November at Saint Mary’s
The first day of November is All Saints’ Day. This year it occurs on a Saturday. And as is our custom, the principal service for the feast will be Friday evening at 6:00 PM. On the most sacred days, the Church still reckons time as Jesus did. In the Hebrew calendar, the day begins at sunset. All Saints’ is the day the Church remembers with thanksgiving those who have died in Christ, especially those whose names are no longer known to us, and asks for their intercession for us.
For those who are new to Saint Mary’s you can only imagine how glorious the hymns for the day sound on our organ. They will not disappoint you. There is an organ recital before Mass at 5:30 PM. There will be a reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall after the Mass. All Saints’ is one of the principal feasts of the Church year – and we keep it that way at Saint Mary’s.
Most years, November 2, is All Souls’ Day, except in years when November 2 is a Sunday. Then, Episcopalians transfer this celebration to Monday and Sunday is kept as the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost. All Souls’ is the day we remember by name family members and friends who have died. This observance was suppressed among Episcopalians at the Reformation. Saint Mary’s was, of course, one of the first communities in our American Church to recover this ancient Christian prayer. In fact, it is unthinkable now for Episcopalians to gather for the Eucharist without bringing the departed before God in prayer. Because this ministry has been so important for so long here, the names to be remembered can run into the thousands. Requiem Masses are said through the week so that all can be included. In addition to the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM on Monday, November 3, there is a Sung Mass at 12:00 PM.
Our guest preacher on All Saints’ Eve is the Reverend Ralph N. McMichael, Jr., theologian in residence at the Church of St. Michael and St. George, St. Louis, Missouri. Father McMichael was formerly Associate Professor of Systematic and Sacramental Theology in the William Adams Chair at Nashotah House. After seminary at Nashotah, he completed his Th.D. at the Catholic University of America. On Monday, our great friend and former bishop, the Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, will be presiding and preaching at the Solemn Mass & Blessing of the Vault at 6:00 PM. Our choir will be joined by the Choir of Men and Boys from Christ Church, Greenwich.
November 9 brings another great friend of Saint Mary’s back to our pulpit, the Reverend Alan Moses, vicar of All Saints Margaret Street, London. Father Moses will preach at the Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM. On Sunday, November 16, our guest preacher at Evensong will be the Reverend Kathleen Liles, rector, Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, New York City. On Sunday, November 23, the Solemnity of Christ the King, our guest preacher at Evensong is the Right Reverend Herbert A. Donovan, assistant bishop of the Diocese of New York. On Sunday, November 30, the First Sunday of Advent, we are especially honored that the Bishop of New York, the Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, will preach at Evensong.
Finally, those who are new to the parish may not be aware that our principal Thanksgiving service is Sung Mass on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 26, at 6:00 PM. Broadway is closed for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Thanksgiving Day itself. So, on Thursday there is only a Said Mass at 12:15 PM. It’s just not possible for a lot of folks to get here on Thanksgiving Day because of the parade.
