FROM STEVEN HEFFNER: GIFTS OF TIME, TREASURE & TALENT
For more than ten years, I’ve had the honor of serving on the stewardship committee at Saint Mary’s. I’m not sure that most people would consider service on the stewardship committee “an honor”—probably more like the unenviable task you try to duck! However, for me it’s been a blessing. Even through a number of challenging financial times, I’ve had a front-row seat for an even greater number of miraculous responses from the Saint Mary’s community and experienced a host of unexpected delights in the work of stewardship.
The first task in the annual pledge campaign is to write the appeal letter. It might seem difficult to come up with new messages year after year, but in reality there’s always something going on at the church that we can’t wait to talk about. And even when new inspiration seems elusive, the story of Saint Mary’s is so compelling that it’s a pleasure to retell it again and again! Drafting the appeal letter is not a chore at all. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the whole breadth of witness and activities in our ministries, and it’s a joyous undertaking.
Over the years, we’ve sent messages emphasizing the sublime and, yes, the ridiculous. We’ve waxed poetic about the light of Christ in Times Square, and we’ve mused about the cost of the votive candles. Music and plumbing and an occasional scripture passage have all made it into one letter or another. In recent years we’ve also included inserts about specific parishioners and why they pledge—another occasion to revel in the wonderful fellowship of our parish.
The next step is the mailing, a task you’d think would be mundane, but again there’s joy in that work as well. What better way to spend a Columbus Day each year than folding and stuffing the envelopes around a table with friends? You know what they say about “idle hands”; no worries on that day!
Finally, we have the tradition of writing notes of thanks to all who pledge. With pledgers numbering in the hundreds, that might also seem like a daunting chore. Again, though, those of us on the committee truly cherish this assignment. Taking the quiet time to sit and write these notes is an occasion to truly consider our fellow members of the body of Christ; it’s an opportunity to thank individuals and to meditate on gratitude and generosity.
Well, Columbus Day Weekend is upon us, so you can expect to see stewardship packet in the mail very soon. (No spoilers; I’ll let this year’s letter be a surprise!) This year, my fellow committee members, Marie Rosseels, MaryJane Boland, Father Jay Smith, and I, hope you’ll discover that the “chore” of pledging contains as much potential for unexpected joy and blessing as the stewardship committee finds in its work.
—Steven Heffner, on behalf of the Stewardship Committee
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Robin, Sally, Arlene, Julie, Linda, Guy, Clovis, Joanna, Jason, Dolly, Melissa, Jean, Barbara, Sharon, Philip, Juliana, Heidi, Catherine, Donald, Sam, Burton, Arpene, Takeem; Sidney, deacon; Horace, Gaylord, and Harry, priests; and the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 9: 1872 Amelia Simpson; 1905 Marie Elizabeth Cooper; 1906 Elisabeth F. Miller and Deborah Knight; 1914 Evelyn Emma Mayer; 1934 Elizabeth Bertha Swift; 1952 Lawrence Alexander Davis; 1971 Roger Rolt-Wheeler; 1987 Barbara Coates.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Brother John Clayton Goldring, SSJE, died on Friday, September 23, at Chatham, Ontario, Canada, in the eighty-first year of his life and the thirty-seventh year of his religious profession. He was a member of the North American Congregation of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist. Please keep Brother John, his family and friends, and the members of his community in your prayers . . . Saturday, October 8, 2016, at 1:00 PM, at Saint Paul’s Church, 31 Rider Avenue, Patchogue, NY, Requiem Mass for The Reverend Paulette Toppin Schiff. The Right Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano, bishop of Long Island, will preside. The preacher will be the Reverend Marlene Haines. Dr. David Hurd will play the service. Please keep Paulette, her husband Walter, their family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
GIVING THANKS . . . The members of the staff are deeply grateful to all those who do so much in so many different ways here at Saint Mary’s. Your gifts of time, treasure, and talent make the ministry of this parish possible. Your generosity encourages us all. You enrich our common life, and we thank you. To all our readers: if you think the Holy Spirit might be calling you to participate in some new way here at the parish, please speak to a guild member or a member of the clergy.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, October 9, 2016, The Twenty-first 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 10, Columbus Day, Federal Holiday Schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. The parish offices are closed. Only the noonday services are offered . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on October 12 at 6:30 PM. It is possible that the class will meet in the Nursery instead of Saint Joseph’s Hall. Regular students should check their inboxes on Tuesday and Wednesday for an update and, if possible, please try to arrive by 6:30 PM . . . 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 Robin Landis sustained injuries in a cycling accident in California last weekend. He underwent surgery early this week at the Stanford University Medical Center. Robin’s wife, parishioner Sally Landis, writes, “We are thankful that Robin is out of danger . . . and on the road to recovery. Should be up and walking today [Thursday, October 6].” Please keep Robin and Sally in your prayers . . . Parishioner Linda Bridges remains at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center for treatment. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Arlene Bullard is a good friend of Saint Mary’s. She has worshiped with us on many occasions. Arlene is also Bishop Dietsche’s assistant for special projects and assistant to the canon to the ordinary in the bishop’s office. She underwent surgery this week. Please keep Arlene and her family in your prayers . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays: October 16, 23, and 30; and November 6 and 13 . . . Father Gerth has been attending a meeting of the Society of Catholic Priests in Atlanta, Georgia, this week. He returns to New York on Saturday, October 8 . . . We are grateful to our priest assistant, Father Jim Pace, who was in residence this past week, while the rector and the curate were away from the parish . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 195.
