FROM THE RECTOR: MITTIES MCDONALD DECHAMPLAIN, priest, 1948-2018
On Friday afternoon, May 8, the Reverend Dr. Mitties DeChamplain attended the noonday services here at Saint Mary's. Father Matt Jacobson, who is a physician and her former student at the General Theological Seminary, was celebrant. Sometime after the Eucharist was over, in her conversation with Matt, it was clear to him that something was wrong, that she was not herself. He called me. I brought Sr. Monica Clare and our bookkeeper, Kristie Raynor, an emergency medical technician, to the sacristy. We asked Kristie to call for an ambulance so that Matt could stay with Mitties. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital. By Saturday evening she was gravely ill. Father Jacobson and Father Jay Smith prayed at her bedside and anointed her on Sunday afternoon. They visited again on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, Father Jim Pace visited her. He reported that she was breathing comfortably and was well-cared for by the medical staff. The Reverend Canon K. Jeanne Person, canon for pastoral care, diocese of New York, was with her and was in contact with her family in California. The Reverend Andrew Kadel, a former colleague from GTS, was with her that evening when she died. We are never alone, but I was very glad to know Drew was with her when the Shepherd was calling her by name.
The Burial of the Dead will be celebrated for Mitties here on Saturday, June 2, 2018, at 10:00 AM. The Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche, bishop of New York, will be celebrant; the Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan, will be preacher. Her body will be cremated. Her ashes will be interred beside those of her husband, Ronald DeChamplain, who died here in New York in 2005, in Los Angeles.
Mitties came to teach as Trinity Church Professor of Preaching at the seminary in 1998. I can't remember when we first met. We were in touch more when she served as vicar of Saint Clement's Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street from 2009 until 2014. Since leaving that position, she was free to be celebrant and preacher here from time to time. In recent years she spent many Sundays as celebrant and preacher at Trinity Church of Morrisania, Bronx, where she was much loved. I was always happy to see her here, sitting with her great friends Kevin Kennedy and Dan Wackerman. I was very happy to have a telephone call from her during Holy Week-she needed to borrow a red chasuble and stole for a Good Friday liturgy. She was so gentle and thankful. I assured her that I was delighted she had asked. I hope I can always be as thoughtful and gracious as she was.
A year ago, on the afternoon of Sunday, May 7, 2017, we learned that Mother Mitties DeChamplain, then an assisting priest here at Saint Mary's, had not arrived at Trinity Church, Morrisania, Bronx, New York, where she had been celebrating Mass and preaching on Sundays. A priest who lives nearby was asked to go to her home. She was found unconscious and taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. It was not clear how long she had been unconscious when she was found. I think it is correct to say that she was not expected to live. She had a remarkable, almost miraculous, recovery, for which all who knew her were joyful, thankful. I know her death was entirely unexpected.
I want to thank Canon Person very much for her help in coordinating Mitties' care. Because of Mitties' illness a year ago, Jeanne knew whom to call. Mitties is survived by her brother, Scott McDonald, and the children of Ronald DeChamplain, her late husband, Laurel Plankenhorn, Jeffrey DeChamplain, and Chantel Gershon. Please keep Mitties, her family, her many, many friends, and all who mourn in your prayers. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Dick, Angie, Maxine, Alex, Mary, Keith, Dora, Marilouise, Sam, Stephanie, Dennis, Bob, Abe, Randy, Barbara, Burt, Mike, Kathleen, Melissa, Kyle, Greta, Karen, Eugenia, May, Heidi, Ridhima, Takeem, David, and Sandy; for Yamily, Horace, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; and for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the soul of Mitties McDonald DeChamplain, priest.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 13: 1881 Mary Louise Margaret Brown; 1898 Augustus Knoflach; 1928 Joseph Baldwin Seaman; 1940 Frank West; 1960 Carl J. Schmidlaff.
FRIDAY, MAY 18, IS THE FINAL FRIDAY OF THE EASTER SEASON. The weekly commemoration of the Lord's crucifixion by special acts of discipline and self-denial returns on Friday, May 25.
AIDS WALK 2018 . . . We are proud to share a testimonial written for us by Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC, the organization that receives most of the funds raised by the AIDS Walk and which provides an amazing array of benefits and education: "Saint Mary's has been an instrumental part of the fight to end the AIDS epidemic, and their contributions have had a real impact on the work we do at GMHC each day for our clients. Each year for AIDS Walk New York, the Saint Mary's team continuously strives to be bigger and better than before, and their consistent support has been nothing short of inspirational. Saint Mary's is a leading example of how like-minded individuals can come together, share a belief, and work as a unit to accomplish what others might think impossible. You have my deepest gratitude-thank you!"
