FROM THE RECTOR: ECHOES OF DEDICATION
On January 1, 1929, Dr. Barry retired as rector and was succeeded by his long-serving colleague here, the Reverend Dr. Selden P. Delany. On June 3, 1930, Dr. Delany submitted his resignation as rector. He would soon convert to Roman Catholicism and become a priest in that denomination. By June 19, 1930, the trustees with the approval of the bishop had called the Reverend Granville Mercer Williams, S.S.J.E., as the fifth rector of the parish. He would serve until 1939 when he was elected superior of the Society of St. John the Evangelist.
It was Father Williams who introduced observing the first Sunday in October as the "Feast of Dedication," in other words, the anniversary of the consecration of the church by the bishop of New York. The 1928 Prayer Book was the first American book to provide for this celebration. I think it is correct to say that, before the English Reformation, the first Sunday in October was celebrated as a feast of dedication for congregations so ancient that they no longer knew the date of their consecration. King Henry VIII ordered that the first Sunday in October be celebrated everywhere as a feast of dedication-but the celebration would never make it into a Prayer Book until the 1912 book of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
But we know when our second and present church home was consecrated: December 12, 1895-four days after the first service on December 8. There are newspaper accounts of the services on these two days-published in The Story of St. Mary's (1931) by Newbury Frost Read. (I wish we had programs from these services!) Looking back at the Angelus archives, I discovered that in 2006 I returned the first Sunday in October to, depending on the lectionary year, Matthew, Mark, or Luke. On December 12, 2017, we will celebrate the one hundred twenty-second anniversary of the dedication of the church.
There are still some significant ways the liturgy echoes the dedication. The parish choir returns to sing at the Solemn Masses, the hymns this Sunday are for the dedication of a church, Solemn Evensong & Benediction return, and the flowers are given in memory of our departed rectors.
In The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary (1950), Massey Shepherd (1913-1990) wrote, "It is interesting that in all languages, ancient and modern, the word 'Church' is used for both the people of God and the place where they assemble for worship" (page 259-260). Then he continued, "The Church of God is primarily manifest when it is gathered together as a corporate body for 'spiritual sacrifices'." (Ibid.) I couldn't agree more. Be a part of the Church, here or elsewhere, as you are able on Sunday. -Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Wendell, Barbara, Dick, Karen, José, Robert, William, Karl, David, Sandy, Pearl, Donald, Patricia, Dorothea, Olutoyin, Eugenia, Peggy, Kathy, Mike, May, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, Dennis, and George; for Horace, Mitties, Scott, Anne, David, Ross, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, Edgar, and Vern, priests; for all victims of poverty, famine, violence, and disaster, especially the people of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Texas; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 1: 1909 William Coolidge; 1969 Rosetta Booth; 1996 William Wolf.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, October 1, 2017, Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Academic-Year Schedule begins: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass with Choir 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on October 4. The class will resume on October 11 . . . Friday, October 6, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor. Please enter at 145 West Forty-sixth Street, just west of the main doors to the church, and press buzzer 1 in the vestibule. Then climb up one flight of stairs, make a U-turn, and climb up another small flight of stairs. The Atrium will be on your left . . . The annual Oktoberfest Potluck Supper and Hymn Sing will take place on Saturday, October 7, from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM, in Saint Joseph's Hall and the Choir Loft. David Hurd, organist and music director, will play the organ at the Hymn Sing and will take requests from the assembled Saint Marians and their friends. Please join us. Bring a friend and a dish to share. All are welcome.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . On Wednesday, September 27, at the Noon Mass, Father Smith blessed an icon that resident iconographer Zachary Roesemann had recently completed. The icon was commissioned by a Lutheran parish in Washington, D.C. In the center of the icon is the crucified Christ. At the foot of the cross stand Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon. Framing this central image are a number of Lutheran saints. Zachary will discuss the icon in the first Adult Forum of the season, Sunday, October 1, at 10:00 AM, in Saint Benedict's Study . . . Father Smith will be away from the parish attending a Leadership in Ministry Conference from the afternoon of Sunday, October 1, until Wednesday, October 4. He returns to the office on Friday, October 6 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday: 140
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . We will be mailing pledge packets for 2018 during the month of October. We invite you to think and pray about a pledge of time, talent, and treasure for the coming year. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary's and its mission.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, October 1, 10:00 AM, The Morning Room (Nursery), Inquirers' Class, led by Father Matthew Jacobson . . . Sunday, October 1, 10:00 AM, Saint Benedict's Study, The Reformation: 1517-2017, Parishioner and resident iconographer, Zachary Roesemann, discusses his recently completed icon that was commissioned by a Lutheran parish in Washington, D.C. . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on October 4.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . .The musical setting of the Mass today is the Missa Quarti Toni of Tomás Luís de Victoria (c. 1548-1611). Victoria is considered to be the most important Spanish composer of Renaissance polyphony. Born in Avila, the seventh of eleven children, he began his musical education as a choirboy at Avila Cathedral, and began his classical education at San Gil, a Jesuit school for boys founded in 1554. By 1565, Victoria had entered the Jesuit Collegio Germanico in Rome, where he was later engaged to teach music and eventually named maestro di cappella. Victoria knew and may have been instructed by Palestrina (c. 1525-1594) who was maestro di cappella of the nearby Seminario Romano at that time. During his years in Rome, Victoria held several positions as singer, organist and choral master, and published many of his compositions. He was ordained priest in 1575 after a three-day diaconate. There are twenty authenticated Mass settings of Victoria, of which the Missa Quarti Toni is probably the freest of parody or quotations from other works. Although its title suggests a modal character, the Mass offers a major-minor harmonic palette that is not uncharacteristic of much of Victoria's music. The setting is for four voices, except the Agnus Dei, which expands to five with the two soprano parts singing in canon at the unison.
