From the Rector: Transitions
At its long-range planning retreat on Saturday, January 31, the parish’s Board of Trustees received a presentation from the Reverend Canon Hannah Anderson, canon for congregational development in the Diocese of New York, on the differences between a medium size congregation and a large congregation. We are on the cusp of becoming a much larger parish community. We already have the building and the tradition but we aren’t there yet in terms of not only size and income but also mission and organization. The trustees are very appreciative of her work with us. I write this as an introduction publicly to thank Canon Anderson and to put in context a seemingly simple task to discuss some of what is going on at Saint Mary’s in the next ten days. There’s a lot to cover. Frankly, you and I can and should expect that there will continue to be more, not less, going on at SMV.
On Sunday, February 6, those who are not watching the Super Bowl will want to enjoy the concert that night by Quink, offered by Concerts at Saint Mary’s. Wednesday, February 9, is the First Day of Lent. As is our custom, on the Fridays of Lent we offer Stations of the Cross at 7:00 PM. And on the first Friday in Lent this year, the Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, the bishop of New York, will be the officiant for Stations. One of the calendar reforms I really like is the custom of observing the Last Sunday after the Epiphany as a celebration of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. Just as the Feast of Christ the King seems to get us ready for Advent, the Transfiguration helps make clear where we are headed in Lent.
More people will be in Saint Mary’s on Ash Wednesday than on any other day of the year. Those new to New York will be astounded as the devotion of the citizens of this city to the custom of receiving ashes. I know of no other place where the custom is so pervasive. We celebrate four Masses, 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM. In the meantime, we will “ash” all day until the doors close after the 6:00 PM Solemn Mass.
Saint Mary’s is also a parish where the liturgy has a particular integrity, one that invites each of us as individuals to a greater Christian integrity in our personal lives. Episcopalians normally observe the weekdays of Lent by acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. In addition, it is customary to abstain from flesh meats on Fridays in Lent. There are two fixed days of fasting in the church year, the First Day of Lent and Good Friday. It is customary on these days to reduce the quantity and quality of the food we consume, not to make ourselves sick, but to remind ourselves that our whole being hungers for the Lord. There are many ways to do this. The fast is for adults in good health and not children, the sick or the elderly. Common sense is a Christian virtue.
The service of Stations of the Cross is especially meaningful at Saint Mary’s because of the layout of our church. The service takes about forty-minutes. I commend it to you as a spiritual devotion. Everyone who is able should try to come at least once during Lent. Frankly, it’s worth coming every week.
The last days before Lent are carnival season in many countries and, famously in the United States, in New Orleans. Lent is coming. Let us enjoy the balance of the season beforehand and prepare ourselves for the rich austerity that is coming. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jenny who is hospitalized and for Jane, Debbie, Ruth, Brian, John, José, Deborah, Tanya, Ibo, Pamela, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Jason, Kay, Bart, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Thomas, priest, Charles, priest and Gene, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Jeffrey, Timothy, and Christopher . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 5: 1964 Joseph Alexander Ellis Steele, 1993 Gerald Dennis Bergstrom; February 7: 1954 John H. Von Runneau.
