FROM FATHER SMITH: LIFELONG LEARNING
When I was growing up I sometimes heard certain folks described as "eternal students." The epithet was never meant as a compliment. I was never sure why. After all, what's wrong with curiosity or a desire to learn? These days the catch phrase, at least in some educational circles, is "lifelong learning." I like that one better. At the risk of sounding Rumsfeldian, I would argue that we don't always know what we don't know. But when we figure that out--at 25, or 35, or 85--we are sometimes still eager to fill in the gaps. We decide to do something about what we don't know. We decide to study, and there's nothing wrong with that.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: 9/11 AND 9/14
As in the year 2001, this year September 11 is a Tuesday and September 14, Holy Cross Day, is a Friday. On Tuesday the 12:10 PM Mass will be offered as a requiem for those who were killed in the terrorist attacks that day. On Holy Cross Day, a "Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ," in addition to the Daily 12:10 Eucharist there will be a Sung Mass at 6:00 PM. (Friday abstinence is not observed on "Feasts of Our Lord Jesus Christ.") For those who are new to Saint Mary's, our "Evening Sung Masses" start at 6:00 PM and finish before 7:00 PM. There's some music, and incense is offered; but it's a Sung Mass, not a Solemn Mass-less chanting, less ceremony. And it seems right for the day.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: THREE THINGS FROM 2010
It was Easter Day 2010 when I walked into Saint Joseph's Hall before Evensong, and parishioner Hardy Geer met me holding a few small pieces of limestone in his hands. I would soon learn that those pieces had chipped away from the façade of the church when the iron clamps that held the stones to the building had rusted and begun to degrade. We acted quickly to erect a sidewalk shed that would cover the entire façade on the Forty-sixth Street side of the church.
FROM THE RECTOR: AUGUST ROUNDUP
This Sunday, August 26, will be the last Sunday when Sr. Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B., and Sr. Monica Clare, C.S.J.B., will be in residence. We had a wonderful celebration on Assumption with them and four of their sisters from the convent following the Solemn Mass. Those of us who know them will miss them greatly, but we respect the decision of their superior to close their branch house. That said, I hope very much that the sisters will be back from time to time to worship with us.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: OMISSIONS
We are still in Year B of the three-year Eucharistic lectionary during which the gospel text appointed for Mass on Sundays is mostly taken from the Gospel of Mark. It must be said that Mark gets shortchanged a fair amount during Year B, but it could be worse. Here at Saint Mary's, we still use the lectionary found in editions of the Book of Common Prayer 1979 until sometime after 2006, when General Convention approved the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) for use in our church. In the BCP lectionary,Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: ASSUMPTION 2018
The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is on Wednesday, August 15. Sung Matins will be at 8:30 AM, Noonday Office at 12:00 PM, Sung Mass at 12:10 PM, and Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. Mr. George Bozeman, Deerfield, New Hampshire, a noted concert player and organ builder, will play a recital at 5:30 PM. The parish choir will sing the Mass ordinary. There will be a special reception following the Solemn Mass in honor of the sisters and their ministries. We expect the sisters' last night at Saint Mary's will be Thursday, August 30.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: AIDE MEMOIRE
If memory serves, while speaking to my senior Nashotah House Seminary class, our liturgics professor, the Reverend Dr. Louis Weil, called the altar book an "aide memoire"--a memory aid for the presider while he or she presided at Mass. The appointed words of our common prayer certainly aren't an incantation, a magic spell; they are words of worship. The Eucharistic Prayer is the primary proclamation of our faith when we gather for Mass. From the fourth century forward, in the wake of Christianity's legalization and great growth in numbers, we begin to have written texts for the bishops and priests who presided at Mass. They needed them. The church was growing fast, and texts helped presiders proclaim the gospel faithfully.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: MOVING FORWARD
I am delighted to announce that our bishop, the Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche, has given permission to the Society of Saint Francis, Province of the Americas, to establish a "house" here at Saint Mary's. I feel sure that the members and friends of the parish will want to join me in welcoming two resident friars, Brother Damien Joseph, S.S.F., and Brother Thomas, S.S.F., to Saint Mary's in September.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: ONE BODY, ONE BREAD
In June I wrote about the first of a two-part article by the Reverend Dr. Stephen R. Shaver, a liturgical scholar and rector of the Church of the Incarnation, Santa Rosa, California. The second part, "A Eucharistic Origins Story Part II: The Body and the Blood of Christ" (Worship 92 [July 2018], 298-317) has arrived. In his conclusion Shaver writes, "We can in fact draw at least two lines from earliest Christian meals to the later Eucharist: the first is the tradition of sharing a common loaf (and sometimes cup), and the second is the tradition associating the meal with Jesus's body and blood. Neither of these two strands was universal, but both date from the beginning of the Christian movement, and both would eventually be adopted so widely as to be normative" (pages 316-17).Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: PRAYER BOOK NEWS
The good news is that the General Convention opted not to begin the process of replacing the Prayer Book. You can read the adopted resolution here. In addition to the General Convention's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, there is now to be a "Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision"--and the enabling
FROM THE RECTOR: PRAYER BOOK REVISION
You know we may be in trouble when you click on the Episcopal News Service headline, "Committee Will Propose Comprehensive Revision of the Book of Common Prayer," and discover a picture of the committee members with this caption, "Members of the Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169, which is considering revision of the Book of Common Prayer, clap along while singing a hymn before the start of their morning meeting on July 5."
