There are occasional mornings and evenings when the Daily Office is read and there is no one in the church except the officiant. This happens most often on Saturday evenings, when we only have the Office and not a Mass. Of course, one doesn’t ever feel alone at Saint Mary’s. The sounds of the city are always with us, and it is almost never quiet in Times Square on a Saturday night. The experience of praying alone I take as a grace and as an opportunity. Saint Mary’s is simply a beautiful and blessed place to be.
In the busyness of my life, an empty and quiet church, where candles always burn, where the smell of holiness is ever present and where one senses so readily the presence of the faithful who have been here before us, offers an invitation to reflect on and renew that personal call each Christian senses to be born again in Christ. As pastor and preacher, I often feel compelled to remind myself and our parish of our call to be one Body in Christ. I mean by this that I want each of us to discover the importance of our presence at the Eucharist. Our presence is related to the very meaning of the Mass. The entire season of Advent calls us closer to the Lord, the Lord who has come and who is coming again. There are many times during Advent for us to reflect upon this calling. One very special occasion will be the upcoming Quiet Day, led by Bishop Epting and concluding with Eucharistic Benediction.
Quiet is a word I associate with Advent. Delight is another. For many years the entrance song (Latin term: introitus) for the Mass of the First Sunday of Advent, Psalm 25:1, has been among my very favorites, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you.” Hearing our choir sing the traditional plainsong melody for this text and hearing the Latin text itself transport me to Christ.
The First Sunday of Advent promises to be very special for us. Father Matthew Weiler will preside and preach at Mass for the first time at 11:00 AM. It will not only be his first Mass but also the first time he has stood in the main pulpit at Saint Mary’s. Of course he’s preached at other Sunday Masses, but we were saving this one for his first Mass. Advent is always the beginning of our Church year. This year it is a special beginning for us and for a new priest. On three Wednesday nights in Advent, December 5, 12 and 19, Father Weiler and I are going to be leading a class on Advent gospels lessons, not the lectionary gospels, but the texts in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels that are the prelude to the birth narratives in these gospels. I hope many of you will be able to join us.
Time passes so very quickly. I hope there may be more than a few moments of quiet holiness for us as individuals and as a parish community as we enter this new year of grace and as we prepare once again to celebrate and proclaim the incarnation of our savior. Stephen Gerth
PARISH PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Helena, Jack, Alex, Marion, Harold, Olga, Eleanor, John, Peter, Michael, Kenneth, Ursula, Tessie, Jennifer, John, Jolene, Dorene, Christina, Julia, Maureen, Marie, Jake, Rick, Joan, Arthur, priest, and Charles, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph and Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 3: 1990 Francis Timothy Dlugos; 1991 Olga Edgar; December 5: 1989 Lorelle Brownell Britt, 2000 Grace Abernathy LaCurto; December 7: 1966 Eloise Janke, 1993 Lily Lasham.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:814, Matthew 24:37-44 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, December 1, by Father Smith and on Saturday, December 8, by Canon Garrison. . . . NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday will be Wachet auf, ruft uns die stimme, BWV 645 by J. S. Bach (1685-1750) and the postlude will be Fuge in d-moll, BWV 538, also by Bach. The Mass setting is Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd (1543-1623) and the anthem at Communion is Canite tuba in Sion by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599). On Friday evening, December 7, the Eve of the Immaculate Conception, the Mass setting is Missa brevis by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594) and the motets at Communion will be settings of Ave Maria by Clemens non Papa (c. 1510-1556) and Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971). An organ recital, beginning at 5:30, will be played by Mr. Robert McDermitt, assistant organist, and includes works of Bach, Mendelssohn, and Vierne. The postlude will be Final from Symphonie VI by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Helena Handy moved to Amsterdam House for rehabilitation. Please keep her in your prayers . . . The Women’s Group meets next on Tuesday, December 11, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . The Advent Quiet Day will take place at Saint Mary’s, on Saturday, December 15, with Father Matthew Weiler and Bishop Christopher Epting. The day begins at 10:30 AM and concludes with Eucharistic Benediction at 3:00 PM . . . A letter of thanks from Episcopal Charities has been received to acknowledge gifts to the relief effort at the World Trade Center. Attendance Thanksgiving 93, Last Sunday: 213.
SUMMARY OF THE NOVEMBER 19, 2001, BOARD MEETING . . . At its November 19, 2001, meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Received a report from Mr. Terrance O’Dwyer, of the Investment Committee, regarding the performance of Saint Mary’s investments during the third quarter of the year, which ended September 30. 2. Heard about upcoming services, including: the scheduled Mass of Ordination of the Curate, Father Matthew Weiler, to the Sacred Priesthood, by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, to be held on the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Friday November 30, 2001, at 6:00 PM; the Solemn Mass of the Feast of the Conception of Our Lady, with Father Alan Moses, of All Saints’ Margaret Street, London, preaching, on Friday December 7, at 6:00 PM; Midnight Mass of Christmas, with Bishop Richard Grein preaching and presiding, on December 24, commencing at 11:00 PM; Evensong and Benediction on the Feast of the Epiphany, Sunday January 6, 2002, at 5:00 PM, with a Bishop preaching at this service; and Solemn Mass of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ, on Sunday January 13, 2002, at 11:00 AM, with baptisms by Bishop Epting. 3. Heard about new sets of vestments. One of these sets will first be used at the Ordination Mass on November 30, and the other at Father Weiler’s first Mass, which will be on the First Sunday of Advent, December 2. 4. Heard that the Stewardship Campaign for this year has begun, with mailings of pledge cards and a letter from the Rector. 5. Discussed a proposal regarding future capital expenditures, as guidelines for the Board and for the Executive Committee of the Board (consisting of the President [the Rector], the Vice President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer). Leroy Sharer, secretary
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The First Sunday of Advent
Monday Advent Weekday
Tuesday Advent Weekday
Wednesday Advent Weekday
Thursday Nicholas of Myra, Bishop
Friday Ambrose, Bishop (12:15 Mass)
Eve of the Immaculate Conception
Procession & Solemn Mass 6:00 PM
Saturday Immaculate Conception
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector, The Reverend Matthew G. Weiler, curate,
The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison, The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.