From the Rector: Opening Doors
Many readers know that in the Mercy Chapel there are small doors in the balcony. On Wednesday, October 5, Father Matthew Mead, our building mechanic Hector Rojas and sexton Wilfredo Zapata tore down a false wall in the Mission House which had been erected to block this doorway. The doors are still there. It turns out they are pocket doors and at least one of the two opens easily. (There is more debris to be removed before it is possible to really get at both of them.)
I’m not entirely sure what those doors were for. The story that I’ve been told is that the religious sisters who lived in the Mission House (it was originally a convent whose mission was to work with “women and girls” of the parish) could “hear” Mass while remaining in their enclosure.
Last January I had the privilege of being in Rome for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I was pleased with the genuineness of the welcome I and other Anglicans were given. But I should not have been entirely surprised. When the holy door of the Basilica of Saint Paul’s in Rome was opened in January 2000 the Pope knelt before it with the Orthodox Metropolitan Athanasios and Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey. He is reported to have said to them, “I need your help to open this door. I cannot do it alone.”
Our church buildings have always had great “bones” – to use an expression of architects and decorators. But these bones don’t live by themselves. Just as it is the work of the Holy Spirit that gives us life, you and I have the opportunity and the call to give life to this extraordinary building in Times Square. New doors of ministry are opening at Saint Mary’s. But your church staff cannot open them by themselves. Our buildings need people and prayer and money to live, to witness and to serve.
It isn’t surprising that Christian parish communities like our own families go through cycles of strengths and weakness. Sometimes these are of our own making; sometimes they are the result of things in our world over which we have very little control. It is an amazing testament to those who were here before us that this neighborhood parish church survived decades when Times Square was the pornography capital of the world. The front doors of the church have remained open. The Masses and services of the Church have been celebrated daily.
In some ways you can say that in the time I’ve been here our ministry has been to reopen doors. The first set we reopened were the sliding doors between the church and Saint Joseph’s Hall. If I recall correctly, they were opened in time for my institution as rector in March 1999. After September 11, 2001, we began opening the 47th Street doors of the church whenever the front door is open. It is so great to watch jaws drop when people come into Saint Mary’s for the first time on 46th Street. When they come in from 47th Street it is even more astounding because on 47th Street the doors are beside one outside wall of the Lady Chapel. So they expect a small church and are greeted instead by the high altar and the great vault of our church.
New doors of another kind were reopened last winter when Father John Beddingfield and Rebecca Weiner went to serve on a diocesan mission trip to San Juan Evangelista in Honduras. For decades this parish had a close relationship with Episcopal Church missions in the Philippines. (They are going back again in January. Are you interesting in going too?)
The doors to Saint Benedict’s Study and the nursery have been updated with glass panels in the past few weeks. Yes, there is now childcare and Sunday School on Sunday mornings at Saint Mary’s. As part of our 2006 Stewardship Campaign, parishioners are opening up their homes for fellowship. These are signs that God is always trying to open doors to new life for all of us and, above all, the doors to the tombs where everything seems dead.
