Ending and Beginning
The Last Sunday after the Epiphany has been observed with special music at the Solemn Mass at Saint Mary’s for a number of years. Our former music director McNeil Robinson introduced the custom of singing Missa Luba, arranged by Guido Haazen, on this date. It’s a setting based on themes from African music. It includes percussion and a considerable amount of improvisational singing. Robert McCormick has introduced the singing of a gospel or spiritual anthem on this Sunday. It’s a great day musically and liturgically at Saint Mary’s. And again this year Holy Baptism will be celebrated during the service.
The First Day of Lent is Wednesday, February 25. This year there will be Said Masses at 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM. At 12:00 PM there will be a Sung Mass. At 6:00 PM Bishop Christopher Epting will be with us to celebrate and preach at the Solemn Mass of the day. The choir will sing Allegri’s setting of Miserere mei, Deus.
As is our custom, a minister will be available for the imposition of ashes throughout the day. When I first came to New York I didn’t understand this phenomenon – receiving ashes apart from Mass. It is a pastoral reality in this city. More people will come through Saint Mary’s on Ash Wednesday than on any day of the year. Again this year there is a beautiful service schedule card – thanks to the generous efforts of Robert Loper – that we will be able to give people who come to us.
On Friday evening, February 27, the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop & primate of the Episcopal Church, will be with us to lead Stations of the Cross at 7:00 PM. This simple and very powerful devotional service lasts about forty minutes. We offer it every Friday during Lent. I especially ask the members of the local parish to make an effort to be here on the first Friday in Lent when Bishop Griswold is with us.
I remind you that Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting (reducing the quantity of food) and abstinence (from flesh meats). I remind you also that the purpose of fasting on Ash Wednesday is to remind us of how we hunger for the Lord – not to make us sick. The Episcopal Church makes no particular rules about how to do this. Our Anglican tradition really does expect us to be adults about it. My own practice is to break my fast in the middle of the afternoon with something light like plain yogurt and to have a very simple meal at night.
I hope many will be able to be here Sunday to enjoy the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. It’s a great day at Saint Mary’s. I hope that many will be able to make a good beginning in Lent on Ash Wednesday. And I thank all whose presence, prayers and gifts make possible the work of this parish here in Times Square. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for William and William who are hospitalized, and for Barbara, Sean, Jean, Lynn, Nancy, Margaret, Kristina, Mabel, Robert, Gloria, Jason, Harold, Billie, Matthew, Virginia, Bart, Margaret, Marion, Hugh, Rick, and Charles, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Jeffrey, Ned, Timothy, Patrick, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Timothy, David, and Colin . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 23: 1999 George Everston Dix; February 26: 1994 Milledge Polo Mosley.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99, 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13; Luke 9:28-39 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, February 21 and February 28, by Father Beddingfield.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Kevin Reid writes to the Rector, “Kathy and I are proud to announce the birth of our son Bryce Campbell Timberlake Reid on February 2, 2004. We are all doing great although we’re a little sleepy while we get used to Bryce’s schedule. I must admit there’s nothing more powerful, full of love and hope than being parents. Our faith in God has and will remain the core of this family. We hope all is going well at St. Mary’s and look forward to visiting our church home in New York sometime soon (how we do miss it)” . . . Holy Baptism will be celebrated on Sunday at the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass for George Vincent Varino, IV, son of George and Amy Varino . . . In the new March issue of Gourmet magazine, page 66, there is a picture of the rood and apse of Saint Mary’s and a wonderful description of this church, described as an architectural, artistic and acoustical treasure. Many thanks to Jane Daniels Lear and Gourmet! . . . Watch Dateline NBC this Friday, February 20 between 9:00 and 10:00 PM. A segment called “The Final Days of Jesus,” in which scholars discuss the events leading up to his crucifixion, will air. Stone Phillips taped several interviews in Saint Joseph’s Chapel including one with Dominic Crossan . . . Yes, that was New York Yankee Hideki Matsui being interviewed for Japanese television in Saint Mary’s on Saturday, February 14 . . . Attendance last Sunday 245.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HONDURAS . . . Canon Sylvia Vasquez will be with us on Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study to share a presentation and talk about her seven-year relationship with Villanueva, a village located just outside Tegucigalpa. Come and find out more about the mission trip that will be going to Honduras November 11-18, 2004. Whatever your interest, please join us on March 2 to welcome Canon Vasquez to Saint Mary’s.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION IN MARCH . . . This Lent, you’re invited to take advantage of a class offered at Saint Mary’s through the Center for Christian Studies, a program of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Father Beddingfield will be teaching a course entitled, “Sand in our Shoes: The Theology and Practice of Christian Spirituality.” For more information on the five-week course, call the parish office; see the booklet at the back of the church. Visit online at (www.christianstudies.org).
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This week at the Sung Mass, played by associate organist Robert McDermitt, the postlude is Rigaudon by André Campra (1660-1744) . . . This week at the Solemn Mass, the prelude will be played by our visiting percussionists Joseph Gramley, Yousif Sheronick and Jan Hagiwara. The postlude is Fugue from Symphonie I, Op. 14 by Louis Vierne (1870-1937). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa Luba, rooted in traditional African music and created by Guido Haazen in conjunction with African singers and percussionists. Haazen explains, “The music of Missa Luba is mainly the product of a collective improvisation.” In keeping with the spirit of what was originally intended, our choir’s performance on Sunday will incorporate improvisation by both singers and percussionists. One of Father Haazen’s aims was to introduce traditional African music to Westerners, and Missa Luba exclusively uses the traditional Latin text of the Mass ordinary. The anthem at Communion is an exultant arrangement of the African-American spiritual Great Day by Warren Martin (1916-1982), for many years a distinguished professor at Westminster Choir College, Princeton . . . We continue our series of organ recitals at 4:40. This is the final recital before Lent begins. This week Mr. Christopher Wells, director of music and organist of Christ Church, Bronxville, New York, plays works of Craig Phillips, Bach, Gigout and Widor.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Last Sunday after the Epiphany
Monday Polycarp, bishop & martyr
Eve of Saint Matthias 6:00 PM
Tuesday Saint Matthias the Apostle
Wednesday The First Day of Lent: Ash Wednesday
Thursday Weekday of Lent
Friday Weekday of Lent Lenten Friday Abstinence
Saturday Weekday of Lent
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend John Beddingfield, curate, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priest,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.