On Thursday evening, March 25, I will be recognized formally by our bishop, the parish and the local Episcopal community as the ninth rector of this parish. The service will happen, entirely appropriately, during a Solemn Mass to observe the Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I can still hardly believe I am sitting in the rector’s office in this wonderful church.
You and I are bound together now in a very public way in this community in Christ. It is a little odd for me to read about my predecessors or to hear people talk about my predecessors and wonder what will be said of me. In the parish profile it is recalled that the second rector changed the liturgical color of ordinary weekdays from blue to green and “never regained the parish’s trust.” He was rector for ten years. I am sure in those days he married, baptized and buried scores of parishioners. He walked with them through the brightest and darkest days of that decade. We most remember about him that he wore green vestments for ordinary weekdays and not blue?
I am very aware that I have a lot to learn about being rector of this great parish. I want to learn as quickly as I can and to be as good as I can. I am so thankful and happy to be here. I believe that I can be a good rector for the parish. I also know, and I want to repeat something I have said before, that I am under no illusion that I can do it alone. My work as rector is one small part of the great work of the people of God in this parish community. I will often be the spokesperson for the community. I will represent the community in a particular way. But I am only one person out of many. I will try to be worthy of the work you have asked me to do.
I also want you to know that I work hard to keep my sense of humor about human life strong. I also work hard always to value what is important. As a parish priest I have meditated more than once on the Lord’s admonition to Peter to “feed my sheep.”
There have been only eight other institutions of a rector in the history of the parish. I hope you may be able to be here Thursday night. There will be lots of liturgy and lots of fun afterwards. Bishop Grein will be here. I am delighted that many members of my family will be able to come too. I sense I need to warn you, though, that most significant occasions in my life have been occasions for bad weather.
The day I was graduated from the University of Virginia the procession down the Lawn was cancelled because of rain. The day I received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago it poured down rain. The day I was graduated from Nashotah House the ceremony had to be moved inside because of rain. It was dry the day I was ordained deacon in the then unairconditioned Cathedral of Saint James, Chicago; but it was close to 100 degrees. Oh yes, the day I was ordained priest Dallas closed down because of an ice storm. As the joke goes, “I’m in sales, not management.” But is the real question what color of vestment will I be wearing?
I think we are going to have a lot of fun for Jesus.
PARISH PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Charles Arthur who is recovering from surgery and for Robert, Catherine Rose, Thomas, Maxine, Michael, Louise, Barbara, Daisy, Shirley, Tom, Mark, Donna, Maria, Ellen, Bernadine, Gloria, Louis, Karen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ken, John, Nina, Rodney, priest, and Maurice, priest . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 22: 1971 Mary Fargher; March 24: 1952 Ida Steifel; March 26: 1966 Frances Young.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 6:16-23, John 11:1-44 . . . 9:00 CELEBRANT The Rector, 9:00 Preacher Mr. Burnette, seminarian assistant, Celebrant & Preacher 10:00 Father Parker, 11:00 Celebrant & Preacher The Rector, 5:00 Celebrant & Preacher Father Parker . . . On Saturday, March 20, Father Gerth will hear confessions. On Saturday, March 27 Father Smith will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Altar Servers: Remember Sacristy Clean-Up on Saturday, March 20, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM . . . We were delighted to learn that Charles Arthur Schaefer is home from the hospital. On March 19 he was eighty-six years young. We believe he is the parishioner who has been active here for the most consecutive years. We do have an address for him: 200 Waverly Place, #3, New York, New York 10014-3141 . . . Many thanks to Jon Bryant, Howard Christian, Godfrey Gregg, Warren Olson and Nina Pratt for helping the clergy on our first sacristy cleaning session on Sunday afternoon, March 14 . . . Many thanks to Father Shin for arranging the Quiet Day with Fr. Leech and to all who helped Father Shin make the day so wonderful for our many guests and for all who showed hospitality to our guest leader in so many ways . . . Note: Canon Garrison’s Sunday class takes place after the Coffee Hour. The topic for this Sunday is: The Harrowing of Hell. The class meets in Saint Benedict’s Study and you are welcome to join . . . The Rector’s final adult class of the Lenten Season will be Sunday at 10:00 AM in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Remember: We will be having Evensong on Palm Sunday. This is in place of Evensong on the Third Sunday in Lent . . . The Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, has a wonderful current exhibition, “Treasures from the Libraries of the National Trust” on view through April 17. Among the treasures is the first Book of Common Prayer. The exhibition is open to the public free of charge . . . Attendance last Sunday: 212.
HOLY WEEK IS COMING . . . Yes, we are planning an outdoor procession on Palm Sunday at the Solemn Mass with brass quartet and four thuribles. This is the theatre district and we are SMV! . . . Questions and comments about Holy Week can be raised during the Rector’s Class on Sundays.
Worship at Saint Mary’s During Lent
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 from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM and from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM and by appointment.
Stations of the Cross & Benediction
Stations of the Cross & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be offered on Friday, March 26, here at Saint Mary’s. This service is offered jointly by this parish and the Church of the Transfiguration. We have been alternating locations on Friday nights during Lent.
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.
The Parish Office Telephone 212-869-5830, Music Office 212-391-0877