MUSIC NOTES . . . At the Solemn Mass on Sunday, the setting will be the Mass for Four Voices of William Byrd (c. 1540–1623). Byrd composed settings of the Latin Mass for three, four, and five voices. The Mass for Four Voices dates from about 1592, and was probably the first of the three to be composed. The whole business of Latin Masses in post-Reformation England needed to be a somewhat clandestine matter to protect those involved from the possibility of arrest. This being the case, Byrd’s part books were undated and without title page or preface, and the printer (Thomas East) was not identified. Fortunately, Byrd’s settings survived the period in which their performance—if not their very existence—was illegal, and they are now rightly regarded as great treasures of Western music. Although composed with the Continental Tridentine liturgy in mind, Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices was also influenced by the pre-Reformation Mean Mass of John Taverner (c. 1490–1545), particularly in the opening of the Sanctus. The older Taverner setting had already served as a model for settings by English masters Christopher Tye (c. 1505–c. 1573), John Sheppard (c. 1515–1558) and Thomas Tallis (c. 1505–1585). Byrd’s four-voice Agnus Dei ends with an uncharacteristically expressive Dona nobis pacem. The motet I will wash myself in innocence was composed in 2003 to mark the diaconal ordination of Leighton James Lee, now dean of the Cathedral of the Redeemer, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. First sung at Dean Lee’s ordination to the priesthood shortly thereafter, it is a straightforward choral setting of Psalm 26:6–8, 12 in four parts. —David Hurd
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.
SOME THOUGHTS ON GREETING VISITORS . . . At Saint Mary’s, we are blessed to be able to welcome visitors from the metropolitan area, from around the country, and, indeed, from around the world. Our very able ushers greet and assist our visitors before and during Mass. The clergy and ushers do their best to greet visitors at the end of Mass and to direct them to Coffee Hour. However, there is one crucial period when we, and many parishes, struggle to welcome newcomers and that is at Coffee Hour, especially during the first ten minutes of the Hour. Many visitors come into Saint Joseph’s Hall and are trying to figure out how it all works: where the refreshments are and whether there might be somebody to help them, answer a question or two, or engage in conversation. If that doesn’t happen fairly quickly, many visitors begin to feel awkward and decide to leave. We want to prevent that. All Saint Marians are urged to be on the lookout for visitors at Coffee Hour and to lend a hand. Go up to the visitor who’s feeling just a bit awkward. Introduce yourself and ask a question or two. It’s not so hard. Shyness and introversion are not really good excuses. Remember: our visitors almost surely feel shyer than you do!
LIFE IS A CABARET . . . Christopher Howatt is the business manager here at Saint Mary’s. Chris is also a very talented musician and a member of our very fine parish choir. During the month of November, Chris will be performing at Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West Forty-sixth Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues), right here in our neighborhood. Performances are Sunday, November 6 and 13, at 3:00 PM, and Friday, November 11, at 9:30 PM. The program includes a wide range of music from standards through contemporary music. Cover charge is $15.00, with a two-drink minimum. Cash only. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by phone at 212-757-0788, any day after 4:00 PM, or online. From the event postcard, “On cabaret stages, Christopher Howatt would normally be found behind the piano serving as music director. But, in Hear My Song, Chris steps out from behind the keyboard and into the spotlight center stage.”
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 12 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall and will begin reading at Romans 1:8 . . . The Adult Forum continues on Sunday, October 9, at 10:00 AM. Parishioner Marie Rosseels will make the first presentation in our series “Learning How to Live and Pray with Holy Men and Women.” Marie will be talking about the Beguines, a lay religious order of women that was active in Northern Europe, particularly in the Low Countries from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. Next up: On October 16, Sister Monica Clare will be discussing Thomas Merton.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Homeless Ministry: We are looking for donations of clothing for distribution to the homeless in our neighborhood: jeans and slacks in a variety of sizes for both men and women; packs of new underwear and socks for both women and men; sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets and coats; dress shirts and outfits suitable for job interviews, and other items. Sister Monica tells us this week that we are especially short of women’s underwear, in various sizes. Cash donations to this ministry are also welcome! . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays: October 16, 23, and 30; and November 6 and 13
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Tuesday, October 18, Saint Luke the Evangelist, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, October 24, Saint James of Jerusalem (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Friday, October 28, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 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 and 6:00 PM Solemn Mass . . . Sunday, November 6, Daylight Saving Time ends.