FROM THE RECTOR: A JOYFUL WEEKEND
We have two celebrations this weekend. Each can lay claim, respectively, to a Greek or Latin verb for the command, "Rejoice!" On Annunciation Eve, Friday, March 24, Gabriel's greeting to Mary in New Testament Greek, chaîre, can be translated as "Hail!" (Revised Standard Version), "Greetings" (New Revised Standard Versions), or by its very common, even ordinary, imperative sense, "Rejoice." Count me as one who can easily imagine the word carrying the sense of greeting and rejoicing as God's messenger speaks to the young woman God has chosen to be the mother of his son (Luke 1:28). You'll hear this gospel at the Solemn Mass on Friday night and at the 12:10 PM Eucharist on Saturday.
The entrance chant for the Fourth Sunday in Lent begins with the Latin "laetare," that is, "Rejoice!"-also an imperative verb. The words of the chant are adapted from the last chapter of Isaiah, written after the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon: "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her" (Isaiah 66:10).
At Saint Mary's since the Epiphany in 1973, when "principal feasts" and "other feasts of Our Lord" fall on a Saturday, they have been observed with Solemn Mass on Friday night. White will be worn for the celebration of the Annunciation; rose is the color for the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Traditional Friday abstinence is dispensed from Friday evening and on Saturday. Sundays in Lent, of course, are never days for abstinence (Prayer Book, page 17). The services of both days are really great. If you want to hear the organ played fully, there's an organ recital Friday night before the Annunciation Mass. Our recitalist is Richard Robertson, who is on the staff of the Church of the Holy Ghost in Denver, Colorado. During the Solemn Mass this evening, the only thing that will remind us that we are in the season of Lent is the omission of the word "Alleluia."
Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell Johnson in their book The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity (2011) write, "The precise origins of the 25 March feast of the Annunciation . . . remain a mystery" (page 210). The celebration emerges first in the East in the sixth century. In the West, it begins to be celebrated across the seventh century (Adolf Adam, The Liturgical Year , 152). The Annunciation has always been celebrated in the Prayer Book tradition.
Adolf Adam (1912-2005) wrote that the outward signs that we associate with the Fourth Sunday in Lent-rose-colored vestments and the use of flowers and musical instruments-are unknown before the sixteenth century. He thinks that these customs arose from a local celebration in the city of Rome, dating back to the tenth century, which celebrated the arrival of spring (page 103).
Patrick Regan (1937-2017) in his book Advent to Pentecost (2013) called the Fourth Sunday in Lent the "turning point" of the season (page 86). In Rome, before the fourth century, a three-week season emerged, during which the Christian community prepared to celebrate baptism at Easter (page 88). It's important to remember that there's a lot of evolution in the common life of Christian communities East and West through the centuries. In his final sentence in an essay "From Three Weeks to Forty Days," Notre Dame Professor Maxwell Johnsons reminds us, "In its origins, therefore, 'Lent' has nothing to do with Easter at all but everything to do with the final training of candidates for baptism" (M. Johnson, ed., Living Water, Sealing Spirit , 136)-but that is a subject to explore another day.
Finally, the gospel for this year on the Fourth Sunday is the Healing of the Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41). In John, at the supper before the Passover, Jesus says to his friends, "You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22). Rejoice! -Stephen Gerth
OUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Linda, Patricia, Ricardo, Rick, Charles, David, Hilary, Gloria, Primi, Jerry, Kevin, Geneva, Elsa, Grady, Kelly, Alexander, Rocco, May, Robert, Nicole, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, Donald, Dennis, John, Abraham; Rafael, religious; Sidney, deacon; Horace, Hamilton, Peter, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, and Edgar, priests; all those preparing for baptism at Easter, especially Rami, James, and Jordan; all victims of war, poverty, famine, and disaster; the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark; and for the repose of the soul of Takashi Taniguchi . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 26: 1873 Mary Christie; 1938 Dewey Thomas Mooney; 1946 Anna K. Hubbell; 1951 Pauline Link; 1960 Marion Pratt Fouquet; 1960 Constance Hopkins; 1963 Marie Gihon.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Takashi Taniguchi died suddenly on Tuesday, March 14, here in Manhattan. He was fifteen years old and attended the School of the Future, where Rami Eskelin is also a student. Rami is to be baptized at the Easter Vigil on April 15. Please keep Takashi, his mother Atsumi Taniguchi, their family and friends, Rami, and all who mourn in your prayers.
