FROM THE RECTOR: CONNECTIONS
The last few weeks have been busy ones for me, but there have also been some unexpected graces. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, February 24, I got in touch with several musicians, including Dr. David Hurd, who recently left his position at the General Theological Seminary as professor of church music and organist. Dr. Hurd was already committed for Holy Week and Easter Day, but he recommended an organist who, he thought, was available. I’m delighted to be able to announce that Dr. Timothy Pyper will be our guest organist and choral director for the seven principal liturgies of the week.
In the course of my conversation with Dr. Hurd, it turns out that his calendar for April and May, but not Holy Week and Easter Day, had cleared unexpectedly a few weeks earlier. I know I speak for many as I write that we are honored that he will be able to be interim organist and music director through the end of the choir season, which this year is the last Sunday in May.
In the meantime, plans are going forward for the rest of Lent. I am particularly grateful to singers Sharon Harms, Chris Howatt, and Mark Risinger for their help in keeping the work of our wonderful group of singers going forward.
I first heard about Saint Mary’s from the rector who sent me to seminary, Craig Johnson. He had been Father Edgar Wells’s seminarian in Waukegan, Illinois, while a student at Nashotah House. I met Father Wells, who had become rector of Saint Mary’s in 1979, in the fall of 1980, during my first year at Nashotah. Somewhere in the rectory is a copy of AVE, the monthly parish magazine that was the predecessor of this weekly newsletter, which Father Wells sent me with a note he had written on it, inviting me to visit Saint Mary’s. It would turn out that I would do so in November 1998 at the invitation of the board of trustees.
It was while I was at seminary that I first heard the name of David Hurd. He had become the director of chapel music at the General Seminary in 1976. He was involved as a composer, arranger, and as a member of the Standing Commission on Church Music that produced The Hymnal 1982. When I first came across his work in the hymnal, it never occurred to me that one day I would meet him and work with him at Saint Mary’s.
The inspiration for this article about connections was the visit last Sunday of Christine Chrystal. Ms. Chrystal was baptized at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday, December 16, 1942, and, later, she was a student at Saint John Baptist School, then at the convent in Mendham. She had not been in Saint Mary’s for many years. It was lovely to meet her and to see and hear how much the church and the worship moved her—“almost to tears.”
As we approach Holy Week and Easter Day, I invite you to join me in trying to be aware of the richness of our lives, how connected we are to others. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will invite us to be aware of our connection, not only to the living, but to those who have died. I happened to be the reader for the first lesson at Morning Prayer on Thursday. It was the passage in Genesis where God spoke to Jacob in “visions of the night” to tell him it was all right for him to go to Egypt where his son Joseph was Pharaoh’s overseer of the whole land. God said, “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt . . . and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes” (Genesis 46:3–4). Our eyes are closed by human hands. Our eyes are opened by Christ in the life of the world to come. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Julie, Louise, Alice, Daniel, Kris, Francesca, Mary, Sylvia, Stephen, Sally, Sam, Jean, Heidi, Billy, Karen, Catherine, Takeem, Arpene, Mazdak, Sidney, deacon, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, Peter, priest, and Harry, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 6: 1880 Alida Westlake; 1896 Katrina Wilhelmina Sundermeyer; 1900 William Frederick Mayer; 1912 Robert Francis Dougherty.
ABOUT LENT . . . This past week a close reading of the Prayer Book calendar revealed to me that I have been mistaken for many years now about whether Saint Joseph’s Day is part of Lent. In fact, it is. See the section called, “Days of Special Devotion” (page 17). Along with Sundays in Lent, the only day not “observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial” is the Feast of the Annunciation, when observed during Lent. (Because March 25, 2016, is Good Friday, the Annunciation will be celebrated on Monday, April 4.) If I’m reading the Prayer Book correctly, the Lenten Season actually ends on Saturday of the fifth week in Lent. The next day Holy Week begins. Holy Week ends with the morning of Holy Saturday. The Easter Season begins on Easter Eve (pages 31–32). More about Holy Week in next week’s Angelus. —S.G.