FROM THE RECTOR: RICHARD JOSEPH LEITSCH, 1935-2018
This is the homily I preached at the Burial of the Dead for Dick Leitsch on Thursday,
June 28, 2018. —S.G.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was for over two decades a leader of part of the Orthodox Jewish community in the Commonwealth-what we Americans often call "The British Commonwealth of Nations," but it's simply "The Commonwealth." I follow his blog called Covenant and Conversation. This week his topic was "A People that Dwell Alone." He wrote about the revival of Anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere-and these are his words-"within living memory of the Holocaust." His starting point was a phrase from the fourth book of Moses, Numbers, "a people dwelling alone" (Numbers 23:9). He writes, "If people do not like you for what you are, they will not like you more for pretending to be what you are not." He summarized his reflection with these words, "In our uniqueness lies our universality. By being what only we are, we contribute to humanity what only we can give."Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: NATIVITY OF JOHN
The Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, is a "Feast of Our Lord" that may be observed on a Sunday when June 24 is a Sunday. We did this in 2007 and in 2012. Because of how Easter Day falls and two intervening leap years, this possibility for a Sunday celebration of John's birth will not happen again until 2029.
John's birth is described by Luke in two short verses. Eight verses are needed by the evangelist to tell the story of the child being named "John." The great focus of this narrative is the song the evangelist places on the lips of John's father, Zechariah, a song we call, "The Song of Zechariah." It's also known by the first words of the Latin translation of the New Testament Greek, "Benedictus Dominus Deus," or simply the "Benedictus." These are the first wordsRead More
FROM FATHER SMITH:
"LISTEN, AND INCLINE THE EAR OF YOUR HEART"
Last Friday, I traveled to Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York, to attend the ordination of Brother Aidan William Owen, O.H.C., to the priesthood. The bishop of New York was the celebrant that morning. Sister Elizabeth Broyles, C.M.A., preached the sermon.
The ordination took place in the monastery chapel, a space where prayer is offered many times each day, as it has been for many years. Such sacred spaces, I often feel, are inhabited by the memory, and the power, of all that praying. At Holy Cross, it is as if the words of the Eucharist and the psalms--the heart of monastic prayer--hang there patiently in the chapel, just waiting to become audible once again.Read More
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
FROM THE RECTOR: NEW STUDY FOR CORPUS CHRISTI
The Reverend Dr. Stephen R. Shaver completed his doctorate in liturgical studies last year at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. This month he begins his first position as a rector at the Church of the Incarnation, Santa Rosa, California. Our paths have crossed a few times. He was Fr. Louis Weil's last teaching assistant before Weil's retirement from the faculty of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Fr. Shaver has just published the first of a two-part article. Its title is "A Eucharistic Origins Story Part 1: The Breaking of the Loaf" (Worship 92 [May 2018], 204-21). I want to tell you about this first article and to say that I'm looking forward to reading part two.Read More
FROM FATHER SMITH: "BACK HOME" AND "OVER THERE"
When I was growing up Roman Catholic in my small town in Western New York in the middle of the last century, "the missions" were something that took place "over there," a long way from "back home." Only specially qualified people went to serve in the missions. They were mostly white, but we didn't notice that, because we were mostly white, too. Every once in a while a "missionary" would come to the parish on a Sunday to preach. He would talk about his work "over there" and would ask for donations to assist with his faraway labors.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: PENTECOST BRETHREN
At the end of Luke, Jesus said to his apostles, "Stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49b). In the Acts of the Apostles, on the day called "Pentecost" (from the Greek for "fiftieth"), the people of Jerusalem are celebrating a harvest festival, "the feast of weeks" described in Exodus 23:16, Leviticus 23:15-21, and Deuteronomy 16:9-12. But some are not. "They" (Acts 2:1) are together waiting for Jesus' promised gift, and on the day of the festival the gift arrives (Acts 2:2-13).Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: MITTIES MCDONALD DECHAMPLAIN, priest, 1948-2018
On Friday afternoon, May 8, the Reverend Dr. Mitties DeChamplain attended the noonday services here at Saint Mary's. Father Matt Jacobson, who is a physician and her former student at the General Theological Seminary, was celebrant. Sometime after the Eucharist was over, in her conversation with Matt, it was clear to him that something was wrong, that she was not herself. He called me. I brought Sr. Monica Clare and our bookkeeper, Kristie Raynor, an emergency medical technician, to the sacristy.
FROM THE RECTOR: SACRED, SECULAR, AND RELIGIOUS
Let me begin with the very happy news that on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B., was elected by her community to make her vow of final profession as a sister of the Community of St. John Baptist. Her commitment to the religious life is a witness of God's continuing work through the church. Bishop Allen Shin, who serves as episcopal visitor of her order, will receive her vows at a service at their convent in Mendham, New Jersey, on Friday, June 8, 2018, at 10:30 AM. All are invited.Read More