FROM THE RECTOR: ANOTHER GREAT WEEK
Sunday, May 1, is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. As is our custom, at the Solemn Mass on this first Sunday of what is traditionally the month of Mary, we will include the May Crowning devotions at the conclusion of the service. Following the Mass, the Annual Meeting of the congregation will be held in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Thursday, May 5, is Ascension Day, a principal feast of the church year. Our celebration will begin on Wednesday evening with Solemn Evensong for the Eve of Ascension Day. On Thursday, the Right Reverend R. William Franklin, bishop of Western New York, will be celebrant for the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. It will be great to welcome him back to the parish. In addition to our evening Solemn Mass, there will be a Sung Mass here at 12:10 PM.
I’m just back from the first diocesan priests conference I have attended in this diocese. I’m very glad I went. (I know, I know, I have been here for over seventeen years now. I haven’t attended in the past mainly due to the daily schedule we have here at the parish. I was signed up for last year’s conference, but it was canceled due to a scheduling conflict.) Most of our time at this conference was spent on the strategic plan for the diocese level.
Bishop Andrew Dietsche initiated this process to look at what our diocesan community should be about in the next decade. Among his introductory remarks to us, if memory serves, he said that roughly a third of the 194 congregations of the diocese are strong, a third are in danger of closing, and a third are in the middle. The reasons are many and varied. The Diocese of New York has a large number of congregations in all of the counties that make up the diocese. Like our own original neighborhood of Longacre Square, much has changed for almost all congregations since their beginnings.
Now one unfortunate thing. I want to let you know that on March 21, 2016, we received the first notice that the only “strategic planning listening session” for lay persons to be held in Manhattan would be on Thursday, May 5, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. I forwarded the notice the next day to the members of our board of trustees. A member reminded all of us that this was Ascension Day. Quite honestly, I just didn’t know what to say. Having participated, I want you to know that I think the strategic planning session is a good thing. Here is the link to register for this listening session. You will want to be there for the entire time.
We and other city congregations, among them Trinity Church Wall Street, the Church of the Ascension, the Church of the Transfiguration, the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, and Saint Thomas Church, will be holding our main celebrations of one the seven principal feasts of the church year during the strategic planning session. I’m very sorry that another date and time could not be found for Manhattan. We will carry on.
Our common prayer helps to enable us as individuals and as a community to worship and to serve the Lord. I invite you to be with us on Sunday. Monday, May 2, is the Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles. In addition to the daily Eucharist at 12:10 PM, Mass will also be celebrated at 6:20 PM. I hope many friends of the parish may be able to join us for our Ascension Day services, including Solemn Evensong on the eve. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Julie, Sharon, Penny, Rick, Barry, Lauren, Steve, Donald, James, Phillip, Barbara, John, Sam, Jean, Heidi, Billy, Karen, Catherine, Sally, Burton, Toussaint, Dennis, Arpene, Sidney, DEACON, Paulette, PRIEST, Gaylord, PRIEST, Harry, PRIEST, and Louis, PRIEST; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas; and for the repose of the souls of Joseph Claude Harris and Bob Manus . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 1: 1900 Elizabeth Bunker; 1936 Grace Sutherland Whiting; 1948 Grace R. Getman; 1961 George Lothian Alexander; 1970 Aileen O’Conner; 1979 William Marion Smith.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, May 1, The Sixth Sunday of Easter: May Crowning & Annual Meeting of the Parish . . . Monday, May 2, Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, May 4, Eve of Ascension Day, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 5, Ascension Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM, Sermon by the Right Reverend R. William Franklin, Bishop of Western New York.
