FROM MICHAEL DEVONSHIRE: REVEALING THE FAÇADE
“There is no sculptural art in America . . . You’ll starve!” In this way, John Massey Rhind (1860–1936) was warned away from venturing to America in his ambition to follow his training as a sculptor and make his way in the United States. He ignored his father’s admonition, and the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin is so much the better for it. In the creation of the church complex, John Massey is responsible for no fewer than six important sculptural images. The sculptures are presently in good condition, showing very little erosion of the surfaces, something that is generally expected in the New York City’s atmosphere. Close inspection of the pieces is not possible, however, due to the protective netting and the sidewalk bridge.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1860, Rhind was the son and grandson of architectural sculptors and was joined in this profession by his brothers. His earliest artistic training took place at the Royal Scottish Academy. He later studied with Jules Dalou—a friend of Auguste Rodin—one of the most brilliant French sculptors of his era, known for the restrained realism of his work. Because of his ties to the Paris Commune, Dalou removed himself to England in 1871 and began teaching there. Following his study with Dalou, Rhind relocated to Paris where he continued his artistic studies for two years.
Upon his return to Scotland, Rhind moved no fewer than five times in less than a decade between Edinburgh and Glasgow. He briefly worked with his older brother, but in 1889, paying no heed to his father’s warning, he emigrated to the United States, settling in New York City.
Rhind’s first commission in the United States was the bronze tympanum of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at the General Theological Seminary in 1891. There he eventually completed other works. He successfully entered into a competition in 1892 to design a panel for a pair of doors being donated to Trinity Church by John Jacob Astor. Rhind’s work in bronze, “Flight to a City of Refuge,” established his reputation.
At the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Rhind’s collaboration with Pierre LeBrun, the architect of the church, was serendipitous. “LeBrun’s concept for the church followed the family architectural firm’s later aesthetic. This aesthetic included enhancing the character of plain façades with robust surface treatment, i.e., sculpture, decorative moldings, colonnades, with ornament that followed historical precedents. Indeed, several parallels have been drawn between the principal façade of Saint Mary’s and that of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres in France. The tradition of the French Gothic included numerous exterior sculptural depictions, and this lead was followed by LeBrun at Saint Mary’s.
At Saint Mary’s, Rhind completed the statue of the Virgin and Child for the church main entry trumeau (the pillar dividing the main doors of the church), the tympanum for the same entry, two statues of Saints George and Michael, also for the main entry portal, a statue of Saint Cecelia in the niche at the Clergy House entry, the typanum above the Lady Chapel entrance, and impost heads at the drip moulding above this same portal, all in limestone.
Rhind was responsible for the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC; four statues of generals at the Gettysburg battlefield; the William McKinley Birthplace memorial in Ohio; statues of Robert Burns, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Barre, Vermont, among numerous other important works throughout the United States.
John Massey Rhind died in New York City in 1936, at the age of 76.
It is unfortunate that much of the sculptural work at the main façade of the church is concealed by bridging and scaffolding. This is one of the many reasons that your parish is so determined to push forward on the Open Doors Campaign for Saint Mary’s. We hope that you’ll join us in our efforts to fund and complete the restorations that will preserve and again display some of Rhind’s great limestone works at Saint Mary’s. —Michael Devonshire
Michael Devonshire studied sculpture and architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). After RISD, he lived on the island of Paros in Greece and made marble sculpture for five years. After he returned to the United States, he received a degree in historic preservation. He eventually moved to New York City, where he is now a partner at Jan Hird Pikorny Associates, the parish’s architect. He serves on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and on the New York State Historic Preservation Board.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Penny, Donald, Bracey, Robin, Sally, Julie, Linda, Arlene, Guy, Joanna, Jason, Dolly, Melissa, Jean, Barbara, Sharon, Philip, Juliana, Heidi, Catherine, Donald, Sam, Burton, Arpene, Takeem, Toussaint, Abraham; Sidney, deacon; Horace, Hamilton, Gaylord, and Harry, priests; all victims of war, poverty, famine, and disaster; and the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 23: 1899 George Washington Truet; 1913 Charles Vincent Smithley; 1944 Louise Eustis; 1973 Hoxie Neale Fairchild; 1985 Adolphe L. Barreaux.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Last week we kicked off our 2017 Stewardship Campaign, sending stewardship packets to nearly 1,000 members and friends of Saint Mary’s. Between now and November 20, Commitment Sunday, we have set three goals: (1) to encourage all Saint Marians prayerfully to consider how they can offer their time, talent, and treasure to God here at Saint Mary’s during the coming year; (2) to raise $425,000; and (3) to have all those who made a pledge for 2016 to fulfill that pledge no later than December 31, 2016, and earlier than that if possible. To make a pledge for 2017, please fill out a pledge card and mail it to 145 West Forty-sixth Street, New York, NY 10036; place your pledge card in the collection basket at Mass; or make a pledge online. We are extraordinarily grateful to all those who made pledges for 2016 and to those who have already made a pledge for 2017. To learn more about stewardship or the Stewardship Campaign, please speak to Father Gerth, or to a member of the Stewardship Committee (MaryJane Boland; Steven Heffner; or Marie Rosseels, chair).
