Soon after I arrived at Saint Mary’s some decisions needed to be made about Holy Week. I understand that most years a bishop is present to preside at the Great Vigil of Easter. In 1998 the Presiding Bishop was here to preside at all of the Easter Triduum. No bishop had yet been invited when I arrived and I decided not to try to invite one for this year. For a variety of reasons I have decided to celebrate and preach the major liturgies myself. You will have the opportunity to see me preside at the most sacred liturgies and to hear me preach. The usual Holy Week schedule cards have gone to the printer and will be included in the Annunciation and Palm Sunday service bulletins. Extras, as always, will be available on the ushers’ table.
Morning Prayer will be said at 8:40 AM in the Lady Chapel. At 9:00 AM there will be Blessing of Palms and a Said Mass in the Lady Chapel. There will be no 10:00 AM Mass on Palm Sunday only. At 11:00 AM the Blessing of Palms, Procession & Solemn Mass will be celebrated. Weather permitting, the congregation and the ministers will make an outdoor procession. We will leave through the Lady Chapel doors and return through the main doors of the church. At 5:00 PM there will be Solemn Evensong & Benediction. There will be no 5:00 PM Mass.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
The basic schedule is the same for each of these days. May I suggest that this is the week to try to be at Mass every day, here or elsewhere? This is the week to say ‘no’ to well-meaning invitations, as Father Leech preached last Sunday, find time to rest in the Lord.
On Wednesday evening the choir will sing the historic office of Tenebrae at 7:00 PM. I myself have never heard the service. I am looking forward very much to hearing the Allegri “Miserere” again.
Confessions are one part of the “Easter Duty” for Christians. The other part is to be present for the liturgies of the Easter Triduum. Confessions will be heard on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week at 5:00 PM. On Monday Father Parker will hear confessions, on Tuesday Father Choate, and on Wednesday Father Shin. On Thursday I will hear confessions at 6:00 PM. You can also make an appointment with any of the parish clergy. In catholic tradition confessions should be made before the beginning of the Easter Triduum. But the parish clergy will be available to hear confessions before the Good Friday liturgy from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM and immediately following the Good Friday liturgy.
Children in Church
I want all of the parents to know that I would like the children to be in church for as much of each of the liturgies of Holy Week as is possible. I also think it is extremely important for young children to sit where they can see, usually this means in one of the first pews. It is also fine for children to go out into the aisles to watch something. Special pleasures of parenting: helping your children with palms during the processions; kneeling to help them wash feet, helping them to hold the cross for someone to kiss it on Good Friday. At the Great Vigil you can expect me to invite the children (and everyone else) to come up close for the blessing of water at the font.
The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
This is the first of the great liturgies of the Easter Triduum (“Three Days”). The offering on Maundy Thursday is for the poor. This year all members of the congregation who wish to participate in the Washing of Feet will be invited to do so. One will sit and have one’s feet washed, then one will wash the feet of the next person. Again, all who wish to do so may participate. The Watch before the Blessed Sacrament will continue through the night until the beginning of the Good Friday Liturgy. There is no blessing or dismissal. In some sense, the community simply pauses until the next day.
For many of us the Good Friday Liturgy is the most powerful of the Triduum liturgies. This year it will begin at 12:30 PM. There is no opening acclamation and there is no dismissal. It simply begins and ends. The church will be open for prayer all day. During the Veneration of the Cross the congregation will be invited to assist in holding the cross, following the pattern for the Washing of Feet. Two persons will venerate, then they will hold the cross for the next two persons. Again, confessions will be heard from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM and immediately following the liturgy.
The Great Vigil of Easter
I regret very, very much that there are no baptisms for the Great Vigil, our principal Easter service. I have been tempted to arrange some prematurely just to have some, but I have a degree of personal restraint surprising to me. The rheostat for the church has been replaced. The congregation will be able to participate more in the singing of psalms during the service (more than just antiphons or refrains). Especially because there are no baptisms I have chosen for us to go from the Vigil Prophecies (only five! – no increase under the new regime) to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Then, the Renewal of Baptismal Promises will follow the preaching of the Gospel. In other parishes I wouldn’t even mention that I was doing this but something tells me that at Saint Mary’s more than a few people will notice. Since there are no baptisms, however, I plan to sprinkle heavily. If you wear glasses, bring a handkerchief. Following the Easter Vigil there will be a reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
There will be low Masses at 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM only. There will be no 5:00 PM low Mass this Sunday only. The Solemn Mass, in its entire splendor, will be at 11:00 AM, of course. At 3:30 PM there will be a wonderful organ recital. At 4:00 PM there will be Solemn Evensong & Benediction. Alleluia.
PARISH PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked 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 . . . March 29: 1964 Robert Cerra, 1997 Brice Linville; March 30: 1968 Mabel Arrends.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Matthew 21:1-11, Isaiah 45:21-25, Psalm 22:1-11, Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 26:36-27:66 . . . 9:00 Celebrant & Preacher Father Parker, 1100 Celebrant & Preacher The Rector . . . On Saturday, March 27, Father Smith will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: The only Masses on Palm Sunday are at 9:00 AM & 11:00 AM . . . Many thanks to the altar servers who were able to help clean the sacristy on Saturday, March 20: Sean Cassidy, Pat Higgins, Robin Landis, Bob May, Jane Salkeld and Leroy Sharer . . . Thank you to our volunteers, Kevin Farley, George and Helena Handy and Eileen Whittle for helping with the mailing of our Easter offering letter . . . Please sign your name to the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board for the Watch before the Blessed Sacrament. A security officer will be on duty during the night when our sextons are not here . . . Reminder: Please change your clock ahead one hour on Saturday evening, April 3, in order to be on time for the Easter Day Masses . . . Many thanks to Phil Burgess for his help with the display ads for Holy Week for The New York Times . . . “Beyond Inclusion,” an Episcopal gathering of the gay and straight communities, will be holding a conference at Saint Bartholomew’s Church on April 15-18. The keynote speaker at the banquet will be Colonel Margarthe Cammermeyer. Dr. Deirdre Good, professor of New Testament at The General Theological Seminary will be one of many speakers. Cost for the conference is $175.00 and for the banquet $50.00. Fr. Parker has registration information if you are interested in attending . . . Attendance last Sunday: 186.
E-MAIL ANGELUS . . . The Angelus is available in three formats at the present time. The Rector, who is presently the person handling the e-mail edition, is now sending out two mailings to everyone. He does not yet have time to sort out who should receive which edition. Soon, and very soon, he is going to pass this duty on to another member of the staff. In the meantime, your patience is appreciated.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTION . . . As we go to press, I am very aware of some of the efforts that are going to go into making our celebration of the Annunciation so wonderful. After the service I will be able to thank people more directly, but I want you to know how honored I am and I am sure how honored our many guests will be, by how you have prepared the Table of the Lord and the tables of fellowship. S.G.
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