sunday, we will hear the motet, God is gone up with a merry noise by English composer William Croft (1678–1727). Croft was educated at the Chapel Royal under John Blow, eventually succeeding Blow as organist of Westminster Abbey. He composed works for the funeral of Queen Anne (1714) and for the coronation of King George I (1715). Croft’s most enduring work, surely, is the hymn tune St. Anne written to the text, O God, Our Help in Ages Past, by Isaac Watts . . . On Sunday, at 4:40 PM, Christopher Creaghan, associate organist at the Riverside Church, will play the organ recital. Christopher’s program includes works by McNeil Robinson (1943–2015), Nancy Wertsch (b. 1948), and Louis Vierne (1870–1937). (There are only three more Sunday Evensongs this season! We hope that you will be able to join us between now and Trinity Sunday, May 31.) —Mark Peterson
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street . . . If you would like to find out more about the work of Saint Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, please speak to Father Gerth . . . AIDS Walk New York 2015 will take place on Sunday, May 17. Please read about the parish’s Team and its fundraising efforts, goals, and successes above, in this edition of the newsletter.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet for the final time this season on May 20, at 6:30 PM, for its annual end-of-year dinner. The class will resume in October and will continue reading the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40 . . . The 2014–2015 Adult-Forum season has come to an end. The final class of the season took place last Sunday, May 10. I am grateful, first of all, to our talented teachers who gave of their time and expertise in order to lead the class this year, and I am also grateful to all the members and friends of the parish who attended the classes and participated with such enthusiasm. Please stay tuned for an announcement about our offerings in the fall. —James Ross Smith
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, May 24, The Day of Pentecost . . . Monday, May 25, Memorial Day, Federal Holiday Schedule. Only the noonday services are offered and the parish offices are closed . . . May 31, Trinity Sunday . . . June 1, The Visitation (transferred) . . . Sunday, June 7, The Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Corpus Christi. Our summer service schedule begins at Evening Prayer on Corpus Christi . . . Thursday, June 11, Saint Barnabas, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, June 24, Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and 6:00 PM.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Saturday, May 16, 2015, Asian-American Heritage Celebration: A celebration of the origins and cultures of Asians and Pacific Islanders. At Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery. The Right Reverend Allen Shin, celebrant, and the Reverend Jacob Philip, preacher. 10:00 AM Eucharist & 12:00 PM Fellowship Luncheon, Crafts Fair & Auction . . . Saturday, May 30, 2015, 12:00-4:00 PM, African Burial Ground National Monument, 290 Broadway, Pinkster Celebration. The word “Pinkster” is derived from the Dutch word “Pinksteren,” which means Pentecost. Pinkster is recognized as the oldest African-American holiday, dating back to the colonial period. The African influence on Pinkster dates from the fifteenth century in the Bantu regions of Congo and Angola. Since the 1970s, New Yorkers have resurrected Pinkster festivals throughout the metropolitan area. The African Burial Ground National Monument and the African-American Pinkster Committee of New York invite all New Yorkers to a commemorative celebration on Saturday, May 30. More information is available online.