FROM THE RECTOR: ONE FOUNDATION
While in seminary I went every year to my sponsoring parish for Christmas Eve. My rector thought I and my family should get used to me not being home for Christmas from the get go. (He was fine with my flying home on Christmas Day after church in the morning.) One year as I came into Saint Helena’s Church, Burr Ridge, Illinois, a few days before Christmas, the rector was there on a step ladder adjusting a veil on a statue of Mary. He turned to me and said, “They know you mean business when you dress your statues.” It was a great line.
This year, the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul falls on Monday, June 29. (In addition to the 12:10 Eucharist there will be a Sung Mass at 6:00 PM.) Last year, it fell on a Sunday, and as is our custom, we observed the feast on Sunday.
I was celebrant and preacher. I was up early to finish writing my sermon. I turned on the television and caught a few minutes of the end of the service at Saint Peter’s Basilica. The pope and a representative of the ecumenical patriarch were processing together to the statue of Peter. It was dressed up for this feast in a cope and a golden papal triple crown. With respect, I couldn’t help but think a great ecumenical moment was being missed. Put some flowers out for Peter; but, with respect, take off the papal crown and robes when the Eastern Orthodox are your guests.
The 1979 Prayer Book repurposed the Prayer Book collect for the Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude and made it the collect for the Sunday nearest June 29. So, even when the feast of Peter and Paul is on a weekday, the ministry of the apostles is recalled on this Sunday:
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
It’s a great Sunday to sing either “Christ is made the sure foundation” (which we will sing this year) or “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord.” (At the Sung Mass on Monday night we will sing just two hymns: “The eternal gifts of Christ the King” and “A mighty fortress is our God.”)
One of the things that is so strong about the decoration of our building is its focus on Jesus. He’s everywhere—and not just on the great cross beam above the chancel. We have many shrines and statues of saints—the candles people light by them bear witness to their importance. But the central and great images of our church home are of Jesus. Peter and Paul broke bread in his name. We honor them when we have confidence in the one who called them to his service, Jesus Christ our Lord. I don’t think the ecumenical movement will make any real progress until the pope lays aside Peter’s crown. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Nancy, Rasheed, Linda, Renee, John, Steve, Thomas, Judi, Sam, Victoria, Catherine, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Deborah Francis, religious, Pamela, religious, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 28: 1929 Lillie Rebecca Ferguson; 1937 Edward Delevan Ransom; 1956 Douglas McNabb.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
INDEPENDENCE DAY SCHEDULING . . . Independence Day is Saturday, July 4. On Friday, July 3, the church will only be open from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM, and only the noonday services will be offered. The Mass of the day will be for July 3, an ordinary weekday. Because our Saturdays include the Sunday Vigil Mass in the evening, we will keep our regular Saturday schedule. The Independence Day Mass will be celebrated at 12:10 PM, the Sunday Vigil Mass at 5:20 PM. Confessions, Noonday Prayer, and Evening Prayer will be on the regular schedule. —S.G.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, June 28, LGBT Pride March . . . Monday, June 29, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . On Saturday, June 27, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace. On Saturday, July 4, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Burial of the Dead was celebrated for Christopher Adlington on Monday, June 22. May he rest in peace and rise in glory . . . Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., continues her recovery at the convent. Please keep her in your prayers
. . . Father Smith is on vacation. He returns to the parish on Sunday, August 2 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 132, Nativity of Saint John the Baptist 68.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Christian hymnody is a complex subject covering the diverse origins of hymns and the means by which this music has come to singing congregations throughout time. There are ancient Hebraic melodies, early Ambrosian hymns, Gregorian chant, and numerous secular sources such as folk tunes that have provided us hymn melodies. There are also the chorales of Luther, the pure melodies of the Moravians, and the works of John Calvin, Isaac Watts, and the Wesley brothers. But there is no single source for Christian hymnody greater than that of the English church and its myriad composers. Sources from Thomas Tallis through Charles Stanford, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and some of today’s most innovative writers have contributed to this treasure trove, and it should be noted that our Hymnal 1982 holds a greater number of tunes than any other publication of its kind. This Sunday we will sing the great hymn Christ is made the sure foundation. This hymn has its own unique story. In the Anglican tradition, verse anthems developed and were very popular from the early seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries. Using extended portions of Biblical text, these anthems were made up of contrasting sections utilizing various combinations of solo voices, alternating with choral parts fully accompanied. While particularly well suited to the Chapels Royal and Cathedral foundations, these anthems have fallen out of active use, in part, because of their performance length. A major proponent of the verse anthem, Henry Purcell (1659–1695), wrote a total of sixty-five such works, including a particularly fetching one entitled, O God, Thou art my God. Utilizing several verses from Psalm 63, the work concludes with a broad and beautiful “Alleluia” chorus, which has been lifted in its entirety to become the hymn tune we know as Westminster Abbey. And on Sunday at the Solemn Mass we will hear a marvelous setting of the traditional spiritual, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, by the great American composer and arranger, Margaret Bonds (1913–1972), sung by soprano Suzanne Woods, who is our cantor today. —Mark Peterson
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Need help finding food or know someone who does? Call 1-800-5-HUNGRY (Why Hunger Hotline, Monday–Friday 9:00 AM–6:00 PM EST) or 1-866-3-HUNGRY (USDA National Hunger Hotline, 8:00 AM–8:00 PM EST) . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street . . . If you would like to find out more about the work of Saint Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, please speak to Father Gerth.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Manhattanhenge: Sunday, July 12, 8:20 PM & Monday, July 13 at 8:21 PM, “[These are days] when the setting sun [will align] precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan's brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough's grid. A rare and beautiful sight.” July 12: Full sun on the Grid; July 13: Half sun on the Grid. Visit the Hayden Planetarium website for more information.