FROM THE RECTOR: SEEING DIMLY
On Corpus Christi Sunday, June 3, it was cloudy and just a little cool for a late spring day in New York City. Rain had been threatened, but it didn't appear. This year our route for the eucharistic procession was not around Duffy Square-the northern triangle of Times Square-but around a portion of the southern triangle, between Forty-sixth and Forty-fifth streets. About twenty minutes before our Solemn Masses on Palm Sunday and Corpus Christi, the MC (master of ceremonies) for the Mass and I go out into the square to check out the route. This year Duffy Square was sealed off for a celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of Israel-which meant the rest of the square was particularly crowded. In the end, everything went very well.
Our friends at the Times Square Alliance, especially the officers of the security team, continue to be a great help to us. On Palm Sunday and Corpus Christi, the officers hold back the traffic for us as we cross over to the square and return, and they assist along the route. Back at the church, one of the officers told us that he'd really enjoyed himself. "You've made my day," he said I'm sure there were folks in the square who were not happy to see us, but I didn't happen to notice any of them this year. Lots and lots of people had their cameras going. The most amusing moment of the day was when we were in the square near Forty-fifth Street; I looked up and saw two "desnudas" moving out of the way. The smile on my face turned into a big grin-things like this just happen in Times Square.
Our processional hymn is "Amazing Grace." I think most people hear it as Christian and welcoming. The first four verses of this hymn text are by John Newton (1725-1807), a slave ship captain who was converted to Christ in the midst of that great evil by reading the Bible and Thomas á Kempis (c. 1380 - 25 July 1471), the author of The Imitation of Christ. He became a priest of the Church of England. The attribution of the fifth verse is now uncertain (The Hymnal 1982 Companion [1994), vol. 3b, 1238). The tune is American and has a rich history (Ibid., 1238-43). The text with this tune has been widely sung in Protestant churches since the early decades of the nineteenth century.
As the procession began to move away from the church, I suddenly noticed my reflection in the small circle of the monstrance's bright, beaten brass in front of my face-on the other side of the brass was the Eucharistic Bread. The reflection I saw was me, but not me. When I looked to my right, I could clearly see the faces of the canopy bearers in the smooth brass crossbar. Looking at my own distorted visage, my body reacted. Looking away, I started singing. Without thinking, Saint Paul's words flashed in my mind: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face." (1 Corinthians 13:12).
On Palm Sunday the clergy are at the end of the procession through Times Square. On Corpus Christi we are at the front. As we returned to the church, the choir, brass, and congregation were behind us. As the procession entered the church, the voices of the congregation and choir grew slowly, quietly, and wonderfully to fill the church. Finally, Dr. Hurd concluded the singing with gentle organ music as we prepared for the Eucharistic blessing. It was an unscripted moment of grace, beauty, and faith-a powerful gift of liturgical worship. -Stephen Gerth
THE COMMUNITY OF ST. JOHN BAPTIST . . . The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, suffragan bishop of the diocese of New York and episcopal visitor of the Community of St. John Baptist, received the final vows of profession of Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B., on Friday, June 8, 2018, at a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the Convent of St. John Baptist, Mendham, New Jersey. Father Gerth, Father Smith, Mother Alison Turner, and a number of members of the parish were in attendance. Please keep Sister Monica Clare in your prayers.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Ron, Rhonda, Ptolemy, Sheila, Michael, Dick, Angie, Maxine, Alex, Dora, Marilouise, Dennis, Bob, Abe, Randy, Burt, Mike, Kyle, Greta, Karen, Melissa, Eugenia, May, Heidi, Ridhima, Takeem, David, and Sandy; for Aidan and Monica Clare, religious; for Rebecca and Michael, deacons; for Horace, Gaylord, Louis, Edgar, and Jude, priests; and for all the benefactors and friends of this parish.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 10: 1888 George Adam Angelo Keth; 1915 Emily Jane Mills; 1929 Mary Elizabeth Haines; 1939 Helen Julia Coaszar Davies; 1963 Kenneth Wilmont; 1970 Florence Crouch.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEARare observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord's crucifixion
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, June 10, The Third Sunday after Pentecost, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM, Mass 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass,11:00 AM, Evening Prayer 5:00 PM . . . Monday, June 11, Saint Barnabas, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Friday, June 15, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Last Sunday, the members of the guild of readers and the guild of acolytes marked the end of the choir season by gathering for a picnic on the Parish House roof. We are grateful to all those who served at the altar so ably and read the lessons so well at Mass this year. We are also grateful to Father Pace, Quentin Swain, Father Smith, and José Vidal for hosting and organizing the party. We are also grateful to all those who brought dishes to share . . . Altar Flowers: We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays: July 29, August 19, and September 2; and also for September 14, Holy Cross Day (these flowers will also be used on Sunday, September 16). If you would like to make a donation, please contact Chris Howatt in the parish office (212-869-5830 x 10) . . . Father Jim Pace will be away from the parish on vacation until Saturday, June 16 . . . Father Stephen Gerth will be away from the parish between Tuesday, June 12, and Saturday, June 16. He returns on Sunday, June 17 . . . Father Matthew Jacobson will be away from the parish, taking some vacation and then continuing his language studies, until August 3 . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish on vacation from Monday, June 18 until Monday, July 9 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 217.
