FROM THE RECTOR: 2019 PARISH CALENDARS
The 2019 Parish Calendar will arrive this week. This is the second year we have published our own calendar. The 1979 Prayer Book’s “The Calendar of the Church Year” (pages 19–30) has undergone revision by every triennial meeting of the General Convention since it was adopted except in 1982. When the 2018 General Convention declined to authorize Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, the calendar adopted in 2006 remains the current standard.
My engagement with the calendar really began when I became a rector and thus became responsible for deciding what would be celebrated. One of the first practical things I did was to begin editing the appointed collects for optional commemorations—a practice I have continued at Saint Mary’s. Collects are prayers, not history lessons. For example, Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006 contains fifteen optional commemorations in the month of January. At Saint Mary’s in 2019 we will observe seven.
The Prayer Book uses the word “saint” in the New Testament manner, to refer to the baptized, and they give the title “Saint” to the holy women, men, and angels of the New Testament. These New Testament feasts are always celebrated here according to the rules of the Church’s Calendar. Other commemorations require study. To guide our work this year, we have increasingly relied on the belief—important in the early church—that the day on which a Christian dies is actually a dies natalis, a “birthday,” the day on which the believer enters into eternal life.
One consideration for 2019 is whether we will commemorate at worship persons who persecuted other Christians or Christians who preached against Jews. I am mindful of the words of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, “For the first time in almost 4,000 years we have simultaneously sovereignty and independence in the land and state of Israel, and freedom and equality in the Diaspora . . .The less-good news, though, is that Anti-Semitism has returned within living memory of the Holocaust” (Covenant and Conversation, 25 June 2018). And I decided that for 2019 we will not do so.
There are practical issues. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, died on Easter Eve, April 4, 397. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968; in 1968 it was what we now call Thursday in the Fifth Week of Lent. They share a birthday to eternal life. Before 1979, Ambrose was commemorated in Lesser Feasts and Fasts on April 4. In 1979 we followed the Roman Catholic Church and moved his commemoration to the date of his ordination. Count me among those who think Ambrose’s dies natalis is the important date.
One happier conjunction happens on March 29. Charles Wesley died on this date in 1788, John Keble in 1866. Both were priests of the Church of England. Charles was the younger brother of John Wesley, also a priest of the church, who became the one of founders of Methodism. Charles remained faithful to the church and is arguably the greatest English hymn text writer—twenty of his hymns are in The Hymnal 1982. John Keble was also poet. Two of his texts are in the new hymnal. John Keble is also credited with preaching the sermon on July 14, 1833, at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford, England, that has been kept as the beginning of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Communion.
A great deal of thanks is due to the volunteers who helped make this publication possible, Ricardo Gomez, Gypsy da Silva, and Sr. Monica Clare, C.S.J.B. This project and our common life at Saint Mary’s are enriched by the many gifts the Reverend James Ross Smith brings to his ministry among us. Many thanks to all who support the ministry of Saint Mary’s with their gifts and their prayers. We will be mailing calendars to those who generously support the ministries of the parish. We expect to make the calendars available this week at our online shop. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Carolyn, Ivy, Liam, Barbara, Shauna, Ricardo, Kenny, Jondan, Michelle, Paul, Frank, MaryHope, José, Eloise, Michael, Alexandra, James, Karen, Susan, Marilouise, Greg, Dennis, Abraham, Randy, Burton, May, Heidi, Takeem, David, and Sandy; for Horace, Daniel, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of George Herbert Walker Bush and Timothy Pierce.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 9: 1871 Fred K. Relyea; 1897 James J. Thompson; 1904 Henry Ortho; 1906 Cornelius Hawley; 1913 Anna Frances Richardson; 1929 Rose White; 1936 Thurston Carlyle Culyer; 1941 Anna R. Barry King; 1952 William C. Piehl; 1965 Thomas Dauth.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord’s crucifixion.