SAINT MARY’S TEAM FOR AIDS WALK 2016 . . . On May 15, Saint Mary’s plans to join the thirty-first annual AIDS Walk. We invite you to join our team or contribute to our team. Last year, the Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk team, eighteen people strong, ranked Number 7 in fundraising among all of the teams that walked. We raised $56,813.00. We were able to do that because we received nearly 400 separate, and very generous, contributions. Our goal this year is a very ambitious $60,000 as we walk in solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS and with those who support and care for them. As of Thursday, April 28, we have raised $35,526.00. We invite you to join our team and to raise money along with us; or, if you are not able to join the team this year, we invite you to make a donation to our very determined Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk Team. You can join the team or you can make a contribution by clicking on this link. You can also direct your questions to Father Jay Smith or to co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support this very important outreach effort so faithfully and so generously.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays: May 29 (Corpus Christi), June 12 & 26, and for most Sundays during the summer months. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . If you would like to make a donation to help with the costs of the reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Ascension Day, or of our hospitality efforts on Sundays please speak to Father Jay Smith or contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 191.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . The Mass setting at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is Missa brevis by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525–1594). In a long and productive life, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina produced well over 100 settings of the Mass ordinary. They were fully published, first in six books during his lifetime, and then in a further six editions published after his death. His immense output of sacred music composed for the liturgy includes highly polished examples of every type of Mass composition known in the sixteenth century. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century musicians especially remembered Palestrina for his more than fifty contributions to the so-called “parody” Mass genre. Fewer of Palestrina’s chant-based Masses survive, with only six extant examples of “free” Masses. In those Masses, the musical themes are not based on any preexisting musical models as was the case in the parody Masses. It is worth noting that it is in the free Masses, unfettered as they are by preconceived melodies, that Palestrina’s own musical creativity may shine brightest. The Missa brevis from his Third Book of Masses (1570) provides an excellent example. Palestrina’s Missa brevis is often compared to the Missa Papae Marcelli, Palestrina’s most famous free Mass. In both pieces, the composer executed an elegantly coherent musical plan despite the absence of a preexistent structure (both pieces also share music, strengthening the comparison). The five movements of the Missa brevis are linked by a common mode and by repeated motifs and musical gestures. (We will not, of course, hear the Kyrie or the Credo on Sunday morning.) During the Gloria, Palestrina introduces textural contrasts, carefully balancing chordal and imitative textures. The lengthy text passes quickly with much syllabic writing and “telescoping”; the only repetition comes at the end, once again with a bass sequence. It is in the Sanctus that Palestrina quotes the same chant melody (from the Gregorian Mass XV) as in the Missa Papae Marcelli; the movement’s opening also resembles the melismatic Sanctus of that Mass. The composer rounds out the Mass cycle with two Agnus Dei settings; the second canonically expands the vocal texture by adding a second superius voice. To finish on an aspirant note, the very last concluding sequence arrives in this canonic upper pair. During the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet, “If ye love me,” by Thomas Tallis (1505–1585). —Timothy Dickey, adapted
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Undergraduate life at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, is organized around twelve, soon to be fourteen, residential colleges. Yale was founded in 1701, but in the 1930s, responding to increases in enrollment, Yale developed its residential-college system, a move that was made possible by substantial gifts by philanthropists such as New Yorker Edward Harkness (1874–1940). The construction of ten colleges in the early 1930s transformed New Haven, the Yale campus, and undergraduate life at the university. One of the colleges was named for John C. Calhoun (1782–1850), who graduated from Yale in 1804. Calhoun, who served in the United States Senate, representing the state of South Carolina, was the leading defender of slavery in the Senate for many years. Though there has been a move to re-name Calhoun College for some time now, Yale recently announced its decision not to do so. At the same time, the University announced its plans to name two new residential colleges. The first is to be named for Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) and the second for the Reverend Anna Pauline Murray (1910–1985). Pauli Murray was an African-American educator, writer, poet, political activist, and attorney. She was a leader in the American civil-rights movement. She fought for the inclusion of women in the leadership of that movement. Mother Anna Pauline Murray was ordained priest in 1977, the first African-American woman to be ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. A short biography of Pauli Murray, with suggestions for further reading, can be read here.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Adult Forum will not meet on Sunday, May 1, because the Annual Meeting will take place that day . . . On Sunday, May 8, Stephen Morris will give a presentation on his new book, When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality (McFarland, 2015) . . . During the next year or so, we hope to offer an ongoing series in the Adult Forum entitled Dealing with the Hard Stuff, in which we will hear presentations on such issues as depression, anger, and grief. On Sunday, May 15 & Sunday, May 22, parishioner Charles J. Morgan will be discussing bereavement and grief. Dr. Morgan is a member of Saint Mary’s. He is a psychiatrist who lives and practices in Connecticut. His particular areas of interest are alcoholism, mood disorders, and substance abuse. He studied at the Cornell University Medical College and did his medical residency at Yale New Haven Hospital . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will hold its end-of-year dinner on Thursday, May 12, at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . . Sunday, May 15, The Day of Pentecost . . . Sunday, May 22, Trinity Sunday . . . Sunday, May 29, Corpus Christi . . . Saint Mary’s Summer Sunday Worship Schedule begins on May 29. The offices are said, not sung, during the summer; the Adult Forum begins its summer recess; and the choir season comes to an end. The academic-year schedule will resume on the first Sunday in October.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are collecting warm clothing (coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves) in addition to packets of socks and underwear for distribution here at the parish. Please bring donations to the parish kitchen on Sunday or contact Father Jay Smith or Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B. Sister Monica and parishioner Clint Best have been organizing the clothing in recent weeks in order to expedite distribution . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street. —Jay Smith