JUNE ORDINATION ANNIVERSARIES. . . Father Jay Smith was ordained deacon on June 10, 1989, Father Stephen Gerth on June 11, 1983, Father Pete Powell on June 12, 1976, Father Jim Pace, June 25, 1988, and Father Park Bodie on June, 29, 1986. Father Paul Burrows was ordained priest on June 29, 1980-and deacon on July 1, 1979.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . During the administration of Communion on Sunday morning, the cantor, Charlotte Mundy, will sing the aria Höchster, mache deine Güte from Cantata 51 of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The five-movement Cantata 51 is one of four cantatas which Bach composed for solo soprano. His manuscript indicates the use of this cantata on the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, as was the case in 1730, and at any time. Its third movement, sung on Sunday morning, is scored for soprano voice and continuo only. The bass instrument moves almost continuously in eighth-notes while the soprano voice weaves expressive coloratura above. The structure of the aria is a typical da capo treatment with identical opening and closing sections.
The organ voluntaries are also works of J. S. Bach. Bach's Toccata in C, BWV 564, often referred to as Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, is a youthful work which effectively combines Italian and German elements. The central portions of this multi-sectional work, played for the prelude today, are an Adagio with lyric melody accompanied by a plucked style bass with discrete harmonic enhancement, followed by a chordal section of rich harmony leading from the minor tonality of the Adagio back to the major mode. The Postlude is Bach's Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 533, also a youthful work, dating from around 1703 when he was in Arnstadt. This concise piece is full of bold gestures which, in spite of its modest length, may have led to it being nicknamed The Cathedral. -David Hurd
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for our next Drop-in Days on June 27 and July 11, and for the many requests for assistance between Drop-in Days . . . Please contact Sister Monica Clare if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry or if you would like to make a donation . . . 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.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Sunday, June 24, The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist . . . Friday, June 29, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles . . . Wednesday, July 4, Independence Day . . . Monday, July 23, Saint Mary Magdalene (transferred).
AT THE GALLERIES . . . Masterpieces from the Asia Society Museum Collection, until August 12, 2018, at the Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, New York, New York. From the museum website, "Even before John D. Rockefeller III (1906-1978) established Asia Society in 1956, he was deeply involved with the arts and culture of Asia. He firmly believed that art was an indispensable tool for understanding societies, and thus made culture central to the new multidisciplinary organization that would encompass all aspects and all parts of East, South, and Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas. From 1963 to 1978, he and his wife, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller (1909-1992), worked with art historian Sherman E. Lee (1918-2008) as an advisor to build the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III Collection, which was later bequeathed to Asia Society. The group of spectacular historical objects they assembled-including sculpture, painting, and decorative arts-became the core of the Asia Society Museum Collection and is now world renowned. The Collection is distinguished by the high proportion of acclaimed masterpieces, representing the artistic pinnacles of the cultures that produced them, to which additional high-quality gifts and acquisitions have been added since the original bequest to Asia Society.
"The selections in the exhibition showcase the breadth and depth of creative expression across Asia created by artists and artisans with extraordinary skill. To this day the objects remain an important means for sharing the talent, imagination, and deep history of the peoples of Asia with audiences all over the world. Masterpieces from the Asia Society Museum Collection explores the specialized artistry of Asian ceramics, metalwork, and stone carving, and the development of Hinduism and Buddhism in Asia through some of the most refined and accomplished examples of the region's great artistic traditions."