FROM THE RECTOR: NEW STUDY FOR CORPUS CHRISTI
The Reverend Dr. Stephen R. Shaver completed his doctorate in liturgical studies last year at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. This month he begins his first position as a rector at the Church of the Incarnation, Santa Rosa, California. Our paths have crossed a few times. He was Fr. Louis Weil's last teaching assistant before Weil's retirement from the faculty of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Fr. Shaver has just published the first of a two-part article. Its title is "A Eucharistic Origins Story Part 1: The Breaking of the Loaf" (Worship 92 [May 2018], 204-21). I want to tell you about this first article and to say that I'm looking forward to reading part two.
Shaver begins by acknowledging the new directions scholars have taken in studying the origins of the Eucharist. He writes, "In this two-part essay I propose that the roots of what would eventually become the mainstream Eucharist lie in the intersection of two phenomena, neither of which was universally known or used across first- and second-century Christian communities, but each of which was both early and widespread. The first is a ritual gesture: the sharing of portions from a single broken loaf . . . The second is a motif: the identification of the food and drink of the meal with the body and blood of the Lord" (page 206).
The origins of these "phenomena" are diverse and complex. He writes, "These two traditions-the breaking of a loaf and the association of the meal elements with the body and blood of Christ-could circulate quite independently. Some communities knew and used both; others only one; others neither" (page 207). As the ritual significance of the bread and wine begins to grow, it's easy to forget that, in many places, and for some time, the bread and cup would continue to be regarded as food and drink taken in the ordinary course of the fellowship meal.
As the Christian community outgrew the possibility of sharing meals, the sharing of the bread and the cup carries over into the gathering of large numbers of people in worship. Shaver writes, "I am proposing that the sharing of 'token' portions was not simply a replacement for the full meal, arising only when that meal had been abandoned; it was facilitated by the fact that such a practice already existed, in some places (again, by no means all), precisely within the full meal, as early as the first century, as suggested by Paul and the Didache, and continued in communities such as those of Ignatius and the early stratum of the Apostolic Tradition" (page 220).
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. The piety catholic Christians associate so readily in our time with the Eucharist begins to emerge in the late Middle Ages when Western Christians are receiving the Eucharist, and only the bread, at Easter. The rubric in our Prayer Book requiring the celebrant to receive communion is there to make sure at least one person receives. For too many centuries the Western Christian community had all but forgotten that the Eucharist was food for our journey in and with Christ.
I think it's fair to say that Anglo-Catholics of our generation enjoy the fruits of a Eucharistic tradition that invite us to feed on the life-giving Jesus and to adore this life-giving Jesus as he is present to us in the bread and the cup. I invite you to join us, weather permitting, for a Eucharistic Procession through Times Square at the conclusion of the Sunday's Solemn Mass. It's a gentle witness of God's real presence still among us to feed us with the living bread and the saving cup.
THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD for Mitties McDonald DeChamplain, priest, will be offered on Saturday, June 2, at 10:00 AM, in the church. The Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche, bishop of New York, will be the celebrant. The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan, will be the preacher. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow the liturgy. Mother Mitties' ashes will be interred at a later date at Saint Athanasius Church at the Cathedral Center of Saint Paul, Los Angeles, California.
THE COMMUNITY OF ST. JOHN BAPTIST . . . The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, episcopal visitor of the Community of St. John Baptist will receive the final vows of profession of Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B., on Friday, June 8, 2018, at a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 10:30 AM at the Convent of St. John Baptist, Mendham, New Jersey. Your prayers and presence are requested.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Charles, Sheila, Michael, Dick, Angie, Maxine, Alex, Mary, Dora, Marilouise, Dennis, Bob, Abe, Randy, Burt, Mike, Kyle, Greta, Karen, Melissa, Eugenia, May, Heidi, Ridhima, Takeem, David, and Sandy; for Aidan and Monica Clare, religious; for Rebecca and Michael, deacons; for Horace, Gaylord, Louis, Edgar, and Jude, priests; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of Thomas Toungett and Gloria Weiner.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 3: 1881 Corrinne Eugenie Dacie Sawyer; 1923 Eliza Ann Sharrock; 1973 Leslie Belcher.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Gloria Weiner, the mother of Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, died on Trinity Sunday, May 27. She was eighty-nine years old. Ms. Weiner had a lifelong interest in the written word. She worked for many years as a bookseller, both in California and here in New York. Later in life she moved into publishing. An obituary in Publishers Weekly may be read online . . . Thomas Toungett, the uncle of parishioner Reha Sterbin, died suddenly last weekend in a tragic motorcycle accident. His wife, Reha's aunt, Sheila Smith, was seriously injured in the accident . . . Please keep Gloria, Rebecca, Thomas, Sheila, Reha, their family and friends, 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 Lord's crucifixion.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, June 3, The Body and Blood of Christ: Corpus Christi, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM, Mass 10:00 AM, Solemn Mas, Procession to Times Square and Eucharistic Benediction 11:00 AM, Evening Prayer 5:00 PM. Our summer worship schedule begins with Evening Prayer on June 3 . . . Friday, June 8, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Altar Flowers: We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for Sunday, June 17, for all the Sundays in July, and for a number of Sundays in August and September. