FROM THE RECTOR: CORPUS CHRISTI
A few weeks ago, a recently ordained priest who had visited Saint Mary's wrote me to ask about continuing education in liturgy for someone who was just out of seminary and who had had almost no study of the subject while earning his master of divinity degree. I pointed him to the summer school program at Saint John's University, Collegeville. And I searched through my collection of articles on liturgy to find some things to send him that I thought would be helpful. One was an article by Paul Bradshaw, "The Eucharistic Sayings of Jesus" (Studia Liturgica 35 , 1-11); another was a lecture Louis Weil gave in 2007, "When Signs Signify: The Baptismal Covenant in its Sacramental Context." As I began thinking about Corpus Christi this year, I took the time to re-read both of them.
Corpus Christi 2015
Father Weil introduced his remarks on the meaning of sacramental signs by speaking of what he saw when he visited the baptistry of Saint John Lateran in Rome, taking his listeners beyond a narrow understanding of sacramental "validity." (It's really worth reading the whole thing.)
Father Bradshaw's article (unavailable online) was on how Christians of the first and second centuries understood the Eucharist. He wrote, "The most important conclusion that seems to emerge from all this is that it appears that there were a significant number of first- and second-century Christians who did not think of themselves as reproducing the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper when they celebrated the eucharist together . . . or as recalling his death on the cross, but the focus of their ritual meal was instead on feeding on the life-giving Jesus" (page 11).
Weil's lecture invites us to reflect on how we understand the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist-and other sacramental rites. In other words, does the way in which we celebrate these sacraments convey their meaning? With regard to the Eucharist, does our celebration convey that the bread and the wine are food? With regard to Baptism, does our celebration convey that a person is being reborn to a new life now to be sustained by the food of the table of the Lord? In over twenty-six years as rector here and in Indiana, only twice have I been in pastoral situations in which Baptism was celebrated apart from Mass and communion. Bradshaw's lecture helps us understand that for Christians of the first and second century, the Eucharist was not associated with accounts in Mark, Matthew, and Luke of the Last Supper. Instead, it was about, again, "feeding on the life-giving Jesus."
Solemn Te Deum, Trinity Sunday
The present Prayer Book introduced provisions for Eucharists for "Various Occasions," one of which is "Of the Holy Eucharist" (BCP , 252). The Prayer Book notes that this service is, "Especially suitable for Thursdays" (Ibid). Anglo-Catholic parishes, like ours, have never been shy about keeping the celebration of Corpus Christi and calling it that. (Here is a link to the June 1892 issue of Saint Mary's first newsletter, The Arrow, which began publication in October 1891.) Following the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church before Vatican II, Saint Mary's also commemorated Corpus Christi on the Sunday following the Thursday. When the American Roman Catholic Church took the new option for them of keeping Corpus Christi on Sunday instead of Thursday, Father Donald Garfield (Saint Mary's rector from 1964 until 1978) followed their lead.
I've written before that I considered moving it back to Thursday-I really do try to keep things as close to the 1979 Prayer Book as our building and traditions permit. But, we would have to abandon our Eucharistic procession through Times Square-there are too many people in the square on any weeknight to have a procession. Our processional hymn, "Amazing Grace," is experienced as friendly Christian religion. When the sound of our brass quartet echoes around the square, people know there are Christians present. It's a unique and joyful witness in a unique place. Please join us if you can. -Stephen Gerth
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
panel from the high altar windows
C. E. Kempe & Co., London, 1907
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR David, Emil, Margaret, Harry, Santiago, Sandy, Walter, Julie, Sharon, Penny, Carol, Eileen, Donald, Sam, Heidi, Catherine, Sally, Burton, Toussaint, Dennis, Arpene, Takeem, Christopher, religious, William, religious, 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 . . .GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 29: 1893 Ella Mary Smith; 1911 Jeanne M. Potter; 1925 Ethel F. L. Scott; 1932 Frank Alexander; 1962 Gustave Chartrand; 1966 Millicent McLaughlin; 1992 William Robert Anderson.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN . . . Last Sunday the parish celebrated the successful conclusion of Phase One of the Capital Campaign with a festive Coffee Hour in Saint Joseph's Hall. Thank you to all those who worked so hard to plan, organize, and execute the event: the dedicated members of the Campaign Committee; those who provided hospitality; the donors who made it possible to serve a special luncheon; our friends at Royal Family productions, who provided the sound equipment (and who immediately solved the inevitable glitch with the sound system!); the members of the staff; all those who came to celebrate; and, especially, to all those who continue to support the Campaign so generously. There is still much work to do, but we have made a great start!
