FROM THE DEACON: WALK IN THE LIGHT
Tuesday morning in Holy Week, I walked in the front doors of Saint Mary's and headed straight toward the back, a shortcut. Busy preparations for the Thursday and Friday altar of repose were already going on. In the pews, many homeless men and women had settled in for a day of undisturbed rest, guaranteed since the church had already opened. Most were sleeping, coats or blankets wrapped around them in that still-cold early hour. Coming in from the street with its construction and fancy hotels, I recalled lines from William Blake: "Is this a holy thing to see, / In a rich and fruitful land, / Babes reduced to misery, /Fed with cold and usurous hand? / Is that trembling cry a song? /Can it be a song of joy? /And so many children poor? It is a land of poverty!" My immediate reaction was: are such contradictions an inevitable part of life? I walked on through, glad for the open doors for those needing shelter, aware that I myself could walk on.
With the events that take place after the crucifixion-the disappearance of Jesus from the tomb and his reappearance to and among the disciples-the disciples begin their understanding of what has happened, with surprise and talk and listening and acceptance, all part of their process. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. As is said repeatedly, we are an Easter people, for whom death becomes resurrection; that's the core of our own Christian journey, as we move onward, feet, heart head, on the path, again and again.
Profound meetings for the disciples often occur between places, with lots of walking and stopping and continued motion, not unlike in our lives. Luke's account of the Road to Emmaus, perhaps the most familiar walk in Scripture, shows Jesus recognized by the stories and truths he tells, and finally by the shared meal, with him taking, blessing and breaking the bread, that iconic moment, which, along with the burning the disciples feel in their hearts when Jesus speaks, brings clarity. Such unexpected revelation those disciples could never have predicted when they began that walk.
When I'm not in New York City, I miss walking. In Nashville, few people walk anywhere unless there's no alternative. Car culture and its built-in isolation is the norm. In biblical times it could have been possible to have missed Jesus himself if everyone were traveling, windows rolled up, solitary, in cars. Walking is full of unexpected encounters, as the disciples certainly found. Even when we just walk to the rail for communion, we're moving forward physically with our brothers and sisters in Christ, body and spirit engaged.
We began walking out of the dark, toward that Paschal light, and are still walking, surrounded by its radiance. As for literally walking, look at what the walks, the marches, of past and present have done regarding the kinds of contradiction that Blake's poem presents. Christians have always joined movements for justice and social change. Jesus reminds the disciples that, if one sees a brother or sister in need and refuses them help, one refuses Him, refuses love.
The Easter dismissal, Let us go forth in the name of Christ, includes "Alleluia"; we can put that praise into action, walk into the world's light, and do what we pray in the post-communion prayer: love and serve, as faithful witnesses, Jesus's expectation of his disciples. What Easter joy to walk that together!
—Rebecca Weiner Tompkins
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Mary, Alex, Dick, Dora, Marilouise, Rami, Helen, Sam, Stephanie, Dennis, Bob, Abe, Randy, Barbara, Burt, Mike, Kathleen, Kyle, Greta, Carlos, Bill, Mickie, Jerry, Eleanor, Karen, Eugenia, May, Heidi, Takeem, Ridhima, David, and Sandy; for Horace, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of Joe Heaps Nelson and of all victims of genocide.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 22: 1883 Alberta Swan; 1906 William P. Baker; 1910 Jennie Going; 1938 Frances Petty; 1941 Elizabeth Wagner McKesitt.
THE FRIDAYS OF THE EASTER SEASON are not observed by acts of discipline and self-denial.
ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PARISH . . . The Annual Meeting of the Parish will take place on Sunday, May 6, following the Solemn Mass and May Crowning. Reports are due in the parish office no later than Thursday, April 26, at 5:00 PM. At the meeting, nominations of delegates to Diocesan Convention will be received for election by the Board of Trustees.
