FROM THE RECTOR: HOLY WEEK 2018
The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan, will be with us as celebrant and preacher for the liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday at 12:30 PM, and the Great Vigil of Easter. But first, some words about the beginning of Holy Week.
In the Prayer Book Calendar, Holy Week begins with "The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday" and concludes on Holy Saturday; the Easter Season begins on Easter Eve (BCP , 31-32). As I write on Friday morning, March 23, it seems likely that we will be able to have a procession through Times Square as part of our Liturgy of the Palms at the Solemn Mass on Sunday. This will be my twentieth Palm Sunday at Saint Mary's-and we've only been rained out once.
If you are new to the parish, I think you will be wonderfully surprised by the response we get from almost everyone we pass in the square. Many non-Christians are not only willing to accept palms from us, but they ask for them-I remember one year a Sikh cab driver coming to a halt and, with a smile, asking if he could have some. The Times Square Alliance has become a real partner with us for the processions on Palm Sunday and on Corpus Christi. They help us to deal with the traffic in Times Square on those days. They do a fabulous job throughout the year for our neighborhood.
The Liturgy of the Palms begins in the church. Traditional chants-that work beautifully in English-are sung at the entrance and as large handfuls of the palms are distributed to the congregation. Incense is made; the procession is formed. A minister intones, "Let us go forth in peace." The congregation responds, "In the Name of Christ. Amen." The organ introduces the processional hymn, "All glory, laud, and honor," and we're off. Before the congregation re-enters the church, there are prayers at the West 46th Street doors.
After the congregation is inside, we sing "Ride on! ride on in majesty!" The text is by Henry Hart Milman (1791-1868), a poet, a priest, and dean of Saint Paul's Cathedral, London. Graham George (1912-1993) was born in England and moved to Canada at sixteen. He was a distinguished organist, composer, and teacher. He composed the tune The King's Majesty for Milman's text for The Hymnal 1940. Then the Mass of the Passion begins in silence. This year the passion is from Mark. In this gospel, Jesus dies naked, alone, and in agony. His last words are not a cry of faith, but of despair, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34).
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in Holy Week the regular daily services are offered-Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are chanted to simple plainsong tones on these days. On Maundy Thursday, Morning Prayer is sung, but there are no noonday services. There is one liturgy at 6:00 PM. After the sermon, the washing of feet is observed for all who wish to participate. One sits to have one's feet washed; then one kneels to wash the feet of the person next in line, whoever that may be. Bread and wine are consecrated at this service for Communion at that evening and for the liturgies on Good Friday. After the Sacrament is moved to the Mercy Chapel, the altar and the church are stripped of its adornments, and the statues are veiled. A watch before the Blessed Sacrament is offered through the night. (Please enter through the easternmost doors of the church itself on West 46th Street.)
On Good Friday Morning Prayer is chanted at 8:30 AM. Bishop Shin will be celebrant and preacher for the liturgy at 12:30 PM. Father Jay Smith will be celebrant and preacher for the liturgy at 6:00 PM. The liturgies and the music are the same at both services. The parish clergy will be available to hear confessions after both services. The final service of Holy Week is Sung Morning Prayer on Saturday at 8:30 AM. The quiet of Good Friday disappears after Morning Prayer as the church is prepared for the first celebration of Easter on Saturday night. It's all very good.
I hope many of our members and friends will be able to be here for the great services of Holy Week. The church staff and many members have been at work on Holy Week since the year began. It's totally worth it. The rites speak for themselves. Come and be a part of the prayer. -Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Dick, Marilouise, Dennis, Bob, Randy, Mary, Barbara, Burt, Mike, Kathleen, Kyle, Greta, Carlos, Bill, Mickie, Jerry, Eleanor, Wendell, Karen, Eugenia, May, Heidi, Takeem, and Sandy; for Horace, Clayton, David, Gaylord, Louis, Edgar, and Vern, priests; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and James; and for all the benefactors and friends of this parish.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 25: 1883 Eliza V. Leverich.
DAYS OF SPECIAL DEVOTION . . . Ash Wednesday and the other weekdays of Lent and of Holy Week are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord's crucifixion.
