FROM THE RECTOR: ALL SAINTS' AND ALL SOULS'
Everyone keeps Christmas Eve on Christmas Eve, but fewer and fewer parishes keep the other two "principal feasts" that most years fall on a weekday: The Epiphany on January 6 and All Saints' Day on November 1. We still do. So, I begin with the service schedule for All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, November 2.
The celebration of all of our "principal feasts" begins on their eve. So, on All Saints' Eve, Tuesday, October 31, with Solemn Evensong at 6:00 PM. On Wednesday, Morning Prayer will be sung at 8:30 AM, the Noonday Office will be prayed at 12:00 PM; a Sung Mass follows at 12:10 PM-the normal Wednesday Mass lengthened only by the inclusion of the appointed lessons, creed, and the great hymn "For all the saints." (Quite honestly, for me this hymn, with the theology and poetry of its words written by William Walsham How [1823-1897], a bishop of the Church of England, and the power of the tune by Ralph Vaughan Williams' [1872-1958] Sine nomine, makes it totally worth the extra time.)
Patrick Kreeger will play the organ recital at 5:30 PM. I am delighted that the Right Reverend Geralyn Wolf, XII Bishop of Rhode Island, now serving as assistant bishop in the diocese of Long Island, will be with us as celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. Holy Baptism and Confirmation will be celebrated at this Mass. The music will include Missa O quam gloriosum by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). A reception will follow in Saint Joseph's Hall.
Thursday, November 2, is All Souls' Day, formally known as the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed. Morning Prayer will be sung. After the Noonday Office, there will be a Sung Mass. At 6:00 PM there will be a Sung Mass & Blessing of the Vault. The music will include Missa Pro Defunctis by Felice Anerio (c. 1567-1630). On the next five days, Requiem Masses will be celebrated for the departed we remember by name. (Please see the parish calendar for the schedule.)
I've just started reading a new biography by Mark Lankford, Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci (2017). I'm at the point early in the book where Leonardo is 30 years old and is moving to Milan from Florence. Little is known about his childhood and early adult years-it was in Milan that he began keeping his famous notebooks. That said, Lankford tries with care to suggest how his life may have been shaped by what we do know about him and his family in the early years and about what we know of the small town of Vinci, literally a mountain away from Florence, a two-day walk. He called the first chapter "King Death"-Leonardo was born into a world where the plaque would visit more than once. It was a world where a cut could mean infection and death, a simple fall could leave person lame for life. Lankford credits da Vinci with the gift of living in the now.
For us, the now includes Christ in our lives, "in whom, we live and move and have our being," to quote the Prayer Book collect for guidance (page 57). Although our world is very different, we too live in the shadow of death, but by God's grace and love, we live by faith. To the members and friends of the parish who are near, I invite you to be with us for the special services of All Saints' and All Souls'. For those members and friends who cannot be here, you will be here too in Christ. To quote from Bishop How's hymn, "Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine"-the "thee" is the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, who is with us always until the time after created time ends. -Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Michael, Peggy, Beckett, James, José, Mike, Dorrie, Wendell, Barbara, Dick, Karen, Emily, Karl, Pearl, Eugenia, May, Heather, James, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, David, Sandy, Dennis, and George; for Horace, Clayton, Mitties, Anne, David, Gaylord, Harry, Edgar, and Vern, priests; for all victims of poverty, famine, violence, and disaster; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark; and for the repose of the soul of Morgen Holmen . . .
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 29: 1898 Sylvia Catherine Coffin; 1925 Eliza Brown Lyons.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Morgan Holmen, the partner of parishioner Michael Reid, died on Monday, October 23. His funeral is to take place at Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue on Friday, October 27, at 3:00 PM. Please keep Morgan, Michael, their family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers. May Morgan's soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Last week we kicked off our 2018 Stewardship Campaign, sending stewardship packets to nearly 1,000 members and friends of Saint Mary's. The Campaign has gotten off to a promising start. Some statistics: as of Wednesday, October 25, $85,520.00 has been pledged. This is 20% of our goal of $425,000.00. Nearly 10% of those who pledged for 2017 made pledges for 2018 during the first week of the Campaign. Between now and November 26, Commitment Sunday, we have set three goals: (1) to encourage all Saint Marians prayerfully to consider how they can offer their time, talent, and treasure to God here at Saint Mary's during the coming year; (2) to raise $425,000; and (3) to have all those who made a pledge for 2017 to fulfill that pledge no later than December 31, 2017. To make a pledge for 2018, please fill out a pledge card and mail it to 145 West Forty-sixth Street, New York, NY 10036; place your pledge card in the collection basket at Mass; or make a pledge online. We are extraordinarily grateful to all those who made pledges for 2017 and to those who have already made a pledge for 2018. To learn more about stewardship or the Stewardship Campaign, please speak to Father Gerth, or to a member of the Stewardship Committee (MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, Brendon Hunter, or Marie Rosseels, chair).
