The Angelus

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 47

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 47

FROM THE RECTOR: ON MY MIND

On October 1 I traveled to Tucson, Arizona, to attend the annual conference of the Society of Catholic Priests of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. It was my first visit to Tucson. The physical beauty of the hills and desert was one of many unexpected joys. The host parish this year was Saint Philip’s in the Hill Church. Father Robert Hendrickson, rector, and the parish community were very gracious hosts. The conference theme was “At the Border of Holiness.” As part of the conference we visited Saint Andrew’s Church, Nogales, Arizona, and then traveled to the wall. The Eucharist was celebrated across the street from the wall as all of us faced the wall.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 46

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 46

FROM FATHER SMITH: AND SO, PERHAPS, BE KIND

Peter Cole is a poet and translator who divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven. He was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1957, and is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a winner of a so-called "genius grant." Just as Cole moves between Israel and Connecticut, so also does he move with grace and ease between Hebrew and English, between the Jewish cultures of medieval Spain and the Middle East and contemporary life in the United States. In an interview in 2015 in the Paris Review, he described his work as poet and translator as "at heart, the same activity carried out at different points along a spectrum." All this is evident in his book, The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 (Princeton University Press, 2007), in which he renders medieval Hebrew and Arabic poetry into startlingly beautiful modern-day English.

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Volume 21, Number 45

Volume 21, Number 45

FROM FATHER SMITH: REMEMBRANCE, CELEBRATION & SERVICE  

On Sunday, October 6, we begin the 2019–2020 academic-year season, a period of time that is sometimes referred to here at the parish as “the choir season.” There is some irony about this: we live according to the rhythms of the liturgical year at Saint Mary’s, but the “academic year” is not a particularly liturgical category. Still, it is a way of reckoning time that has proven helpful to us over the years: on the first Sunday in October the choir returns to worship with us at the Solemn Mass; Morning and Evening Prayer are sung on Sunday; and, after the long summer break, Christian Education returns on Wednesday evenings—normally at 6:30 PM—and on Sunday mornings, normally at 10:00 AM. (In October, the Adult Forum will meet at 12:45 PM in the Lady Chapel.)

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 44

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 44

FROM THE RECTOR: MICHAELMAS
I continue to be grateful for the time I spent as a seminarian and as a newly ordained deacon and priest at the Church of the Incarnation, Dallas. When I arrived during my second year in seminary, the 1928 Prayer Book (BCP [1928]) was still in use for the main service on Sunday mornings—and the main service was Morning Prayer and Sermon except on the first Sunday of the month. The transition to the then-new Book of Common Prayer (BCP [1979]) and to a weekly celebration of the Eucharist at 11:15 AM was not easy for the many in the congregation, but the rector, Paul Waddell Prichartt (1929–2012; Incarnation 1974–1992) managed it.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 43

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 43

FROM BROTHER DAMIEN JOSEPH SSF: OUR FRANCISCAN LIFE 

If you are a regular at weekday services at Saint Mary’s, you may have noticed that Brother Thomas and I are usually absent from the services on Thursdays. We do have a weekly “day off” (Saturday), but Thursday is our designated “Community Day.” You may recall that the Community of Saint John Baptist sisters had a similar day (on most Tuesdays), when they returned to their convent in Mendham, New Jersey, to be with their sisters. A weekly trip to our other houses on the west coast is obviously impractical, but keeping a connection with the particular practices and obligations observed by our brothers is no less important. Our Community Day is designed to help us meet three needs: 

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 42

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 42

FROM THE RECTOR: MARY IN; PARENTS OUT 

In last Sunday’s Angelus, while commenting on some of the feasts we celebrated in September, I wrote: “There is one traditional commemoration of Mary still omitted by our Episcopal Church, but one which has found a home in the Church of England and other churches of the Anglican Communion, the Nativity of Mary on September 8.” But it turns out that this is incorrect. Two readers of The Angelus were in touch with me, Father William D. Loring, a now-retired priest of the diocese of Connecticut, and our own Father Matt Jacobson. Both knew that the last meeting of the General Convention had authorized a new optional resource for weekday Eucharists, Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 (LFF 2018). 