AIDS WALK 2018. . . On May 20, 2018, The Day of Pentecost, Saint Mary's will participate in the Thirty-third Annual New York City AIDS Walk. Last year, the Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team ranked ninth in fundraising among all teams walking. We raised $50,888 from almost 300 generous contributors. Our goal this year is a very ambitious $55,000 as we walk in solidarity with people who are HIV+, with those who are living with AIDS, and with those who support and care for those who are ill or who are seropositive. We invite you to join our team and raise money with us, or simply to make a donation to the determined Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team. When you join or contribute by clicking here, you can view our video in which the members of the Saint Mary's Team talk about why they walk and why they are committed to this effort. You can also direct your questions to Father Jay Smith or to co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN: WE NEED YOUR HELP! . . . We have not yet reached our goal for 2017, but there's still time! We hope to reach our goal of $425,000.00 by June 1, 2018, and we believe that it is still possible to get there. In order to make a pledge for 2018, 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 and its ministries so generously.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . On Wednesday, April 18, at the noonday Sung Mass, Father Jay Smith blessed and consecrated an icon that had been written by Saint Mary's resident iconographer, Zachary Roesemann. The icon is a crucifix, which includes a number of images and symbols referring to Saint Francis of Assisi and his life, to Franciscan spirituality, and to the Franciscan theology of the incarnation and the cross. The icon was commissioned by members of All Souls Church, Washington, D.C., in honor of their former rector, Father John Beddingfield. The icon will soon find a home at the Church of the Holy Trinity, East Eighty-eighth Street, where Father Beddingfield now serves as rector. Father Beddingfield, a third-order Franciscan, was with us for Mass on Wednesday . . . We are grateful to Larry J. Long, organist and choirmaster of the Church of the Epiphany, York Avenue, who played the Sung Mass on Wednesday. We are also very happy to be able to welcome Thomas Schmidt, formerly the music director of Saint Peter's Church, Lexington Avenue, at the Citicorp Building, who will play the organ and conduct the choir at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning. He will also play Evensong for us at 5:00 PM on Sunday afternoon . . . The rector will be away from the parish from Tuesday, April 24. He returns on Thursday evening, April 26 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 201.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, April 21, 10:30-11:40 AM, members of the Delaware County Christian School Choirs will be our guests, rehearsing in the church . . . Tuesday, April 24, Genocide Remembrance Day to commemorate the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and as a day of "Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man" . . . Wednesday, April 25, 2018, Saint Mark the Evangelist, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . .Thursday, April 26, 5:00 PM, Annual Reports due in the parish office . . . Friday, April 27, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor.
SACRED SITES OPEN HOUSE . . . For the first time, Saint Mary's will be participating in the New York Landmarks Conservancy Annual Sacred Sites Open House Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, 2018. This year's theme is "Sacred Sounds and Settings." Houses of worship will focus on music and artistic performance. The schedule here at Saint Mary's is as follows:
Saturday, May 5
1:00 PM: Organ Demonstration by Dr. David Hurd, organist and music director
3:00 PM: Organ Demonstration by Dr. David Hurd
4:00 PM: Docent-guided tour of the church
Sunday, May 6
8:30 AM: Sung Matins
11:00 AM: Solemn Mass with choir and organ. The Mass setting is Missa Octavi Toni by Orlando di Lasso (c. 1530-1594). The motet will be Exultate Deo by Domenico Scarlatti (1660-1725)
3:00 PM Docent-guided tour of the church
4:00 PM: Organ Demonstration by Dr. David Hurd
5:00 PM: Evensong and Benediction
We are grateful to David Hurd, Marie Rosseels, Chris Howatt, Mary Robison, and Brendon Hunter for encouraging us to participate in the Open House and for making it possible for us to do so.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . The Adult Forum will meet on Sunday, April 22. Brother Aidan Owen, OHC, will lead the Adult Forum at 10:00 AM in a discussion of the monastic practice of chanting the psalms each day as a form of prayer and contemplation . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on April 25, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict's Study in the Parish House, after the evening Mass . . . On Sunday, April 29, at 1:00 PM in Saint Joseph's Hall (note time and location), poet Chester Johnson will discuss his new book, Auden, the Psalms and Me, and the translation of the psalms used in the Book of Common Prayer 1979 . . . On Sunday, May 6, the day on which the Annual Meeting of the Congregation will take place, the Adult Forum will not meet . . . On May 13 and 20, at 10:00 AM in Saint Benedict's Study, Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will teach a two-part series The Dove Descending: bird, fire, wind, water, cloud, light, and other depictions of the Holy Spirit in readings from scripture and beyond (primarily poetry). This is a two-Sunday survey of symbol and significance, ending on the Day of Pentecost.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . Dr. David Hurd, organist and music director, is away from the parish this week. We are pleased to be able to welcome Thomas Schmidt to Saint Mary's on Sunday. Mr. Schmidt will play the service and conduct the choir at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning. He will also play Evensong on Sunday at 5:00 PM.