ALL SOULS’ DAY REMEMBRANCE . . . All Souls’ Day packets were mailed to the members and friends of the parish early this week. The packets contained a letter from the rector, a prayer-request form, the schedule of Requiem Masses, and a return envelope. (There was one error in the packet: the Mass at 6:00 PM on All Souls’ Day is a Sung Mass. The Mass setting that evening will be sung by a quartet from the parish choir.) Those wishing to have the names of the departed read during the Prayers of the People at the annual Parish Requiem Masses following All Souls’ Day should complete the form and return it to the parish office as soon as possible. Prayers for the Departed will be offered according to the following schedule, by the last name of the person making the intention (for example, the names provided by Ms. Perez will be read at the Masses celebrated on the fourth day—Last names O–Q): 1. Thursday, November 3, Last names A–E; 2. Friday, November 4, Last names F–K; 3. Saturday, November 5, Last names L–N; 4. Monday, November 7, Last names O–Q; 5. Tuesday, November 8, Last names R–Z. Prayer requests may be mailed to the parish office in the return envelope. They may also be sent via e-mail. It is traditional for an offering to accompany the prayer requests. We encourage our members and friends to be generous.
OKTOBERFEST . . . All Saint Marians are invited to come and celebrate the arrival of autumn here at the parish on Saturday, October 22, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. The supper is potluck. Please contact Grace Bruni if you’re able to bring a dish to share. Beverages—beer and soft drinks—will be provided. Following supper, we will adjourn to the organ loft for our annual rousing hymn sing, led by organist and music director David Hurd. Oktoberfest has become an annual event here at Saint Mary’s. It’s a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with fellow parishioners and to meet new people. Saint Marians are encouraged to invite their friends and neighbors to Oktoberfest. The event is a great way to introduce newcomers to the parish.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, October 22, 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Oktoberfest, in Saint Joseph’s Hall and the Organ Loft . . . Sunday, October 23, 2016, The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Adult Education 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass with Organ and Choir 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Monday, October 24, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Friday, October 28, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on October 26 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . On Wednesdays, the daily 12:10 PM Eucharist is a Sung Mass; on Thursdays the daily 12:10 PM Eucharist is a Mass with Healing Service.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Penny Allen will be undergoing a second surgical procedure next week at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Parishioner Robin Landis recently had surgery at the Stanford University Medical Center following a cycling accident. He has left the hospital and continues to recuperate in California. His wife, parishioner Sally Landis, is with him. Robin’s doctor believes that he will be able to travel soon, and we expect that he will be back in New York towards the end of next week. As the newsletter goes to press, we have learned that parishioner Linda Bridges is expected to leave New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center on Friday, October 21. We believe that she will then move to the Sarah Neuman campus of the New Jewish Home. Sarah Neuman is located at 845 Palmer Avenue, Mamaroneck, New York (914-864-5621). Before visiting, please call the Sarah Neuman Home to confirm that Linda is there; and please keep Penny, Robin, Sally, and Linda in your prayers . . . The Very Reverend Dr. Robert Willis, Thirty-ninth Dean of Canterbury, paid us a visit this week. Dean Willis is a good friend of Saint Mary’s. As always, he prayed the daily office with us and brought news and encouragement, from “the mother church.” It was good to see him. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays: October 30 and November 6 and 13 . . . Father Gerth has been on vacation this week. He returns to the parish on Saturday, October 22 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 177.
MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY . . . We hope to receive donations for the receptions in Saint Joseph’s Hall on November 1 (All Saints’ Day) and December 8 (The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary). (Donations for hospitality on Sundays are also always welcome.) On November 8, Bishop Frank Griswold will be with us. On December 8, Bishop Andrew Dietsche will be making his visitation. We would like to be able do something festive on both evenings, if possible. When making donations, please write “Hospitality” in the memo line of your check. Thank you to all those who support this ministry so generously.
MUSIC NOTES . . . The musical setting of the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning is the Missa Quarti Toni of Tomás Luís de Victoria (1548–1611). Victoria is considered to be the most important Spanish composer of Renaissance polyphony. Born in Avila, the seventh of eleven children, he began his musical education as a choirboy at Avila Cathedral and began his classical education at San Gil, a Jesuit school for boys founded in 1554. By 1565, Victoria had entered the Jesuit Collegio Germanico in Rome, where he was later engaged to teach music and eventually named maestro di cappella. Victoria knew and may have been instructed by Palestrina (1525–1594), who was maestro di cappella of the nearby Seminario Romano at that time. During his years in Rome, Victoria held several positions as singer, organist, and choral master and published many of his compositions. He was ordained priest in 1575 after a three-day diaconate. There are twenty authenticated Mass settings of Victoria of which the Missa Quarti Toni is probably the freest of parody or quotations from other works. Although its title suggests a modal character, the music of the Mass offers a major-minor harmonic palette, which is not uncharacteristic of much of Victoria. The setting is for four voices, except the Agnus Dei which expands to five with the two soprano parts singing in canon at the unison.
