FROM THE RECTOR: COUNTDOWN
As I write on Friday morning after a glorious Ascension Day, I’m happy to report that the 72-inch Paschal Candle is going to make it through the Easter Season. I haven’t measured what’s left (not so much, but more than last year at this point), but the decision to go with the tallest available candle was a good one. In nine days it will be Pentecost. The candle will be extinguished that evening after Evensong and moved to the baptistry. It will return to the nave during the year when we gather to bury the dead, when we gather to proclaim the resurrection to eternal life of a sister or brother in Christ.
We do not want for great music at Saint Mary’s, but there are services occasionally when the music seems to lift those who are present to glory. I think that happened on the eve of Ascension Day at Solemn Evensong and on the day itself at the Solemn Mass. I know when the choir is going to sing the Short Service by Orlando Gibbons that when they get to the phrase “of thy glory Israel,” the music will take my heart almost to heaven. (Great hymns do this, too—and they did on Wednesday and Thursday nights.) I don’t know how Dr. David Hurd and eight singers did it, but they gave us a deeply moving Mass in G Minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the Solemn Mass.
A stillness settles on the congregation when everyone is listening and the music is pulling us together. One can feel, sense, a connection, not just with the music, but with each other and with God. Again, great hymns do this, too.
Bishop William Franklin of the diocese of Western New York was celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass. It was wonderful to have him with us again. In his sermon he used the words “second chances” to speak about God’s work in our lives and in the work of our parish. Today and our tomorrows are our second chances with each other and with God.
There’s a lot going on right now. Many of our members are collecting donations to the AIDS Walk—Saint Mary’s was number 7 of all the teams that walked last year. Please consider joining the effort; please read on in this newsletter for details on how to do it. The Capital Campaign Committee is preparing a celebration on Trinity Sunday for the first phase of “Open Doors: The Capital Campaign for Saint Mary’s Times Square.” The last Sundays of the 10:00 AM Adult Forum are here—again, please read on for details. The Wednesday Night Bible Study is concluding its academic year meetings.
As is our custom, our final service of Sunday Solemn Evensong & Benediction will be on Trinity Sunday, this year May 22. Corpus Christi, May 29, is the last Sunday where the full parish choir sings the weekly 11:00 AM Solemn Mass. From Corpus Christi until the first Sunday in October, soloists sing at the Solemn Mass, and Evening Prayer is read on Sunday afternoons at 5:00 PM, instead of being sung.
I want to thank everyone who has helped make this a special Eastertide. There have been more than a few services when I sensed the congregation singing and praying as one—something that is not easy for everyone to do. But all present are greatly rewarded when it happens—and it seemed to happen beautifully at the Solemn Mass last night. Happy Easter. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Sandy, Walter, Margaret, Julie, Sharon, Penny, Rick, Donald, James, Phillip, Barbara, John, Sam, Jean, Heidi, Billy, Karen, Catherine, Sally, Burton, Toussaint, Dennis, Arpene, Takeem, 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 8: 1881 Mary Elizabeth Glass Hogan; 1909 Elbridge Coffin Roberts; 1911 Philip Schaeffer; 1948 Walter Frederick Anderson; 1961 Norman Falconer Cushman.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, May 8, The Seventh Sunday of Easter: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Adult Forum 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Wednesday, May 11, 12:10 PM, Sung Mass . . . Thursday, May 12, 12:10 PM, Mass with Healing Service.
SAINT MARY’S AIDS WALK TEAM 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 Friday, May 6, 2016, we have raised $39,748.00. 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.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . 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.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As always, Ascension Day was a great day here at Saint Mary’s. We are grateful to all those who worked so hard on a busy weekday to do all that had to get done. Thank you to those who baked the Eucharistic bread, and to our faithful and talented ushers, acolytes, and musicians; thank you also to those who arranged the flowers and those who provided hospitality at the reception. We have a wonderful team here at Saint Mary’s! Thank you to Bishop William Franklin, who was our celebrant and preacher at the Solemn Mass. Thank you to Katherine Meloan, who played the recital so well. Her program was a beautiful preparation for Mass. Thank you also to Father John Beddingfield and the Reverend Deacon Horace Whyte, who joined us for the Sung Mass at Noon. Father Beddingfield was our cantor and Deacon Whyte proclaimed the gospel . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays: June 12 and 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 August 15, or of our hospitality efforts on Sundays please speak to Father Jay Smith or contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away on behalf of the parish from Monday, May 9. He will return to the rectory on Thursday evening, May 12 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 176, Ascension Day 179.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's 104 universally accepted Masses (there are a few additional works that may, or may not, be authentic), almost half are examples of the so-called “parody Mass” genre, for which the composer took pre-existing snatches of polyphony as a starting point and deployed it, with suitable adaptation and re-invention, throughout the setting to create links between the five basic sections of the Mass. In several cases, Palestrina’s own motets serve as the models on which the Masses are based; such a case is the delightful Missa ascendo ad Patrem, which we will hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday. The Mass was originally written for five voices, and was published in a 1601 volume entitled Missarum liber duodecimus. It was based on a motet composed in the early 1570s. “Ascendo ad Patrem” was a sacred Latin motet designed for use during Ascensiontide. Palestrina composed music for all five of the traditional sections of the Mass ordinary: the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus (with Benedictus), and Agnus Dei. (We will, of course, not hear either the Kyrie or the Credo on Sunday morning.) The Gloria text is divided into two sections, connected by a brief passage (nine measures, when transcribed into modern notation) in ternary rhythm that sets the words Filius Patris (“Son of the Father”) and derives quite clearly from a similar excursion into triple-meter near the end of the motet’s first part. In the Sanctus, we return to the octave leaps that characterized the openings of the motet and which are also heard in the Kyrie. The Benedictus makes good use of the motet’s second part, coming to a close on G before making room for the fuller, triple-meter Hosanna in excelsis Deo. As usual, the Agnus Dei is divided into two movements; after the exuberance of the Sanctus and Benedictus, the music exudes a certain sublime calmness. Agnus Dei I takes off in a fashion nearly identical to the Kyrie, while in Agnus Dei II the triple-meter burst that precedes the final measures of the motet is expanded into a buoyant finish. —Blair Johnston, adapted
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), packets of socks and underwear, dress shirts (useful for job interviews), jeans, and T-shirts 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