From Father Beddingfield: A Cross of Iron and Air
During the Honduras mission trip two weeks ago, we were able to meet the Right Reverend Lloyd Allen, bishop of Honduras, who presented us with a cross made by the young men studying and working at St. Mary’s Technical Institute. The cross is 22 inches by 16 inches and made of iron --pieces that are carefully curved, joined and welded. But it is also made of air – space left between the iron, like an ornate fence or grill.
This cross of iron and air seems appropriate as a gift from Honduras. It serves as a symbol of the faith that has blessed, challenged and enriched us during our mission trips.
Like the iron, the faith that we have met in Honduras is tough and strong. It has weathered much – Hurricane Mitch in 1998, subsequent storms and floods, and the continuing struggle for life in the midst of stunning poverty. In Villanueva, the barrio on the outskirts of the capital city where we go, San Juan Evangelista has continued to build physically, programmatically and spiritually. The church pews we helped begin in 2005 have now been completed, as well as a new lunchroom and kitchen, a dental clinic, additional classrooms and a large, walled playground over what was a dangerous ravine. (See pictures in the photo gallery at www.stmvirgin.org.) The lunch program now provides hot, nutritious meals for over 100 children every day. Co-ops are organizing to make and sell baked goods, sewn items and cinder blocks. The youth of the parish have helped to lead a spiritually-based, diocesan peer-education program on HIV/AIDS. The worship continues to be strong and vibrant, producing youth and adult lay leaders who are beginning to move into other parishes scattered throughout the barrio of some 200,000.
But like the air in the cross we were given, much about the future in Honduras remains open and fragile. Now that San Juan Evangelista enjoys a strong church building with three working toilets (the only ones in the village), will excitement about the church continue? Given the many needs of other communities in Honduras, will the diocese suggest that future support be channeled elsewhere? How many of the children we met this year will still be a part of the church community next year? Will they be healthier? Will they complete the school year? Will the few men who are at the parish remain and continue to offer support and guidance to the young?
I like our new cross and all that it represents. It will be on display again this Sunday during coffee hour and will eventually be mounted in the Mission House. On Monday, February 27 at 7:00 PM, the 2006 Mission Team will offer an evening of Slides and Stories from Honduras. I invite you to join us that evening and to consider becoming a part of this mission, whether it is by adding your prayers, your contributions or going with us to Honduras next time. John Beddingfield
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Roy, Henry, Clare, Vesta, Jan, Ida, Brian, Mary, Michael, MaryAnne, Ray, Betty Ann, Mikhail, Deborah, Charlton, Virginia, William, Mary, Ana, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Rich, Marion, Jeanne, Joseph, Jack, Roy, Rick, Henry, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie, Dennis and Derrick.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 5: 1964 Joseph Alexander Ellis Steele, 1993 Gerald Dennis Bergstrom; February 7: 1954 John H. Von Runneau.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Season after the Epiphany is underway. On Sundays in this season, we hear a sequential proclamation of Mark’s gospel. This coming Sunday is the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany. We are still in the first chapter, Mark 1:29-39. I invite you to read Mark again or for the first time. It takes a typical person about forty-minutes to read the whole thing in one sitting; but reading the first chapter will take five minutes. In the not too distant past a lot was made of “preparation for Mass.” If you want to take on one thing as a weekly or occasional preparation for Mass, reading the Sunday gospel would be at the top of my list and I commend it to you. S.G.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf, BWV 617 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The postlude is an improvisation on ‘Wondrous Love’, the Postcommunion hymn at Mass. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Il me suffit’ 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 elegant and straightforward setting is based upon a 16th century French chanson, a type of secular song . . . The recital at 4:40 is played by Mitchell Crawford, a student at the Juilliard School . . . On Sunday, February 12, the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland, will join our choir for the Solemn Mass. Robert McCormick
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Tickets are on sale for the concert by our choir on Thursday, February 9 at 7:30 PM. The music includes a rarely-heard and glorious Renaissance masterwork by John Taverner, Missa ‘Gloria tibi Trinitas’, as well as Herbert Howells’s Te Deum (Collegium Regale) and Bach’s “St. Anne” Fugue, played by Robert McDermitt. For tickets, call 212.869.5830, ext. 25, see www.stmvirgin.org/MusicatSaintMarys, or speak to MaryJane Boland after the Solemn Mass this Sunday. R.M.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . On Sunday, February 5 following Solemn Evensong & Benediction Father Mead will host a Saint Mary’s Super Bowl Party in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Bring a few extra dollars to help with dinner and enjoy the game on the big screen among friends, Seahawks and Steelers, alike . . . Brochures for the March 3-5 Lenten retreat are in the back of the church . . . Please remember the Reverend Clare Nesmith in your prayers as she is ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, February 11 at Saint John’s Church of Lattingtown . . . Check the Gift Shop for new Lencan pottery from Honduras . . . Flowers are needed for Sundays, February 12, 19 and 26. Send your request to Sandra Schubert at email@example.com . . . Lunch with Sister Deborah Francis continues on Wednesdays after the 12:10 Mass. Bring a lunch and eat with Sister and others in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Sister Deborah Francis is also available to meet with persons for spiritual direction on Wednesday afternoons . . . 2006 offering envelopes are available at the back of the Church . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, February 4 by Father Gerth and on Saturday, February 11 by Father Mead . . . Attendance last Sunday 290.
MISSION NOTES . . . On Sunday, February 19 at 1:00 PM Mr. Clyde Kuemmerle will speak about Ecclesia Ministries. This new network will follow the Boston model of offering a Sunday afternoon outdoor Eucharist with the homeless. Particular parishes will be responsible for preparing a lunch one Sunday a month and for other aspects of the outreach. Some members from Saint Mary’s attended an exploratory meeting and training event for this project last winter. For information on Ecclesia in Boston see http://www.ecclesia-ministries.org/ . . . On Monday night, February 27, from 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM, help with the Winter Count of the Homeless. Join others from Saint Mary’s and the neighborhood to help Common Ground Community as we count the homeless population in West Midtown. Let Father Beddingfield know if you plan to help.
NEW E-MAIL ADDRESS . . . In the age of computer viruses and spam protection, Saint Mary’s e-mails have increasingly been bounced due to the presence of the word “virgin” in our e-mail address. So that we might avoid this problem and communicate more directly, we have changed our e-mail address. Instead of stmvirgin.org please use stmvnyc.org. Our names will remain the same – as an example; firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (only the extension is changing). Our website will remain the same, stmvirgin.org.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION & FORMATION . . . The Tuesday Night Bible Study meets at 7:00 PM on Tuesdays in Saint Benedict’s Study. We continue to examine the arrest, trials, crucifixion and resurrection narratives in the gospels . . . Sunday School meets on Sundays at 10:00 AM . . . Coming in Lent: On Sundays throughout Lent the Reverend Peter Powell, president, Interfaith Housing Association, Westport, Connecticut, will lead a class in the Mission House on the prophet Jeremiah. See the Saint Mary’s website for more information . . . On Monday nights in Lent Father Beddingfield will teach a class on the theology of the cross at the Center for Christian Studies. To learn more or register for the course see http://www.christianstudies.org. Matthew Mead
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
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