The Angelus

Volume 13, Number 49


Saint Mary’s is about worship.  Since the beginning the parish community has organized its common life according to the calendar of the Church year.  This active and particular commitment to the calendar of the Church distinguishes us, and a very few other congregations across the Episcopal Church, from almost the entirety of the Episcopal Church.  The observance of this calendar is a sign that we belong to another place, that “better country” of which the Letter to the Hebrews speaks, where God has prepared a home for us (Hebrews 11:14-16).  It helps us know we are still on the Way.

The development and evolution of the calendar is an enormously complicated subject.  All Saints’ origins lie in the commemoration of the martyrs from the first centuries of the Christian Era.  During his episcopate, Gregory III, bishop of Rome from 731 to 741, built a chapel at Saint Peter’s Basilica where martyrs were commemorated along with all holy men and women – a chapel for all the saints.  Its festival was in May.  In the ninth century the commemoration was moved from the spring to the fall so that there would be enough food available for pilgrims.  (See Thomas J. Talley, Worship: Reforming Tradition [Washington, D.C.: The Pastoral Press, 1990], 113-123).

All Souls’ Day’s origins are wrapped up with the writings about the existence of an intermediate state for the dead.  Even before Augustine of Hippo (354-430), the great theologian of the West, wrote on the subject, purgatory was an active subject for Christian writers, and Christians had been praying for the dead for a long time.

Purgatory was thought to be an intermediate state between earth and heaven where the departed were purified of their sins.  The prayers of the living were thought to help.  Over the course of time, this led to the selling of indulgences for the departed – and this practice was probably the single greatest abuse in causing the Protestant Reformation (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 2nd. Ed., 1144-46).  In the polemics of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, prayer for the dead was associated in the Protestant West with the Roman Church.

The Anglo-Catholic revival led to a new understanding of All Saints’ and All Souls’ among Anglicans, especially after the tragic carnage of the First World War.  The Book of Common Prayer [1928] articulated a renewed understanding among Episcopalians about prayer for the departed, “And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom” (pages 74-75).  That’s really excellent, isn’t it?

This year All Saints’ Day is Tuesday, November 1.  The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed is Wednesday, November 2.  For us, Sunday, November 6, will be the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost.  On All Saints’ we celebrate the nameless martyrs and saints who died for Christ.  On All Souls’ we remember those who are in the nearer presence of God whose names we know.  Death has not stopped our love for them or their love for us.  All Saints’ and All Souls’ bring us face to face with our mortality and with our Christian hope.

Our celebration begins on All Hallows’ Eve – “hallows” is an older English word for “holy,” that is, “saint” – with Solemn Evensong at 6:00 PM.  On All Saints’ and on All Souls’, Morning Prayer is sung at 8:30 AM; the Noonday Office is at 12:00 PM.  There is a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM.  Solemn Mass is at 6:00 PM.  On All Saints’ Day, James Kennerley will play an organ recital at 5:30 PM and a reception will follow the Solemn Mass.

At both Masses on All Saints’ Day we will sing the great text For all the saints, who from their labors rest by William Walsham How (1823-1897) to the great tune Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958).  It’s one of the times I’m really glad my back is to the congregation at that point in the service.  You don’t need to see the tears in my eyes as my emotions are caught up in the memory of those who have loved me.  Like another of my favorite hymns, How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, How’s text speaks to the struggle that people have in this life and it proclaims Christ’s victory.  This Easter proclamation is why Hark! the herald angels sing is my favorite Christmas hymn – “born that man no more may die” (Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).  No matter what we call it, it’s God’s plan that every day we live and the day we die is an Easter Day.  I invite you to be at Mass on All Saints’ and on All Souls’ Day.  Stephen Gerth


YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Arpene, Gilbert, Linda, Julia, Sharon, Vivek, Mary, Lee, Thomas, Jim, Sylvia, Janice, Peggy, Donald, Bob, Julia, Dorothy, Gert, Rick, Emil, religious, Mark, priest, and Paul, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Rob . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 30: 1949 Sara Whicher Holden; 1956 Matilde Mathews; 1967 Cicely Hunt; 1990 David A. Hessing.


I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE for Jeffrey Buchanan of Washington, DC, and Maria Espinosa of Clifton, New Jersey.  If any of you know just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it.  This is the first time of asking.  James Ross Smith


THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.


NEW AND PROSPECTIVE MEMBERS RECEPTION . . . On Monday, November 14, at 6:30 PM, in the “rectory” – the building in the church complex where the “rector” lives.  The reception is for all those who are new to the parish and those who would like to find out more about Saint Mary’s.  The reception lasts for about an hour, and refreshments will be served.  If you would like to attend, please contact Father Jay Smith.  The rectory entrance is at 144 West 47th Street.  (Reminder: you may come to Evening Prayer in the church also at 6:00 PM.)


THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, October 30, Episcopal Traditions & Customs: Using the Prayer Book – The Ministry to the Sick.  The class meets on the second floor of the Mission House. Led by Father Jim Pace . . . Monday, October 31, Eve of All Saints’ Day, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM, and Reception 7:30 PM . . . Wednesday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . The Vestments of Saint Mary’s last day is Sunday, October 30 . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on November 2.  The class resumes on November 9 . . . Father Jim Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, October 29.  Father Jay Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, November 5.


PARISH REQUIEMS . . . Friday, November 4, Parish Requiem, Mass at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM (Letters A-G); Saturday, November 5, Parish Requiem, Mass at 12:10 PM (Letters H-M); Tuesday, November 8, Parish Requiem, Mass at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM (Last Names N - R); Wednesday, November 9, Parish Requiem, Mass at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM (Last Names S - Z).


DOORS AND TABERNACLES . . . The West 47th Street doors to the church are now open and will remain open through Wednesday, November 2.  On Thursday, November 3, the doors will be closed again so that repairs will be completed . . . The lock on the high altar tabernacle is broken.  One locksmith has been unable to fix it.  It will not be an easy repair.  The tabernacle is an important part of the fabric of the altar.  It is as much a question of conservation as of repair.  I will keep you posted.  In the meantime, the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the Lady Chapel.  S.G.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . The annual All Souls’ Day letter was mailed last Wednesday.  Please return your prayer requests for the All Souls’ Requiem Masses as soon as you are able . . . We are still looking for donors to sponsor the receptions on All Saints’ Day (November 1) and Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8).  Please contact Aaron Koch or Father Smith if you’d like to make a donation . . . The Stewardship Committee mailed stewardship packets during the week of October 24.  The members of the committee are MaryJane Boland, chair; Steven Heffner; and Marie Rosseels.  We invite you to give the appeal your prayerful consideration and to be generous.  Please pray for the success of this year’s campaign . . . Father Gerth will be away from the parish on vacation from Thursday, November 3, through Wednesday, November 9.  He returns to the office on Thursday, November 10 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 246.


A WOMEN'S GROUP AT SAINT MARY'S . . . You are invited to join the women of Saint Mary's for tea to share your ideas and thoughts about how we might connect with each other.  Because we're an urban church with parishioners from all over the metropolitan area, we know that sometimes it can be a challenge to get to know each other outside of services.  At this meeting, we'll enjoy refreshments at a parishioner's home and consider ways we can support each other and encourage fellowship.  Please come and join the discussion and meet some new people.  All are welcome, including children! Our first meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, November 3, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at a parishioner's home in Manhattan.  Please contact the church office (212-869-5830) if you'd like to join us, and we will send you more details about the meeting, including the location.


FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The organ piece before the Solemn Mass on Sunday is Prelude from Three Pieces (1939) by Frank Bridge (1879–1941).  The choral music is sung by a quartet drawn from the main choir. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘l’hora passa’ by Ludovico da Viadana (1560–1627).  While he took the name of his city of birth, Viadana’s family name was Grossi.  During the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Exsultate justi, also by Viadana.  At 4:40 PM on Sunday, John T. Lowe of Gainesville, Florida, will play the organ recital . . . For the Feast of All Saints’, I will play Franz Liszt’s (1811–1886) monumental Fantasy and Fugue on the chorale “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam,” S. 259, at 5:30 PM.  At the Solemn Mass, the setting of the ordinary is Missa brevis (1977) by Scottish composer James MacMillan (b. 1959).  This piece, for unaccompanied choir, is an early work, composed while MacMillan was a student, and published recently with very little revision.  At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings Antiphon (from Five Mystical Songs) by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958) . . . On All Souls’ Day, the setting of the Requiem Mass is Messe de Requiem, Opus 48 by Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924).  Fauré composed the work between 1877 and 1890, while he was choirmaster at the Church of the Madeleine, Paris.  On Wednesday, we will use a new edition for organ, violin, violoncello and harp as arranged by David Hill.  We are extremely grateful to two donors who have enabled us to hire these extra musicians, and are eternally grateful to those whose generosity allows music at Saint Mary’s to continue to flourish.  James Kennerley


PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 6, 2:00 AM . . . Monday, November 14, 6:30-7:30 PM, New and Prospective Members Reception, in the Rectory, after 6:00 PM Evening Prayer . . . Sunday, November 20, The Last Sunday after Pentecost: Commitment Sunday.  Pledge cards are offered . . . Wednesday, December 7, Eve of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM and Legacy Society Reception 7:00 PM . . . Thursday, December 8, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM, Reception 7:30 PM.


THE ARTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . American Globe Theatre (AGT), October 28–November 19.  Hamlet.  Directed by John Basil, AGT’s Artistic Director.  Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM.  For tickets and information, call 212-869-9809 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM . . . Sunday, November 6, 8:00 PM, Choral Spectacular: The Tenebrae Choir, Nigel Short, director . . . Sunday, November 13 at 8:00 PM, Organ Concert, Giampaolo di Rosa, soloist.  Works by Liszt and Bach, in addition to improvisation on submitted themes.  Admission is free . . . December 1 and December 2 at 8:00 PM, and December 3 at 3:00 PM, Holiday Concert by The Choral Society, John Maclay, conductor.  Works by Gabrieli, Bernstein, Pärt, and favorite audience carols.


AWAY FROM SAINT MARY’S . . . Members of the Community of Saint John Baptist will be leading two “Celtic Journeys” in the coming year: Ireland, May 6-16, 2012, and Cornwall and England’s Southwest, September 9-18, 2012.  For more information, please speak to one of the sisters or visit . . . The Peccadillo Theater Company at the Theatre at Saint Clement’s presents a revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s classic and very funny play, The Man Who Came to Dinner.  Limited engagement, November 25-December 18.  Directed by Dan Wackerman.  Dan is a good friend of Saint Mary’s and often worships with us on Sunday mornings.  Call 212-352-3101 for tickets or visit