From the Rector: Anniversary & Ascension
This Sunday, May 21, the Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, XIV Bishop of New York, will celebrate and preach at the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass to celebrate his twenty-fifth anniversary of consecration to the episcopate. I know I speak for the parish community when I say we are so honored by his presence on this occasion.
I first met Bishop Richard Grein when I came to New York in November 1998 to be interviewed by him and the Board of Trustees for the position of rector of this parish. I knew his name for many reasons. He was the bishop of New York. He had been the bishop of Kansas. And he was one of the few graduates of my seminary who was a bishop of the Church. When I served in the Diocese of Louisiana, Bishop James Brown had organized conferences for the priests of the diocese based on Bishop Grein’s model in Kansas.
I had heard of Bishop Grein with some frequency when I was at Nashotah House Seminary. He had been a professor and had famously taught a course along with the liturgics professor, Father Louis Weil, on pastoral liturgy. Graduates and students were still talking about the course over fifteen years later. When I came to serve here I began to understand why.
It’s a small world in many ways. We knew many of the same people. At our first meeting when I glanced at my wristwatch I realized we had been talking for over forty-five minutes. It immediately occurred to me that bishops of New York don’t spend this much time with someone a parish is not serious about. I also understood intuitively that the time with me was a sign of his personal commitment to Saint Mary’s. By the time I left his office, after almost ninety minutes, I knew he was someone who loved his Church, his diocese and his parishes very much.
There were many tributes paid to Bishop Grein when he retired in 2001. He has been with us many times since then. Many who read this newsletter have known him much better and longer than I have. I hope many will be able to be here at the Solemn Mass on Sunday and at the reception following to thank him for his willingness to serve as a bishop in the Church.
The relationship of rectors to bishops in the Church is not often an active one. Few parish priests have time to interact with their bishop and their bishops don’t have much time to interact with them. But it means everything in a priest’s work as a rector that he or she has confidence in the bishop of the diocese. I have had it from the Bishop of New York since before I moved here. And let me hasten to add, one of the reasons I feel confident in the future of our parish, our diocese and our Episcopal Church is my confidence in our present bishop, the Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk. Leadership matters and we have been blessed with leaders.
The title of this article mentions “Ascension.” It’s another big week at Saint Mary’s. Not only do we have Bishop Grein’s anniversary on Sunday, May 21, but Thursday, May 25, is Ascension Day, one of the seven principal feasts of the Church year. Sadly, it’s not a big deal in many places anymore. Happily, at Saint Mary’s it’s still a very big deal. Our guest preacher at the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM will be the Reverend Andrew Archie, rector of the Church of St. Michael and St. George, St. Louis, one of the largest congregations of the Episcopal Church. Father Archie grew up in the Diocese of Chicago and is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and of the Virginia Theological Seminary. I first met him at a seminar given by the late Rabbi Edwin Friedman when I was a rector in Indiana and he was a rector in Virginia. Andrew continues to do serious work in Bowen Family Systems Theory and serves on the faculty of the Leadership in Ministry course I attend twice a year. He was here several years ago with his youth group from St. Louis. It will be great to have him with us again – this time in the pulpit.
Yes, again, Ascension Day is a big deal at Saint Mary’s for lots of reasons. Our celebration begins on the eve of the feast with Evening Prayer and Said Mass. Morning Prayer is sung at 8:30 AM. The 12:10 Mass on Ascension Day is sung. There will be an organ recital at 5:30 PM before the Solemn Mass. A reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall follows the Mass. Especially if you are new to Saint Mary’s, I invite you to see what it’s like to step outside of the calendar and routine of the world and into the mystery of Christian community. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Isa, Judi, Ethan, John, Brendan, Laura, Gabriela, Eve, Roy, Betty Ann, Deborah, Virginia, Mary, William, Ana, Gilbert, Marion, Jeanne, Joseph, Rick, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie, Dennis and Derrick; GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 23: 1959 Edith May Place Bennett.
CONFESSIONS . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, May 20, by Father Beddingfield and on Saturday, May 27, by Father Gerth.
