From the Rector: Trinity Sunday
One might wonder how popular Trinity Sunday was among Anglican Christians before hymn singing brought us two of the most popular hymns, Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! and I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity. The latter is exhibit number one for the ability of average Episcopalians to sing and enjoy hymns with challenging tunes. They are great, great hymns and we get to sing both of them this Sunday at 11:00 AM. (At 10:00 AM we just get to sing the former.)
During the 11:00 AM Mass the postcommunion hymn will be replaced by what is called a “Solemn Te Deum.” I have a number of liturgical reference books in my office. “Te Deum” is the Latin beginning of one of the great non-Scriptural songs of the liturgy (the other being Gloria in excelsis Deo). The contemporary English language text begins, “You are God: we praise you. You are the Lord: we acclaim you.”
One edition of Ritual Notes describes this as an act of thanksgiving independent of the ordinary liturgy of the Mass or Daily Office. I suspect it had some prominence in the Roman Rite at the time of the nineteenth catholic liturgical revival among Anglicans. It can be a beautiful offering of praise and prayer. The ceremony of the ministers of the liturgy standing before the altar as this hymn is sung and clouds of incense billow heavenwards is pretty great. The new Roman Rite mentions the Te Deum briefly apart from its use in the Daily Office.
Again, at Saint Mary’s it replaces our ordinary postcommunion hymn. After the ministration of Holy Communion incense is prepared. The celebrant and assisting clergy stand at the altar. Two thurifers stand near the foot of the altar (Note: The 1926 edition of Ritual Notes mentions only one thurifer). The choir will sing a brilliant setting of Te Deum. Incense will ascend.
This great canticle of praise is still associated with the consecration of churches and bishops. And it will be sung solemnly again on December 8, 2005, the one hundred tenth anniversary of the first service in this our second church home.
On my first Trinity Sunday in 1999 at Saint Mary’s because of the way the altar area in our church is lighted, the humidity and the work of our thurifers, when I turned to give the blessing I could only see a wall of smoke. I’m told the congregation (again because of the lighting) could see me. I could see no one. I know I broke into a big smile. “Thou within the veil hast entered” are familiar words from the hymn Alleluia! sing to Jesus!. From my perspective at the altar, these words came alive in a new way that Trinity Sunday.
Trinity Sunday is one of the rare Sundays of the year when we celebrate a theme apart from the gospel and apart from the events of the Lord Jesus’ earthly life. It is a day for praise and thanksgiving for the revelation of God’s nature to us as Three Persons in One God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s another great Sunday at Saint Mary’s. It’s the last Sunday of Evensong for the “season.” I’m going to preach at 11:00 AM and at Evensong. We are delighted that our Vicar Bishop Don Taylor will be here to officiate at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM. I hope you can be here. You will be humming the hymns for a week. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Ana, Robin, Michael, Daniel, Virginia, Roxanne, Tony, Christina, Charlton, Patrick, Elizabeth, Eileen, John, Virginia, Mary, Ruth, William, Jane, Thomas, Brian, Deborah, Ibo, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Bart, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Jonathon, Patrick, Bruce, Joseph, Brenden, Christopher, David, Nestor, Freddie, Patrick, Derrick and Christina; and for the repose of the souls of Richard, Chirla and John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 23: 1959 Edith May Place Bennett.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Genesis 1:1-2:3, Psalm 150, 1 2 Corinthians 13:11-14, Matthew 28:16-20 . . . Father Mead will be the celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM Mass and the Rector will be the celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM Sung Mass and the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass . . . The Right Reverend E. Don Taylor, vicar bishop for New York City, will be the officiant and the Rector will preach at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM . . . On Saturday, May 21 Father Gerth will hear confessions . . . On Saturday, May 28 Father Beddingfield will hear confessions.