FROM THE RECTOR: A NEW ADVENT
Last Sunday during the announcements at Solemn Mass, I remarked to our visitors that there was nothing special about our music for Christ the King Sunday. I said, "It's this great all of the time." Since the beginning of the choir season in October, Dr. David Hurd and our singers have given us one extraordinary Solemn Mass after another. I've thanked them publicly at Mass; now I want to let the wider community know of my personal appreciation and of the appreciation that has been expressed by those at church.
Dr. Hurd will be playing his first recital as organist and music director on our patronal feast,December 8, 2016, at 5:30 PM, when we celebrate the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche, the bishop of New York, will be celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. I think it will be a recital and a Mass that those present will remember. I especially hope that many of our friends from the greater New York area will be able to join us.
I also want to tell you how much Father Jay Smith and I are enjoying our weekly liturgy meetings with David. Many will know, he was a young man when he began teaching at the General Theological Seminary. He grew up with The Hymnal 1940. He was very much a part of the team that produced The Hymnal 1982. He has great knowledge and wonderful stories to share. The three of us laugh a lot as we learn and plan.
When the question of changes for Advent came up, David wondered if we might try another setting of the creed for the Solemn Masses in Advent. He suggested the setting from Missa de Angelis, a plainsong setting that appears in an appendix of additional service music in the hymnal. Quite honestly, I didn't know it was there. I knew Missa de Angelis as one of the settings, among others, that had been used by many Anglo-Catholic parishes before the 1979 revision of the Prayer Book.
Missa de Angelis was one of ten plainsong Mass settings introduced to the Episcopal Church by Charles Winfred Douglas (1867-1944), a priest and musician who championed the use of plainsong in the American church. I think it's fair to say that, because of Douglas' scholarship and musicianship, American Episcopalians know and sing plainsong hymns and psalms.
Plainsong scholar Bruce Ford, a member of Grace Church, Newark, has been a great help to me in repointing epistles and gospels for our principal feasts. Among his many contributions to The Hymnal 1982, Bruce used Douglas' approach to adapting plainsong tunes in setting the contemporary text of the Nicene Creed to the music of Missa de Angelis. We will begin using this setting of the creed on this First Sunday of Advent and continue using it through the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
Advent is a special time for me personally in many ways. It was on December 5, 1998, that the board of trustees, with the permission of the Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, then bishop of New York, called me to be the ninth rector of Saint Mary's. I was ordained priest on December 21, 1983. But I also associate the beginning of the month with snow.
In December 1976, I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. To prepare for confirmation, one snowy afternoon I walked the one and a half miles from Harper Library to the local parish to make my first confession. I loved the snow that day, and I had had enough formation to associate it with water. Though cold, fresh snow is new and clean. That was the way I felt going to and coming from the church. I invite you to begin the church year at Saint Mary's, to be made new again by Christ's Body and Blood-and his love. -Stephen Gerth
OUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Julie, May, Penny, Donald, Linda, Eileen, Mona, Carol, Shareeda, Barbara, Jean, Sally, Cliff, Antonia, Sharon, Robert, Nicole, Robin, George, Joanna, Jason, Dolly, Melissa, Juliana, Heidi, Catherine, Sam, Burton, Arpene, Takeem, Toussaint, Abraham; Sidney, deacon; Horace, Hamilton, Gaylord, Harry, and Louis, priests; and all victims of war, poverty, famine, and disaster . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . 1907 Howell L. Clarke, Mary Schnorr; 1908 William Maron Hicks; 1914 Elizabeth J. F. Parkman; 1919 George W. Ritter; 1939 Constance Enid Smith; 1944 Lillian Rucker; 1968 Washington Irving.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
FOR MARINERS AT CHRISTMAS . . . One of the great ministries of the Episcopal Church is its association with the Seamen's Church Institute, which ministers to merchant ship sailors in New York City; Newark, New Jersey; the San Francisco Bay area; and in the Gulf of Mexico. You can read about their work and ministries here. We've been asked to collect travel-size toiletries (as one finds in hotel rooms) that can be distributed at Christmastide to the men and women who sail, men and women who often don't have a visa to permit them to shop ashore. There is a basket in Saint Joseph's Hall for collection of items. Money is welcome too. Make your checks payable to Saint Mary's, and note that it's for Seamen's Church Institute.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Our pledge campaign continues. We are making progress, but we still have a ways to go. Please make a pledge for 2017 today. We urgently need your help.Here are some statistics: $287,495.00 has been pledged so far. This is 68% of our pledge goal for 2017. We hope to achieve three goals between now and the end of the year: (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 $425,000.00 during this year's pledge campaign; 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; or 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.
