FROM THE RECTOR: YEAR’S END APPROACHING
When I was in seminary, there was a table in the library where one could pick up books that had been donated to the library, but had not been added, for one reason or another, to the collection. Among the books I picked up in the fall of 1980 —I wrote my name and the date in it —was Prayer Book Studies 19: The Church Year: The Calendar and the Proper of the Sundays and Other Holy Days Throughout the Church Year (1970). However, it would be many years before I had enough learned enough and gained enough experience to appreciate that book.
In my first, and probably quick, reading of it, I came across a sentence which seemed true at the time, and even more true today, “The Church Year developed as a frame for the Sunday eucharistic worship of the Church, with its two foci of celebration: the Gospel lesson and the Gospel Sacrament” (page 11). Before the end of seminary, the late Aidan Kavanagh’s serious, but often humorous, book The Elements of Rite (1982) would appear. He made a similar point in this way: “The homily is always on the gospel of the day, and one never preaches unless one has something to say” (page 26). The next section begins, “The liturgy is never used for ulterior motives such as education” (page 27) —or, I would add, for any other reason, including the raising of money. Kavanagh continued, “The liturgy, like the feast, exists not to educate but to seduce people into participating in a common activity of the highest order, where one is freed to learn things which cannot be taught” (page 28). And what cannot be taught? Faith. And what does faith offer one who seeks it? Eternal life.
Easter Day and Christmas Day are the hinges, as it were, of the Church Year. Christmas Day is always celebrated on December 25. Easter Day is not fixed. The Prayer Book puts it this way, “Easter Day is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21. It cannot occur before March 22 or after April 25” (page 15). That said, there is no Sunday that does not celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, no Sunday that does not proclaim the mystery of the Holy Trinity, no day in the year that the baptized cannot celebrate the gift of eternal life.
Final thoughts. The other day at Mass, for a split second, I found myself wanting to conclude my reading of the gospel with these words, “The Good News of the Lord” —but I’m too disciplined for that. However, over the past couple of months, in my mind, I try to think of the Beatitudes with the ordinary meaning of the Greek, “Happy are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To a first century Greek-speaking Christian, the word we translate as “baptize” would simply mean “to wash.” Good News, wash, happy, eat, drink, forgive, give, pray, and believe are words that help us understand God’s gracious presence in our lives.
As is our custom, this week we will be praying for the departed at the annual requiem Masses celebrated on the first five weekdays after November 2. The Stewardship Campaign for 2019 is underway. As we go to press on Friday, November 2, our architects are reviewing three bids for the conservation of the 46th Street façade. On the evening of All Saints’ Day, we had a glorious celebration with the bishop of New York as celebrant and preacher for Holy Baptism and Solemn Mass. The new Church Year will begin with Evening Prayer on Saturday, December 1, the Eve of the First Sunday of Advent. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Gregg, who is gravely ill, and MaryHope, José, Eloise, Michael, Jorem, Donald, Irma, Greg, Alexandra, James, Karen, Carlos, Susan, Marilouise, Timothy, Barbara, Dennis, Robert, Abraham, Randy, Burton, May, Heidi, Takeem, David, and Sandy; and Horace, Clayton, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; and all the benefactors and friends of this parish.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 4: 1887 George Washington Bailey; 1917 Mary Margaret Pike; 2001 Karen Lomax.
A PRAYER REQUEST . . . Gregg Carder, a longtime member of the Choir of Saint Mary’s, and a good friend of this parish, suffered serious injuries in a car accident on Tuesday, October 30, near his home in Tuxedo, New York. He remains in critical condition in Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York. Please keep Gregg, his partner, Brad, his family, friends, and fellow choristers in your prayers.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord’s crucifixion.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, November 4, 2018, Daylight Saving Time Ends . . . Sunday, November 4, The Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM, Adult Forum 10:00 AM, Mass 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Sunday, November 4, 10:00 AM, Adult Forum, led by Father Peter Powell . . . Monday–Thursday, November 5–8, Parish Requiem Masses, 12:10 and 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, November 7, 7:00 PM, Bible Study Class, Saint Benedict’s Study. Note the later start time . . . Friday, November 9, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor . . . Friday, November 9, 6:00–8:00 PM, the Gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall, Art Exhibition Closing Event: The Work of: Ingrid Sletten and Deborah Holcombe . . . Friday, November 9–Saturday, November 10, Diocesan Convention, Crowne Plaza Hotel, White Plains, New York . . . Monday, November 12, Veterans’ Day. The church and the church offices are open. Services are offered on the usual schedule. All the twelve-step groups meet in the Mission House.
