During my first summer in New York a friend remarked to me how important it was to work hard during the summer here because if one didn’t, the fall would be impossible. I have certainly found this to be true. It doesn’t seem to slow down except when one manages to get out of town. Planning for the fall at Saint Mary’s is well under way and the calendar is filling up.
As I write, Robert McCormick is on vacation but I know that the music schedule is just about ready to be published. It will be available on August 15. As most of you know, at the Solemn Mass on Sundays, Saint Mary’s has professional singers. There are some new and very fine voices in the choir this year who join a group of extraordinarily talented singers. For Saint Mary’s, the choir season starts on the first Sunday in October, which has been observed as the Feast of Dedication since 1931 (even though the real anniversary of the consecration of the church is December 12).
The choir does sing the Mass on the Feast of the Assumption, Friday, August 15, at 6:00 PM. Our guest celebrant and preacher will be the Right Reverend Andrew St. John, interim rector, Church of the Holy Trinity, New York City. Bishop St. John is from the Church in Australia, having served as in the Western Region of the Diocese of Melbourne. He was with us for the Feast of the Annunciation and it will be a privilege to have him with us as celebrant and preacher for one of the great feasts of the year. The music, of course, will be splendid. The Mass ordinary will be Messe in Es-dur (“Cantus Missae”), Op. 109, by Joseph Rheinberger (1839-1901). The motets will be Ave Maria by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) and Ave maris stella by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907).
Solemn Evensong resumes on the first Sunday of October at 5:00 PM. The weekly organ recital at 4:40 PM also resumes this Sunday. This year the full choir will sing the service on this Sunday as part of a Saint Cecilia Guild event. Saint Cecilia Guild is our group of donors whose gifts to our music program make possible a measure of excellence and richness that would not be possible otherwise.
There will be a fund raising reception in the rectory following Evensong. The music for the service will be Hail, gladdening light by Charles Wood (1866-1926), Evening Service in D by George Dyson (1883-1964) and Thou, O God, art praised in Sion by Malcolm C. Boyle (b. 1937). At Benediction the music will be by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) and George Henschel (1850-1934). Our guest preacher will be a great friend of Saint Mary’s the Reverend Peter Galloway, vicar, Saint John’s Church, Hampsted Heath, London.
Music is very important at Saint Mary’s. This is a singing congregation. It also appreciates and supports the finest liturgical music. The music and the worship of this parish church have played significant roles in the wider Episcopal Church since its founding. What makes the music and worship so important today is this community’s growing understanding that music and the liturgy are servants of the assembly. There was a time in the not too distant past when for too many the liturgy seemed to exist almost independently of the People of God. When that is the case, it is hard to embrace and to live sacramental reality.
It is relatively easy for most Christians to think of themselves as disciples of Christ. The liturgy challenges and calls us to a deeper reality. Christians are Christ’s Body in this world. It’s not a call that anyone hears easily. It is the call this parish community has heard for a very long time. I was not here when the church was repainted in 1997, but I don’t think it is at all an accident that the design for our ceiling was taken from the underside of the canopy of the tabernacle. The Body of Christ reposes in the tabernacle. It is really present there because this same Body fills the pews of the nave every day. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Alice, Gates, Kiyoshy, William, Billie, Jonah, Gracie, Susan, John, Cecilia, Michael, Lois, Virginia, Bart, Brett, Nicole, Jack, Thomas, Annie, Patricia, Paul, Robert, Gloria, Jerri, Margaret, Marion, Olga, Rick, and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Timothy, Patrick, Edward, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Ned, Timothy, David, John and Colin. Your prayers are also asked for the repose of the soul of John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 30: 1986 Edith Collins; August 1: 1969 Mabel Upson.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The memorial Mass for John D. Bush, a member of Saint Mary’s, will be held on Friday, July 25, at Saint Paul’s Church, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, where most of Mr. Bush’s family reside. Please pray for him and for all who mourn.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: 2 Kings 2:1-15, Psalm 114, Ephesians 4:1-7,11-16, Mark 6:45-52 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, July 26, by Father Gerth, and on Saturday, August 2, by Father Smith.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This week at the Solemn Mass, played by assistant organist Robert McDermitt, the prelude is O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross, BWV 622, and the postlude is Präludium in G-dur, BWV 568, both by J. S. Bach (1685-1750). Our soloist is Mr. Geoffrey Williams, baritone and countertenor. The piece at Communion is O Maria, stella maris, an example of medieval conductus. Conductus is a type of monophonic song (consisting of one voice part) with a metrical text. Though they are not chant, they originally were for liturgical use (similar to a sequence). Later on, however, the term became associated with any sacred or secular metrical Latin song.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Special thanks to our Bob Picken, who helped translate this Sunday’s anthem from mediaeval Latin into English for the service leaflet . . . Father Weiler continues on vacation. He returns to the parish for one week beginning Sunday, August 10 . . . Attendance last Sunday 196.
MEMBERSHIP NOTES . . . This week the parish office received the baptismal records for Francis Gomes, formalizing his relationship with us and making him our newest church member. Originally from Calcutta, Francis has been in New York for almost three years, serving as a chef and manager of a midtown restaurant. He has family in the United States in Maryland and in New Jersey. Since Francis was baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic Church, he will be received by a bishop into the Episcopal Church at some point in the future. Please welcome him warmly.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Tuesday Mary and Martha of Bethany
Wednesday William Wilberforce, abolitionist
Thursday Ignatius of Loyola, priest
Friday Joseph of Arimathaea Abstinence
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.