FROM THE RECTOR: CELEBRATE ASCENSION
Our celebration will begin on Ascension Eve, Wednesday, May 24, with Solemn Evensong at 6:00 PM. On Ascension Day, Thursday, May 25, there will be a Sung Eucharist at 12:10 PM. Dr. David Hurd will play an organ recital at 5:30 PM. And at the 6:00 PM Solemn Mass, we will welcome the Reverend Michael Basden to the pulpit. Father Basden was last in the pulpit at Saint Mary's on Friday, September 14, 2001, for Holy Cross Day. He and his wife, Jill Basden, had arrived at Saint Mary's rectory on Sunday evening, September 9. I and many others will always be grateful for their presence here during that difficult week.
Michael retired in 2015 after serving for fifteen years as rector of Trinity-by-the-Cove Church, Naples, Florida, during which time the parish grew in size and mission. He is serving now as a consultant to congregations in his own diocese of Southwest Florida and in the diocese of Chicago. He and I were both in parishes in the diocese of northern Indiana before I came to New York and he went to Florida. It will be great to welcome him back to Saint Mary's on Ascension Day.
Our Episcopal Church observes Ascension Day as one of its seven principal feasts. As I try to write briefly about the celebration, the first words of the Letter to the Hebrews come to mind, "In many and various ways God spoke of old" (Hebrews 1:1). Some words from the Articles of Religion also come to mind, "It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word" (The Book of Common Prayer , 874).
At the end of the second century, there are references to a fifty-day period that begins with Easter Day and concludes on the fiftieth day following the Sunday of the Resurrection (P. Bradshaw and M. Johnson, The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity , 70). These fifty days are known as "Pentecost"-"Pentecost" comes from the Greek word for "fifty." Though this fifty-day period will rate a mention in the canons of the First Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 as "the days of Pentecost" (Canon 20: no kneeling allowed), Pentecost is already losing ground, as it were, to other practices.
The Spanish Council of Elvira in A.D. 305 describes Pentecost as a day, not a period (Origins, 72). Across the fourth century, the celebration of the Lord's Ascension, following the chronology of the Acts of the Apostles, on the fortieth day of the season, increases as the importance of Pentecost as a season decreases. Bradshaw and Johnson write, "In addition to the existence in many places of a special emphasis on the first week of the season, in Constantinople, Rome, Milan and Spain the fiftieth day itself came to be celebrated as the commemoration of the gift of the Spirit, while in other places-including Jerusalem-both the Ascension and the gift of the Spirit were celebrated together on that day" (Origins, 74).
I hope the fifty-day Easter Season, along with Ascension Day, will be around for a long time. At this point in my own journey with Christ, there's not enough Easter in our world. Christ is risen, and as Matthew's Risen Jesus says, he is with us "always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:20). -Stephen Gerth
OUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Ivy, Vera, Ralph, William, Phyllis, John, Rita, Grady, Clint, Michael, Charlie, Robert, Rick, Patricia, Primi, Jerry, May, Marahl, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, Dennis, George; Sidney, deacon; Horace, Ross, Mitties, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, and Edgar, priests; all victims of war, persecution, poverty, famine, and disaster; all those injured in Times Square on Thursday; the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark; and the repose of the souls of Alyssa Elsman and Erling Gottfried Olsen . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 21: 1878 Elizabeth Smith Harris; 1889 Susie A. Murran; 1890 John William Lloyd; 1896 Augustus Aspinwall Barney; 1906 Katherine Lathrop Elmendorf Rogers.
THE FRIDAYS OF THE EASTER SEASON are not observed by acts of discipline and self-denial.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S. . . Saturday, May 20, 2017, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra. Moran Katz, clarinet soloist. Music by Igor Stravinsky, Gioachino Rossini, and Amy Beach. Admission is free. Donations gratefully received. For more information, visit the orchestra's website . . . May 21, 2017, The Sixth Sunday of Easter, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Adult Education 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Eve of Ascension Day, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on May 24 or 31. The class resumes on June 7 . . .Thursday, May 25, Ascension Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM (Dr. David Hurd, recitalist), Solemn Mass 6:00 PM (the Reverend Michael Basden, preacher), Reception in Saint Joseph's Hall 7:30 PM.
HOMELESS MINISTRY: DONATIONS NEEDED . . . Our new clothes closet for the homeless and others in need has been quite successful, so successful in fact that we hope to receive donations of new or lightly used clothing items for distribution. Warm-weather items are particularly needed at the moment, but we are happy to receive winter clothing as well. We also welcome donations of the following items: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hand wipes, wash cloths, blankets, socks, and unopened packets of underwear for both men and women. Thank you so much to all those, both near and far, who have been supporting this ministry.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Candle Sale: Sister Laura Katharine tells us that her sale has been doing well. She is going to take a couple of weeks off, but the Sale will return before the beginning of the summer. Expect discounts! We will keep you posted . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 188.