ADVENT QUIET DAY . . . Brother Thomas, SSF, and Brother Damien Joseph, SSF, will lead a Quiet Day on Saturday, December 15, 9:30 AM–3:00 PM. They will deliver three addresses during the course of the day. The day begins with refreshments at 9:30 AM. Mass is celebrated at 12:10 PM. Lunch in Saint Joseph’s Hall follows Mass. There is quiet time in the church, the chapels, and in Saint Joseph’s Hall in between the addresses. All are welcome. A donation of $10.00 to cover the costs of breakfast and lunch is welcome. Please RSVP by sending an e-mail to Father Jay Smith.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2018–2019 . . . Stewardship packets have been mailed. We invite you prayerfully to consider making, or increasing, your pledge for the coming year. We urge all the members and friends of the parish to return their pledge cards as soon as possible. Our needs are great. Our mission is clear. We welcome your support. We promise to keep you updated on the status of the campaign as we move forward. Please pray for the success of this year’s campaign.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Sundays in November at 10:00 AM, Father Peter Powell will lead the class in a discussion of the Elijah/Elisha cycle in 1 Kings 16:23–2 Kings 13:25 . . . Sunday, December 2 and 9, at 10:00 AM, resident iconographer, Zachary Roesemann leads the class in a discussion of the theology of the Incarnation in light of some of his recent work. The Adult Forum meets in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class meets next on November 7 at 7:00 PM, following the evening Requiem Mass. The class is reading the Letter of James and is led by Father Jay Smith.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . At the Solemn Mass on All Saints’ Day, Bishop Andrew M. L. Dietsche baptized Nam Rattan. Parishioners Eric Littlefield, Luis Reyes, and James Tamelcoff renewed their baptismal vows to mark their joining of the parish and the beginning of new ministries. Please keep them in your prayers . . . It has been a busy week here at Saint Mary’s. We are grateful to all the members of the staff and to all those who so generously volunteer their time here at the parish for helping us to keep All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and to welcome the bishop of New York to Saint Mary’s for his visitation. We are very grateful . . . We still hope to receive donations for altar flowers on the following dates: December 7, the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all Sundays in January, including the Epiphany on Sunday, January 6. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away from the parish from Monday, November 5. He returns to the parish office on Thursday afternoon, November 8 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 186; All Saints’ Day 214.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The musical setting of the Mass on Sunday is All Saints Service, composed in 1986 by David Hurd, organist and music director at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. It was originally composed for All Saints Church, East Sixtieth Street, Manhattan, where Dr. Hurd was director of music from 1985 until 1997. It is the sixth of the fourteen Mass settings he has composed to date, and the earliest, and the only choral setting, of his three which utilize the traditional English (Rite I) Prayer Book Eucharistic ordinary. The predominant texture of All Saints Service is homophonic, expressed in four to six unaccompanied voices. The setting is relatively concise with much of the text being declaimed simply, all voices singing in rhythmic unison. The overall harmonic envelope of the Mass favors the bright key of F Major and, while there are few specific musical cross-references between the movements of the Mass, there is a high degree of harmonic and stylistic unity among them.
The Communion motet on Sunday is Almighty and everlasting God, also composed by David Hurd. This four-voice choral setting of the Collect For Clergy and People (Book of Common Prayer, page 817) was composed in 1990 in thanksgiving for the clerical and lay ministries of All Saints Church, Manhattan. According to the late Marion J. Hatchett’s Commentary on the American Prayer Book, this prayer dates from the Gelasian Sacramentary, Liber sacramentorum Romanae ecclesiae (Book of Sacraments of the Church of Rome), compiled near Paris around 750. It entered the Book of Common Prayer in 1559 and in the 1662 Prayer Book revision was provided for daily use at Morning and Evening Prayer. Since the issuance of the American Book of Common Prayer 1928, the daily recitation of this prayer is provided for but no longer rubrically required. The present language of this prayer dates from the American Prayer Book of 1789.