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 41

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 41

FROM THE RECTOR: SOME SEPTEMBER CELEBRATIONS

There are two feast days in September that may be celebrated on a Sunday when they fall on a Sunday. They are Holy Cross Day, September 14, and Saint Michael and All Angels, September 29. This year Holy Cross Day is a Saturday, and as is our custom, there will be a Sung Mass on the eve, Friday, September 13, at 6:00 PM, and the 12:10 Eucharist on Saturday, September 14, will be for Holy Cross Day. Saint Michael and All Angels, commonly called “Michaelmas,” falls on Sunday this year. The Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday, September 28, and the Offices and Eucharists on September 29 will all be Michaelmas celebrations.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 40

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 40

FROM FATHER SMITH: AT THE CROSS HER STATION KEEPING

Stabat Mater is a thirteenth-century hymn, the text of which consists of a meditation on Mary’s experience of the suffering and death of her Son. Its author may be either the Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi (1230–1306) or Pope Innocent III (1161–1216). Here at Saint Mary’s we mostly associate the hymn with the season of Lent, when we sing the hymn on Fridays as we walk the Stations of the Cross.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 39

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 39

FROM THE RECTOR: SHADOWS OF ROME

In 1996, Paul Bradshaw published “The Liturgical Consequences of Apostolicae curae for Anglican Ordination Rites” (Anglican Theological Review 78 [1996], 75–86). When I came to the diocese of New York, it was then the practice at our cathedral to ignore the placement of the Prayer Book rubric that says, “The new priest is now vested according to the order of priests.” Instead of following the prayer of consecration as ordered by the Prayer Book (page 534), the prayer itself was stopped after the bishop laid on hands and said, “Therefore, father, though Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to N.; fill him with grace and power, and make him a priest in your Church” (page 533). After vesting all of the ordinands, the bishop completed the prayer. The problem, of course, is that theologically for Anglicans, there is no “moment of consecration” in the celebration of our Sacraments (Baptism and Eucharist) or sacramental rites (Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, Unction of the Sick, and Ordination). This is an example of the long shadows, as it were, taken on by Anglicans after the 1896 papal encyclical Apostolicae Curae: On the Nullity of Anglican Orders.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 38

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 38

FROM THE RECTOR: UNDERWAY

The materials abatement work on the roofs of the Mission House and the Parish House will be completed on Friday, August 16. The team was ready to wrap it up on Thursday, but because of our worship schedule for the Feast of the Assumption, they worked elsewhere that day. Already we’ve had some good news and some not-so-good news.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 37

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 37

FROM THE RECTOR: MARY’S ASSUMPTION

Peter Brown, the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History Emeritus, Princeton University, is credited with recognizing the period of A.D. 250 to A.D. 800 in Western Europe as a unit: late antiquity. He is also recognized by Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell Johnson in their book, The Origins of Fasts, Feasts and Seasons (2011) for his book The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (1981) for demonstrating the importance of popular religion in the development of Christianity in late antiquity. Brown’s short curriculum vitae states: “His principal concern is the rise of Christianity and the transition from the ancient to the early medieval world.” In Bradshaw and Johnson’s Origins, the last two chapters are “The first martyrs and saints” and “Mary: devotion and feasts.” The book concludes with these words, “Again, as with devotion to the martyrs and saints, the building blocks of a later popular and liturgical Marian piety appear quite early” (page 214).

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 36

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 36

FROM THE RECTOR: SESQUICENTENNIAL COMING

On Sunday, December 8, 2019, Saint Mary’s will celebrate the beginning of our one-hundred-fiftieth year of ministry. The doors of the first church, located at 228 West Forty-fifth Street, opened for worship on December 8, 1870. It was a Thursday and was kept as the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1895, December 8, was the Second Sunday of Advent. Though not strictly rubrical, it was celebrated in the new building as the Feast of the Conception of Mary. Newbury Frost Read’s The Story of St. Mary’s (1931) is available online at Project Canterbury. The bishop of New York consecrated the church on December 12, 1895. The December 1895 issue of the The Arrow, a parish magazine then published by a men’s group, the Sons of St. Sebastian, from October 1891 through March 1899, is an important record of the services celebrated that month.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 35

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 35

FROM THE RECTOR: UPDATES AND AUGUST CELEBRATIONS

The best news of the week is that the new lighting for the nave of the church was installed over three nights this past week, July 22, 23, and 24, by IMCD Lighting. Joe Saint and his team have done a wonderful job. Adjustments can be made. We’ve asked Joe to help us with some additional lighting issues in the church—take a look at Stations of the Cross IX and X on Sunday.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 34

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 34

FROM DR. DAVID HURD: A RICH OFFERING OF MUSICAL GIFTS

The Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM) was born out of a gathering of three prominent American cathedral musicians in 1965 who founded the American Cathedral Organists and Choirmasters Association (ACOCA), modeled on the existing Association of English Cathedral Organists. By 1973 it had become apparent that an American association of Anglican musicians, not limited to musicians serving in cathedrals, was desirable. The new name (AAM) was officially adopted the following year. The AAM Annual Conference in 1978 was hosted at the headquarters of the Royal School of Church Music, Addington Palace, Croydon, England. Since that time the Association has held annual conferences throughout North America and returned to the UK for a conference every ten years.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 33

