FROM THE RECTOR: EASTER WITH JOHN THE EVANGELIST
At the Reformation, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) chose the beginning of John's account of Easter morning (John 20:1-10) as the gospel for Easter Day and Mark's account (Mark 16:1-8) as the gospel for a second celebration. John included Jesus' appearance to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, but Cranmer did not. Cranmer gave the Sunday after Easter Day the beginning of John's account of Jesus' appearance on the evening of Easter Day-Jesus' breathing on the disciples and giving them power to forgive sins-not John's narrative of Jesus's appearance on the Sunday after the Sunday of the Resurrection. (Yes, you are reading this correctly.)
Until the draft lectionary for the 1979 Prayer Book was authorized for trial use, Episcopalians never had the chance to hear the Risen Jesus speak on Easter morning. On the Sunday after Easter Day, Episcopalians only heard, again, of Jesus' appearance in John on the evening of Easter Day-the story of "Doubting" Thomas was never heard on a Sunday. With the 1979 Prayer Book, we are permitted to hear all of John 20 between Easter Day and the Sunday after Easter Day-and why would we not want to hear it all?Next year, the gospel for Easter Day will be from Mark, the following year from Luke. (Every year we hear Matthew's narrative of the resurrection at the Great Vigil of Easter.)
John 20 ends with Jesus saying to Thomas, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:29). The evangelist then concludes the narrative with these words, "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:30-31).
We human beings come to faith, to belief, in many ways across the years of our lives. The capacity for human beings to think they walk without God present is witnessed by the story of the human and the woman at the beginning of Genesis. (Despite what your Bible may say, in the Hebrew they actually don't get names until they are expelled.) I wonder if I will live long enough to see a new awakening in the West for Christian faith. Any awakening-and whether I will be here-is in God's hands.
The Paschal candle began at 72 inches. It continues to burn whenever the church is open until the conclusion of Evensong & Benediction on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." May our Eucharists this Eastertide help us to be filled with new awareness that the dwelling of God is among men and women. -Stephen Gerth
EASTER THANKS . . . There was a lot of joy at the parish during Holy Week and Easter Day. We had great weather for Palm Sunday. Many attended the services. During what was for many a holiday week, many more seemed to find their way into Saint Mary's every day. Our location and our open doors are always a powerful witness. Saint Joseph's Hall was filled with flowers by the end of the week-beautiful white and pastel blossoms. I've been saying to visitors since Easter Eve with great pride, "Our volunteer Flower Guild members did all of this." The rehearsal schedule for the servers-and time stamps on emails among servers, sacristy team leaders, and the clergy bespeak not just commitment, but faith. Saint Mary's sacristy is a happy place-and we always look forward to welcoming new servers. There are seven choral services beginning with Palm Sunday through Easter Day. Great music has been a part of Saint Mary's DNA, as it were, since its inception. The tradition is in the very capable hands of Dr. David Hurd. It was great. And it was great during Holy Week to hear Dr. Timothy Pyper practicing for his recital before Evensong on Easter Day. He also played for the 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM Said Masses on Easter Day-we sing hymns at every service on the Sunday of the Resurrection. Tim was with us last year as organist and music director for Holy Week. He is a friend, and not a stranger, at Saint Mary's.
Our welcome to friends, newcomers, and visitors during Holy Week asks a lot of our ushers. They too are a happy group. Father Jay Smith takes on and takes care of a wide range of responsibilities through the year, and especially during Holy Week and Easter Day. Thank you to church staff and to our assisting clergy. Gypsy da Silva proofread many bulletins and texts (including the passions of Matthew and John!). Thank you for all photographers, especially Sr. Monica Clare. Thank you to everyone who just helped when and where they were needed. And a special word of thanks and thanksgiving for Father Andrew McGowan's sermon on Good Friday and for Bishop Mark Sisk's celebration and preaching at the Great Vigil of Easter. In Matthew, the Risen Jesus actually says to the women who have come to the tomb, not "Hail" or "Greetings," but "Rejoice"-check the Greek-(Matthew 28:9), and rejoice we did. -S.G.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR John, Clint, Michael, Gus, Aston, Robert, Rick, Patricia, Marahl, Gloria, Primi, Jerry, William Henry, May, Robert, Nicole, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, Dennis, George, Abraham, Margaret; Sidney, deacon; Horace, Ross, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, and Edgar, priests; all victims of war, persecution, poverty, famine, and disaster; and the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark; and for the repose of the souls of Donald Lindsay, Nancy Marvel, and Mary McGrath, S.S.J., religious . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 23: 1918 William Schnorr; 1926 Elvie Arville Wood Topping; 1953 Mary Lewis Hooker; 1959 Arthur B. MacAttammany.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Sister Mary McGrath, SSJ, the aunt of curate Father Jay Smith died peacefully in her sleep early on Easter Day at her order's convent and retirement home in Flourtown, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. She was eighty-eight years old . . . Donald Lindsay, the brother of parishioner Aston Lindsay, died in Brooklyn on Wednesday in Holy Week after a long struggle with cancer. Please keep Sister Mary, Donald, and all who mourn in your prayers.
THE FRIDAYS OF THE EASTER SEASON are not observed by acts of discipline and self-denial.
AIDS WALK 2017 . . . On May 21, 2017, the Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team, supported by their friends and fellow parishioners, will join the 32nd Annual AIDS Walk here in New York. We invite you to join the Team or to make a contribution to the Team. Last year, the Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team, fourteen people strong, ranked Number 9 in fundraising among all teams walking. We raised $55,035 from almost 300 generous contributions. Our goal this year is a very ambitious $60,000 as we walk in solidarity with people living with HIV or AIDS and with those who support and care for them. We invite you to join our Team and raise money with us or simply to make a donation to our very determined Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team. You can join or contribute by clicking here. You can also direct your questions to Father Jay Smith or to Team co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Our pledge campaign continues, since we have not yet reached our goal for 2017. Thus far we have received $384,606.00 in pledges, 91% of our goal of $425,000.00. We hope to reach that goal by June 1, 2017. Please help us to reach that goal. We need your help. To make a pledge for 2017, 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 grateful to all those who continue to support the parish.
ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PARISH . . . The Annual Meeting of the Parish will take place on Sunday, May 7, following the Solemn Mass. Reports are due in the parish office no later than Monday, May 1. At the Meeting, nominations of delegates to Diocesan Convention will be received for election by the Board of Trustees.
CANDLE SALE. . . Sister Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B., is the sacristan of the parish. She has been saving candle remnants for some time now in order to prepare for Saint Mary's first Candle Sale. On Sunday, April 9, Palm Sunday, following Solemn Mass, sister and a team of volunteers displayed their waxen wares in Saint Joseph's Hall. The next sale will be after the Solemn Mass this coming Sunday, April 23. We invite you to purchase a candle-or two, or three-for use in your home. All proceeds will be used to fund repairs in the frontal room, the doors of which are badly in need of attention.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Monday, April 24, Genocide Remembrance Day to commemorate the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and as a day of "Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man" . . . Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Saint Mark the Evangelist, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and Bible Study Class 6:30 PM. The class meets in the Nursery . . . Thursday, April 27, Thursday in the Second Week of Easter, Mass with Healing Service 12:10 PM . . . Friday, April 28, 2:00-5:00 PM, Homeless Ministry's Drop-in Day.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Homeless Ministry's Drop-in Day, originally planned for early February, has been re-scheduled. The event will now take place on Friday, April 28, 2:00-5:00 PM. We hope to provide items from our clothes closet to those in need. A social worker who works with our outreach partner at Breaking Ground will be here in order to provide information about services available to the homeless here in New York. For more information, please speak to Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B., or Clint Best . . . Father Jim Pace was ordained to the priesthood on April 22, 1980. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Father Gerth will be away from the parish from the afternoon of Sunday, April 23, until Wednesday, April 26. He returns to the office on Friday, April 28 . . . Attendance: Good Friday283; Great Vigil of Easter 165; Easter Day 456.
ADULT EDUCATION. . . On Sunday, April 23 and 30, and May 7, in the Adult Forum at 10:00 AM, Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will present a series of classes on the theme "Rising / Rose / Risen: Readings on Resurrection from Scripture into Poetry." Deacon Rebecca writes, "Beginning with biblical texts we will follow our theme into poems, by various writers, as diverse as Edgar Allen Poe, Sylvia Plath, John Milton, Claude McKay, Vachel Lindsay, Theodore Roethke, Wendell Berry, Emily Dickinson, D. H. Lawrence, Christina Rossetti, and more." . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on Wednesday, April 26. Newcomers are especially welcome; no prior study or attendance is needed.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . The musical setting of the Mass on Sunday, April 23, is Missa paschalis by Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594), or Orlande de Lassus, as he was also known. Lassus was one of the most prolific and admired European composers of his time. Born at Mons in the Franco-Flemish province of Hainaut, Lassus was well traveled particularly in northern Italy, but was centered in Munich much his adult life. His compositions include about sixty authenticated Mass settings, most of which are elaborate parody works based upon motets-often his own-as well as French chansons, and Italian madrigals from such composers as Gombert, Willaert, Resta, Arcadelt, Rore, and Palestrina. Missa paschalis (1576), however, is one of Lassus' few Masses based upon chant. Only in the Kyrie (not sung this morning) is the cantus firmus plainly stated in long notes in soprano and tenor voices. Following the Kyrie the chant elements are integrated into the polyphonic texture. The present performing edition derives from a 1579 collection of various composers' works entitled Liber primus Missarum quinque vocum ("First Book of Masses for Five Voices"). Notable in this Mass setting are several passages where polyphony turns to chordal writing, giving particular emphasis to certain phrases of the text.
Jacob Handl (1550-1591), also known as Jacobus Gallus, is credited with over five hundred compositions, both sacred and secular, including twenty Masses and hundreds of motets. Slovenian by birth, Handl's compositions incorporate the influences of the leading Franco-Flemish and Venetian musical schools of his time. His motet Stetit Jesus from Opus musicum III (1587), sung during the administration of Communion, sings the post-resurrection appearance of our Lord reported in John 20:19-20. Handl's motet captures the drama of the narrative.
The organ prelude and postlude are both chorale preludes from the Orgelbüchlein of J. S. Bach (1685-1750). Christ ist erstanden ("Christ is arisen") is a three-sectioned Easter chorale, and is found in The Hymnal 1982 at No. 184. Christ lag in Todesbanden ("Christ lay in the bonds of death") is found in The Hymnal 1982 in two different musical forms respectively at No. 185 and No. 186, the second of which is a harmonization also by Bach. -David Hurd
LOOKING AHEAD . . .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 . . . Wednesday, May 31, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 6:00 PM.
THURGOOD MARSHALL LAW DAY:
Saturday, May 13, 4:00 PM, Saint Philip's Church, 204 West 134th Street, New York City: Evensong and Conversation with the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer, associate justice, Supreme Court of the United States. Evensong with readings appointed for Justice Marshall's commemoration will begin at 4:00 PM, after which Justice Breyer will speak. A question-and-answer session will follow, and light refreshments will be served. Bishop Mary Glasspool will offer welcome and blessings. Justice Marshall was a member of Saint Philip's. Justice Breyer is the father of the Reverend Chloe Breyer, a priest of the Diocese of New York and Executive Director of the Interfaith Center of New York.