I was not entirely unprepared for my first Holy Week at Saint Mary’s, but almost everything here is on a different scale. There were lots of new joys for me. One of the unexpected and quiet moments I will treasure from this year was the smell of the altar on Good Friday.
I have never served in a parish where the high altar was made of stone. I had never washed an altar with water and wine, as is the custom here on Maundy Thursday. During the ceremony I kept saying to Father Parker very quietly, “Talk me through this. Enough water? Enough wine?” Well, stone altars do get dusty over the course of a year even though they are cared for. year. It was powerful to stand at the altar with other members of the parish clergy to clean the altar table. On Good Friday when I kissed the altar at the beginning of the liturgy I could smell the wine and the water. It was a clean smell, a familiar church smell.
The power of Holy Week at Saint Mary’s comes from the way so many people give themselves to others. It takes effort to be here. It takes time and work to prepare the church. Music doesn’t just happen. Flowers just don’t appear. Servers just don’t arrive and vest. Hearts aren’t just ready for worship if they arrive on time. Volunteers fold and stuff countless pieces of paper. Ushers have hundreds of bulletins to deal with. Hundreds of newcomers and visitors demand our care and hospitality. The range and commitment of so many people to the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection is a reflection of how much love there is for God and for each other in this holy place.
I know I mentioned it last week, but I am still smiling from the Palm Sunday procession. We are planning for another outdoor procession on Corpus Christi if the weather permits. I will never forget my surprise on Maundy Thursday as Father Parker, as deacon of the Mass, with the silver thurible, walked backwards in front of the Blessed Sacrament during the procession to the altar of repose. Howard Christian helped us draw closer to God with the flowers for the week.
The Good Friday Liturgy had liturgical flow, great flow, as liturgical folks say. It is one of the most powerful liturgies of the year and Saint Mary’s gives it full opportunity to speak. There was also a respectable congregation for Stations Friday night. But I was aware that many parishioners were not here on Good Friday and it may be that next year we, like so many other parishes now, will offer the Good Friday liturgy in the afternoon and the evening.
The Easter services were just spectacular. They began with a good fire ( ! ) and continued through a lovely Evensong & Benediction on Easter Day. Father Parker sang the Exsultet for the first time. We have an amazingly large paschal candle. The congregations were truly joyous.
It is so easy to overlook the contributions of individuals when one, in an article like this, tries to catalogue them. The people, the clergy and the guests of our parish community together offered something rare and precious, a celebration of the glory of God of a kind and on a scale that can be offered in only a few places in the world. I think our worship was worthy of the love of our God and worthy of the heritage with which we have been blessed. Thank you for your part in making the offering so wonderful for so many.
PARISH PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for the members our Armed Forces on active duty in Kosovo and for Charles Arthur, Robert, Catherine Rose, Thomas, Maxine, Michael, Louise, Barbara, Shirley, Tom, Mark, Donna, Maria, Ellen, Bernadine, Gloria, Louis, Karen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ken, John, Nina, Rodney, priest, and Maurice, priest and for the repose of the souls of Anthony and LaRue.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 12: 1975 Violet Cadney; April 13: 1958 Earle Stevenson, 1992: George Mueller, trustee.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Acts 2:14a,22-32, Psalm 111, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31 . . . 9:00 Celebrant Father Choate, Preacher Mr. Burnette, 10:00 Celebrant & Preacher The Rector, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher The Rector.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Holy Saturday preparation crew included Jon Bryant, Sean Cassidy, Howard Christian, Carolyn Gregg, Pat Higgins, Nina Pratt, Barbara Stettner, Bill Walters and Patrick White. Let the office know if more names should be on this list! . . . The Board of Trustees meets on Monday, April 12, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. Members of the parish community are welcome to attend and observe. The Board meets regularly on the second Monday evening of the month . . . If you might be interested in working with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, our new Sunday School program, please call the Rector this week. There is a training program on April 17 in Sleepy Hollow that you may be able to attend as a guest . . . Attendance: Tenebrae 142, Maundy Thursday 162, Good Friday 286, Easter Vigil 184, Easter Day 471.
AT THE HIGH ALTAR . . . Weekday Masses and Offices will be offered at the high altar until further notice. This is an experiment to see if increasing the visibility of our weekday worship will help increase attendance. The clergy will evaluate its effectiveness in the fall and decide then whether to continue services there or move some to the other chapels.
MUSICAL GUESTS . . . This Sunday the Parish Choir of Men and Boys of All Saints’ Church, Ashmont, Boston, Massachusetts, will sing at the 11:00 AM Mass. All Saints’, of course, like Saint Mary’s, is one of the great and historic American Anglo-catholic parishes. It will be such a treat to have them here.
Easter Flowers 1999
Emokpolo Aideyan The Reverend Rodney Kirk
LaRue and Archibald Allen Herbert Kirschner and Robert VanVleet
Richard Barsam Barbara Klett
Linda Bridges William and Barbara Knoeller
Jon Bryant Robin Landis
George Cardenas and Rosemary Kern Michael Merenda
Thomas Cassidy and Patrick Higgins Martin Moore
Je Soon Cho Michael Newman
Howard Christian Beatrice Norling
Rita Christiani Harry and Beverly Richter
John Delves and James Dennis Abraham and Suzanne Rochester
Raymond Duncan Leroy Sharer
Kevin Farley Dennis Smith
The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa Alton Stilson
Harold and Martha Fischer Alonzo Tinsley
Marion Freise Roseanne Valeri
Manuel Garza Carmen Wallace
David and Camille Gillespie Charles Wallace
George and Helena Handy Doris Weller
Kenneth Isler The Reverend Charles Whipple
Hatsuhiko and Mary Kageyama The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft
Thomas and Esther Kamm Richard Wunder
Easter Music 1999
The music at Easter is made possible in part by the Charles Bertram Harmon Music Endowment Fund at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.
Worship at Saint Mary’s During Eastertide
The Holy Eucharist
On Sundays Mass is said at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. A Solemn Mass is offered at 11:00 AM. Monday through Friday Mass is said at 12:15 PM and 6:15 PM. On Saturdays Mass is said at 12:15 PM.
The Daily Office
On ordinary Sundays Morning Prayer is said at 8:40 AM and Evening Prayer at 4:45 PM. Monday through Friday Morning Prayer is offered at 8:30 AM, the Noonday Office at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM. On Saturdays the Noonday Office is offered at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM.
The Reconciliation of Penitents
Confessions are heard on Saturdays between 11:30 and 12:00 and between 4:00 and 5:00. Appointments can also be made with members of the parish clergy for the Reconciliation of Penitents at other times.
The Fridays of Eastertide are not observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector, The Reverend William C. Parker, curate, The Reverend Allen Shin, assistant, The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft, The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison, The Reverend Paulette Schiff,
The Reverend James Ross Smith, The Reverend Horace Choate, assisting priests.
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.