Until recent decades the weekly service bulletins of SMV were bound. Some of the bound volumes are in my office, some in the rectory parlor and some in the archive room underneath the church. I discovered through reading one volume in the parlor that the Reverend Granville Mercer Williams, S.S.J.E., had canceled the midnight Mass his first year for fear of irreverent communions. That experiment did not last; so popular was the Christmas Midnight Mass that tickets were required for admission the next year and for decades to come. Another change Father Williams made in the common life of SMV has lasted, although I am sure it brought grumbling for a generation. Father Williams changed the date for the celebration of the anniversary of the dedication of the church.
The year I entered the ordination process in the Diocese of Chicago, an Anglo-catholic friend gave me a copy of the seventh edition of "Ritual Notes." This was a priest's manual that went through eleven or so editions and, believe it or not, is still in print today. It gave instructions in English for the celebration of the Roman Catholic liturgy, the Roman books then being in Latin. It also explained things in a way that Anglicans who wanted to follow the ceremonial of the largest Western Church could find their way to do so. The seventh edition of this work is the volume that was current when Father Williams became rector. And the seventh edition of Ritual Notes seems to provide the explanation for some of the things Father Williams did liturgically.
Most parishes, and I suppose even cathedrals, of Western Europe do not know the date on which their church buildings were consecrated. If this were the case for a parish, Ritual Notes (i.e. Roman Catholic usage) indicated that a Feast of Dedication should be celebrated on the first Sunday in October. In our own case another rubric applied. Since our second and present church was consecrated on a feast of the first rank, December 8, the Immaculate Conception, no additional commemoration is correct on a feast of this rank, according to Ritual Notes. Therefore, Father Williams began the celebration of a Feast of Dedication on the first Sunday in October in 1931. (Can't you hear the echoes of the rumbling and grumbling when he did that?)
Of course my experience so far of Dedication is different. People are looking forward to the lessons, which are wonderful and are repeated every year, and to the return of music of the full parish choir. The flowers for the feast are in memory of the departed rectors of the parish - seeing the names of my predecessors save one on the draft bulletin was more than a little sobering.
This year we will not be having Solemn Evensong & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament for Dedication so that we can bring the choir expenses in on budget. This will not happen again. Yes, the money spent for the choir on Holy Cross Day could have been spent instead on an Evensong, but in my mind our celebration of Holy Cross Day -- and it was splendid and a wonderful way to welcome formally our curate, Father Shin -- outranks Dedication Evensong. Next year, with a slightly different management of our music budget earlier in the year this choice will not have to be made.
And I didn't invite a bishop to be celebrant for Dedication this year either. If I had to explain this I think I would say that it doesn't yet occur to me to invite others to preach and celebrate in my place or in the place of the curate and assistant. I am not used to serving in a diocese with four active bishops! The other reason is that I just didn't have time to think through about something like this earlier this year. There's been a lot to do as a new rector of SMV and it will be a while before I develop a rhythm for my work that will give me time for reflection and planning. Right now I feel very much as if I am in a batting practice cage and the balls are coming fast and faster and - this is very much a part of the image, I can't believe I'm having so much fun even when I miss.
Something I already share deeply with members of the parish community is my reverence for the holiness of this place, this temple, dedicated to work of the Lord Jesus Christ, under the title and patronage of the glorious and ever-blessed Virgin Mary. As important as the worship that is offered in this church several times every day are its open doors and its quiet invitation to so many to enter into the presence of the Lord. From the time the doors open until they close it is almost impossible to be in the church and not to be with someone else. There is something rare and precious about the physical home of SMV, something that invites people to put away fear and sin and to enter into the loving presence of God. It must have been incredible to be here on December 8, 1895 when Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton took his crozier and banged three times on the doors of the church and the choir sang, "I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go unto the house of the Lord.'" I hope you will be able to be with us Sunday when in our own way we rejoice in the glory and praise of the Lord.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for William, Margaret, Warren, Myrian, Katherine Rose, Margo, Nettie, Shirley and Thomas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . …. October 7: I962 Stephen Waterman Mason; October 7: 1965 Josephine Barreaux; October 9: 1971 Roger Rolt-Wheeler, 1987 Barbara L. Coates.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: 1 Kings 8:22-30, Psalm 84:1-6, 1 Peter 2:1-5, 9-10, Matthew 21:12-16 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant Father Shin, Preacher Mr. Lawson; 10:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 11:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector, 5:00 PM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector . . . On Saturday, October 2, Canon Garrison will hear confessions . . . On Saturday, October 9, the Rector will hear confessions.
WELCOME NEW SAINT MARIANS . . . During the Prayers of the People at all of the Masses on Dedication Sunday we will pray for persons who are formally new to the parish since the arrival of the new rector. These sisters and brothers in Christ are indeed the new "living stones" with which the Lord is continuing to build his kingdom in this place. It seems appropriate that we recognize these individuals this day.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Journey in Faith meets in Saint Benedict's Study following the Solemn Mass. This class is for new Christians and persons who are new to Saint Mary's. It may be appropriate for others too. Please check with Father Shin . . . Different Faith Traditions also meets in Saint Benedict's Wednesday evenings beginning October 6 following the evening Mass . . . Several people have asked, "Where is Father Wolsoncroft?" He is still recovering from a painful foot condition. The Rector has spoken with him and we hope very much he will be back with us soon . . . Reminder: You are invited to attend a workshop on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd on Saturday, November 6, from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM . . . Because of the Columbus Day holiday, the next meeting of the Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, October 12, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict's Study . . . Attendance last Sunday: 144.
MUSIC PROGRAM NOTES . . . I am pleased to announce that Daniel Fannon has agreed to serve as interim organist and that Andrew Adams has agreed to serve as interim choral director for SMV. Dan has played many times at SMV as a substitute organist and his work is already known and appreciated in the community. His graduate degree in orchestral conducting is from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He has served recently as organist and choirmaster at the Church of Saint Matthew and Saint Timothy. Andrew sang as cantor under Quentin Lane at SMV. He served as organist and choirmaster at St. Andrew's Church, Staten Island from 1986 to 1993. He also did graduate studies in church music at Westminster Choir College, Princeton. He returned recently to SMV as his parish home and we have put him to work . . . The Feast of Dedication will be Ken Cowan's last Sunday as assistant organist at St. Mary's. He will play the recital at 10:30 AM on Sunday morning and the Mass. I suggest you ignore temporarily the final instruction of the deacon of the Mass ("Go in peace to love and serve the Lord"), and you sit to hear his concluding voluntary. We regret Ken's departure but look forward to hear him playing here again sometime in the future and his considerable gifts and look forward to hear him playing sometime in the future . . . The Parish Choir is being formed again for another season. Beginning next week we plan to introduce the members of the choir to you through this column.
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 Eighteenth Week after Pentecost
Monday Saint Francis of Assisi
Wednesday William Tyndale
Saturday Robert Grosseteste
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Allen Shin, curate, The Reverend Thomas Breidenthal, assistant,
The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft, The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison,
The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa assisting priests, The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.