Saint Mary’s needs more gifts from its members and friends to continue to open its doors in new ways. New York City does not need another Episcopal Church open an hour a day or only on Sunday mornings. Our city has enough of those. New York doesn’t need another church where there’s no place for children or no mission to others. And New York City doesn’t need any more churches were the joyful Good News of the resurrection is not at the heart and center of everything it does. But our doors don’t stay open by themselves. No one person can keep them open. No small group can either. Saint Mary’s is a national community of people who are committed to Christian life and witness in this place. I invite you to open doors and to be surprised by the life God has planned for you on the other side. Stephen Gerth
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE between Arthur Robert Imig of New York City and Shirley Young of New York City. If any of you can show just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. This is the third time of asking. S.G.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE between Kenneth Ralph Sachtjen of Brooklyn and Sabrine Salib Faragallah of Staten Island. If any of you can show just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. This is the first time of asking. J.B.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The Burial of the Dead will be offered on Wednesday, October 12, for Hugh Eustis Payne, Jr., who died on September 30, 2005. The Reverend Ian Bruce Montgomery will be celebrant and preacher. Pray for Hugh and for all who mourn.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Emil, Elizabeth and Nolan who are hospitalized and for Ray, Richard, Betty Ann, Matthew, Kamil, Donna, Lloyd, Deborah, Charlton, Virginia, William, Mary, Tony, Ibo, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Henry, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest, for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Marc, Joseph, Timothy, Christopher, David, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie, Derrick and Christina, and for the repose of the souls of Hugh and Patty . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October: 9, 1971 Roger Rolt-Wheeler, 1987 Barbara L. Coates; October 15: 1957 Lynda Beatrice Roberts; 1971 Florence F. Scheftel; 1987 Harold Polit.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before Mass is an improvisation on The Third Tune (hymn 692, a tune by Thomas Tallis). The postlude is Präludium und Fuge C-dur, BWV 547 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Bell’ amfitrit’ altera’ by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594). The Flemish-born Lassus was one of the late Renaissance’s most cosmopolitan composers. Much of his training was in Italy; later he worked as Kapellmeister at the court in Munich for almost 40 years. This setting is for two choirs of four voices each, and it reflects some influence from the Venetian style of Giovanni Gabrieli and others. A “parody mass,” it is probably based upon an unknown madrigal. The motet at Communion is Laudate Dominus quia benignus by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594) . . . The recital at 4:40 is played by Mr. Christian Lane, assistant organist of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York. R.McC.
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Tickets for the 2005-2006 season are available from www.stmvirgin.org/MusicatSaintMarys or 212.869.5830, ext. 25. On Saturday, October 8 at 8:00 PM, organist Douglas Marshall performs a recital in the church. This concert by this distinguished artist is presented in conjunction with the Virgil Fox Legacy Weekend. The second concert is by the famed Choir of Gloucester Cathedral, England, on Friday, October 28.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION THIS WEEK . . . Sunday School for children meets in Saint Benedicts Study from 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM . . . On October 11, Father Mead’s Bible Study continues with the Gospel According to John, Chapter 10 . . . All weekday classes meet in the Parish House Third Floor Conference Room from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM . . . On Sunday, October 16, Saint Mary’s Guild and Father Mead host a good old-fashioned show-and-tell on the new and older vestments of Saint Mary’s at 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Please join us. If you are interested in learning more about the Saint Mary's Guild, please contact Father Mead.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Brother Emil Denworth is at Saint Luke’s Hospital. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Saint Mary’s Fall Home Gatherings have begun. Invitations are sent directly from our hosts, so please RSVP when you can to allow for appropriate planning and insure generous hospitality . . . . . . On Sunday, October 16, the Spirituality and Reading Group meets to discuss the second section of God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It by Jim Wallis. The group meets from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. If you can, bring a bite to eat and something to share . . . Renovation of the Saint Mary’s Gift Shop continues and painting has begun . . . Brochures for the fall retreat at Mount Saviour Monastery are in the back of the church . . . Our new e-mail program for The Angelus is a great success. You can join the e-mail list online at www.stmvirgin.org. There is helpful button on the menu bar at the left that will make signing up very easy. Or, just e-mail Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will add you to the list . . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, October 8. Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, October 15 . . . Attendance Michaelmas 184, Last Sunday 311.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Columbus Day – Federal Holiday Schedule
Tuesday Philip, Deacon and Evangelist
Friday Samuel I. J. Schereschewsky, Bishop of Shanghai, 1906 Abstinence
Saturday Teresa of Avila, Nun, 1582
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction. Childcare from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass,
6:00 PM Evening Prayer, 6:20 PM Mass. The 12:10 Mass on Wednesday is sung.
Saturday: 11:30 AM Confessions, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 4:00 PM Confessions,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass