What a Sunday
It was raining last Sunday morning, Corpus Christi, when New York City rolled out of bed. It poured rain during the 10:00 AM Mass. Personally, I haven’t had a great deal of luck with weather on many significant days in my life. I am resigned to the weather doing its own thing.
At 11:00 AM I went out into the nave to speak with the congregation. I told them we would know for sure about 12:15 or so if there would be a procession through Times Square. If it were raining, there would be an “audible,” (to borrow a term from the football field). I still planned for us to sing “Amazing grace!” (with the eight brass players hired for the Mass); but we would skip the procession altogether and go right into Adoration and Benediction. But the rain stopped for a little while and the sun came out, and we were able to process through Times Square. We made our procession: old-time members and newcomers, children, brass, choir, ministers and monstrance. Traffic stopped and people watched, as Saint Mary’s smoked its way through the crowds. It was a really good procession, and it was a REAL procession.
A big part of the brilliance of the day was the music. It was just right from start to finish. Perhaps the choral music had a special spark because it was the last Sunday of the choir season. The Mass setting, Missa brevis by Jackson Hill, was perfect for the day. There was just enough humidity in the air so that the incense lingered beautifully. Messiaen’s O sacrum convivium, like all of the choral singing, was just about as good as it can get. Needless to say, Robert McCormick’s playing of the hymns and other music was exceptional. Across the board, there is enormous talent in our music department.
On great days like Corpus Christi it is very easy to realize that our witness to the Lord’s resurrection is the ministry of the whole assembly, not just the building, not just the art and certainly not just those with specific roles like usher, musician, server, or celebrant. It’s true at coffee hour too (which was packed after the two-hour solemn liturgy). No matter how delicious the food is, no matter how good the beverages may be, it is the people who are present who make the fellowship possible. On Sunday, it was all unusually good.
“Amazing grace!” is a popular song, but it is still recognizably Christian. I’m sure that most of the people who heard and saw the parish procession on Sunday had no idea who we were or what we were up to, but they did know we were Christians, publicly Christian. I know from what I observed and what was said to me after Mass that it was a great day for faith. I thank all of you who were able to be here and I thank those of you who make this possible from afar. You should be very proud of your parish community in Times Square. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Alice who is gravely ill, for Susan, John, Michael Lois, Virginia, Bart, Brett, Nicole, Jack, Thomas, Annie, Patricia, Paul, Robert, Gloria, Jerri, Margaret, Marion, Olga, Rick, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Timothy, Jonathan, Patrick, Edward, Keith, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Mark, Ned, Timothy, David, John and Colin.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS of marriage between Emma MacDonald of New York City and Alexander Paul Gordon Corner of New York City. If any of you knows just cause why they may not be joined in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. This is the first time of asking. S.G.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . As is our custom at Saint Mary’s, these feasts are celebrated on Sundays: the Holy Name (January 1), Epiphany (January 6) Presentation (February 2), Saint John the Baptist (June 24), Saint Peter & Saint Paul (June 29), Transfiguration (August 6), Assumption (August 15), Holy Cross Day (September 14), Saint Michael & All Angels (September 28) and All Saint’s Day (November 1) and Christmas Day (December 25). In 2003, Saint Peter & Saint Paul (June 29) and Holy Cross Day (September 14) fall on Sunday and in this parish, and in accordance with the Prayer Book, they will be observed on Sundays . . . Propers for the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul: Ezekiel 34:11-16, Psalm 87, 2 Timothy 4:1-8, John 21:15-19 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, June 28, by Father Gerth, and on Saturday, July 5, by Father Weiler.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This week at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Vater unser im Himmelreich, and the postlude is Präludium in d-moll, both by Georg Böhm (1661-1733). This Sunday begins our summer pattern of music. (The choir does not sing in the summer except for August 15, and returns on Sunday, October 5.) A cantor sings the minor propers and a solo piece during Communion. This week, our cantor is Miss Sarah Blaskowsky, soprano. The anthem at Communion is Let saints on earth in concert sing by Alan Ridout (1934-1996). Ridout was a versatile English composer and teacher, and he wrote a great deal of music for the Church.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: The church will be open on a holiday schedule for Independence Day, Friday, July 4. The Noonday Office is at 12 and Mass is at 12:15 . . . Many thanks to Robert McDermitt for playing for the Sung Mass for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist . . . Father Smith left for the first part of his vacation on Monday, June 23. He returns to the parish on Monday, July 14 . . . Attendance last Sunday 274, Attendance on the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist 52.
WE’RE READY TO GROW (SPREAD THE WORD!) . . . We have begun advertising for two positions at Saint Mary’s: the curate’s position of Assistant for Liturgy and Education, and the office position of Administrative Assistant. The job descriptions and details for both of these full-time positions are posted on the parish web site, www.stmvirgin.org. Paper copies of the descriptions can be obtained from the parish office. Please join your parish leadership in praying that God would send us the right people for these two positions.
DIOCESAN PRIDE EVENTS . . . The New York City Gay Pride Parade is this Sunday, June 29. Groups and individuals who wish to march with the Diocese of New York should meet around 1:00 PM on 54th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Once again this year, the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields will host a special Evensong at 6:30 PM. The Right Reverend Andrew St. John will be celebrant. If you wish to get a seat, you should be in line outside the church by 5:45 PM. A reception follows in the Church’s garden. Saint Luke’s is located at 487 Hudson Street, just south of Christopher Street.
MEMBERSHIP NOTES . . . Welcome our newest church member, Robert Imig. This week the parish office received and registered baptismal information for Rob, which formalizes his relationship with us. Originally from Wisconsin, Rob works as a publicist in a public relations agency. He’s an unusual Saint Mary’s member, in that he actually lives in our neighborhood. He’s a huge football fan (Packers and Badgers, specifically) and these days enjoys golf, tennis and running. Rob initially planned to stay in New York for a few years and then move on, but that may be changing. When you meet Rob or when you see him, let him know how glad we are to have him at Saint Mary’s.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO HELP . . . Home Instead Senior Care is actively looking for compassionate, dependable and reliable caregivers to work with the elderly in Manhattan. Though a small hourly wage is offered, this is primarily a volunteer opportunity to provide companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, shopping, errands, medication reminders and things of this nature. If you are interested in this opportunity, speak with Father Beddingfield or see Home Instead’s
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday Saint Peter and Saint Paul, apostles
Friday Independence Day
Federal Holiday Schedule: One Mass only, at 12:15 PM
Saturday Of Our Lady
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Matthew Weiler, The Reverend John Beddingfield, curates,
The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,
The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priest,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.