FROM THE RECTOR: OCTOBER HOPES
It was in the fall of 1976, when I was in graduate school, that I first attended the Church of the Ascension in Chicago. Many readers of this newsletter may know of the crucifix on the outside wall of that church and the words there from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass" (Lamentations 1:12). It's a powerful, even jarring, proclamation of Christ's sacrifice. Between the main doors of Saint Mary's, the Virgin holds her child, a proclamation of another truth: the Incarnation of the Son of God. I hope the faith in Christ we share, especially with those victims of the shootings in Las Vegas, can help keep the shadows of despair from many hearts.
I've found myself almost unable to form, much less say aloud, any coherent prayer intentions this week for the victims of that massacre as I've officiated at Morning and Evening Prayer-the intention at Mass is already written out. That I could do. I know that human beings are capable of great evil.
Among the first photographs I saw of the aftermath of the shooting were men with their shirts off. It took me a moment to realize they had used their shirts as tourniquets and slings to help others. Immediately I was back at Ground Zero. More would have died in Las Vegas if there had not been so many good people there whose instincts were to help others, to lay down their lives for others.
While visiting my aunt and uncle in Maryland recently, I read part of a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) [Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (2010)]. He was executed on April 9, 1944, as Allied armies approached the concentration camp in which he had been jailed for being a part of a conspiracy to oust Hitler from power. He and the others executed that day for this crime were stripped naked before they were hanged. Historians now think it is highly likely that Bonhoeffer and his companions were strung up and suffered cruelly for hours before they died. I hope the Christians among them were able to remember the words of Jesus from the cross to the wrongdoer who asked Jesus to remember him in his kingdom, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). I hope many who mourn can find strength in whatever faith in God they have been given.
The fall brings three important feasts for our parish community, All Saints' Day (November 1), the Conception of Mary (December 8), and Christmas Day. November brings us the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (November 2), and for us at Saint Mary's five additional days when we remember the departed by name at weekday Masses. Advent Sunday, the beginning of the new church year, is December 3. Running through my mind as I look ahead are hopes for new ways to be helpful to others and to witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I've been looking in the Prayer Book for an appropriate prayer to offer for victims of murder, not to mention those survivors who will never recover from the wounds they received. I've found two petitions from the Great Litany to share: "From violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared, Good Lord, deliver us;" and "In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment, Good Lord, deliver us" (Prayer Book, 149). -Stephen Gerth
The Open Doors Capital Campaign Message
THE NEXT PHASE OF THE CAPITAL CAMPAIGN, reaching out to members and friends who have not yet pledged, is underway. Many have already seen this video, but our emailing list continues to grow. We offer it again. I invite you to look at the campaign webpage at this link. The production of our next video is underway. We expect it to be ready in early November. I ask your prayers for the team that is contacting and following up with people. It's exciting to think that the church façade will be repaired in the new year. That will be happening because of the gifts, small and large, of this parish's members and friends. Thank you very much. -S.G.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Mike, Wendell, Barbara, Dick, Karen, José, Robert, William, Karl, David, Sandy, Pearl, Donald, Patricia, Dorothea, Olutoyin, Eugenia, Peggy, Kathy, May, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, Dennis, and George; for Horace, Mitties, Scott, Anne, David, Ross, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for all victims of poverty, famine, violence, and disaster, especially the people of Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Texas; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 8: 1958 Grace Robert; 1985 Herbert Eric Schmidt.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . The annual Oktoberfest Potluck Supper and Hymn Sing will take place on Saturday, October 7, from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM, in Saint Joseph's Hall and the Choir Loft. David Hurd, organist and music director, will play the organ at the Hymn Sing and will take requests from the assembled parishioners and their friends. Please join us. Bring a friend and a dish to share. Beverages will be provided. All are welcome. A donation of $10.00 to cover costs is suggested . . . Sunday, October 8, The Inquirers' Class, led by Father Matthew Jacobson, will not meet on Sunday. The class will resume on October 15 . . . Sunday, October 8, 10:00 AM, Saint Benedict's Study, Adult Forum: The Reformation: 1517-2017, led by Mrs. Grace Mudd. . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on October 11 at 6:30 PM . . . Friday, October 13, 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 . . . Concert at Saint Mary's: Saturday, October 14, 2017, 8:00 PM, The New York Repertory Orchestra. Admission is free (suggested donation: $15.00). Program: Amilcare Ponchielli, Overture to "I Lituani," Gustav Mahler Kindertotenlieder, Vaughan Williams, Symphony No. 6 in E minor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Congratulations to Dexter Baksh and Scott Melvin who celebrated "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant" at Saint Mary's on Sunday, October 1 . . . The annual All Souls' Day Appeal packets will be mailed early next week. 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 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday: 269
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . We will be mailing pledge packets for 2018 during the month of October. We invite you to think and pray about a pledge of time, talent, and treasure for the coming year. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary's and its mission.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Inquirers' Class will not meet on Sunday, October 8. The class resumes on October 15 . . . Sunday, October 8, 10:00 AM, Saint Benedict's Study, The Reformation: 1517-2017: Parishioner and teacher of history and global studies Grace Mudd begins her four-part series on the history of the Reformation. The series is designed, in part, to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Ninety-five Theses . . .The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on October 11, at 6:30 PM, in Saint Benedict's Study. For the next two or three weeks we will be entering into the world of allegorical interpretation by reading some passages from medieval commentaries on the Song of Songs. This way of interpreting the Bible feels strange to most modern people, but it was an extremely popular way of reading Scripture for hundreds of years. In response to our encounter with this strange old world of biblical interpretation, we will want to ask ourselves questions such as, "How can we learn to 'pray' the Bible, reading it imaginatively, responding to the text in deeply personal ways, while also recognizing that there are other interpretations, some of them bearing the weight of various forms of authority?"