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, October 28, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles . . . Concert at Saint Mary's: Saturday, October 28, 2017, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre presents the Orlando Consort: Loire Valley in Song. From the Miller Theatre website, "The Laborde Chansonnier is one of the finest surviving French song-collection manuscripts, containing over a hundred songs by Binchois, Busnois, Dufay, Ockeghem and other fifteenth-century masters. Set with stunning illuminations and constructed with supreme skill, the Chansonnier-or songbook-was clearly produced for royal hands, eyes, and ears. The Orlando Consort sings a montage of the Chansonnier's most striking selections, complementing the pictorial magic of this magnificent Renaissance artifact" . . . Sunday, October 29, The Inquirers' Class, led by Father Matthew Jacobson, will meet at 10:00 AM in The Nursery . . . Sunday, October 29, 10:00 AM, The Adult Forum: The Reformation: 1517-2017, led by Mrs. Grace Mudd, will meet at 10:00 AM in Saint Benedict's Study . . . Wednesday, November 1, All Saints' Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on All Saints' Day, November 1. The class will resume on November 8, at 7:00 PM, after the Evening Mass . . . Thursday, November 2, All Souls' Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Sung Mass and Blessing of the Vault 6:00 PM . . . Friday, November 3, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor. Please enter at 145 West Forty-sixth Street, just west of the main doors to the church, and press buzzer 1 in the vestibule. Then climb up one flight of stairs, make a U-turn, and climb up another small flight of stairs. The Atrium will be on your left . . . Sunday, November 5, Daylight Saving Time ends.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . José Vidal was discharged from the Tisch Hospital of the NYU Langone Medical Center on Sunday, October 22. He is now at home continuing his recuperation. Please keep him in your prayers . . . The annual All Souls' Day Appeal packets were mailed on Tuesday, October 10. The packet includes a prayer-request form and a return envelope. We urge you to return your prayer requests as soon as possible. An offering with the requests is customary and is deeply appreciated . . . The parish office has received two tickets from a friend of the parish for a concert titled, Christmas at the Court of Henry VIII, at the Church of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. Here's a link that describes the concert. If you would like to have them, please be in touch with the parish office . . . Sunday, November 26, in Saint Joseph's Hall, Sister Laura Katharine's Final Candle Sale. Prepare for Advent and Christmas: Candles are being offered at a steep discount-40% off the original price, with an additional discount if you buy 4 or more candles of any size . . . Attendance: Last Sunday: 183.
ADULT EDUCATION IN NOVEMBER . . . Father Pete Powell will begin his series on the Gospel of Matthew on Sunday, November 5, at 10:00 AM, in Saint Benedict's Study. Father Powell writes, "In November we will begin a close study of Matthew's Gospel. As you are aware we are reading from Matthew this liturgical year and will be doing so until Advent 1. In November, I intend to cover the first 5 chapters of Matthew. This will get us from the Birth Narrative through the Beatitudes. We will explore the question of why a birth narrative and what are the implications for us today? In the Beatitudes we will look closely at what they really have to say about being a Christian. In them we will find that our faith is often in conflict with our religion. What in the world might that mean? Come and join us on November 5 and every Sunday in November to discuss this. We will resume the study of Matthew in Lent beginning with Matthew 6 and the Lord's Prayer. Once again the question will be what happens to us if we take the Gospel, and a prayer we say so often we may no longer hear it, seriously."