The Church year, which begins four Sundays before Christmas Day, again begins this year on Sunday, November 30. If this is your first November at Saint Mary’s, I hope very much it will be as special for you as it has been for me every year since I arrived. The music is glorious. Two great “hymn moments” this month are the hymn at the preparation of the gifts at All Saints, “For all the saints, who from their labors rest,” and the final hymn on the last Sunday of the Church year, “Lo! he comes with clouds descending.” If you haven’t been here before, let me assure you both hymns are two of the greatest moments of praise of the year. And at the Solemn Mass on the First Sunday of Advent, the whole year begins with the ancient psalm, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you.” It’s a song for every day of our lives. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Loretta who is hospitalized and for Jason, Harold, Billie, John, Michael, Virginia, Bart, Margaret, Marion, Hugh, Rick, and Charles, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Ned, Timothy, Patrick, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Timothy, David, John and Colin; and for the repose of the souls of Bernard and Hazard . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 1: 1997 Mark Hamilton; November 2: 1957 Elsinore Janmott, 1958 C.Y. Wong, 1960 Mabel Amelia Hoover, 1970 John Arthur Schwartz, 1973 Howard Montague Smith, 1973 Doris White, 1976 Winona Clare Peterson, 1982 Robert William Kennedy, 1983 Marie Anne Andokian, 1987, Clasine A. Van De Geer; November 6: 1988 Beatrice Emily Clark; November 7: 1986 Bruce Taylor.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Deuteronomy: 6:1-9, Psalm 119:1-8, Hebrews: 7:23-28, Mark 12:28-34 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 1 and on Saturday, November 8 by Father Gerth.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . On Friday, the Eve of All Saints’, Mr. Eugene Roan plays the organ recital at 5:30, featuring works of Dupré, Messiaen, Milhaud and Malcolm Williamson. At the Solemn Mass, the choir sings The Mass ‘Euge Bone’ by Christopher Tye (c. 1502-c. 1572) as the Mass ordinary. This Mass often is regarded as Tye’s best-known work. It may have been written as his Cambridge doctoral exercise, and is a parody Mass, though based upon a now unknown antiphon. The motet at Communion is O quam gloriosum by William Byrd (1543-1623). The postlude is Final from Symphonie I, Op. 13 by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) . . . This week at the Sung Mass, played by associate organist Robert McDermitt, the prelude is Prière à Notre Dame and the postlude is Menuet Gothique, both from Suite Gothique, Op. 25 by Léon Boëllman (1862-1897) . . . At the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Very slowly from Sonatina for organ by Leo Sowerby (1895-1968) and the postlude is Toccata in Seven by John Rutter (b. 1945). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Communion Service in D by Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988). Born in Wakefield, England, Leighton’s unique musical language (lyrical melodies combined with chromaticism, and later in his career, use of serial techniques) earned him great respect as a composer. The anthem at Communion is God is Love by McNeil Robinson (b. 1943); a piece written while he was organist and music director at Saint Mary’s . . . We continue our weekly series of organ recitals at 4:40. This week, Ms. Izumi Fujimori will play works of Alain and Duruflé. Ms. Fujimori is the organist at Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, New Jersey . . . On All Souls’ Day, Monday, November 3, the choir of men and boys of Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut, will join our choir at the Solemn Mass. The setting of the Requiem will be Missa pro defunctis by Frei Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650), a beautiful setting for six-voice choir. Cardoso was a Portuguese composer and monk, and greatly respected during his lifetime, though his music is rarely heard today. His setting of the Requiem, is widely considered his crowning achievement; it is composed (like all his works) in the late Renaissance polyphonic style, which persisted in Portugal much later than other places, indeed well after the Renaissance was over.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . It was an honor to have many alumni of Westminster Choir College gather at Saint Mary’s on Saturday, October 25. Robert McCormick and Robert McDermitt are both graduates of Westminster . . . The Rector will be away November 4 through November 7 . . . Attendance last Sunday 321.
Wisdom Literature: WEDNESDAY EVENINGS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Led by Professor Joseph Pearson, the class meets after Mass from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. On November 5, we discuss the Book of Job, chapters 1 through 19, “Where is God in our Suffering?” Part folk-tale, part philosophical dialogue, this great book offers up a searching interrogation of God’s role in human grief and trouble. The tragedy of Job proceeds from an alarming premise: on a wager between God and Satan, a supremely good man is deprived of family, wealth and health – just to test the true character of his faith. Is it fair what happens to Job? Is it fair that God tests us even in our loss and suffering? Where is God when we suffer? Come and join in the study and conversation.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Monday All Souls’ Day
Tuesday Parish Requiem (A-G from the All Souls' Day list)
Wednesday Parish Requiem (H-M from the All Souls’ Day list)
Thursday Parish Requiem (N-R from the All Souls' Day list)
Friday Willibrord, bishop & martyr Abstinence
Saturday Parish Requiem (S-Z from the All Souls’ Day list)
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend John Beddingfield, curate,
The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priest, The Reverend John Kilgore, assisting deacon,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.