When the catholic movement within Anglicanism really began to rediscover its heritage in the nineteenth century there was a lot of religious excitement. Intellectually and emotionally the catholic tradition seemed to have an ability to renew Christian understanding and Christian living. And like so many new things, there was a certain power and a certain joy that seemed sure signs of the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The catholic movement brought back the outward signs of the liturgical year for Anglicans, along with rites and ceremonies. Saint Mary’s is a community where this renewal continues to be lived out, I hope and believe, with a great deal of integrity.
This coming Sunday is one of the special Sundays of the year. It’s mid-Lent. Rose, not purple, vestments are worn. There are flowers on the altar. The organ is used in a restrained way – some instrumental interludes, a postlude but not a prelude.
The common names for this Fourth Sunday in Lent are “Rose Sunday” and “Laetare.” Rose refers to the vestments. “Laetare” is the first word of the historic Latin entrance chant for the day, “Rejoice, O Jerusalem; and gather round, all you who love her.”
Sundays in Lent are our weekly break in our preparation for the Easter Triduum. The Fourth Sunday in Lent is an even happier break. Of course, Lent and its traditions make sense if you and I are living Lent – and here I am thinking not as much about outward Lenten signs (such as giving up meat on Fridays). I’m thinking about how we can choose to let our lives be shaped by Word and Sacrament. As a community we are really good about the outward signs. I trust that as a community we are really good about the inward and spiritual reality too, or that we are working to become good.
All Christians do not find Lent helpful. Most Christians in most denominations do find Lent to be very helpful. It is the time to prepare for the Easter Triduum. Perhaps the silences and stark simplicity of our common prayer during Lent speak to us so powerfully because our lives in this place are almost never without silence and without the visual and physical richness of our city. There is still time to get in a good bit of Lent before the Easter Triduum. Stephen Gerth
P.S. These are the most important liturgies for our community in Holy Week: Mass on Palm Sunday, April 4, 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM. (There is no 10:00 AM service on Palm Sunday – not enough time.) The principal liturgies of the Easter Triduum: Maundy Thursday, April 8, 6:00 PM; Good Friday, April 9, 12:30 PM or 6:00 PM, Easter Eve, 7:00 PM, Easter Day, April 11: Mass at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM and Paschal Evensong 5:00 PM
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jane, Gilbert, William, Joseph, 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 Jonathan, Jeffrey, Ned, Timothy, Patrick, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Timothy, David and Colin . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 22: 1971 Mary E Fargher; March 24: 1952 Ida Mary Steifel; March 26: 1966 Frances Duckworth Young.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Joshua 4:19-24; 5:9-12 Psalm 34:1-8, 2 Corinthians 5:17-23, Luke 15:11-32 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, March 20 by Father Gerth… Confessions will be heard on Saturday, March 27 by Father Beddingfield . . . On Sunday, March 21, the Rector will be celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM Mass and will preach at Solemn Evensong. Father Beddingfield will be celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Masses.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Annual Meeting of the Congregation will be held on Sunday, March 21, following the 11:00 AM Mass . . . Many thanks to Father Jay Smith who assisted at weekday Masses while Father Beddingfield was away . . . Father Beddingfield’s course entitled “Sand in our Shoes: The Theology and Practice of Christian Spirituality” continues on Monday nights. For more information on the five-week course, call the parish office . . . Attendance last Sunday 256.
ABOUT THE ANNUAL MEETING . . . Once a year the congregation gathers to receive reports about parish activities and to elect our delegates for the annual convention of the diocese. The meeting usually lasts for less than an hour and is held immediately following the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass. Please join us!
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the postlude is Christus, der uns selig macht, BWV 620 by J. S. Bach (1685-1750). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis, Op. 57 by Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989). He was professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and among his famous pupils were William Mathias (1934-1992) and John Tavener (b. 1944). He wrote this setting for the choir of Westminster Cathedral, London, in 1960. The anthem at Communion is I sat down by Edward C. Bairstow (1874-1946) . . . On the Annunciation, the recital at 5:30 is played by David Phillips of London, and features works of Langlais, Alain and Hakim. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Ave maris stella’ by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). This Mass by the great Spanish master is based upon the Office Hymn for Our Lady, and the entire first verse of the hymn is quoted in the “Hosanna.” The motet at Communion, also by Victoria, is a setting of Ave Maria for double choir (8 parts). The postlude is Toccata d-moll, BWV 538 by Bach.
MEMBERSHIP NOTES . . . Please welcome our newest church members. We have recently received letters of transfer for the Johnson family: Kent is an Episcopal priest making a transition into teaching. Rita works in managing a medical practice. Elizabeth is a junior at Bayside High School in Bayside, Queens, and Helena is a freshman at American University in Washington, DC . . . We received baptismal information from Kelly Stone, who will be confirmed at the Easter Vigil. She often comes to church early on Sundays, partly because she travels frequently for her work in marketing, and also reverse-commutes, living in Manhattan and commuting to her office in Connecticut . . . Emilie Ball sings in our choir and went to Westminster Choir College with Robert McCormick. She and Geoffrey Williams (another choir member) will be married at Saint Mary’s this summer. Welcome these newest Saint Marians when you meet them or see them at church.
JOIN SAINT MARY’S FORMALLY AT THE EASTER VIGIL . . . For one to become a “member” of Saint Mary’s, we simply need to record the fact of your Christian baptism. But if you would like to make your membership special in a more formal way, the Easter Vigil on April 10 is a wonderful way to do that. Bishop Epting will be with us to confirm and receive those from other traditions and to help others reaffirm their faith in Christ. If you are interested in this and have not already done so, please speak with Father Gerth or Father Beddingfield.
SUMMARY OF MARCH 15, 2004, BOARD MEETING . . . At its March 2004 meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Approved the Parochial Report, which is sent to the Diocese, detailing membership and income for the previous year. 2. Received a report from Mr. O’Dwyer regarding the performance of the investment accounts. 3. Continued discussion of plans for the Parish House and the Mission House. 4. Approved designation of the Maundy Thursday plate offering for the Mision de San Juan Evangelista in Villaneuva, Honduras, as suggested by Father Beddingfield. 5. Discussed the Long-Range Planning Meetings that the Board will have during the coming months. Canon Hannah Anderson of the Diocese of New York will be a facilitator at these meetings. 6. Were reminded that Saint Mary’s Annual Parish Meeting will be held this Sunday, March 21, 2004, following Solemn Mass. 7. Learned that Father Ian Montgomery will be an assisting priest at Saint Mary’s during the next year. Leroy Sharer, secretary.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fourth Sunday in Lent: Laetare
Monday Weekday of Lent
Tuesday Weekday of Lent
Wednesday Weekday of Lent
Eve of the Annunciation 6:00 PM
Thursday The Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ
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 Ian Bruce Montgomery, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.