PLEASE SEND US YOUR PLEDGE CARD! . . . We encourage all friends and member of the parish to return their pledge cards as soon as possible so that the Budget Committee may begin their work, planning for 2019. Our needs are urgent. Our mission is clear. We welcome your support, and we are grateful to all those have supported Saint Mary’s so generously in the past.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2018–2019 . . . Our campaign and pledge drive is well underway. Once again this year, our goal for the campaign is $425,000. As of November 28, we have received $280,223.00 in pledges from 63 households, 65.9% of our goal. We still have a ways to go, but we want to keep the momentum going! We encourage all the friends and members of the parish to return their pledge cards no later than December 31. This will help the Budget Committee in its work. However, if making a commitment by that date is not possible, we will gladly receive pledge cards at any point during the coming year.
HOSPITALITY MINISTRY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We hope to receive donations to help pay for the holy-day receptions on December 25, February 1, and March 25. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office. The total cost of each reception is around $500.00, but we welcome gifts of any size in support of this important ministry.
WE ARE GRATEFUL . . . Saint Mary’s is lucky, and blessed, by the presence and the continued support of our friends, and, indeed, of our members who live away, sometimes far away, from the metropolitan area. We continue to receive gifts from those members and friends—donations for flowers, donations of pastries and sweets for our hospitality ministry, cash donations in response to our periodic appeals and at other times—and we are very grateful. The Body of Christ gathered here in Times Square is strengthened and encouraged by the kindness of our brothers and sisters who live elsewhere. Please know that you are in our prayers at every celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and we ask you to keep us in your prayers. And come visit!
ADVENT QUIET DAY . . . Saturday, December 15, 9:30 AM–3:00 PM. Led by Brother Thomas, SSF, and Brother Damien Joseph, SSF, the Quiet Day will be centered around the stories of Advent. Using icons depicting scenes from the narrative of the Advent season, participants will be invited to engage in a guided process of discussion and prayer meditation. Using the process of lectio divina in the context of icons, participants will have the opportunity to explore the images and texts of the stories of the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Nativity in hopefully a new and prayerful way. The brothers will be discussing the use of icons, some of the symbolism within each image, and then lead the participants through the lectio divina process for each image. All are welcome. A donation of $10.00 to cover the costs of breakfast and lunch is gratefully received. Please RSVP by sending an e-mail to Father Jay Smith.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . December 9, the Second Sunday of Advent, Sung Matins 8:30 AM and Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM; Adult Education led by Zachary Roesemann, 10:00 AM; Catechesis of the Good Shepherd 10:00 AM; Solemn Mass 11:00 AM; Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Wednesday, December 12, The Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church, 1895, Sung Mass at 12:10 PM; Bible Study Class at 6:30 PM. (The class will not meet on December 19, 26, January 2, or January 9. Class will resume on January 16) . . . Friday, December 14, The Centering Prayer Group 6:30–8:00 PM in the Atrium, 145 West Forty-sixth Street . . . Saturday, December 15, 9:30 AM–3:00 PM, Quiet Day, led by Brother Damien Joseph SSF and Brother Thomas Steffensen SSF.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers on the following dates: Sunday, January 13, 20, and 27, February 10, 17, 24, and March 3. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 186.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is the Short Communion Service by Adrian Batten (1591–1637). Born in Salisbury, Batten was subsequently a chorister and organ scholar at Winchester Cathedral. He moved to London in 1614 to become a lay clerk of Westminster Abbey. He later assumed a similar position at Saint Paul’s Cathedral where he also played the organ. As a music copyist in London, Batten is credited with preserving a great quantity of the significant church music of his time, his copies being the only surviving source. Ironically, much of his own music has been lost. However, Batten’s surviving compositions show him to be a thoroughly skilled composer of liturgical music, even if not especially daring or original. His modest mass for four voices models the restraint which was typical of Batten’s church music. Maurice Bevan, editor, has produced a liturgically practical edition of Batten’s Communion Service, including a nine-fold Kyrie, Benedictus qui venit, and Agnus Dei fashioned from music found elsewhere in the Service.