Taste and See by David Hurd, sung during the administration of Communion on Sunday, was composed in 1995 for All Saints’ Church, Manhattan. The text is Psalm 34:8. The first half of the psalm text, “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” functions as an antiphon, preceding and following the contrasting music for “happy are they who trust in him!”
The organ prelude is one of the eighteen Leipzig Chorales of J. S. Bach (1685–1750). Sometimes referred to as the “Great Eighteen,” these pieces were collected and published in the final decade of Bach’s life and are considered to represent the summit of chorale-based Baroque organ composition. In this case, the chorale, whose incipit may be paraphrased as “From God will I not depart,” is played on the organ pedals in the alto register, surrounded by a gentle three-voice lace of manual accompaniment. Notable is its extended final ending, as if expressing reluctance to leave. —David Hurd
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Friday, October 21, 7:30 PM, Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival: The Berlin Radio Choir. The program includes choral works by J. S. Bach, Brahms, Schütz, and Schoenberg, as well as Knut Nystedt’s haunting meditation, Immortal Bach. Tickets may be purchased online . . . Saturday, October 29, 7:30 PM, Trident Ensemble, “Untold Peace.” From the ensemble’s website, “Join Trident as we explore works inspired by armed conflict, and reflect on the feelings of remorse, remembrance, supplication, and even joy, that follow in its wake. Light is not light without dark but can peace exist without war?” Doors open at 7:00 PM. Tickets may be purchased online . . . Friday, December 2, 8:00 PM, New York City Master Chorale, “Majesty and Light.” Music by Rutter and Lauridsen. Featuring the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Orchestra. Tickets may be purchased online . . . Saturday, December 3, 2016, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra. Annual Benefit Concert. Tickets $10.00. Music by Pärt (Trisagion) and Beethoven (Symphony No. 9). Saint Mary’s parishioners Grace Bruni, cello, and Mark Risinger, baritone, will perform at this concert.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . On Friday, October 21, at 7:30 PM, organist and music director Dr. David Hurd will play a recital at Christ United Methodist Church, Greensboro, North Carolina. His program will include music by J. S. Bach and Johann Ludwig Krebs. He will also play three of his own compositions. The program ends with an improvisation. Dr. Hurd returns to the parish on Saturday, October 22. Please join him that evening for Oktoberfest: Potluck & Hymn Sing!
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class has begun its fall semester. This year the class, which is led by Father Jay Smith, is reading Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans. The class meets next on October 26 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will not meet on November 2 . . . The Adult Forum continues on Sunday, October 23, at 10:00 AM. Father Jay Smith will be discussing the Desert Fathers and Mothers . . . On Sunday, October 30, at 10:00 AM, Father Jim Pace will give a presentation on Saint Martin de Porres . . . On Sundays at 10:00 AM, during the month of November, Father Pete Powell will be teaching a class on the Acts of the Apostles. Father Powell writes, “During the month of November, and then again during Lent, we will study volume 2 of Luke, more commonly known as the Acts of the Apostles. Here we find the story of the beginning of the church. Much of what we think we know about Paul we read in Acts. Much of what we think we know about the struggles in the church as it became majority Gentile, we learn from Acts. In other words Acts contains the formative stories about how the church came to be when the Parousia, the Second Coming, didn’t happen as the Gospels suggested it would. One can argue, successfully, that Jesus never intended to found a church. Acts shows how early Christians survived and ultimately thrived. We will examine the context of Acts and what it has to say about the church today. The church is more directly the child of Acts and the Letters of Paul than the child of the Gospels. However, Paul and Acts have different and sometimes irreconcilable differences on what it means to be the church. Acts was written after the Epistles and in many ways tries to tame Paul. While we read Acts at Mass during the Sundays after Easter the content of it is usually overlooked. In these series of Sunday mornings we’ll look closely at texts which undergird Christianity as we know it.”
NEWS OF OUR DEACON . . . Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins was on sabbatical this summer. The sabbatical was funded, in part, by a fellowship that has allowed Rebecca to focus on her writing. Some of Rebecca’s work, Two Poems for Fall, was recently published in Sensitive Skin magazine. Rebecca returns to Saint Mary’s on All Saints’ Day, Tuesday, November 1. It will be good to have her back at the parish. She has given us permission to reproduce one of her new poems in the newsletter:
Death unites us again
as it divides us from the loved one
taken too soon of course.
The face of a rare orange cardinal
startles close at the glass
while a rust-capped hawk
tops the lone tree’s highest branch.
We want those birds to be the beloved
bringing back a message of how it is,
how it will be when
death unites us again.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Monday, October 31, Eve of All Saints’ Day, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM. The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold is the celebrant and preacher at the Solemn Mass . . . Wednesday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, 12:10 PM Sung Mass & 6:00 PM Sung Mass and Blessing of the Vault, with Quartet from the Parish Choir . . . Sunday, November 6, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . November 3–5, 7–8, Parish Requiem Masses (Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM, except on Saturday, November 5, when only the 12:10 PM Mass is a Requiem Mass) . . . Sunday, November 20, The Last Sunday after Pentecost and Commitment Sunday. Parishioners are invited to place their pledge cards in the collection baskets during the Offertory.