From the Rector: Open Doors Phase 1
On Trinity Sunday, May 22, following the Solemn Mass, we will celebrate the end of Phase 1 of “Open Doors: The Campaign for the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.” When the feasibility study was conducted in the spring of 2015 by the Episcopal Church Foundation. They recommended that we set a goal of $1,718,000. To date we have received pledges that total $2,682,859 and unsolicited donations of $19,420 for a campaign total to date of $2,702,279. Thank you, God. Congratulations, Saint Mary’s.
Now that this year’s early Holy Week and Easter Week are behind us, the Capital Campaign Committee is making plans for a “Summer Program” to solicit pledges from some who are contributors to the parish who have not yet been approached personally. This fall, we will launch “Phase 2” of the campaign (more solicitations!). Our bishop, the Right Reverend Andrew Dietsche, will be with us as celebrant and preacher for our patronal feast on Thursday, December 8, 2016. We will celebrate our campaign accomplishments that night on what will be the one hundred forty-fifth anniversary of the opening of our first parish church on West 45th Street—which is also the one hundred twentieth anniversary of the opening of our present church home.
In the fall of 2010, Jan Hird Pokorny Associates began a survey of existing conditions. We received their report in early 2011. From time to time, I have to remind myself why it has taken us so long to conduct a campaign and to begin work. The state of the economy has been a factor, but not the only one. It took a very long time to find the right capital campaign consultants. Most nonprofit institutions with scope of membership and friends raise a lot more money. We were very thankful that the Episcopal Foundation understood the kind of parish we are—and were ready to take us on.
As this was coming together, I turned to some clergy and fundraising friends of Saint Mary’s for advice. When they learned that our architects identified replacing the original rectory roof as our first priority, they strongly suggested that we raise money for that project before the campaign began. When a couple learned about this need, a gift was received to enable this work to go forward even before the Open Doors campaign began.
Scaffolding over part of the rectory façade on 47th Street went up before Christmas so that terra cotta tiles that need to be replaced could be taken down and sent to craft the replacements. As I write on Friday, April 8, scaffolding is being erected across the rest of the rectory façade for the work on the slate roof to be done. We now expect the rectory roof project to be completed by the end of July.
We have a long way to go to reach our campaign goal of $4,775,000. But the start has been excellent and—to use a favorite word of Anglo-Catholic rectors of earlier generations—gratifying. There’s real joy abroad in this part of the body of Christ, our Episcopal parish by Times Square. In the next few weeks we expect to launch a new website for the parish and a new website for the campaign. I am so very thankful for the hard work and sacrifice of so many that has brought us to this point. Happy Eastertide. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Ethan, Patricia, Julie, Sharon, Guy, Grady, Toussaint, Donald, Rick, Joanna, Rebecca, Emily, Ethel Mary, Connie, John, Eudine, Dennis, Burton, Lily, Sylvia, Sally, Sam, Jean, Heidi, Billy, Karen, Catherine, Takeem, Arpene, Mazdak, Sidney, deacon, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, Harry, priest, and Louis, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas; and for the repose of the souls of Penny Rae Koch and Donald Awe . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 10: 1878 Francis Ebenezer Wetherell; 1965 Emily Grace Long; 1993 Edna Isabelle Matthews Craig.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Penny Rae Koch, the mother of former business manager Aaron Koch, died suddenly and unexpectedly last week at her home in Nebraska. Her funeral is to take place on Monday, April 11, at the Episcopal Church of Our Savior in North Platte, Nebraska. Please keep Penny, Aaron, her family and friends in your prayers . . . Donald Awe, the brother of parishioner Richard Awe, died in Providence, Rhode Island, on Thursday. In addition to his brother Rick, Donald is survived by his wife and five children. Please keep Donald, Rick, Donald’s family, and all who mourn in your prayers.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2015-2016 . . . We are pleased to be able to announce that, as of April 3, 2016, we have received $426,383.00 in pledges for this year’s Stewardship Campaign. This is 100.3% of our goal of $425,000.00. We are immensely grateful to all those who made a pledge this year. We also wish to thank our able Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, and Marie Rosseels, for their expertise, their hard work, and their dedication. We are grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary’s so generously.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, April 13, 12:10 PM, Sung Mass . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on April 13 at 6:30 PM . . . Thursday, April 14, 12:10 PM, Mass with Healing Service.