SAINT MARY’S AIDS WALK TEAM . . . There is still time to join the team of walkers from Saint Mary’s for the AIDS Walk on Sunday, May 21. Our Saint Marian team will be attending the Saturday Vigil Mass on May 20 and walking on Sunday morning. For more details contact MaryJane Boland at email@example.com or Andrew Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions can be made online at www.aidswalk.net/newyork and select the Saint Mary the Virgin team.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Congratulations to the Reverend Ryan Lesh who graduated from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific on Friday, May 19. Father Lesh will be with us on Ascension Day and the Sunday following to be deacon of the solemn Masses. He will be ordained priest in September. Note: The Bishop has moved the date of ordinations of priests for the diocese from September 16 to September 23, 2006 . . . Congratulations to Amelia Rochester who graduated from Iona College on May 21 with a bachelor degree in Education . . . Robert McCormick is to play a recital on Friday, May 19, at 7:30 PM at the Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania . . . Attendance last Sunday 320.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on ‘Salzburg’, the Offertory hymn, and the postlude is an improvisation on ‘Westminster Abbey’, the final hymn. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Saeculorum Amen’ by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599). This late work, the eighteenth of Guerrero’s masses to be published, appeared in a collection of motets in 1597. Guerrero, one of the foremost Spanish composers of the Renaissance, spent nearly his entire life in Seville. He served the cathedral there first as a chorister and then, in succession to Pedro Fernández, as maestro de capilla (choirmaster). Among Guerrero’s teachers was Cristóbal de Morales, also a famed composer. The motet at Communion is Haec dies, a setting of the Easter Day Gradual by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594) . . . The recital at 4:40 is played by Mark Swicegood . . . On Ascension Day, the recital at 5:30 is music for organ and recorder played by Eugene Roan and John Burkhalter. At the Solemn Mass, the Mass ordinary is Missa a sei voci ‘In illo tempore’ by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), a setting based upon a motet of Nicolas Gombert. This work for six-part choir, published in 1610 along with the composer’s famed Vespro della Beata Vergine, is composed in what is known as stile antico, or a Palestrina-like polyphonic style that by the early seventeenth century was decidedly old-fashioned. Interestingly, the Vespers of 1610 are composed in the new style of the Baroque, or stile moderno, which featured independent instrumental parts and other new traits. Monteverdi wrote a great deal of music, both sacred and secular, and served as maestro di cappella of St. Mark’s, Venice, where he revolutionized a deteriorated music program. Though organ continuo and various instruments typically would have accompanied a performance in Monteverdi’s day (with instruments doubling the vocal parts), tonight organ alone is used. The motet is O clap your hands by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625). Robert McCormick
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION & FORMATION . . . Christian Education meets this week for the last time this spring. We resume in September . . . Sunday School for children meets Sunday, May 21 at 10:00 AM in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . The Tuesday Night Bible Study meets on Tuesday, May 23, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. This class concludes its study of the Acts of the Apostles. We will read chapters 27 and 28. Afterwards we will celebrate with the second annual end of year Bible Bash! . . . The Spirituality and Reading group continues with the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. At the next meeting, on Sunday, May 21, we will discuss The Cost of Discipleship. All are welcome to attend the discussion.
ABOUT ASCENSION DAY . . . The Christian calendar is not a neat thing. The church in Jerusalem seems to have begun a special celebration of the Ascension on the fortieth day of Easter in the fourth century. Yet the biblical record of the Lord’s ascension is not at all neat. In John’s gospel Jesus ascends from the cross. In Luke’s gospel he ascends on Easter Day. Then there is a final ascension at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, also by Luke. The fundamental mystery is that Christ is heaven and is with us. This is what we celebrate on Thursday. S.G.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixth Sunday of Easter
Monday Easter Weekday
Tuesday Easter Weekday
Wednesday Jackson Kemper, First Missionary Bishop in the United States, 1870
Eve of Ascension Day
Thursday Ascension Day
Friday Augustine, First Archbishop of Canterbury, 605 No 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. This week on Ascension Day, the 12:10 Mass is sung. At 6:00 PM Solemn Mass is celebrated.
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