So Very Proud
There may have been another parish in the Episcopal Church that celebrated three Solemn Masses, one on each of the three great days which occurred last weekend; but I do not know of it. Two great parishes in Washington, D.C., Saint Paul’s Parish, K Street, and the Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes, shared Solemn Masses on All Saints’ and All Souls’. I suspect a handful of other parishes where the liturgical tradition has a primary role in shaping the common life of the local congregation will have done something similar.
Before, during and after the weekend many people remarked to me something like, “Feels a little like Holy Week.” Sometimes this was said with a tired smile, but mostly with a great deal of joy and excitement. It is an extraordinary and, for most of us, totally unexpected gift to be able to worship God as part of this parish community. There is a determined effort to receive every guest as Christ, before during and after the Mass. There is a determined effort to let the rite help us to be who we were called and baptized to be, the Body of Christ.
Our music program responded to the challenge of these three days with really fine music, Victoria for All Saints’, Duruflé for All Souls’, and, a Mass that hasn’t been sung for many years at Saint Mary’s, Byrd’s Mass for Three Voices on Sunday. The parish choir is singing consistently at a very high standard – and they are enjoying it too. And what shall I say about our organist? There is no better place to sing hymns than at Saint Mary’s. Whenever the organ begins I wonder where we will be taken this time.
All of this is possible because people here and elsewhere give of themselves to be here to worship and to serve. I cannot imagine Saint Mary’s without our ushers, our Brother Lawrence Guild or our altar servers. Extraordinary flowers do not just happen. Vestments do not maintain themselves; silver and brass are not self-polishing. Linens are carefully damp ironed – no permanent press ever at the altar! And our sextons work all the time simply to keep the church cleaned. And then there are the countless people who step in at just the right moment to lend a hand, often unseen and unheard.
Our buildings and our equipment require daily care; our building superintendent always has a list of things he is working on. Some may have noticed repainting being done in both side aisles near the back of the church. There was water damage and we wanted to keep up with it. The last painting of the church was brilliant. Surely there will be another leak at another time and I will not hesitate to get the leak repaired and the paint restored. I will do this for many reasons but above all because I have confidence in the future and the mission of Saint Mary’s.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can bring from within us the response of love. The response here is especially exciting and rich. Some days I can hardly wait for the next Sunday or feast day to come. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Thomas, George, Sarah, Julia, Grover, Annie, Paul, Robert, Eileen, Gloria, Jerri, Myra, Margaret, Marion, Olga, Rick and Charles, priest. Pray for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Keith, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Ned, David and John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 15: Irene Helen Williams; 1972: Wallace Charles Taylor; 1973: Estelle Moore; 1983: Ralph Burus Smith; 1997: Noel J. Blackman.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Amos 5:18-24, Psalm 70, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 25:1-13 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 9 by Father Weiler and on Saturday, November 16 by Father Gerth.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Sung Mass, played by assistant organist Robert McDermitt, the prelude will be Andante from Sonata no. 3 by J. S. Bach (1685-1750) and the postlude will be Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott by Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748). Robert Schumann (1810-1856) wrote six fugues on the musical notes corresponding to the name BACH. (Other composers, such as Franz Liszt, have done so as well.) Two of them will be played this week at the Solemn Mass. The prelude will be Fuge über den Namen BACH, Op. 60, No. 3, and the postlude Fuge über den Namen BACH, Op. 60, No. 1. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa tertii toni by Costanzo Porta (1528/29-1601) and the motet at Communion is Audivi: media nocte by John Taverner (c. 1490-1545). We continue our organ recital series before Solemn Evensong & Benediction. This week, we welcome Mr. Kevin O’Malia, assistant organist of Trinity Church, Princeton, New Jersey, who will play Louis Vierne’s Symphonie II.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Women’s Spirituality Group meets again on Tuesday, November 12 at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. The group is currently studying The Gospel According to Matthew . . . A group of fourteen Saint Marians, including Father Smith, will be at Mount Saviour Monastery, a Roman Catholic Benedictine community in Pine City, New York, this weekend on retreat. Many, many thanks to Penny Byham for organizing and providing leadership for this weekend . . . If you plan to attend the 9:00 AM Mass on Sundays, you will enjoy coming from Sung Matins at 8:30 AM. We promise. It’s a very, very sweet plainsong service . . . There is a wonderful entry about Saint Mary’s in a new guidebook that has recently been published, “City Secrets: New York City.” The entry is by Thomas Jayne. The book also includes two articles by parishioner Jane Daniels Lear . . . The November/December issue of AVE has arrived at the parish office and should be in your hands very soon . . . Reminder: Our principal Thanksgiving service is Wednesday evening, November 27, at 6:00 PM (because of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – which closes Broadway) . . . Attendance All Saints’ 307, All Souls’ 131, last Sunday 256.
THE GUILD OF ALL SOULS . . . The Church of the Resurrection, 119 East 74th Street, is the host parish for the Annual Requiem Mass of the Guild. It will be held on Saturday, November 9, at 12:00 PM. The Guild is a devotional society in the Episcopal Church with a special mission to pray for the departed. The Reverend Andrew Sloane, rector of Saint Paul’s Parish, Washington, D.C. and former curate of this parish is the preacher.
2003 ORDO CALENDARS . . . We have received the Saint Mary’s 2003 Ordo Calendar, complete with a small photograph of the 2002 Corpus Christi Procession through Times Square. The cost is $5.00 from the Saint Mary’s Bookstore. Friends living outside New York City may order an Ordo for the cost of $6.00, and it will be mailed.
Twenty and Thirty-Something Art Exhibit Tour . . . Saint Mary’s has arranged a special tour for our twenty and thirty-something members and friends of a spectacular new art exhibit at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on Saturday, November 16 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. A breathtaking collection of over 100 of Spain's most noteworthy religious objects, including paintings by Goya and El Greco, are contained in the exhibit entitled “Time To Hope.” Among the masterpieces on display are El Greco's Saint Sebastian; Goya's Saint Joseph's Death; a 15th Century Guttenberg Bible, a 10th Century votive cross, plus documents, and silver and fabrics that span the 7th through the 18th centuries. The cost for this guided tour is only $5 per person. In addition to the tour, all attendees are invited to have brunch beforehand at the curate’s apartment from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. RSVP Father Weiler at 212-869-5830 extension 16, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Martin, bishop
Thursday Consecration of Samuel Seabury, bishop
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Margaret, queen
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 Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.