Mr. Schmidt, now retired, served as director of music at Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, New York City, between 1990 and 2015. He now performs as pianist with the Omni Quartet. For twenty-five years, he was pianist with the Arden Trio, with which he toured and recorded. He was director of the Long Island Symphonic Choral Association for many years, as well as conducting assistant to Gregg Smith of the Gregg Smith Singers.
The musical setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is the Missa Brevis by Andrea Gabrieli (c. 1533-1585). Andrea Gabrieli, uncle of the even more prolific Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 1556-1612), is credited with bringing international stature to the Venetian musical compositional culture, where the Netherlands school had previously been dominant. Andrea Gabrieli, composer and organist, is principally associated with Saint Mark's, Venice, where he was organist from 1566 until his death. It is in this post that his reputation as a composer soared, and he became known especially for his ceremonial music. Gabrieli's style included mediating the juncture of polyphonic and homophonic textures, use of voices and instruments together in choirs, and setting multiple choirs of musicians in vibrant dialogue with one another. The Missa Brevis is a relatively modest work in four voices. While much of the text of this setting is declaimed in rhythmic unison, imitative counterpoint and flowing melodic lines are also very much in evidence. The Agnus Dei has two independent tenor parts and, thus, the enhanced richness of a five-voice texture.
Sunday's Communion motet is by Herbert Howells (1892-1983). Howells was a student of Stanford and Parry at the Royal College of Music in London and was a close friend of Vaughan Williams whom he considered a mentor. Howells' setting of Psalm 23 is the second of six movements which comprise his Requiem, a work for unaccompanied voices, composed in the early 1930s but only published in 1980 shortly before the composer's death. Substantial parts of this Requiem-which was presumably intended for King's College, Cambridge, but never delivered-were later incorporated in Howells' Hymnus Paradisi, a large-scaled work for chorus, soloists and orchestra, composed in memory of his son, Michael, and completed in 1938. In the spirit of the German Requiem of Brahms, Howells did not confine himself to the standard liturgical texts when he composed the Requiem, but incorporated additional scriptural and devotional texts. As a result, individual movements such as Psalm 23 are suitable for liturgical performance outside of their original context. Psalm 23 begins as a soprano solo in a chant-like simplicity to which alto and tenor voices are eventually added. The chant-like text declamation continues, first in unison and later in harmony, when the full chorus joins at "Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: thy rod and thy staff comfort me." The organ voluntaries on Sunday morning are by J. S. Bach (1685-1750): Allein Gott in her Höh sei Ehr, BWV, 676, and Fuga a 5 ("St. Anne"), BWV 552, 2.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S . . . 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 . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for our next Drop-in Day on April 25 and for the many requests for assistance between Drop-in Days . . . Please contact Sister Monica Clare, if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry or if you would like to make a donation.
LOOKING AHEAD . . .Tuesday, May 1, Saint Philip and Saint James, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Sunday, May 6, May Crowning and Annual Meeting of the Congregation . . . Wednesday, May 9, Eve of Ascension Day, Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 10, Ascension Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Office 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, May 20, The Day of Pentecost . . . Sunday, May 27, Trinity Sunday . . . Monday, May 28, Memorial Day . . . Thursday, May 31, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . On Sunday, April 22, at 2:00 PM, at the Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue at East Tenth Street, the Reparations and Anti-Racism Committees of the Diocese of New York, will present Frank Dawson's film Agents of Change. From the presentation flyer, "Agents of Change examines the untold story of the racial conditions on [American] college campuses and in [the United States] that led to the [many protests on college campuses in the late 1960s]. The film's characters were caught at the crossroads of the civil rights, black power, and anti-Vietnam War movements at a pivotal time in America's history. Today, over forty-five years later, many of the same demands are surfacing in campus protests across the country, revealing how much work remains to be done." The film may also be viewed on the diocesan Vimeo page. Password: R1047epAm/. The film is a sponsored event of the diocese's Year of Lamentations.