FROM SISTER MONICA CLARE . . . As the snow fell heavily in New York City on the morning of March 21, I was getting a steady stream of texts and e-mails from volunteers saying they were unable to make it to our Drop-In Day for the homeless scheduled to begin that day at 2:00 PM. I was determined, though, not to cancel the event. I felt that, on such a snowy day, those who were homeless or in need in the Times Square neighborhood would be in particular need of warm clothing and toiletries. By 1:15 PM, there was a line of nearly thirty people waiting in the snow for us to open the doors. Our bedrock Homeless Ministry volunteers José Vidal, Marie Rosseels, and Sharon Stewart showed up to help (of course they did!). Catherine DeLong and Judith Adler, two new volunteers from the OneSpirit Learning Alliance where I am enrolled in a spiritual direction course, also came to help. We opened the doors early so our guests wouldn't have to stand in the snow any longer, and we welcomed all who came with smiles, hugs, and hot coffee. Over the course of two hours, we served 51 people. I cannot begin to express how much the generosity of our donors, the hours contributed by our volunteers and sextons, and the prayers of all our supporters mean to our guests. All of them leave with the same words to us: "Thank you. Thank you so much." -Sr. Monica Clare, C.S.J.B.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S . . . We 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 . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for our next Drop-in Day on April 25 and for the many requests for assistance between Drop-in Days. As always, the number of those who are homeless who seek refuge in the church and who ask for assistance increases when the weather grows colder. In order to meet some of those requests, we are hoping to receive donations of the following items: blankets, razors, shaving cream; packs of new underwear for both women and men, in all sizes; cold-weather clothing such as coats, sweaters, thermal underwear, gloves, boots, and sweatshirts. Such basic items will prove to be useful to our neighbors living without shelter . . . Please contact Sister Monica Clare, if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry or if you would like to make a donation.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As many Saint Marians know, parishioner Dick Leitsch is seriously ill. He is, of course, enormously courageous. He comes to Mass when he is able, and he continues to see friends. His spirits seem to be good. Please keep him in your prayers . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on April 4, at 6:30 PM in Saint Benedict's Study in the Parish House . . . The Centering Prayer Group will not meet on Good Friday at 6:30 PM. The Group will meet next on Friday, April 6, at 6:30 PM in the Atrium in the Parish House . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 163.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . On March 25, at 10:00 AM in Saint Benedict's Study, Father Peter Powell will conclude his series on the Gospel of Matthew . . . The Adult Forum will not meet on April 1 or April 8. The Adult Forum will resume on Sunday, April 15, at 10:00 AM. Father Peter Powell will introduce our series on the psalms . . . On Sunday, April 22, Brother Aidan Owen, OHC, will lead the Adult Forum at 10:00 AM in a discussion of the monastic practice of chanting the psalms each day as a form of prayer and contemplation . . . On Sunday, April 29, at 1:00 PM in Saint Joseph's Hall (note time and location), poet Chester Johnson will discuss his new book, Auden, the Psalms and Me, and the translation of the psalms used in the Book of Common Prayer 1979 . . . Sunday, May 6, at 10:00 AM, topic and presenter to be determined . . . On May 13 and 20, at 10:00 AM in Saint Benedict's Study, Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will teach a two-part series The Dove Descending: bird, fire, wind, water, cloud, light, and other depictions of the Holy Spirit in readings from scripture and beyond (primarily poetry). This is a two-Sunday survey of symbol and significance, ending on the Day of Pentecost. . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on March 28. The class is currently reading the Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Mark. On Wednesday, April 4, we will be reading the portion of the Passion Narrative dealing with Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . The musical setting of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei at the Solemn Mass on Palm Sunday is from the Missa in die tribulationis by Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594). Di Lasso, or Lassus, as he was also known, was one of the most prolific and admired European composers of his time. Born at Mons in the Franco-Flemish province of Hainaut, Lassus was well traveled, particularly in northern Italy, but was centered in Munich much his adult life. His compositions include about sixty authenticated Mass settings, most of which are elaborate parody works based upon motets, often his own, as well as French chansons, and Italian madrigals from such composers as Gombert, Willaert, Resta, Arcadelt, Rore and Palestrina. Missa in die tribulationis is based upon a motet of the same name by Jacquet de Mantua (1483-1559), a setting of a Matins responsory for Palm Sunday with text taken from Psalm 77 and Matthew 28, and is in five voices. Lassus' Mass setting is scored likewise.
The Communion motet on Sunday morning is a choral setting for four voices of a modern text derived from the eight-stanza seventeenth-century German O Traurigkeit! The source text has evolved over time, having been translated to English by Catherine Winkworth for her 1863 collection Chorale Book for England. Further translation work by Charles Winfred Douglas (1867-1944) and James Waring McCrady (b. 1938) has been merged to yield the four-stanza form of O Traurigkeit, which is found at 173 in The Hymnal 1982. It is this four-stanza form of the text which was set as O Sorrow Deep by David Hurd, organist and music director at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. The setting was composed in 1997 in memory of Donald Joyce, whom Dr. Hurd had recently succeeded as music director at the Church of the Holy Apostles, Chelsea, and where it was first sung that year on Palm Sunday.
At the Vigil Mass on Saturday afternoon at 5:00 PM and at the Sung Mass on Palm Sunday at 9:00 AM, the service will be played by parishioner Clark Anderson. We are grateful to him for his ministry and his artistry. -David Hurd
AT THE MUSEUMS . . . At the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, 170 Central Park West at Seventy-seventh Street, February 16-May 20, 2018, Rebel Spirits: Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. From the museum website, "On the surface, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., were born worlds apart-culturally, geographically, racially, financially, and politically. But by the time they were killed within two months of each other in 1968, their worlds had come together. Images taken by some of the most renowned photojournalists of the era-alongside original correspondence, publications, and ephemera-illustrate the overlapping trajectory of their lives, exploring their deepening tie as well as how their interests expanded beyond civil rights and organized crime to encompass shared concerns for the poor and opposition to the war in Vietnam."
CLICK HERE for this week's schedule.