THE ORDINARY WEEKDAYS OF LENT are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. The Fridays of Lent are traditionally observed also by abstaining from flesh meats. Abstinence is not observed on the five Sundays in Lent.
FRIDAYS IN LENT . . . Stations of the Cross are prayed on Fridays in Lent beginning March 3 at 6:30 PM. Stations will not be prayed on Friday, March 24, when we will be celebrating the Annunciation on its eve at 6:00 PM.
ACOLYTE REHEARSALS . . . Saturday, April 8, 10:00 AM, Rehearsal for Palm Sunday Liturgies . . . Sunday, April 9, 1:15 PM, Rehearsal for Maundy Thursday. Lunch will be provided.
VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED . . . On Saturday, April 8, following the acolyte rehearsal, at around 11:00 AM, the Flower Guild will be preparing palms for Palm Sunday. Volunteers are needed and are most welcome. Volunteers are also needed during Holy Week to help prepare for Easter. Please contact Marie Rosseels for more information. Help is needed especially Wednesday through Saturday, April 12-15.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, March 25, The Annunciation, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM . . . March 25-26, 2017, Fourth Sunday in Lent, Saturday Evening: Vigil Mass 5:20 PM; Sunday Morning: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Adult Forum 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM. An opportunity for fellowship follows each of the Masses and Evensong . . . Wednesday, March 29, 12:10 PM Sung Mass, 6:30 PM, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class . . . Thursday, March 30, 12:10 PM, Said Mass with Healing Service . . . Friday, March 31, 6:00 PM Evening Prayer and 6:30 PM Stations of the Cross.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Linda Bridges is gravely ill and is receiving hospice care at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. Father Jay Smith, and a number of members of the parish, have been able to visit with her this past week . . . Parishioner Rick Miranda recently broke a bone in one of his hands. He had outpatient surgery this week and is now recuperating . . . Parishioner Patricia Rheinhold underwent a surgical procedure at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey, on Monday. She is now recuperating at home . . . Parishioner Bob Picken recently had eye surgery and has had to curtail all his usual activities while recuperating. He hopes to be back at Saint Mary's soon . . . Parishioner Rick Austill was admitted to Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn last weekend for observation. He is now recuperating at home. He hopes to be back at Saint Mary's this weekend . . . Parishioner Abe Rochester reports that he is doing well while recuperating at home. He is eager to be back at the parish. . . . As reported in last week's newsletter, Deacon Matthew Jacobson recently suffered cuts and some pretty serious bruises after a bad fall on a staircase in his apartment building. He reports that he is doing well and will be with us for the Mass, and for Evensong, on Sunday . . . Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins continues to deal with some health problems during her time away in Nashville, Tennessee. We hope to see her here at Saint Mary's before too long . . . Please keep our deacons and all these parishioners in your prayers We have not yet reached 100% of our goal in our annual Stewardship Campaign. We need your help. If you have not yet made a pledge for 2017, but feel called to do so, please contact Marie Rosseels, the chair of the Stewardship Committee . . . Peter Agnone Ruane used to work across the street from Saint Mary's and often attended Morning Prayer. He and his wife Alanna Kaivalya were married here at Saint Mary's last fall. Peter has now joined the Flower Guild and is arranging the flowers for the Eve of the Annunciation. It is good to have Peter here at the parish, and we are grateful for his help . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 150.
MUSIC NOTES . . . The Eve of the Annunciation: The musical setting of the Mass this evening is the Missa Alma Redemptoris Mater of Tomás Luís de Victoria (1548-1611). Victoria is considered the most important Spanish composer of Renaissance polyphony. Born in Avila, the seventh of eleven children, he began his musical education as a choirboy at Avila Cathedral, and began his classical education at San Gil, a Jesuit school for boys founded in 1554. By 1565, Victoria had entered the Jesuit Collegio Germanico in Rome, where he was later engaged to teach music and eventually named maestro di cappella. Victoria knew and may have been instructed by Palestrina (1525-1594) who was maestro di cappella of the nearby Seminario Romano at that time. During his years in Rome, Victoria held several positions as singer, organist, and choral master, and published many of his compositions. He was ordained priest in 1575 after a three-day diaconate. There are twenty authenticated Mass settings of Victoria in addition to two Requiems. The Missa Alma Redemptoris Mater, published in 1600, is one of Victoria's twelve parody Masses in which he quotes musical ideas from pre-existing musical compositions. In this case, Victoria's musical quotes are from his own motet on Alma Redemptoris Mater, one of four seasonal antiphons of the blessed Virgin Mary, traditionally sung from the first Sunday of Advent through the Feast of the Purification (February 2). This antiphon makes reference to Gabriel's greeting to the Blessed Virgin. Victoria's Mass, founded on this antiphon, is a bright setting scored for two choirs of four voices each. The Benedictus is scored for five voices with the tenor of Choir I joining the four voices of Choir II.