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 33

FROM FATHER SMITH: WE MAKE OUR SONG

During my sermon at the Solemn Mass last Sunday, I talked a bit about James Weldon Johnson's great anthem, "Lift every voice and sing," which we then sang at the Offertory. At Coffee Hour, I spoke with Gregory Eaton, who was visiting with us that day. Gregory was the greatly respected director of music and organist at the Church of Saint Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights for twenty-one years, between 1993 and 2014. He now serves as organist-choirmaster at All Saints' Church, Austin, Texas. Gregory is a good friend of Saint Mary's, and he knows the parish well. While we drank our coffee, Gregory and I were joined by two or three parishioners, and we ended up sharing with each other what we knew about the brilliant African-American author, composer, and activist, James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and his iconic hymn. At one point, Gregory reminded me that Johnson is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. (Father Thomas McKee Brown, first rector of Saint Mary's, is also buried there.)

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 32

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 32

FROM THE RECTOR: NEGLECTED TEXTS

Last week I came across two biblical narratives that I would call “neglected texts”—at least from the point of view of worship. I came across a reference to Judges 19. In a note, the editors of The New Oxford Annotated Bible: Revised Standard Version (1973) call this chapter, “The appalling crime of the Benjaminites” (pages 319–20). Judges 20 is “The punishment of Benjamin” (pages 320–23) and  Judges 21 is entitled, “Two devices to secure wives for the Benjaminites” (pages 323–24). While reading through Judges 21, it suddenly occurred to me that I had learned about this narrative while reading Phyllis Trible’s Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives [(1984), 65–92.] It’s a horrific tale of domination of women by men. It is never appointed to be read in worship. That’s why I would consider it a “neglected text.”

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 31

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 31

FROM THE RECTOR: PRIDE

A year ago, two events occurred very close to each other, united in different ways to “pride.” On June 28, 2018, we celebrated the Burial of the Dead for Richard Joseph “Dick” Leitsch. In the early hours of June 28, 1969, what came to be known as the Stonewall Uprising began. I did not know until I saw the movie Stonewall Uprising with Dick Leitsch and Father Edgar Wells, that Dick was presiding at the meeting at which it was decided to have the first Pride March.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 30

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 30

FROM THE RECTOR: CORPUS CHRISTI 2019

During the Middle Ages in the Christian West, lay people attended the Eucharist but received Communion very infrequently, usually only at Easter. The feast of Corpus Christi developed in this context as seeing --- --- not eating --- --- the Eucharistic Bread became the focus of devotion and blessing in the thirteenth century (Adolf Adam, The Liturgical Year [1990], 169 --- 74). Somehow, the Anglo-Catholic revival, which brought so much renewal to so many areas of Anglican tradition, latched on to this medieval development that was unknown to the early church: Masses where Communion would not be received by anyone but the celebrant. On Sunday, May 5, 1965, Saint Mary's new rector, Father Donald Garfield (1924 --- 1996; rector 1965 --- 1978) offered communion to everyone at the main Sunday service, Solemn Mass, for the first time. It marked a new beginning of our common life and witness.

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 29

VOLUME 21, NUMBER 29

FROM FATHER SMITH: GOD'S GRANDEUR

Last week, Father Matthew Jacobson and I attended a conference at Fordham University, Lincoln Center. The conference was organized by the university's Orthodox Studies Center, and its topic was a grand and unabashedly theological one, "Faith, Reason, and Theosis." Theosis is a Greek word, sometimes translated as "deification," or "divinization." The word refers to an ancient teaching concerning the nature, and possibilities of, the Christian life. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215) defined theosis in this way, "Deification is the attaining of likeness to God and union with him so far as possible" (Exhortation to the Greeks I.3).

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VOLUME 21, NUMBER 28

FROM THE RECTOR: ON WAITING

In Luke’s account of Jesus’ Ascension, forty days after his resurrection, the Risen Jesus tells his apostles, “Before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5b). But they did not know how long that wait would be. In Acts, the gathered community waited a full ten days before the Holy Spirit “came upon” them. With respect, the Holy Spirit moved, and still moves, much faster than does New York City’s process for granting construction permits. The goal of this process is positive and much to be desired: to assure that everything is done safely. Still, the wheels of the bureaucracy move slowly, and, inevitably, there are delays.

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