CONGRATULATIONS, DR. OKOBI . . . Parishioner Daniel Okobi is well known to most members of the parish community. He has served here as usher and reader. He often invites Saint Marians to come and hear him at concerts of the Choral Society and Orchestra of Grace Church in New York. Perhaps most important he is known as a kind and welcoming presence at Coffee Hour after Solemn Mass. A conversation with Daniel is always an enjoyable thing. Daniel does not brag about his many accomplishments, so we must do it for him. He received his bachelor's degree some years ago from Harvard College. He was then admitted to the combined M.D./Ph.D. program at New York University. He was granted his doctorate from NYU in 2016 in the field of neuroscience. This month he became Daniel Okobi, M.D. He will soon be moving to Florida to do a year of residency in internal medicine at the University of Miami. After that he will go to Los Angeles for a three-year residency in neurology. We will be sorry to see him go. We hope that he will come back and visit us often. He goes with our prayers and best wishes.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN...Our pledge campaign continues, since we have not yet reached our goal for 2017. Thus far we have received $389,326.00 in pledges, 92% of our goal of $425,000.00. We hope to reach that goal by June 1, 2017. Please help us to reach that goal. We need your help. 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; place your pledge card in the collection basket at Mass; or make a pledge online. We are grateful to all those who continue to support the parish so generously.
AIDS WALK 2017 . . . On May 21, 2017, the Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team, supported by their friends and fellow parishioners, will join the 32nd Annual AIDS Walk here in New York. We invite you to join the Team or to make a contribution to the Team. Last year, the Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team, fourteen people strong, ranked Number 9 in fundraising among all teams walking. We raised $55,035 from almost 300 generous contributions. Our goal this year is a very ambitious $60,000 as we walk in solidarity with people living with HIV or AIDS and with those who support and care for them. We invite you to join our Team and raise money with us or simply to make a donation to our very determined Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team. You can join or contribute by clicking here. You can also direct your questions to Father Jay Smith or to Team co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell.
DONATIONS FOR ALTAR FLOWERS . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays and holy days: May 28, June 25, June 29 (Saint Peter and Saint Paul), all the Sundays in July, August 6 (Transfiguration), August 20 and 27, and all the Sundays in September. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office at 212-869-5839 or by e-mail. We are grateful to all those who support the ministry of the Flower Guild so faithfully.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Adult Forum has begun its summer recess. Classes will resume in the autumn. We are grateful to all those who taught, attended, and contributed to our classes this year . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on May 24, the Eve of Ascension Day, nor on May 31, the Feast of the Visitation. Evening services will replace the class on those days. Class resumes on Wednesday, June 7.
VISUAL ARTS PROJECT . . . Exhibition in the Gallery in Saint Joseph's Hall, Carlos Arteaga: Paintings and Drawings, May 6-June 4, 2017. In order to make an appointment to view the exhibition Monday through Saturday, please contact curator José Vidal. For more information, please visit the artist's website.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . The Mass setting on Sunday morning is Missa Brevis by David Hurd, organist and music director at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. Missa Brevis was composed for, and first performed on, Ascension Day 1991, while Dr. Hurd was director of music at All Saints Church, East Sixtieth Street, Manhattan. It is dedicated to the Reverend R. DeWitt Mallary, Jr., who was rector of All Saints at that time. The musical themes of each movement of this setting derive from the translation of the letters of Father Mallary's name to musical pitches. These pitches are intentionally arranged to feature upward melodic gestures suggestive of Ascension. Each movement of the Mass is relatively compact and direct in presenting its liturgical text. Four-voice texture is maintained throughout the setting, although solo voices complement the choral parts in the Agnus Dei.
The motet sung during the administration of Communion at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning is Morten Lauridsen's setting of Ubi caritas et amor, the traditional offertory antiphon for Maundy Thursday. Lauridsen's setting, premiered in December 1998 at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, is dedicated to Father Richard H. Trame, S.J., to honor his service to the University. Lauridsen, Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, was named an "American Choral Master" by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005. His setting of Ubi caritas seems to take its inspiration from the traditional chant, but actually quotes the chant only briefly as it moves flexibly from relatively chaste four-voice writing to more lush choral textures, ever hovering in the tonal orbit of E Major.
LOOKING AHEAD . . .
Wednesday, May 31, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, June 4, Day of Pentecost . . . Sunday, June 11, Trinity Sunday . . . Sunday, June 18, Corpus Christi
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Onassis Cultural Center New York, Olympic Tower, 645 Fifth Avenue, New York City: A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC - AD 200. On view through June 24, 2017, exclusively at the Onassis Cultural Center New York, where admission is always free, the exhibition brings together more than 130 masterpieces from some of the world's leading museums-including the Acropolis Museum, Athens; National Archaeological Museum, Athens; Musée du Louvre, Paris; British Museum, London; and Musei Vaticani, Vatican City-to explore the ideas and attitudes of people in classical antiquity toward emotion and the ways in which the emotions were depicted, revealing how some are strikingly familiar to us and some shockingly alien . . . At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue at Eighty-second Street,Gallery 621, Second Floor, April 11-July 9, Caravaggio's Last Two Paintings, from the museum website, "The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula, the last documented painting by the great Caravaggio (1571-1610), will be on exceptional loan from the Banca Intesa Sanpaolo in Naples and presented with another of the artist's final works, The Met's The Denial of Saint Peter, created in the last months of [the painter's] life. These two extraordinary paintings have not been shown together since 2004, in an exhibition in London and Naples devoted to the artist's late work. Caravaggio's Last Two Paintings will offer a rare opportunity to see these pictures side by side and to examine the novelty of Caravaggio's late style, in which the emphasis is less on the naturalistic depiction of the figures and more on their psychological presence.