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Chris Howatt in the parish office (212-869-5830 x 10) . . . Parishioner Ricardo Gomez made a video at the Solemn Mass on Trinity Sunday, which gives viewers a sense of what it was like for members of the congregation to pray the Te Deum at the end of Mass, as David Hurd played the organ, the members of the Choir sang the ancient hymn, and thurifers Ricardo Miranda and Marie Rosseels offered incense in the sanctuary. The video can be viewed on the parish's Facebook page. A link to the video was shared widely on a number of Episcopal websites and, as a result, the video has reached over 23,000 viewers. May the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be praised . . . Parishioner Rami Eskelin has finished his first year at Hampshire College. He has returned to New York for part of the summer and will be serving, from time to time, at the altar. It is good to have him back at Saint Mary's . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish from the evening of Monday, June 4, until the afternoon of Tuesday, June 5. He will be attending Brother Aidan Owen's ordination to the priesthood in West Park. Brother Aidan is a member of the Order of the Holy Cross . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 196; Visitation 59.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . The Mass setting on Sunday morning is Missa Aedis Christi which was composed in 1958 by Herbert Howells (1892-1983) for the Cathedral Church of Christ, Oxford. The Christ Church Cathedral setting is one of several liturgical cycles Howells composed for a particular place. Although he also composed extensively for orchestra and smaller instrumental ensembles, he is most remembered for his choral compositions, many of which were composed for Anglican services. Howells had been a student of Stanford and Parry at the Royal College of Music in London, and he was a close friend of Vaughan Williams whom he considered a mentor. Extending from this distinguished lineage, Howells is especially recognized for his expressive approach to text setting and his distinctive harmonic vocabulary. Most of Howells's English church music is composed for choir with organ accompaniment. Missa Aedis Christi, in contrast, is composed for unaccompanied choir, in four voices with liberal division within voices to accommodate his expressive harmonic and textural pallet.
The Communion motet on Sunday morning is a setting of Anima Christi ("Soul of Christ") by David Hurd, organist and music director at Saint Mary's. It was composed for the institution of the Very Reverend Leighton J. Lee as dean and rector of the Cathedral of the Redeemer, Calgary, Alberta, on February 7, 2016. The English translation of the fourteenth-century Latin prayer of unknown authorship-the text of the present motet-is by Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890). The musical setting is homophonic in texture, flexibly voiced from four to seven parts, and affords clear declamation and expression of the text.
The setting of O salutaris hostia, sung during Benediction, before the procession to Times Square, is by Gregory Eaton, director of music at All Saints' Church, Austin Texas. Previously Mr. Eaton had been director of music at the Church of Saint Ann and the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn Heights. The present motet was composed in 2002 when Saint Ann's and Christ Church, Cobble Hill, celebrated Corpus Christi jointly. Mr. Eaton's four-voice motet applies identical music to the two stanzas of the Latin hymn attributed to Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274). The music is in a neo-modal idiom with a mixture of text alignment and independent voicing.
Olivier Messiaen is widely regarded as one of the most original voices among twentieth-century composers for the organ. Born in Avignon, son of the poetess Cécile Sauvage, he 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. Messiaen's Le Banquet Céleste ("The Celestial Banquet"), played for the prelude today, is one of his early organ compositions, dating from 1928 and based upon a movement of an unfinished orchestral work. It bears the quotation "Celui qui mange ma chair et boit mon sang demeure en moi et moi en lui" ("Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in them") (John 6:56). Its slow movement and reflective mood are suggestive of the timeless expanse of the heavenly meal.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S. . . Thank you so much to all those who volunteered on Wednesday, May 23, for our monthly Drop-in Day, and to all those who continue to make donations of cash, clothing, and toiletry articles in support of this ministry. We served 65 people on May 23, all of whom were grateful for the warm welcome and for the assistance that we were able to provide . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for our next Drop-in Days on 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 . . . 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.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Monday, June 18-Monday, July 9, Father Smith will be away from the parish on vacation . . . Sunday, June 24, The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist . . . Friday, June 29, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles
AT THE GALLERIES . . . King in New York at The Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd Street. Open Daily 10:00 AM-6:00 PM (but closed May 27, and June 4 and 6). The exhibit continues through June 24, 2018. From the museum website, "Discover the legendary civil rights leader's connection to the city. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr., King in New York traces the civil rights leader's encounters with New York from the 1950s until his assassination in 1968. The exhibition's historic images chronicle King's sermons in churches and speeches to the United Nations, his discussions about race relations with New York City's mayor, and his relationships with New York's own networks of activists. Together, they reveal a lesser-known side of King's work and demonstrate the importance of New York City in the national civil rights movement."