FLOWER GUILD NEWS . . . The Flower Guild is making plans to decorate the church for Christmas. This year the effort will be led by Guild members Rick Austill and Marie Rosseels. Decorating the church is hard work, but it is also a lot of fun, and there is a great sense of fulfillment as the church is made ready for the liturgies of Christmas. If you would like to help out, or if you would like to find out more about what the Guild does and how it does it, please speak to Marie or Rick . . . On Sunday, December 11, the Third Sunday of Advent ("Gaudete" or "Rose" Sunday), the members of the Flower Guild will host a Flower Guild Fair during Coffee Hour. They will display photographs of their creations and give tours of the Flower Room in the basement. Members of the parish will have an opportunity to ask questions about the Guild's ministry, to discuss membership in the Guild, and to sign up to volunteer for the Christmas decorating event.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . On Sunday, November 27, at 10:00 AM in the Mission House, Father Peter Powell concludes the first half of his series on the Acts of the Apostles. The series will continue during Lent . . . Wednesday, November 30, Saint Andrew the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on November 30, at 7:00 PM, following the evening Mass . . . 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 . . . 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 . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays: January 15, 2 2, and 29, and the Sundays in February. We also hope to receive donations for the reception in Saint Joseph's Hall on December 8, The Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our patronal feast. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office at 212-869-5830, ext. 10, or by e-mail . . . The Rector will be away from the parish from Sunday evening, November 27. He will return on Thursday evening, December 1 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 214, Thanksgiving Day 55.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . Advent is an example of a church season where there came to be a lot "bleeding from Lent"-to use Father Louis Weil's phrase. Gloria in excelsis is not sung on the four Sundays of Lent, but alleluia is said and sung throughout the season before the proclamation of the gospel. At Saint Mary's we used Eucharistic Prayer B for the Solemn Masses from the First Sunday of Advent through the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, the Sunday before Lent. One of the real strengths of Rite II is the richness and diversity of theological emphasis among the three Eucharistic Prayers (A, B, and D) that we use at Saint Mary's. Prayer B is especially appropriate for the seasons focused on the incarnation and ministry of Christ. Saint Mary's Solemn Mass vestments for Advent help make it clear that Advent is a season of joyful preparation for Christmastide. -S.G.
MUSIC NOTES . . . The musical setting at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is the Missa Brevis by Andrea Gabrieli (c. 1510-1586). Andrea Gabrieli, uncle of the even more prolific Giovanni Gabrieli (c.1553-1612), is credited with bringing international stature to the Venetian musical compositional culture, where the Netherlands school had previously been dominant. Andrea Gabrieli, composer and organist, is principally associated with Saint Mark's, Venice, where he was organist from 1566 until his death. It is in this post that his reputation as a composer soared, and he became known especially for his ceremonial music. Gabrieli's style included mediating the juncture of polyphonic and homophonic textures, use of voices and instruments together in choirs, and setting multiple choirs of musicians in vibrant dialogue with one another. The Missa Brevis is a relatively modest work in four voices. While much of the text of this setting is declaimed in rhythmic unison, imitative counterpoint and flowing melodic lines are also very much in evidence. The Agnus Dei has two independent tenor parts and, thus, the enhanced richness of a five-voice texture.
During the administration of Communion at the Solemn Mass, the choir will sing Laetentur coeli by William Byrd (1543-1623). Byrd, like the somewhat older Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585), enjoyed the favor of Queen Elizabeth I and composed effectively for both the Anglican and Latin Rites of his time. This Latin motet from his 1589 Liber primus sacrarum cantionum is in five voices with text derived from Isaiah 49:13 and Psalm 72:7.