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . A Mass of the Resurrection was sung for Richard Anthony Fuller on Tuesday, May 17. Mr. Fuller died on Friday, May 6. Tony and his wife Kathleen Fuller have long been members of the wider parish community. We were honored to be able to offer this requiem. May his soul, and the soul of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to the Presiding Bishop for being with us as celebrant for the 9:00 AM Mass on Pentecost . . . Many thanks to all who helped with the memorial Mass for Tony Fuller including the Reverend Thomas F. Reese, rector, Saint Luke’s Church, Forest Hills . . . Congratulations to Clare Nesmith on her graduation from the General Theological Seminary on May 18. Clare will be ordained deacon on Saturday, June 11 at Trinity & Saint Philip’s Cathedral, Newark. Clare will serve as deacon for the first time at the Solemn Mass here at Saint Mary’s on Sunday, June 12 . . . Father Mead’s Bible study will not meet this week or throughout the summer . . . Many thanks to all who have helped make Evensong possible again this year! . . . Attendance last Sunday 301.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Wir gläuben all an einem Gott, BWV 680 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This chorale prelude is based upon a metrical (hymn) version of the Nicene Creed that would have been familiar to Bach’s listeners. The postlude is a reconstruction by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) of Charles Tournemire’s (1870-1939) Improvisation sur le “Te Deum”. Of the many celebrated French improvisers of the 20th century, Tournemire often is considered the greatest of the first half of the century, and Pierre Cochereau (1924-1984), for nearly 30 years organiste titulaire of Notre Dame, Paris, the foremost of the latter half. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa Sancti Thomae, Opus 40 by Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988). Born in Wakefield, England, Leighton’s unique musical language (including expressive melodies combined with chromaticism, and later in his career, use of serial techniques) earned him great respect as a composer. He made significant contributions to 20th century Church music and this setting, written in 1962 and dedicated to Saint Thomas Becket on the 800th anniversary of his consecration as archbishop of Canterbury, is the third of Leighton’s masses sung here in recent years. Gloria begins and ends with sections highlighted by Leighton’s distinctive rhythmic drive, though the middle section features palpably beautiful and lyrical lines for solo voices. For the Solemn Te Deum, Benjamin Britten’s (1913-1976) Te Deum in C will be sung. Composed in 1934 for the choir of Saint Mark’s Church, London, this is the first of two settings of this canticle by one of the greatest composers England ever produced (his second setting, Festival Te Deum¸ Opus 32, was sung here last year on this Sunday). Britten’s genius is evident by the rich variety of music achieved by relatively simple means (though never easy for the performers!) . . . The recital at 4:40, the final one of the season, is by Etienne Walhain, a fine young Belgian organist making his first visit to America . . . The music at Solemn Evensong & Benediction will be enhanced by improvised canticle and hymn settings by Ruth Cunningham. Robert McCormick
A NEW GROUP IS BORN . . . On Pentecost Sunday a group of people met to plan a new Spirituality and Reading Group at Saint Mary’s. Coordinated by Rosemary Kulp, the group will meet on the third Sunday of each month, from approximately 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, in Saint Benedict’s Study. Participants are asked to bring a little something to eat and some to share, if possible. The book that will be discussed at the June 19 meeting is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. For more information, see the Spirituality and Reading Group brochure in the back of the church or the summer edition of Life at Saint Mary’s.
MISSION NOTES . . . Join us this Sunday, May 22 in Saint Benedict’s from 3 – 4:30PM for “High Worship and High Hopes: Anglo-Catholicism and Social Change,” a continued discussion based on the writing of those who have seen the close connection between worship and social outreach.
MOVIE NIGHT AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Join Father Beddingfield and Father Mead in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Friday evening, June 3, after the Sung Mass for our inaugural voyage across the silver screen. We will be showing the classic biblically inspired movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Please bring a few extra dollars if you are able for food so that we can all order pizza and soda.
SUMMER SUNDAY SCHEDULE . . . Solemn Evensong & Benediction is sung at Saint Mary’s from the first Sunday in October through the First Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday. Beginning on the Second Sunday after Pentecost: Corpus Christi, Evening Prayer is said at 5:00 PM and Mass is said at 5:20 PM. During the summer months 8:30 AM Sunday Morning Prayer is said rather than sung.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday Trinity Sunday
Tuesday Jackson Kemper, First Missionary Bishop in the United States, 1870
Wednesday Bede, the Venerable, Priest, and Monk of Jarrow, 735
Thursday Augustine, First Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
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.