David Hurd (b. 1950), organist and music director at Saint Mary's, began a practice of sending out an original musical composition as a Christmas greeting in 1983, and he has done so every year to the present. His most recent Christmas greeting was composed on December 4, 2016, and is a setting for four voices of Ave Maria, one of the most often prayed of all Christian devotions. It is sung for the first time at Saint Mary's this evening.
Fourth Sunday in Lent: The setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is Missa Cuiusvis Toni ("Mass in Any Mode") by Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1420-1497). Ockeghem is regarded as the most notable composer of the Franco-Flemish School in the later fifteenth century. Although many of his compositions have been lost, his surviving authenticated works include fourteen Masses, one of which is the earliest surviving polyphonic Requiem. Two other Masses of his are based upon chansons which he had previously composed. Thus, he is credited with foreshadowing the parody Mass techniques of the sixteenth century in which composers based Mass settings on themes of preexisting compositions. On the other hand, of the Masses of Ockeghem which appear to be freely composed, Missa Cuiusvis Toni stands out as a technical tour de force. This setting for four voices is so ingeniously crafted that, by assigning clefs to the vocal staves as directed by certain modal reference indicators, the same voice parts can be rendered in several different modes. Today's rendering of this music will be in the Phrygian Mode, which some scholars suspect may have been Ockeghem's point of departure in composing this Mass.
The motet sung during the administration of Communion on Sunday is O nata lux by Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943). The text of this motet is the office hymn for Lauds on the feast of the Transfiguration. Lauridsen's setting is the central of five movements from his Lux Aeterna for chorus and orchestra (1997). It is dedicated to the Loyola Marymount University Concert Choir, which premiered it at Carnegie Hall in 1997. Lauridsen, Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, was named an "American Choral Master" by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005. -David Hurd
ADULT EDUCATION . . . On Sundays in Lent, at 10:00 AM, Father Pete Powell continues his class on the Acts of the Apostles . . . During Eastertide, Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will present a series of classes entitled "Rising / Rose / Risen: Readings on Resurrection from Scripture into Poetry" . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on Wednesday, March 22 and 29, and on April 5, at 6:30 PM. The class will not meet during Holy Week (April 12), nor during Easter Week (April 19). Newcomers are especially welcome; no prior study or attendance is needed.
HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE . . . Saturday, April 8, Eve of Palm Sunday, Liturgy of the Palms and Sung Mass 5:00 PM . . . Sunday, April 9, Palm Sunday, Liturgy of the Palms and Sung Mass 9:00 AM; Liturgy of the Palms, Procession to Times Square and Solemn Mass 11:00 AM. Monday-Wednesday, April 10-12, Sung Matins at 8:30 AM & Evensong at 6:00 PM . . . April 13, Maundy Thursday, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, The Holy Eucharist 6:00 PM. The Watch before the Blessed Sacrament . . . April 14, Good Friday, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, The Good Friday Liturgy, 12:30 PM & 6:00 PM. Confessions will be heard by the parish clergy after both liturgies . . . Saturday, April 15, Easter Eve, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, the Great Vigil of Easter 7:00 PM, Reception in Saint Joseph's Hall, around 10:00 PM . . . Sunday, April 16, The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Said Mass with Hymns 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM,
Organ Recital 4:30 PM, Solemn Paschal Evensong 5:00 PM.
COMMUNITY OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST . . . The Third Annual "Nun Better Golf Outing" at the Spring Brook Country Club will take place on Monday, May 8, 2017. The event is designed to raise funds to support the community's various ministries and its convent buildings in Mendham, New Jersey. For more information, please click here for the invitational or speak to Sister Monica Clare.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Fridays in Lent, Evening Prayer 6:00 PM and Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM . . . Tuesday, April 25, Saint Mark, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, May 1, Saint Philip and Saint James, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, May 24, Eve of Ascension Day, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 25, Ascension Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM.
Click here for this week's schedule.