On Thursday, our team was just short of $48,000 in its fundraising, leaving it with only $7,000 to reach the Team's goal of $55,000 with more than a week to go before the Walk. However, if you would like to make a contribution, but are unable to do so until June, contributions can still be received after the Walk. If you have questions, please contact Father Jay Smith or co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell. You can make a contribution to the Team online. When you've arrived at the donation page, click on "Donate to a Team," and put Saint Mary the Virgin - 0445 in the donation field. You may also donate by mailing us a check, paid to the order of AIDS Walk New York, to the Finance Office at 145 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036, or place your check in one of the shrine boxes in the church or in the collection basket.We are so very grateful to all those who supported this important outreach effort this year!
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN: WE NEED YOUR HELP!
. . . Our Campaign continues. We need your help to reach our annual goal. You can easily make a pledge online. We are grateful to all those who continue to support the parish and its ministries so generously.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, May 13, Seventh Sunday of Easter, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM, Mass 10:00 AM, Adult Forum led by Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Friday, May 18, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch was recently featured in a profile in the New Yorker magazine. The profile is very funny and fully captures Dick's courage and spirit. Though Dick is no longer able to usher or serve at the altar, he tries, when he is able, to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. He was with us for the Solemn Mass on Ascension Day. Friday, May 11, was his eighty-third birthday . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish at a Leadership in Ministry Conference from the afternoon of Sunday, May 13, until Wednesday, May 16. He will return to the office on Thursday, May 17 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 193; Ascension 196.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . 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 . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class met for the last time on April 25 to discuss the Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Mark. The group will gather on Wednesday, May 23, for its annual end-of-year dinner. Classes will resume in the fall.
ABOUT THE MUSIC. . . The musical setting of the Mass this Sunday is from the traditional plainsong designated for the Easter Season, Lux et origo, Mass I. Like the other numbered Masses of the Gregorian Missal, Mass I (Light and Source) is a collection of chants for the Ordinary of the Mass which were likely compiled and associated with one another long after their time of origin. All parts of Mass I are thought to date from the tenth century. Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei from this setting will be sung this morning.
The motet sung during the administration of Communion is by William Byrd (c.1540-1623). Byrd composed extensively for the Latin Liturgy, and to some degree at his great peril given the religious ferment of his time. Non vos relinquam orphanos, often sung in English as I will not leave you comfortless, is a Magnificat antiphon for first Vespers of Pentecost. The text source is John 14:18 and 16:22. Byrd's setting, first published in the second book of his Gradualia (1607), is scored for five voices with two tenor parts.
The organ prelude is the first movement of L'Ascension by Olivier Messiaen (1902-1992). Born in Avignon, son of the poetess Cécile Sauvage, Messiaen was a student of Marcel Dupré and Paul Dukas at the Paris Conservatory where he became professor of musical analysis, philosophy and aesthetics in 1942. His legendary tenure as titular organist of Trinité, Paris, began in 1931. The brilliant light and vivid colors of this magnificent church proved a defining stimulus to Messiaen's musical imagination for sixty years. The majesty of Christ asking that the Father glorify him is the first of the four movements of L'Ascension. This movement, like the fourth, was originally scored for orchestra in 1933 and transcribed by the composer for the organ later the same year. It carries the text from the Gospel according to John, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your son as your son has glorified you." The organ postlude is from the Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book) of J. S. Bach (1685-1750), a collection of forty-six short but masterful pieces based on chorales for the liturgical year, mostly composed between 1708 and 1717 while Bach was court organist in Weimar. —David Hurd
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, May 19, 2018, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra. Music by Bach, Raff, Poulenc, and Rachmaninov. Admission is free. A donation of $15.00 is suggested and much appreciated.
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 Days on May 23, June 27, and July 11, 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 . . . 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 . . . Sunday, June 3, Corpus Christi . . . Friday, June 8, 2018, 10:00 AM, Convent of the Community of St. John Baptist, Mendham, New Jersey, Life Profession of Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B. . . . Sunday, June 24, The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.
LIFE IN TIMES SQUARE . . . NYCxDesign 2018, May 11-23: From the website of the Times Square Alliance, "Design Pavilion returns to Times Square for the second year in a row. Featuring interactive design-driven installations, this year's annual nine-day public design and cultural happening is themed From This Day Forward. Design Pavilion in Times Square serves as the public hub for the city's official design week and the many related design events occurring around the city. It hosts the NYCxDESIGN Information Kiosk where you can get your official NYCxDESIGN Guide; four days of Design Talks NYC™; Design Market NYC™; and a series of installations that are free and open to the public and engage emerging and established designers, architects, brands and visionaries from around the world."