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . The setting of the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning is by Stefano Bernardi (c. 1577-1637). Bernardi, musician and priest, was maestro di cappella at the cathedral in Verona, the city of his birth, from 1611 to 1622. In 1624, he became director of court music for Paris von Lodron, Prince-Bishop of Salzburg, where he remained for the next ten years, becoming active in the musical life of Salzburg Cathedral. Notably, Bernardi composed a Te Deum for twelve choirs, unfortunately now lost, for the Cathedral's consecration in 1628. During his Salzburg years Bernardi was ordained to the priesthood, and also received a doctorate in canon and civil law. He was one of the significant Italian composers standing at the juncture of late Renaissance polyphonic and early Baroque concertato syles. His Missa Praeparate corda vestra takes its inspiration from a responsory which, when translated, begins "Prepare your hearts for the Lord and serve Him only" (1 Samuel 7:3). The Mass is compact in its construction and is scored for four voices. Each movement begins with a recognizable common melodic phrase derived from the source motet.
The motet to be sung during the ministration of communion at the Solemn Mass is the second of the Quatre motets pour un temps de penitencee by the French pianist and composer Francis Poulenc (1899-1963). The text is the third of the traditional Good Friday responsories (Jeremiah 2:21). The dense textures and contrasting moments of consonant and dissonant harmonies richly illuminate the liturgical text. The set of four motets was composed in 1939, three years after the composer's return to the Catholic faith following his pilgrimage to western France to visit the Black Virgin. Accordingly, Poulenc's significant earlier sacred choral compositions begin with his Litanies á la Vierge Noire (1936) and his Mass in G (1937). Later important sacred works include Figure hymaine (1943), Stabat Mater (1950), Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël (1952), Gloria (1960), and Sept répons des ténèbres (Seven Responsories for Tenebrae, 1962).
The organ prelude on Sunday morning is the Prelude in B minor, BWV 544a, of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This Prelude, along with its partner Fugue, is one of only six such Bach works for which a complete autograph is extant. This manuscript, now in Oxford, bears the title Praeludium pro Organo cum pedale obligato. Immediately above the initial measures of the piece is the notation Praeludium in Organo pleno pedale, further suggesting the intended majestic sonority of the piece. The Praeludium is thought to have been composed in the late 1720s. It is shaped in concerto form; four sections of the primary theme material are separated by episodes in which the pedals are silent and secondary theme material is heard. - David Hurd
RECITALS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, November 1, 5:30 PM, All Saints' Day, Patrick Kreeger, associate organist, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church . . . Friday, December 8, 5:30 PM, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dr. Keith Reas, director of music, Saint Paul's Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
AFTER THE HURRICANES . . . If you are thinking about making a donation to help with relief and recovery efforts in Houston, southeast Texas, in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean, Florida, and beyond, consider visiting the following websites: Episcopal Relief & Development, United for Puerto Rico, UNICEF USA.
HOMELESS MINISTRY . . . Our next Drop-in Day is scheduled for Saturday, October 21, 2:00-4:00 PM in the Mission House. We are looking for 6-8 volunteers who are able to commit to helping out that day. We are looking for a greeter, who can direct our guests to the Clothes Closet; and we need volunteers who are able to welcome our guests and help them find suitable toiletry items and articles of clothing. Two social workers from our outreach partner, Breaking Ground, will be present on October 21. Donations are needed for October 21 and for the rest of our winter 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 . . . 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.
SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S . . . Parishioner Michael Reid once again invites Saint Marians to join the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. There will be two Walks taking place in Manhattan in October. On Sunday, October 15, the Caring Kind Walk is scheduled to take place in Riverside Park. Then, on Saturday, October 28, the Alzheimer's Association will hold its Walk downtown starting at South Street Seaport and ending at City Hall. Michael is the captain of the Mount Sinai Team that will be participating in both Walks. If you would like to join him for one or both of the Walks, please send him an e-mail. If you would like to make a donation, you may do so either here or here.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Wednesday, October 18, Saint Luke, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and Mass 6:20 PM . . . Monday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Saturday, October 28, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles . . . 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 . . . 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 . . . Sunday, November 5, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . 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.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY, An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney's Collection, 1940-2017. This exhibition began on August 18, 2017. From the museum website, "Through the lens of the Whitney's collection, An Incomplete History of Protest looks at how artists from the 1940s to the present have confronted the political and social issues of their day. Whether making art as a form of activism, criticism, instruction, or inspiration, the featured artists see their work as essential to challenging established thought and creating a more equitable culture. Many have sought immediate change, such as ending the war in Vietnam or combating the AIDS crisis. Others have engaged with protest more indirectly, with the long term in mind, hoping to create new ways of imagining society and citizenship." A section of the exhibit-"Mourning and Militancy"-focuses on art created in response to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.