THANK YOU, MERTON COLLEGE . . . We are very grateful to the members of the Choir of Merton College, Oxford, who sang the Solemn Mass so beautifully on the Feast of the Annunciation. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the choir’s music director, Benjamin Nicholas; to the college chapel’s organ scholars, who played the prelude and postlude and part of the service; and to the Merton College chaplain, the Reverend Canon Dr. Simon Jones, who concelebrated the Mass. It was a great pleasure to have them all with us. We received a lovely note that evening: “Dear Saint Mary’s, Thank you so much for your generosity and warm welcome. We were truly touched. The Choir of Merton College, Oxford.” The note was signed by some thirty members of the Choir.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We are very grateful to all those who made the Feast of the Annunciation a wonderful celebration here on April 4. It was good to have Bishop Mark Sisk with us again. He preached a very fine sermon (which can be found on the parish webpage here). The servers, readers, sextons, and ushers, as well as those who organized and worked at the reception, provided exemplary service, and we are very grateful . . . A new exhibition, “Recent Work by José Camacho,” has appeared in the Gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall (STJH). For more information or to make an appointment to view the exhibition, please contact the gallery curator, José Vidal . . . Our good and very generous friend Natasha Singh was at Saint Mary’s on Easter Day, taking photographs of the liturgy. If you would like to purchase a print of one of the photos that she took at the Easter Vigil in 2015, you may still contact her by email or by phone at (516) 564-3547 . . . Altar Flowers are needed for all the following Sundays: April 17, May 1, May 15 (Day of Pentecost), May 22 (Trinity Sunday), May 29 (Corpus Christi), as well as for Ascension Day (May 4 & 5). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 212; Annunciation 134.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Though only forty or so of the 104 polyphonic Masses composed by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525–1594) were published during the composer’s lifetime, most of his remaining Masses were edited and published by Palestrina’s son Iginio not long after his father’s death. Among those Masses was the parody Mass Missa descendit angelus Domini, which we hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning. The title of the Mass refers to a verse in the resurrection narrative in the Gospel of Matthew, “. . . or an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it” (Matthew 28:2b). As many Saint Marians know, a Renaissance composer is said to be using parody techniques when he takes a pre-existing polyphonic work as the starting point for a new setting of the Mass ordinary. In the case of the Missa descendit angelus Domini, the polyphonic source is Hilaire Penet's 1532 sacred Latin motet “Descendit angelus Domini.” As was customary, Palestrina uses the opening structure of Penet's work as the basis for the opening passage of each of the five basic sections of text—the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus & Benedictus, and Agnus Dei—while extracting other passages from the motet to use as material for internal subsections of the Mass. In composing his motet, Penet allowed himself to indulge in a certain amount of text-painting, and so the subject on which Palestrina builds the opening of the Mass’s Kyrie really does descend (as the phrase "Descendit angelus Domini" would seem to demand). At the beginning of the following Gloria, Palestrina transposes the first section of the Kyrie’s opening imitative duet down an octave and gives it to the tenors and basses (Palestrina wrote the Mass for four voices, we will hear eight voices on Sunday); it is soon echoed at its original pitch level by the upper voices. As the first half of the Gloria unfolds, the wild, arch-shaped eighth-note flourishes that popped up in the middle of the Kyrie take on a new importance. An important moment in the second half of the Gloria is worth noting: at the word altissimus ("most high"), the high voices plunge into one of the most striking downward melismatic gestures to be found anywhere in Palestrina; and then, as if set up by that descent, the music reaches all the way up to a high G-natural. One notes the jubilant rhythm heard in the Hosanna section of the Sanctus & Benedictus and the creative imitative parody techniques used by Palestrina in the Agnus Dei.–B. Johnston, www.allmusic.com, adapted.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, April 10, Matthew Jacobson will continue his four-part series, Reading the Fathers: An Exploration of the History, Spirituality & Theology of the Early Church. On Sunday, the class will be reading the Didache, an early text—perhaps as early as the first century—that contains a discussion of the nature of the Christian life; of liturgical traditions such as baptism, fasting, prayer, and the Eucharist; and of apostles, prophets, and teachers . . . 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) . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on April 13. The class will begin reading at chapter 65 of the Book of Isaiah. The class will be reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans in 2015–2016.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . . Sunday, April 24, The Fifth Sunday of Easter is Genocide Remembrance Day . . . Sunday, May 1, The Sixth Sunday of Easter: May Crowning & Annual Meeting . . . Wednesday, May 4, Eve of Ascension Day, Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 5, Ascension Day. Solemn Mass 6:00 PM. The principal celebrant and preacher at the Solemn Mass will be Bishop William Franklin . . . Sunday, May 15, The Day of Pentecost.
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