The motet Canite Tuba by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525–1594) will be sung during the ministration of communion on Sunday. Batten’s classic Advent motet “sounds the trumpet” thrillingly in five-voice chorus with two soprano parts. The motet begins with the three interior voices, to which soon are added the outer two. Palestrina alternates moments of full choir with trio passages featuring the upper three or lower three voices, almost giving the effect of a double choir. The text is the first antiphon at Lauds and Vespers for Advent IV and is derived from Joel 2:1 and Isaiah 40:4.
Sunday’s organ voluntaries are, as they were last week, based upon the chorale Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (“Come now, Savior of the Gentiles”). This chorale (54 in The Hymnal 1982) is Martin Luther’s sixteenth-century adaptation of the fourth-century Latin hymn Veni Redemptor gentium attributed to Ambrose of Milan (55 in The Hymnal 1982). The Prelude is a set of three short, modern pieces by David Hurd, organist and music director at Saint Mary’s, based on Luther’s chorale melody. They were composed in 2008 for a series of hymn-prelude collections released that year by Selah Publishing. The Postlude today is the third of the three settings of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland from the Great Eighteen Leipzig Chorales of J. S. Bach, BWV 661. (The first and second of this set of three were played as voluntaries last Sunday.) This third setting is a vigorous fugue for the hands under which each of the four phrases of the chorale in turn is stated boldly in long tones on the pedals.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Sunday, December 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 Adult Forum will begin its Christmas break on Sunday, December 16. Classes will resume on Sunday, January 13, at 10:00 AM . . . On January 13, John Basil, former artistic director of the American Globe Theater, begins a four-part series on William Shakespeare, focusing on Hamlet. The series is designed to help us read Shakespeare’s language, while looking at some of Shakespeare’s humanist and religious concerns . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class meets next on December 12 at 6:30 PM, following Evening Prayer. The class is reading the Letter of James and is led by Father Jay Smith. On December 5, we began our reading at James 3:13. (The class will not meet on December 19, 26, January 2, or January 9. Class will resume on January 16.)
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Drop-in Day on November 28 was a great success. We served around 75 guests, and we welcomed some new volunteers. Donations and volunteers will be needed for our next Drop-in Day on Wednesday, December 12, and for the many requests for assistance between Drop-in Days. We are in particular need at the moment of packs of new, clean socks for both men and women. 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 with their time, talent, and treasure.
THE VISUAL ARTS AT SMV . . . Works from The Third Annual Latinx Art Fair: DR/PR Collects, Supporting Dominican and Puerto Rican Artists are still on view in the Gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Please contact curator José Vidal for information about the artists or for prices.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Sunday, December 16, The Third Sunday of Advent: The O Antiphons begin . . . Friday, December 21, Saint Thomas the Apostle, Mass is celebrated at 12:10 and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve, Music for Choir and Congregation 4:30 PM and Sung Mass 5:00 PM; Music for Choir and Congregation 10:30 PM and Solemn Mass 11:00 PM . . . Tuesday, December 25, Christmas Day, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM . . . Wednesday, December 26, Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr . . . Thursday, December 27, Saint John the Evangelist . . . Friday, December 28, The Holy Innocents . . . Tuesday, January 1, Holy Name of Jesus, Sung Mass 11:00 AM.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Morgan Library and Museum, Madison Avenue at Thirty-sixth Street, until January 6, 2019: Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. From the museum website, “Every holiday season, the Morgan displays Charles Dickens’s original manuscript of A Christmas Carol in Pierpont Morgan’s historic library. Dickens wrote his iconic tale in a six-week flurry of activity beginning in October 1843 and ending in time for Christmas publication. He had the manuscript bound in red morocco as a gift for his solicitor, Thomas Mitton. The manuscript then passed through several owners before Pierpont Morgan acquired it in the 1890s. This year the manuscript of A Christmas Carol is open to Dickens’s unforgettable character sketch of one of literature’s great villain-heroes, Ebenezer Scrooge —the “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner” who spent one crazy night with four ghosts and emerged transformed into “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”