ABOUT THE PRAYER LIST . . . In the busyness of ordinary life, the parish clergy and staff can lose track of who is on the prayer list. In addition to those who are hospitalized and sick, we pray for members of our parish community who are not able to attend Mass and members or family members who have long-term illnesses. We pray for members of our Armed Forces on active duty too, especially for those who are members or relatives of our parish community. The parish clergy and staff appreciate an e-mail or written request for a person to be added to the prayer list. The prayer list is offered at all Masses.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Father Mead’s Tuesday night Bible Study meets from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. Join the class this week for a continuing study through the Gospel of John . . . The Visual Arts Program present a new exhibition on February 9, “Praxis and Apatheia: Drawings by Noel Hennelly.” An opening reception follows Solemn Evensong & Benediction on February 13 . . . Attendance last Sunday 227, Candlemas 174.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Sung Mass, played by Robert McDermitt, the voluntaries are by Healey Willan (1880-1968), the great Canadian composer of English birth who was musician of the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Toronto (a venerable Anglo-catholic shrine parish) for many years . . . At the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Hyfrydol from Three Preludes founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). The postlude is an Improvisation on ‘Salzburg’ and ‘Urbs beata Ierusalem’. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis D-dur, KV 194 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). This setting was composed in 1774 when the composer was 18. He was, at the time, konzertmeister for the Prince-Archbishop in Salzburg. The motet at Communion is Holy is the true light by William H. Harris (1883-1973). Harris, who from 1933 until 1961 was organist of Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor, is perhaps best known for his anthems Faire is the heaven and Bring us, O Lord God . . . The organ recital at 4:40 PM on Sunday is played Dr. Sean Jackson of Stamford, Connecticut . . . At the Solemn Mass on Ash Wednesday, the setting of the Mass ordinary is Mass for Five Voices by William Byrd (1543-1623), a Roman Catholic in Protestant Elizabethan England. Though he generally was tolerated and protected by the Queen, much of his Latin music was written for clandestine Catholic liturgies in private homes (including this Mass) and therefore has a somewhat intimate character. He also wrote music for the Anglican rite, mostly in English (except music for Queen Elizabeth’s private chapel, where Latin was still in use). At the Imposition of Ashes, the choir sings Miserere mei, Deus by Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652), the famous setting of Psalm 51 that for years exclusively was performed on Good Friday at the Vatican (the score was kept secret). The version we know today, however, including the infamous high soprano part, largely comes from ornamentation added in the 19th century. The motet at Communion is Byrd’s Emendemus in melius. Robert McCormick
QUINK IN CONCERT . . . Plan to attend the concert by the Quink Vocal Ensemble at Saint Mary’s this Sunday, February 6 at 7:30 PM. This internationally renowned group, with many recital and recording credits, will sing a diverse program entitled Pour vos plaisirs, including Alexander Agricola’s rondeau Pour vos plaisirs, as well as chansons and madrigals by Clément Janequin, Adrian Willaert, Nicholas Gombert, Pierre de Manchicourt, Orlande de Lassus and others. Also featured is Samuel Barber’s To be sung on the water, Three Short Elegies by Gerald Finzi and Randall Thompson’s Fare well. Purchase tickets now for what promised to be an amazing program – print and fill out the form found at www.stmvirgin.org/MusicatSaintMarys or phone 212.869.5830, extension 25
SUMMARY OF JANUARY 31, 2005, BOARD MEETING . . . At its January 2005 meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Approved the Budget for 2005 for St. Mary’s, with cuts in all areas that could be reduced. 2. Learned that the Stewardship Campaign has been successful, with 188 pledges for 2005, compared with 112 pledges for 2004, for a total pledged thus far of approximately $353,000 (the total received for pledges in 2004 was $261,744.94). 3. Accepted the resignations of Mr. David Gillespie and Mr. Robin Landis, both of whom had completed four-year terms of membership on the Board of Trustees. 4. Elected two new members to the Board of Trustees, for four-year terms each: Mr. Larry Green and Mr. Thomas Jayne. 5. Heard a report on investment accounts from Mr. Terry O’Dwyer, who was also thanked for his role in putting together the figures for the 2005 Budget. 6. Dr. Leroy Sharer was elected to the office of Vice-President of the Board of Trustees, to fill the office vacated by Mr. Landis. 7. Elected Miss Linda Bridges to be Secretary of the Board of Trustees, to fill the office vacated by Dr. Sharer.
MONDAY NIGHT BASICS . . . Join Father Beddingfield on Mondays in February from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study for a look at the very basics of what it means to be an Anglican Christian. Why do we do what we do at Saint Mary’s? Where does one look for authority in the Episcopal Church? How do I know what I should believe about particular issues? How do I find my way around the Saint Mary’s building? These and other of your questions will be discussed. We begin Monday, February 7.
A PHOTOGRAPHIC PILGRIMAGE TO SANTIAGO . . . Since the beginning of the Christian era the faithful have made prayerful journeys to the holy places of the Christian world. The Pilgrimage to Santiago is one of the oldest of these. “A Photographic Pilgrimage to Santiago” is a three-part series led by Nancy Mead, who has completed the pilgrimage to Santiago three times (most recently in the fall of 2004). Journey with Mrs. Mead as she leads us along the various pilgrimage routes to Santiago on Wednesday nights, February 16, February 23 and March 2 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Last Sunday after the Epiphany
Wednesday The First Day of Lent: Ash Wednesday Fast & Abstinence
Said Masses 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, Sung Mass 12:00 PM
Solemn Mass 6:00 PM
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, The Reverend Matthew Mead, curates,
The Reverend Ian Bruce Montgomery, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.