ABOUT THE MUSIC. . . The setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847). Mendelssohn blossomed early as a conductor, composer, and pianist. His initial music studies in Berlin were followed by travel in England, Scotland, Italy, and France before his appointment in 1833 as music director in Düsseldorf. Two years later he became conductor of the Gewandhaus concerts in Leipzig where, together with Schumann and others, he founded the Leipzig Conservatorium in 1842. His 1829 Leipzig performance of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion helped decisively to stimulate the nineteenth-century rediscovery of the music of J. S. Bach (1685-1750). His contributions as a composer span the categories of orchestral, choral, stage, chamber, piano, vocal, and organ works. His music is said to have set the canons of mid-Victorian musical taste. Mendelssohn's Die Deutsche Liturgie (1846) for eight-voice double choir includes Kyrie (not sung this morning), Gloria (Ehre sei Gott), and his previously composed Sanctus (Heilig, 1844). Agnus Dei (Lamm Gottes) is an adaptation of Mendelssohn's eight-voice motet In der Passionszeit (Herr, gedenke nicht), from Sechs Sprüche, Op 57/4, 1844). It is sung today as adapted by James Kennerley.
Sunday's Communion motet is another eight-voice setting from Mendelssohn's Sechs Sprüche, Opus 57/2, the text of which is drawn from Psalm 90. In Mendelssohn's six-movement liturgical cycle, this motet was designated for use on New Year's Day, carrying the title Am Neujahrstage.
The organ prelude and postlude today are also works by Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn composed a set of organ sonatas between 1839 and 1844, the first of which has four movements. The opening movement, played for the prelude, begins boldly in a defiant attitude expressed in chordal and then in angular fugal writing that continues through the piece in alternation with phrases of the chorale Was Gott tut, ist wohlg'tan. The final movement, played for the postlude, is a brisk and pianistic Allegro in F Major. -David Hurd
HOMELESS MINISTRY . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for November 18 and December 6, our next two Drop-in Days. We need blankets, razors, and shaving cream. We also need packs of new underwear for both women and men, in all sizes; and very shortly we will need cold-weather clothing such as coats, sweaters, thermal underwear, gloves, boots, and sweatshirts. Such basic items are proving to be useful to our neighbors living without shelter . . . Attorneys from the New York Legal Assistance Group have volunteered to host a Legal Aid Day for our Homeless Ministry on Wednesday, December 6, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM in the Mission House. The attorney volunteers will dispense legal advice, along with clothes and toiletries . . . Please contact Sister Monica Clare, if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry, or if you would like to make a donation . . . We also continue to receive nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, Saint Clement's Food Pantry. Please place those items in the basket near the ushers' table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church.
RECITALS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Friday, December 8, 2017, 5:30 PM, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dr. Keith Reas, director of music, Saint Paul's Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee . . . Friday, January 5, 2018, 5:30 PM, Eve of the Epiphany, Stephen Rumpf, New York City . . . Friday, February 2, 2018, 5:30, The Presentation: Candlemas, Dr. Claudia Dumschat, Church of the Transfiguration, New York City.
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, November 18, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre presents Vox Luminis: Royal Funeral Music Visit. From the Miller Theatre website, "For sixteenth- and seventeenth-century royalty, funeral rituals provided one last opportunity for earthly opulence. Vox Luminis explores the rich history of musical memorials, including Thomas Morley's music for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth I, and Heinrich Schütz's Musikalische Exequien for Prince Heinrich von Reuss, who commissioned the piece as part of his elaborate funeral plans. Works by Purcell and Bach round out this poignant program that both mourns death and celebrates life . . . Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre presents The Tallis Scholars: Heinrich Isaac at 500. From the Miller Theatre website, "2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Netherlandish Renaissance composer Heinrich Isaac, whose career spanned the European continent and encompassed both sacred and secular genres. Though less widely known today than his contemporary Josquin des Prez, his work has nonetheless been massively influential. The Tallis Scholars return to Miller to celebrate the legacies of these prolific composers, performing two of Isaac's motets alongside selections from Josquin, John Browne, and Nicolas Gombert." Visit the Miller Theatre website for more information and to purchase tickets.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Saturday, November 11, Veterans' Day (the church is open on the normal Saturday schedule) . . . Saturday, November 11, Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM, Diocesan Convention . . . Wednesday, November 22, Eve of Thanksgiving Day, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, November 23, Thanksgiving Day, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Sunday, November 26, Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King, Commitment Sunday . . . Sunday, December 3, The First Sunday of Advent.