FRIDAYS IN LENT . . . Stations of the Cross will be prayed weekly on Fridays at 6:30 PM. You are invited to join us.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saint Mary’s on Sunday: March 6, the Fourth Sunday in Lent: Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Adult Forum 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will continue on March 9 at 6:30 PM . . . Friday, March 11, Evening Prayer 6:00 PM & Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Dorothy Rowan is an accomplished gardener, who works for the Parks Department of the City of New York. On Friday, March 4, she informed us that, despite the snowy weather, she had passed her test for a commercial driver’s license. She is now empowered to drive a forty-foot truck (though not an eighteen-wheeler!). Congratulations, Dorothy! . . . Flowers are needed for all the Sundays in Eastertide. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . If you would like to make a donation to help pay for the receptions after the Easter Vigil (March 26) or on Ascension Day (May 5), please speak to Father Jay Smith or contact the parish office . . . Sermons by the parish clergy, including recent sermons by Father Powell and the Rector, have been published on the parish webpage . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 202.
MUSIC ON SUNDAY . . . At the Solemn Mass on Sunday, the Fourth Sunday in Lent, the Mass setting will be a plainchant setting, Missa Orbis factor, sung by the women of the choir. The motet sung at the Solemn Mass is a portion of the well-known Latin hymn, Stabat Mater. The setting of the hymn is by Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770). Tartini was born in Piran, a town on the peninsula of Istria, in the Republic of Venice (now in Slovenia). Tartini was a skilled violinist and almost all of his works are violin concertos (at least 135) and violin sonatas. However, Tartini did write several sacred works, including his Miserere, composed between 1739 and 1741 at the request of Pope Clement XII, and the Stabat Mater, composed in 1769. Stabat Mater is a thirteenth-century Marian hymn. It has served as a liturgical sequence hymn, but it is now perhaps best known as a hymn associated with Lent and Holy Week. Here at Saint Mary’s the hymn is sung at Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. The translation of the hymn provided in Sunday’s bulletin is a free translation of the text by Edward Caswall (1814–1878). Caswall was an Anglican priest, who was received into the Roman Catholic church in 1847. Caswall did not translate the hymn word-for-word. Instead, he adapted the hymn in order to represent the meter, rhyme scheme, and sense of the original Latin text.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, March 6, at 10:00 AM, on the second floor of the Mission House, Father Peter Powell will continue his series on The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11–20; 1 Kings 1–2. This class will continue throughout the season of Lent, meeting on Sunday, March 13 and 20 . . . Next up: Beginning on Sunday, April 3, Matthew Jacobson will begin his four-part series, Reading the Fathers: An Exploration of the History, Spirituality & Theology of the Early Church. Matt writes, “This four-week class will examine early Christian writings from the first and second centuries in order to explore the history, theology, and spirituality of the early Church. We will look at several different genres of Greek writings in translation such as a letter, a liturgical text, and a martyrdom account of an early saint. The class will be structured in a way that we will focus on a different text each week and, therefore, participation will not be dependent on having attending a previous week.” A notice about the class has now been posted on the parish website. Take a look at the icon there of Saint Polycarp, who was martyred around AD 155. An early and important account of Saint Polycarp’s martyrdom will be read during this series . . . On Sunday, May 8, Stephen Morris will give a presentation on his new book, When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality (McFarland, 2015) . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on March 9, at 6:30 PM. The class will begin reading at Isaiah 57. The class will not meet on March 23 or 30.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are collecting warm clothing (coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves) for distribution here at the parish. Please bring donations to the parish kitchen on Sunday or contact Father Jay Smith . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street. —Jay Smith
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, March 13, Daylight Saving Time begins . . . Saturday, March 19, Saint Joseph, Mass 12:10 PM . . . March 19 and March 20, The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, The Liturgy of the Palms and Sung Vigil Mass on Saturday at 5:00 PM. On Sunday, Liturgy of the Palms and Sung Mass at 9:00 AM. The Liturgy of the Palms, Procession to Times Square, and Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM. Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM. There will be no 10:00 AM Eucharist on Palm Sunday . . . March 21–23, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday in Holy Week, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM, Evensong 6:00 PM.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Thursday, March 10, 7:00 PM, at the Gerald Lynch Theater of John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street, Songbirds 2: A Celebration of African-American Women in Theater: In Honor of Gertrude Jeannette. Ms. Jeannette played an important role in the history of The American Negro Theater (ANT). Angeline Butler, a great friend of Saint Mary’s, is a producer of this event. She will also perform. Please call 212-237-8764 to reserve tickets. General Admission: $20.00; Seniors $15.00; Students $10.00; John Jay Students: Free Admission.