Our Parish Life
I am writing to you on Thursday morning, the day I usually write the weekly newsletter. Today is an ordinary weekday at Saint Mary’s. Four weeks of very intensive celebrations are now behind us. Because of the late date of Easter this year, there is something of a break between now and the first week of March. (Ash Wednesday is March 5.) The calendar will give us some time to complete tasks that it was simply not possible to complete as we prepared for the holidays, celebrated Christmas, Epiphany and the anniversary of the organ.
Our national and state governments often operate on “continuing resolutions” – and that is what we are doing at the moment. I expect the Board of Trustees to adopt a budget for 2003 at their January meeting. In a more perfect world this would have happened in early December at the latest. We take the temporal business of the church very seriously. But, the feasts of the Church, despite the practices in some places, do not operate on “continuing resolutions.” Christmas comes. Epiphany comes. We celebrate.
The 2003 Stewardship Campaign is just about sixty percent complete. Two trustees are serving as co-chair of the effort to finish the work, Gloria Fitzgerald and Howard Christian. If you pledged in 2002 and have not yet made a pledge for 2003, you will be hearing from them. If you are new to Saint Mary’s and haven’t pledged, you will be hearing from them too.
The annual meeting of the parish has been set for Sunday, March 9. A light lunch will be served. It has been the practice for a number of years to hold this meeting on the last Sunday in January. I hope that by holding the meeting in March parish leaders will be able to have a better presentation on the present and future of Saint Mary’s.
Looking back at Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, it is very easy for me to be joyful about our life together. The integrity of rite, liturgical tradition, is very high at Saint Mary’s. It is a rare privilege for any of us to be able to be in a place or even to know a place like this. The opportunity for us to be a people of prayer and for Saint Mary’s to be a place of continual prayer is an enormous one. It is a gift of an opportunity.
There is no reason why Saint Mary’s should not continue to grow, no reason at all. Saint Mary’s common life, however, depends on those who serve, those who pray and those who give. Saint Mary’s lives because the commitment of its members to Christ and to this parish is central to our lives. The Lord loves us extravagantly, and here in Times Square we have the opportunity to love him in the same way in return. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for John, Bart, Susan and Daisy who are hospitalized and for Velma June, Kenneth, Jack, Mark, Judith, Thomas, George, Sarah, Grover, Annie, Patricia, Paul, Robert, Eileen, Gloria, Jerri, Margaret, Marion, Olga, Rick and Charles, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Timothy, Patrick, Edward, Keith, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Ned, David and John and for the repose of the souls of Julia, Harry Ray and John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 21: 1977 Edward Parker Amos; January 23: 1964 Walter R. Noe, Jr.; 1990: Mary Grantham Adams; January 25: 1995 Giselle Klopstock.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 1 Samuel 3:1-20, Psalm 63:1-8, 1 Corinthians 6:11b-20, John 1:43-51 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, January 18, by Father Smith and on Saturday, January 25, by Father Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to all who helped with the Cannon Memorial Service on Wednesday, January 15. It was deeply appreciated by all. Bishop Herbert Thompson, bishop of Southern Ohio, who presided at the service, asked the Rector to especially thank all in the sacristy . . . The Vows column of the Style Section of The New York Times, January 5, 2003, carried a nice article about the New Year’s Eve wedding at Saint Mary’s of Karen Zornow and Walter Leiding . . . Flowers are needed for several Sundays, February 9, 16 and 23 . . . Attendance last Sunday 306.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This week at the Sung Mass, played by Dale Bonenberger, the prelude will be Nimrod from Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) and the postlude will be Rigaudon by André Campra (1660-1744). At the Solemn Mass, played by assistant organist Robert McDermitt, the prelude will be Andante from Sonata no. 7 by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) and the postlude will be Tuba Tune in D by C. S. Lang (1891-1971). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Iste confessor’ by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594) and the motet at Communion is Dies sanctificatus, also by Palestrina. We continue our organ recital series before Solemn Evensong & Benediction. This week, we welcome Mr. Sean Jackson, assistant organist at Trinity Church Wall Street, who will play works of Reger, Bach and Gigout.
REVERBERATIONS OF A GREAT WEEKEND . . . The weekend of events observing the Seventieth Anniversary of the Parish Organ was a tremendous success. Forty persons gathered on Friday night to enjoy a fund-raising dinner for the Saint Cecilia Guild. On Saturday night, over three hundred filled the church to hear the recital by McNeil Robinson. On Sunday morning, the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Vierne Mass was just extraordinary. Many, many thanks to all who helped to make the weekend so very special. S.G.
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY . . . The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins with the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle on Saturday, January 18. At Saint Mary’s, our guest preacher at Evensong on Sunday, January 19, will be the Very Reverend Kevin Robb, O.P., prior and pastor of the Dominican Priory and Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer in New York City.
The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began in the Episcopal Church in 1908 at Graymoor, in New York’s Hudson Valley. Ten years earlier The Reverend Paul James Wattson, an Episcopal priest, co-founded the Franciscan religious congregations comprising the Society of the Atonement at Graymoor with Lurana Mary White, also an Episcopalian. Father Wattson was a vigorous advocate of Anglican and Roman Catholic reunion, and he emphasized the role of the papacy in the reunion of Christians. The week of prayer as he proposed was to begin on the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (at that time January 18) and end on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (January 25).
In 1909, the members of the Society of the Atonement were corporately received into the Roman Catholic Church. As part of their commitment to pray and minister for the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus ‘that all may be one’, the Friars and Sisters of the Atonement continued promoting the Church Unity Octave. Meanwhile, the Faith and Order movement expressed interest in common Christian prayer for unity and in 1926 published “Suggestions for an Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity”, proposing that more Christian churches pray together for unity. In 1935 Abbé Paul Couturier, a Catholic priest in France, advocated a “Universal Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” during which Christians would pray together ‘for the unity Christ wills by the means he wills’. Today, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is largely sponsored by the World Council of Churches with the recommendation that churches at every level find ways to move toward greater unity in Christ.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple, Candlemas, will be Sunday, February 2. Candles will be blessed at all Masses on that day. On Monday, February 3, Saint Blase’s Day, the blessing of throats will be offered at the 12:15 PM and the 6:20 PM Masses.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Monday Fabian, Bishop & Martyr
Tuesday Agnes, Martyr
Wednesday Vincent, Deacon & Martyr
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Eve of Saint Paul’s Day 6:00 PM
Saturday The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curate, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,
The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priest, The Reverend Robert Rhodes, assisting deacon,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.