FROM THE RECTOR: FOR TIMES SQUARE
At Masses celebrated without a service bulletin, after processing to the altar and genuflecting to acknowledge the presence of the Sacrament, I turn and say, "Welcome to Saint Mary's, the Episcopal parish in Times Square"--or "by Times Square." After all these years I found myself using a different preposition last week, "for Times Square." I continue with these words, "The Holy Eucharist is celebrated using the order found beginning on page 355 of the red Prayer Book," and I repeat that last phrase, which can be helpful to our many visitors. When those present and participating have sorted out the red Prayer Book from the blue Hymnal, I bow to the congregation, turn and go up to the footpace (the step on which the altar rests), kiss the altar, turn to the congregation, and begin the service.
Recently, while trying to find out where our third rector had earned his doctorate, I discovered that, though the Reverend Dr. Joseph Gail Hurd Barry (1858-1931) had attended Wesleyan University and Berkeley Divinity School, he had in fact never been awarded any academic degree at all. He was given an honorary doctor of divinity degree by Nashotah House when he became Nashotah's president and dean in 1906. It turned out though that he was not happy working as an administrator and fundraiser. In 1909, Saint Mary's was in search of a new rector. Dr. Barry was invited to preach here on Palm Sunday and Easter Day. The board called him to be rector. He took up the work at the end of that academic year. It's been many years since I looked at his short autobiography, Impressions and Opinions: An Autobiography (1931). If you are interested in the history of the parish, you can find it here online, thanks to Project Canterbury, which was founded by Richard Mammana.
In the chapter about our church, Dr. Barry wrote, "An entire misunderstanding of the future development of New York led to the choice of the present site with the result that the parish was soon left without any surrounding residential district, and with the exception of a few poor people, all its attendants had to come from long distances." But he continued, "On the other hand, as the parish drew both its communicant and its non-communicant attendants from all sections of New York and from all states of the Union, its central situation had a real advantage. S. Mary's has become more and more an outstanding Catholic center, an embodiment of the Anglo-Catholic ideals in teaching and worship."
I used the language of "Anglo-Catholic ideals" when I went to Nashotah House. Many of these ideals were shared by the Virginia Theological Seminary and University of the South graduates with whom I served immediately after seminary at the Church of the Incarnation, Dallas. They were very much a part of the conversation in Saint Luke's Church, Baton Rouge, where I was curate after Dallas. Trinity Church, Michigan City, Indiana, in the diocese of Northern Indiana, where I served before coming to Saint Mary's, might well be the only parish left in the diocese where there is a Sung Mass with incense every Sunday.
Unfortunately, it seems to me, the words "Catholic" and "Anglo-Catholic ideals" have become somewhat tarnished by scandals and bitter controversies that have taken place in the Roman Catholic Church and in our own Anglican Communion. But I am not ready to surrender those ideals or that language. I still like to think of Saint Mary's as being an exemplary Episcopal parish for its neighborhood and for the wide range of people who enter to worship, to pray, and to rest. And I think Saint Mary's is still an important witness for the wider Episcopal Church. I can't imagine this parish without its open doors, its wonderful people, its full schedule of daily public worship, and the genuine welcome all who come find here. We are the Episcopal parish for Times Square, for which we all can be very thankful. --Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Michael, Dick, Cheryl, Joann, David, Sandy, Pearl, Don, Dorothea, Olutoyin, Mary, Eugenia, Peggy, Vera, Cathy, Grady, Mike, May, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, Dennis, and George; for Horace, Mitties, Anne, David, Ross, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark; and for the repose of the soul of Brian Foster . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 27: 1884 Charles Stewart Bachman; 1887 Eulalie Louisa Burke; 1921 Randall Cooke Hall; 1944 Edwin Robert Maslen; 1947 Emily Hinkle; 1965 Edgar A. Shreenan.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Parishioner Brian Foster died at home while in hospice care on Wednesday, August 23, after a long struggle with multiple myeloma. Brian's body will be received here at the church at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, August 30. A Vigil Service in the Mercy Chapel will follow. The Burial of the Dead will be celebrated in the church the following day, Thursday, August 31, at 10:00 AM. The Committal Service will take place at Rockland Cemetery, Sparkill, New York, later that afternoon. Please keep Brian, his husband Michael Detres, his family, friends, and colleagues, and all who mourn in your prayers.
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 church is open and the regular services of the Episcopal Church are offered daily . . . Wednesday, August 30, 6:30 PM, Mercy Chapel Vigil Service for Brian Foster . . . Thursday, August 31, 10:00 AM, The Burial of the Dead . . . Friday, September 1, 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 . . . Monday, September 4, Labor Day, Federal Holiday Schedule.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner and altar server Rami Eskelin will be leaving New York next week to begin his first semester at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. We hope to see him in the fall when he's home for vacation. Rami was baptized this year at Saint Mary's at the Easter Vigil. Please keep Rami in your prayers . . . The rector will begin vacation on Friday, August 25. He will return to the parish on Saturday, September 9 . . . Attendance last Sunday: 143.
THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST . . . Sister Victoria Michelle, C.S.J.B., was elected to Life Vows by the professed sisters of the Community during the chapter held on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at the convent in Mendham, NJ. We hope that Sister Victoria will come and visit Saint Mary's soon. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Sister Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B., is away from the parish on vacation. She is visiting the members of the Community of Saint John Baptist in Oxford, England. She returns to the parish on Thursday, September 7 . . . Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B., will begin the second, and final, year of her spiritual-direction course at the One Spirit Learning Alliance on Saturday, September 9. She will be away from the parish one weekend per month until the spring of 2018.
OKTOBERFEST . . . 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 Saint Marians and their friends. Please join us. Bring a friend and a dish to share. All are welcome.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will resume on September 20. This year we will be looking at a number of texts drawn from both the Old and New Testaments in order to study the different ways in which the Bible has been interpreted over the centuries. We will be examining texts that seem particularly hard or challenging to many modern people in order to develop ways of coming to terms with such difficult texts. This is not a college or seminary course. Our approach will not be excessively academic. No preparation is necessary and no homework will be required. As always, there will be lots of time for discussion. We will begin the year by looking at some New Testament texts that deal with slavery . . . Inquirers' Class: Deacon Matthew Jacobson will be teaching a series of classes this fall for those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, or Reception and for all those who are interested in learning, or reviewing, some of the basics of the Christian faith and the history, theology, and spirituality of the Episcopal Church. All are welcome. If you are interested, please contact Father Jay Smith.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . Ruth Cunningham, soprano, will be the cantor at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning. During the ministration of Communion she will sing O viridissima virga by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) and will accompany herself on a harp of medieval design. Musicologist Timothy Dickey writes "Hildegard's poem O viridissima virga exudes images comparing greening nature and its healing effects on humanity to Mary. Hildegard's musical form is somewhat vague, but apparently strophic: successive verses all begin with melodic phrases that somehow emphasize the modal tonic pitch of G (Hypomixolydian) and the third above it. The chant proceeds in a neumatic fashion (with relatively few melismas) and remains (for her) rather largely restrained within the plagal modal octave. Yet this musically restrained character clearly maintains its close modal focus to the listeners' ears and allows her luminous text to blossom above the ever-present tonic foundation." Ms. Cunningham will also be improvising the Alleluia and Communion propers of the Mass. The organ voluntaries on Sunday morning will also be improvised by Dr. Hurd.
HOMELESS MINISTRY . . . The next Homeless Ministry Drop-in Day will take place on Friday, September 8, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. For more information, or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Sister Monica Clare. Donations needed: For our Drop-in Days, we are looking for donations of basic lightly used or new clothing items of all sizes for both men and women-packs of new underwear and socks; T-shirts and blouses; jeans, chinos, and khakis; washcloths; toothbrushes; and individually packaged hand wipes or towelettes. Donations can be left in the parish kitchen (if you are able, tell Father Smith, Sister Monica Clare, or Clint Best that you have left items there for the Clothes Closet). We are grateful to all those who continue to support this important ministry . . . 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.
DONATIONS FOR ALTAR FLOWERS . . . We are very thankful that flowers have been given for all of the Sundays in August. Thank you to all those who are able to support this ministry! The flowers are seen by hundreds of people every week. Donations for flowers are needed for September 24; October 15 and 22; November 5, 12, and 19; and December 17 (Gaudete Sunday). Donations for Christmas flowers and decorations are also gratefully accepted. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office at 212-869-5830 x 10 or by e-mail.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Friday, September 8, The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM (the Reverend Dr. James C. Pace, celebrant and preacher) . . . Saturday, September 9, 10:30 AM, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Ordination of Matthew Jacobson to the Priesthood . . . Sunday, September 10, 10:00 AM, Father Matthew Jacobson's First Mass . . . Monday, September 11, 12:10 PM, Requiem Mass: For Those Killed in the Attacks of September 11, 2001 . . . Thursday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM (the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, celebrant and preacher) . . . Thursday, September 21, Saint Matthew the Evangelist, Mass and Healing Service 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Friday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM (the Reverend Matthew Jacobson, celebrant and preacher)
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Dr. Alice-Mary Talbot will present the fourth annual Father John Meyendorff Memorial Lecture at Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary on Friday, September 15, at 7:00 PM. Dr. Talbot is the Director Emerita of Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, D.C. Her presentation is titled after her forthcoming book, Varieties of Monastic Experience in Byzantium, 800-1453. During her lecture she will highlight some of the findings of her research in two areas: (1) the many ways one could be a Byzantine monk, and (2) the continuing tensions in Byzantium between the eremitic (solitary living) and coenobitic (community living) forms of monasticism. The Seminary is located at 575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707. Travel directions are available on the Seminary website.