The organ prelude on Sunday morning is Toccata in D minor, BWV 565, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). This singular organ work, made universally popular by multitudinous recordings on organs throughout the world, transcriptions for orchestra, and use in film scores, was probably composed about 1704 and as such is an early work. Its vigor and freshness, its brash spurts of figuration and surprising harmonies, are born of the improvisatory organ music of an earlier age. Perhaps these qualities also prefigure the age of Romantic musical expression which was to blossom a century and a half later. While sometimes known as “Toccata and Fugue in D minor,” the fugal writing which follows the improvisatory opening section seems merely an orderly interlude in the course of an extended fantasia. The subject of the fugue itself is hardly a melody but rather a figure or pattern which is suggestive of the string writing of Vivaldi and his Italian contemporaries. Consequently, the lone descriptive title Toccata for this work seems both appropriate and sufficient. —David Hurd
HOSPITALITY MINISTRY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Gathering in Saint Joseph’s Hall for fellowship following Mass on Sundays and Solemn Mass on holy days is an important part of our community’s life. It is a ministry that is not without its costs. The cost of food and beverages is significant. We welcome donations to help cover these costs. Please consider making a regular monthly donation to support this ministry. You may also make a donation to cover the costs of a single holy-day reception. We have been spending around $500 for each reception. Donations may be sent by mail to the parish office. Checks should be paid to the order of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. Payment by credit card may also be made by contacting the parish office. We are grateful to all those who support Saint Mary’s so generously.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for our next Drop-in Day on Wednesday, November 28, and for the many requests for assistance between Drop-in Days. We are in particular need of basic items such as the following: packs of new underwear in various sizes for both men and women; slacks for both men and women, including jeans, chinos, khakis, etc.; packs of new socks, white and black; rainwear; knapsacks; and toiletry articles. Please contact Brother Damien Joseph, SSF, if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry or if you would like to make a donation . . . We 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. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support this ministry.
THE VISUAL ARTS AT SMV . . . An art exhibit entitled “Spirit’s Flight” continues on view in the Gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall. This exhibition features the work of two artists, Deborah Holcombe and Ingrid Sletten. Ingrid and Deborah’s work, in different ways, explores the intersection between nature and the spirit. They have subtitled the exhibition “More Than the Eyes See: Combining Science with Revelation.” The closing reception for the exhibition, entitled “Visio Divina,” will take place on Friday, November 9, 6:00–8:00 PM. For more information about the event and to RSVP, you may visit the Eventbrite website.
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, November 10, 2018, 8:00 PM, Miller Theatre Early Music Series, Cappella Pratensis: “The Josquin Imitation Game.” Music by Josquin des Prez and Ockeghem, Van Ghizeghem, Busnoys, Willaert, and Gombert. From the theater website, “Josquin des Prez paid homage to his predecessors through the use of imitation. By the same token, subsequent composers played this game as a deliberate tribute, utilizing the same texts, melodies, and other characteristics of his music. The acclaimed Cappella Pratensis, known for their period interpretations, makes their Miller debut with a program anchored by Josquin masterpieces and exploring some of the great polyphonic works of the period by composers who inspired Josquin and those who were later inspired by him . . . Tuesday, November 13, 7:30 PM, Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival: The Distant Light, Latvian Radio Choir.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Wednesday, November 21, Eve of Thanksgiving Day, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, November 22, Thanksgiving Day, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM . . . Sunday, November 25, Last Sunday after Pentecost and Commitment Sunday . . . Sunday, December 2, First Sunday of Advent . . . Friday, December 7, Eve of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM.
A BOOK LAUNCH . . . Stephen Morris, formerly an Eastern Orthodox priest who served as chaplain at Columbia University, recently published a book entitled The Early Eastern Orthodox Church: A History, AD 60-1453. Saint John’s Church in the Village is hosting a book reading and signing to mark the publication of Stephen’s book. The event will take place on Monday, November 12: Evensong 6:15 PM; Book Reading and Signing 6:45 PM. Saint John’s is at West Eleventh Street and Seventh Avenue here in Manhattan. Stephen is a good friend of Saint Mary’s, who has taught in our adult-education program.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Metropolitan Museum, Fifth Avenue and Eighty-second Street, until January 6, 2019, Delacroix. From the museum website, “French painter Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) was one of the greatest creative figures of the nineteenth century. Coming of age after the fall of Napoleon, he reconnected the present to the past on his own terms. Delacroix produced an extraordinarily vibrant body of work, setting into motion a cascade of innovations that changed the course of art. This exhibition is the first comprehensive retrospective devoted to this amazing artist ever held in North America. The exhibition, a joint project with the Musée du Louvre, illuminates Delacroix’s restless imagination through more than 150 paintings, drawings, prints, and manuscripts—many never before seen in the United States. It unfolds chronologically, encompassing the rich variety of themes that preoccupied the artist during his more than four decades of activity, including literature, history, religion, animals, and nature. Through rarely seen graphic art displayed alongside such iconic paintings as Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi (1826), The Battle of Nancy (1831), Women of Algiers in Their Apartment (1834), and Medea about to Kill Her Children (1838), this exhibition explores an artist whose protean genius set the bar for virtually all other French painters.”