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, May 29, The Body and Blood of Our Lord: Corpus Christi: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM (the 10:00 AM Mass is in the Wedding Chapel), Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evening Prayer 5:00 PM . . . Monday, May 30, Memorial Day, Federal holiday schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. Only the noonday services are offered. The parish offices are closed . . . On Wednesdays, the daily 12:10 PM Eucharist is a Sung Mass; on Thursdays the daily 12:10 Eucharist is Mass with Healing Service . . . Tuesday, May 31, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM.
Icon of James Huntington, Priest and Monk
for Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, New York
AROUND THE PARISH. . . Zachary Roesemann, whose New York studio is on the third floor of the Mission House, has "written" an icon for Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, New York. On the left is Saint Benedict, on the right James Otis Sargent Huntington, priest and monk, founder of the Order of the Holy Cross. His life and witness is commemorated on November 24 in the calendar of the church . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the Sundays of July and August. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . Attendance:Last Sunday 230.
SAINT MARY'S AIDS WALK TEAM 2016 . . . On Sunday, May 15, the Day of Pentecost, the Saint Mary's Team participated in AIDS Walk 2016. It was a great day, and the Team has had another very successful year of fundraising for this very important cause: to help those living with HIV and AIDS. As of Friday, May 27, 2016, the Team has raised $54,560.00, putting them ninth in a very long list of teams that participated in the Walk. However, the Saint Mary's Team would love to be able to beat last year's total of $56,813.00! You can still make a contribution by clicking on this link. But please don't delay! Contributions must be received and delivered to GMHC no later than June 10. If you mail a check, please be sure to make the check payable to AIDS Walk New York and put Saint Mary's Team in the memo line. We are very grateful to all those who have continued to support this important outreach effort so faithfully and so generously. -MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell
New slates for the rectory roof
arriving Monday, May 23
MUSIC THIS WEEK. . . The Mass setting at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning is the Missa Pange lingua of Josquin des Prez (c.1440/55-1521). Des Prez was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance. He composed this Mass around 1515, near the end of his life. It is probably his last Mass. The composition is an extended fantasia on the hymn Pange Lingua, and is one of Josquin's most famous Mass settings. Following the Postcommunion prayer, and before the procession with the Sacrament on Sunday, we will hear the motet Anima Christi, which was composed by organist and music director, David Hurd (b. 1950). The original text of this well-known Latin prayer was written by an unknown author, probably in the late fourteenth century-though, for a time, Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) was thought to be the prayer's author. The text of Anima Christi that we will hear at the Solemn Mass is an English translation by John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890). Dr. Hurd composed the motet for the installation of the Very Reverend Leighton J. Lee as dean of the Cathedral of the Redeemer, Calgary, Alberta, which took place on February 7, 2016. The performance on Sunday is the motet's American premiere. Before the procession to Times Square, the hymn O salutaris hostia is plainsong. Following the procession, during Benediction, Tantum ergo is sung by the choir to a relatively straightforward Latin setting by Déodat de Sévérac (1872-1921).
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class and the Adult Forum on Sunday morning have begun their summer recess. Classes will resume in October. In the fall, the Bible Study Class will be reading Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans.
Slates being moved to the scaffolding
MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . .Saint Mary's Summer Sunday Worship Schedule begins on May 29 with Sunday evening prayer. 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 . . . Saturday, June 11, Saint Barnabas, Apostle, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Friday, June 24, Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, June 29, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles, Sung Mass 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM . . . Monday, July 4, Independence Day, Federal holiday schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. Only the noonday services are offered. The parish offices are closed.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S . . . We are collecting warm clothing (coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves), packets of socks and underwear, jeans and T-shirts (useful all-year round), and dress shirts (useful for job interviews) 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
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At the Frick: Van Dyck The Anatomy of Portraiture(through June 5). . . At the Metropolitan Museum: Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World (through July 17) and Turner's Whaling Pictures, late works by English artist, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) (through August 7) . . . At the Rubin Museum: Nepalese Seasons: Rain and Ritual (through March 27, 2017).