The beloved English priest and poet George Herbert (1593-1633) offered his reflection and prayer to Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and Life (John 14) in "The Call" (The Temple, 1633). While the setting of Herbert's prayer-poem for solo voice from Five Mystical Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)-distilled into many modern hymnals, including our own-is probably best known, Herbert's poem has also inspired a great many fine choral settings. Harold Friedell (1903-1958), composer of the four-voice choral setting to be sung this morning during the ministration of Communion, was born in Jamaica, Queens. He studied and later taught at The Juilliard School. He served several New York area parishes as organist and choirmaster, and was eventually appointed to the sacred music faculty at Union Theological Seminary. From 1946 until his untimely death, he was organist and choirmaster at Saint Bartholomew's, Park Avenue. Come, my Way is one of the many fine choral anthems written by this distinguished American composer and church musician.
Fantasia on Wondrous Love, played as the organ prelude this morning, was composed by David Hurd in the spring of 2016 for an anthology of organ pieces published in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Association of Anglican Musicians. It is based on a melody from Southern Harmony (1835), which was compiled by William Walker (1809-1875). The Fantasia is in three sections, each one devoted to a stanza of the hymn: "What wondrous love is this," "To God and to the Lamb," and "And when from death I'm free" (The Hymnal 1982, 439). A final coda revisits the music of the title stanza. - David Hurd
SAINT FRANCIS DAY ANIMAL BLESSING HAS BEEN CANCELLED . . . We had hoped to have an Animal Blessing this year in Duffy Square. However, we've discovered that the city's requirements for planning and carrying out even a small event in a public location are rather daunting for an institution of our size. We believe that, until we are able to address that issue, or until the scaffolding comes down on Forty-sixth Street, we will have to postpone the animal blessing.
CONCERT AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, October 14, 2017, 8:00 PM, The New York Repertory Orchestra. Admission is free (suggested donation: $15.00). Program: Amilcare Ponchielli, Overture to "I Lituani," Gustav Mahler Kindertotenlieder, Vaughan Williams, Symphony No. 6 in E minor.
RECITALS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, November 1, 5:30 PM, All Saints' Day, Patrick Kreeger, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church . . . Friday, December 8, 5:30 PM, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dr. Keith Reas, Saint Paul's Church, Chattanooga, TN.
AFTER THE HURRICANES . . . If you are thinking about making a donation to help with relief and recovery efforts in Houston, southeast Texas, in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean, Florida, and beyond, consider visiting the following websites: Episcopal Relief & Development, United for Puerto Rico, UNICEF USA.
HOMELESS MINISTRY . . . Donations needed: For our Drop-in Days. We need blankets, razors, and shaving cream. We also need packs of new underwear for both women and men, in all sizes; and very shortly we will need cold-weather clothing such as coats, sweaters, thermal underwear, gloves, and sweatshirts. Such basic items are proving to be useful to our neighbors living without shelter . . . We also continue to receive nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, Saint Clement's Food Pantry. Please place those items in the basket near the ushers' table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church.
SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S . . . Parishioner Michael Reid once again invites Saint Marians to join the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. There will be two Walks taking place in Manhattan in October. On Sunday, October 15, the Caring Kind Walk is scheduled to take place in Riverside Park. Then, on Saturday, October 28, the Alzheimer's Association will hold its Walk downtown starting at South Street Seaport and ending at City Hall. Michael is the captain of the Mount Sinai Team that will be participating in both Walks. If you would like to join him for one or both of the Walks, please send him an e-mail. If you would like to make a donation, you may do so either here or here.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Wednesday, October 18, Saint Luke, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and Mass 6:20 PM . . . Monday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Saturday, October 28, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles . . . Wednesday, November 1, All Saints' Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, November 2, All Souls' Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Sung Mass and Blessing of the Vault 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, November 5, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Saturday, November 11, Veterans' Day (the church is open on the normal Saturday schedule) . . . Saturday, November 11, Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM, Diocesan Convention.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY, An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney's Collection, 1940-2017. This exhibition began on August 18, 2017. From the museum website, "Through the lens of the Whitney's collection, An Incomplete History of Protest looks at how artists from the 1940s to the present have confronted the political and social issues of their day. Whether making art as a form of activism, criticism, instruction, or inspiration, the featured artists see their work as essential to challenging established thought and creating a more equitable culture. Many have sought immediate change, such as ending the war in Vietnam or combating the AIDS crisis. Others have engaged with protest more indirectly, with the long term in mind, hoping to create new ways of imagining society and citizenship." A section of the exhibit-"Mourning and Militancy"-focuses on art created in response to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.