From the Rector: Mary, John, Peter, Paul & Michael
June 24 is the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist. June 29 is the Feast of Saint Peter & Saint Paul, Apostles. August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. September 29 is the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. At Saint Mary’s these four major feast days are celebrated on Sunday when they fall on a Sunday. There are other feast days which a parish might choose to celebrate on a Sunday. (The rules for all of this can be found in the Prayer Book on page 16 in the section labeled “Sundays.”)
The Assumption is an obvious candidate to be celebrated on Sunday for a parish in the catholic tradition. When it falls on Sunday we are able to process through Times Square with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. August 15 will be a Sunday next in 2010. Times Square is simply too crowded to permit a procession on the other days of the week, even on a Monday night.
This year June 24 is a Sunday and we will observe the Nativity of John, the man sent from God, who came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him (John 1:7). Jesus said too, “among those born of women none is greater than John” (Luke 7:28). “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God’” (Luke 3:4 -6).
The commemoration is an ancient one dating back at least to the fourth century. In our Prayer Book it is of a slightly higher rank than these other “Major” feasts being designated “Feast of our Lord.” a Adolf Adam in “The Liturgical Year” (The Liturgical Press, 1981) remarks that Augustine of Hippo understood that locating Jesus’ birth just after the solstice (December 21), when the days begin to lengthen, and John’s birth just after the summer solstice (June 21), when the days begin to shorten, to reflect John’s own words to his own disciples, “He [meaning Jesus] must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).
My own devotion to John grows out of my childhood experience of growing up as a Southern Baptist. Baptists don’t do “saints” like Episcopalians. But if Baptists have a saint, he is John. At Morning Prayer we always use the Song of Zechariah, John’s father, as the canticle between the first lesson, from the Old Testament, and the second lesson, from the New Testament. The Song of Zechariah (Luke 1:67-79) is addressed to God and to the infant John, the “child who shall be called the prophet of the Most High” because he will “go before the Lord to prepare his way.”
The Feast of Saint Peter & Saint Paul, Apostles, is June 29. It has been a day to commemorate the founding martyrs of the Christian community in Rome since A.D. 258. It was begun by the bishop of Rome during a period of great persecution. It is a commemoration of their martyrdom, their deaths for their faith in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not a feast about worldly power or the worldly power and wealth of the Church since then. It is about Christ who called them to follow him and to offer their own lives so that others might come to believe in the Truth.
Our principal celebration will be a Sung Mass on Friday at 6:00 PM. For those who have not been to a weekday Sung Mass, the service will begin promptly at 6:00 PM and conclude just before 7:00 PM. The congregation will sing Gloria in excelsis, Sanctus and Agnus Dei and two hymns. The collect of the day and the appointed psalm are sung, as well as the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer. Of course there is a sermon – and incense! On this feast we customarily sing two great hymns, one of which is very familiar, “A mighty fortress is our God” The other hymn is less familiar but as powerful in its own right, “The eternal gifts of Christ the King, the apostles’ glorious deed we sing.” I hope it may be possible for many to be with us on Friday evening.
We live our common life at Saint Mary’s according to the Church year for many reasons. The Church’s calendar provides a continuing reminder that we are in this world but not of this world. I think it will be spiritually helpful for us on Sunday to remember John was sent by God. It will also be helpful for us to recall that we Christians in our own lives today may need to suffer for the sake of truth and justice as Christians have done since Jesus’ resurrection. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Hilyard, Pamela, William, Joseph, Daisy, Marcia, Kevin, Gert, Suzanne, Ana, Ray, William, Mary, Virginia, Gilbert, Gloria, Rick, Alan, priest, Thomas, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Steve, Fahad, Sean, David, Eric, Barron, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher and Timothy and for Peter who is to be ordained priest on June 24 . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 24: 1993 William Ray Kirby; June 26: 1985 Kenneth Mealy.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: The Sunday Summer Schedule is observed until the first Sunday in October . . . On Sundays Child Care during the 10:00 AM Sung Mass and 11:00 AM Solemn Mass will be available all summer long. The Nursery is located next to the Sacristy (down the hallway from Saint Joseph’s Hall) . . . Flowers for Sundays and feast days are needed for July 1, July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29 and most of August. E-mail Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our flower donation form online http://www.stmvirgin.org/article32741.htm. . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, June 23, by Father Mead and on Saturday, June 30, by Father Mead . . . Father Beddingfield continues on vacation until Sunday, July 15 . . . Sr. Laura Katharine and Sr. Deborah Francis will not be with us this weekend as their community celebrates its annual Commemoration Day on Saturday, June 23, at 10:30 AM for associates and friends at the convent in Mendham. The Bishop of Newark is celebrant and preacher this year. The Rector will be attending the Mass and will be received as an associate of the order. If you are interested in supporting especially the work and ministry of the sisters, please speak with him or one of the resident sisters . . . Attendance Sacred Heart 83, Last Sunday 240.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . Mr. Robert McDermitt, associate organist, plays for the Solemn Mass on Sunday. The organ voluntaries are Prière à Notre Dame and Menuet gothique from Suite gothique, Opus 25 by Léon Boëllman (1862-1897). The cantor is Mr. Geoffrey Williams, countertenor. The music during Communion is a single voice conductus by Pérotin, the best known composer of the Notre Dame school of polyphony. The conductus is a form of medieval sacred music that was preeminent in France during the thirteenth century, along with the motet and organum (the three were the principal forms of polyphonic sacred music at that time). Despite its origins as a piece to accompany liturgical ceremony, it never found an official place in the liturgy, being relegated to extra-liturgical use. More information may be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perotin . . . On Wednesday, July 4, (that’s right, Independence Day!) at 2:00 PM in the church, renowned concert organist Stephen Tharp will present a recital as part of the Region II convention of the American Guild of Organists. Admission for the general public is $20.00, and the program includes works of Vierne, Vincent Persichetti, Jeanne Demessieux, Tharp and David Briggs. Robert McCormick
SAINT MARY’S GUILD MEETS JULY 7. . . The Saint Mary’s Guild will next meet Saturday, July 7 at the 12:10 PM Mass in the church and then move to Saint Benedict’s Study for lunch. After lunch the Guild will clean the parish altar vessels and make necessary repairs to parish vestments. If you are interested in joining the Saint Mary’s Guild, please speak to Sister Laura Katharine, or simply come to one of the monthly meetings.
NEWS FROM MARGARET STREET AND ENGLAND . . . Many will want to know that Father Alan Moses, vicar, All Saints’ Church, Margaret Street, London, has been sick and it seems as if he will need to have surgery to remove his gall bladder in the not-too-distant-future. Please keep him in your prayers . . . We actually learned about Father Moses’ illness from the Reverend Peter Anthony who was visiting Saint Mary’s over Corpus Christi weekend. Father Anthony was here as a seminarian five years ago and is to be ordained priest on Sunday, June 24, at the Church of Saint Mary, Hendon, where he serves as curate. It is a parish in the Diocese of London where priestly ordinations are held in the parishes but he was a part of a class ordained deacon at Saint Paul’s Cathedral last year. Like many of you who were here on Corpus Christi, it was great to renew our friendship with Peter, whom we will be remembering specially at the Masses here on Sunday. S.G.
DO YOU WANT TO SERVE AT THE HIGH ALTAR? . . . Saint Vincent’s Guild is the name of the group of laypersons who serve with the clergy at Saint Mary’s. If you are interested in serving on Sundays or during the week please speak to Father Mead. We are always looking for new servers!
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
Wednesday Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop, 444
Thursday Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, c. 202
Eve of the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Friday Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles 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 Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Mass. 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.
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.