On the night of my institution, in the clergy vesting room, a deacon was worried about whether the vesture I had told him to wear was correct. I smiled and said (tongue in cheek!), "I'm the rector of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. I know what you are supposed to wear in church." Of course, there's loads of stuff I don't know. I confess I don't know a lot about some kinds of processions.
I do know of the origin of the Palm Sunday procession. It grew out of the reenactment ceremonies of the Church in Jerusalem in the fourth century. The Candlemas procession on the Feast of the Presentation, with its lighted candles and the singing of the Song of Simeon, was introduced into the Western liturgy in the seventh century by the then pope. Rogation processions were held at the time of spring planting as acts of petition for a fruitful growing season.
I seem to recall that when "The Great Litany" was developed in English, the late medieval English Church had processions of the congregation and clergy around the exterior and interior of their parish churches on Sundays. The litany was in substance a form of what we would call the Prayers of the People in procession.
The observance of Corpus Christi ("Body of Christ") dates from the beginning of the thirteenth century. When Pope Urban IV decreed the feast in 1264 and prescribed a Mass for its observance throughout the Western Church he made no mention of a procession of the Sacrament. It didn't take long for a festival procession of the Eucharist to be added to the Mass. When Anglo-catholics began to reclaim their heritage, the feast and its ceremonies were a natural.
I will probably never forget the impression the Palm Sunday procession through Times Square seemed to make on the people who were participating and the people who observed us. I saw very joyful faces in our congregation. Lots of us shared palms with those we passed. I saw some guilty looks on the streets in the faces of people who were having a holiday at the beginning of Holy Week and knew better. I saw some who were confused. I saw a lot of people who just seemed to enjoy our procession as they might enjoy any parade. And I saw a few people who seemed to me to want to know how to be a part of a pilgrim people following a cross.
I hope we have wonderful weather on Sunday, June 6, and that we will be able to have the procession through Times Square. I'm sure such a procession will produce a variety of sensations and impressions. I hope that most of the members of the congregation will sense we are a pilgrim people, following Christ in the world and for the world. It will be the last Sunday of the choir season. The music will be very splendid and fine. A brass quartet will accompany our procession too. I hope you will be able to be here. Invite friends and fellow pilgrims. Stephen Gerth
PARISH PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty in Kosovo, for Dennis who is hospitalized and for Shirley, Mark, Maria, Ellen, Louise, Dorothy, Warren, Thomas, Robin, Shawn, George, Richard, Anthony, Karen, Margaret, Ken, John, Nel, Daisy, Michael, Maxine, Gloria, Nina, Mary Ellen, Walter, Victoria, Rodney, priest, and Maurice, priest, and for the repose of the souls of Brooks, Emma and John.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 3: 1993 Kenneth William Cloughley, Jr.; June 6: 1959 Grace Frisby Conklin, 1966 Douglas Harrison Briggs.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Deuteronomy 8:2-3, Psalm 34, Revelation 19:1-2a, 4-9, John 6:47-58 . . . 9:00 Celebrant & Preacher The Rector, 10:00 Celebrant & Preacher Father Shin, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher The Rector, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher, Father Parker . . . On Saturday, June 5, Canon Garrison will hear confessions. On Saturday, June 12, Father Parker will hear confessions.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE between Susan Wamsley of New York City and Richard Miranda of New York City. If any of you know just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. This is the first time of asking. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Remember the organ recital on Sunday before the Solemn Mass. Our guest organist, Felix Hell, is an extremely gifted young German teenager . . . The parish clergy are helping to care for Dennis Peters, an out-of-town Episcopalian, who is hospitalized at New York University Medical Center. He is twenty-nine years old and has suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Please keep him in your prayers . . The Sunday nursery is still being held in Saint Benedict's Study . . . Father Figueroa will not be with us on Sundays during the month of June. Father is assisting with the weekday Masses on Tuesday evenings and a few other times for which we are very thankful . . . The AVE production team is at work on the July-August 1999 issue. Copy deadline is Monday, June 7, if you have submissions for it . . . Work is progressing on the rectory air-conditioning repair. The old units were removed. As we go to press a crane is scheduled to arrive on Thursday morning, June 3, at 6:00 AM to lift the new units in place. The work was slowed by the need to replace the steel beams which hold the units. The old beams had almost rotted through . . . A New Address: The Reverend Horace Choate, 315 Saint Matthew's Street, Kosciusko, Mississippi 39090 . . . Friday, June 5, is Vince Amodei's second anniversary on the parish staff as our bookkeeper. Vince's position with us is a part-time one. We are thankful for his work and his love of Saint Mary's . . . Friday, June 11, the Feast of Saint Barnabas the Apostle, is the sixteenth anniversary of the Rector's ordination to the diaconate . . . The Board of Trustees meets on Monday evening, June 14, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict's Study . . . Attendance last Sunday: 187.
Worship at Saint Mary’s
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 ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
The Calendar of the Third Week after Pentecost
Wednesday Saint Columba, Abbot
Thursday Saint Ephrem, Deacon
Friday Saint Barnabas the Apostle
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 Amilcar Figueroa, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.