Sunday's organ voluntaries are two of the three settings of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland ("Come now, Savior of the Gentiles") from the Great Eighteen Leipzig Chorales of J. S. Bach (1685-1750). The chorale (#54 in The Hymnal 1982) is Martin Luther's sixteenth-century adaptation of the fourth-century Latin hymn "Veni Redemptor gentium" attributed to Ambrose of Milan (#55 in The Hymnal 1982). BWV 659, played for the prelude, presents a poignant ornamented version of the chorale melody above a walking bass and two accompanying voices. BWV 660, played for the postlude, is a trio with an ornamented version of the chorale melody above two quasi-canonic accompanying voices. -David Hurd
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, November 27, 10:00 AM, The Acts of the Apostles, led by Father Peter Powell . . . Sunday, December 4 and 11, Keeping the Season of Advent with Handel's "Messiah," led by Dr. Mark Risinger. Note change of location and time: The classes will take place in Saint Joseph's Hall at 12:50 PM. During this series Mark will use portions of Handel's great oratorio to help us enter in the season of Advent and prepare for the celebration of Christmas. Mark is a member of the parish and of the Saint Mary's Choir, and a former member of the parish's board of trustees. He is also an accomplished musicologist and Handel scholar. He teaches at Saint Bernard's School here in Manhattan . . . Sunday, January 15, 22, and 29, Dealing with the Hard Stuff: Talking about Anger, led by Dr. Charles Morgan. Charles is a member of the parish. He is a psychiatrist affiliated with the Northeast Medical Group and the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, Bridgeport Campus. He has a particular interest and expertise in the treatment of alcoholism, mood disorders, psychosis, substance abuse, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Over the course of twenty years at Yale University and the Neurobiological Studies Unit of the National Center for PTSD, Charles's neurobiological and forensic research has established him as an international expert in PTSD, in eyewitness memory, and in human performance under conditions of high stress. Charles also teaches the human sexuality course in the Physician Associate Program at the Yale School of Medicine.
HOMELESS MINISTRY AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Plans are moving ahead for our first Drop-In Day. The plan is this. On a weekday afternoon in January two or more volunteers will greet our homeless guests in the Mission House, and two or more volunteers are needed also to accompany them downstairs to our clothes closet. They will then have the opportunity to receive needed clothing items, as well as a bag with toiletry items, our recently designed book of prayers, as well as some information about the parish. At some point, if not in January, we hope to have a social worker or two present on these Drop-In Days to discuss other services. We hope also to have a chance to talk to our guests to hear more from them about the struggles they face in the Times Square neighborhood and to discover ways to shape our ministry based on the actual needs of the homeless in our area . . . Our Wish List: as the weather grows colder, we are looking for donations of socks, blankets, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, toothpaste, toothbrushes, coats, backpacks, gloves, winter hats, earmuffs, rain ponchos, and, most important, gift cards for McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts. If you'd like to volunteer to help distribute clothing and other items, please contact Sister Monica. -Members of the Homeless Ministry Committee
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Wednesday, December 7, Eve of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM, Legacy Society Reception 7:00 PM . . . Thursday, December 8, The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass and Confirmations 6:00 PM, Bishop Andrew M. L. Dietsche, principal celebrant and preacher . . . Sunday, December 11, Third Sunday of Advent, Flower Guild Fair during Coffee Hour . . . Wednesday, December 21, Saint Thomas the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Saturday, December 24, Christmas Eve, Music 4:30 PM, Sung Mass 5:00 PM; Music 10:30 PM, Solemn Mass 11:00 PM . . . Sunday, December 25, Christmas Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM . . . On Sunday, January 1, 2017, The Feast of the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church will be open from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. There will be only one service, Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Metropolitan Museum Fifth Avenue, until January 16, 2017, Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio. From the museum website, "The greatest French follower of Caravaggio (1573-1610), Valentin de Boulogne (1591-1632) was also one of the outstanding artists in seventeenth-century Europe. In the years following Caravaggio's death, he emerged as one of the most original protagonists of the new, naturalistic painting." Exhibition objects includes pictures such as "Return of the Prodigal Son," "The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew," "Saint John the Baptist," "The Crowning of Thorns," "The Denial of Saint Peter," and "Christ and the Adulteress."