Assumption at Saint Mary’s
Shortly after 8:00 AM on Friday, August 15, electric power returned to Times Square. A few minutes later two of our sextons, who had spent the night here – and would spend a second night here because transportation would still be a problem, opened the doors. Morning Prayer was offered at 8:30 AM. Just as our wonderful city continued to renew itself all day, Saint Mary’s moved forward hour by hour to a truly glorious celebration of the Assumption on Friday. Once the power returned, there was never any doubt that there would be a Sung Mass at 12:00 PM and Procession & Solemn Pontifical Mass at 6:00 PM. I knew it would all happen and it did.
It didn’t matter that the trains weren’t working. Key members of the parish community found a way to get here – often on foot – from all over the city. There is a deep commitment to Christ and to Saint Mary’s in the hearts of so many. Sacrifices were made so that God would be worshipped. There was simply something absolutely wonderful about the entire day.
Where to begin? Once it was clear that we had not been attacked by an enemy, people worried about those who might be trapped in elevators or on the subway trains. Were the phones working? Did the hospitals have power? Some who had been here during the 1977 blackout worried that there might be looting in Times Square and across the city after dark. Friends of this parish community who receive this newsletter may not appreciate what a safe place New York City is. There was no looting. People responded beautifully to the crisis. As I’ve taken to telling friends since September 11, 2001 who live elsewhere, if there is a problem, there is no place I’d rather be than New York. People are magnificent here.
Those who were here Friday night witnessed a new stage in Saint Mary’s common life. Our new choir sang for the first time this season. Music really is back at Saint Mary’s. I expect the word to spread. We are entering another period in Saint Mary’s life when the music is simply extraordinary. In large part this reflects the learning, the work and the talents of our musicians. Friday night made something else clear, the love of all of our musicians for Saint Mary’s mission and life. Everyone had a good excuse not to be here and not to offer his or her best. None of this would be happening this way without the leadership Robert McCormick has given to his ministry as our organist and music director. Robert, thank you.
Father John Beddingfield held the rest of us together through the day. His steady gifts and quick thinking throughout the day were a source of direction and strength for so many. Bishop Andrew St. John was magnificent as celebrant and preacher for us in the evening. One of our ushers even managed to get here from West New York, New Jersey in time for the Noon Mass. Servers, thank you. Flower Guild, thank you. Brother Lawrence Guild, thank you. Church staff, thank you. Everyone came through magnificently.
According to the ushers, there were 143 people here for the Solemn Mass on Friday night. Remember, the trains weren’t working. Much of the city did not get power until late in the day. Yet, so many still managed to be here. There was a special grace because so many people who could make the effort chose to do so, chose to put the worship of God first. This is our heritage at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. And I believe we were indeed worthy of it on the Feast of the Assumption 2003. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Hazard who is hospitalized, Louise, Gates, Billie, Susan, Joan, Michael, Lois, Virginia, Bart, Brett, Nicole, Jack, Thomas, Annie, Patricia, Paul, Robert, Gloria, Jerri, Margaret, Marion, Olga, Rick, and Charles, priest, Gregory, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty overseas, especially Timothy, Patrick, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Timothy, David, John and Colin. Your prayers are also asked for the repose of the souls of Korah and Nadia . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 24: 1959 Mabel Lenora Heyny; August 25: 1983 Arthur Atkinson III; 1990: Eliphal B. Streeter; August 27: 1961 Leslie Evans Roberts; August 29: 1959 James Edward Emanuel; 1961: Joseph B. Thornell.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE between Thomas Michael Devaney of San Francisco, California, and Melissa Ann Twiest of San Francisco, California. 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 second time of asking. S.G.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25, Psalm 34:15-22, Ephesians 5:21-33, John 6:60-69 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, August 23, by Father Smith, and on Saturday, August 30, by Father Gerth . . .
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This week at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr by Georg Böhm (1661-1733) and the postlude is Präludium und Fuge g-moll by Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697). Our soloist is Ms. Ruth Cunningham, soprano. The solo at Communion is O süsser, o freundlicher from Kleine geistliche Konzerte, SWV 285 by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672). Schütz, widely regarded as the preeminent German composer of the seventeenth century, wrote little but sacred music. This piece dates from his middle period.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . In thanking those who polished brass the other Saturday, we unfortunately left out mention of the vice president of the Board of Trustees, who spent approximately three hours polishing the silver tabernacle light in the sanctuary . . . Thanks to our parishioner Clark Mitchell, who translated the communion anthem this week from the German into English . . . Elizabeth Gillespie is in West Virginia with a group from Saint John’s Church, Wallingford, Connecticut, helping to rebuild an area damaged by flooding . . . Father Beddingfield is on vacation Saturday, August 23 through Saturday, August 30. During this time, Father will be moving into the curate’s apartment . . . Mother Rosemari Sullivan, executive officer of the General Convention, is returning to Saint Mary’s! She’s been away most of this year because of her responsibilities with the just completed General Convention. We expect to see her at the altar next on Tuesday after Labor Day. We are most thankful . . . Attendance last Sunday 191, Attendance on Assumption 175
PLAN FOR AN OCTOBER RETREAT . . . The fall parish retreat will be held at Mount Saviour Monastery, near Elmira, New York, www.msaviour.org, Saturday, November 8, through Tuesday, November 11, Veteran's Day. The retreat topic is “Sheep May Safely Graze.” The maximum number of participants is fifteen. E-mail reservations or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION BEGINS September 17 . . . For four Wednesday evenings the Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, XIV Bishop of the Diocese of New York, will lead “The Gospel According to Mark.” The class meets after Mass from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. We will seek to answer the question: Why did someone we call ‘Mark’ invent what we call a ‘gospel account of the life of Jesus’? In using the material available to him, how does he portray Jesus? What is demanded by Jesus of those who would follow Him? We will also pay close attention to the structure of the Gospel as it reveals the purpose of the author.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Thursday Augustine of Hippo, bishop
Friday Beheading of Saint John the Baptist Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend John Beddingfield, curate, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,
The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priest,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.