From Father Mead: Peter, Paul and Independence Day
Friday, June 29 is the annual celebration of Saints Peter and Paul – at Saint Mary’s our primary celebration is a Sung Mass at 6:00 PM. The two saints have shared this date since at least the third century when three different liturgies (one for Peter, one for Paul, and one for both Peter and Paul at the catacombs) were celebrated in different places around the city of Rome. Both Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome under Nero (between 54-68 AD). Though there are no hard and fast traditions indicating that they were martyred on the same day (or for that matter in the same year), the strange doubling of observances for both Peter and Paul has led some to conclude that they were. I think it is an intriguing idea, even if it’s somewhat dubious.
Two Sundays ago we read Saint Paul’s rebuke of Saint Peter concerning circumcision (Galatians 2:11ff). When I preached that day, one thing I tried to convey was the fact that Paul’s correction of Peter was not meant not to drive the two apart over an issue, but to unify them in Christ. The fact (regardless of the date) that they were both martyred in Rome speaks volumes about the unity they shared. Jesus states that a man cannot have greater love than to give his life for his friends. Jesus laid down his life so that the whole world might share in his resurrection. I think that both Peter and Paul understood that their love of Christ outweighed every other concern, including their earthly lives. They spent the last part of their lives spreading the Good News of Christ to the people of Rome.
Like New York, ancient Rome was one of the few places on earth where pretty much every language, nationality and cultural background was represented. Rome was big enough for Peter and Paul. I think that the Church is big enough to accommodate most of the differences in our lives. For me the feast of Saints Peter and Paul has always been a celebration of the love of Christ conquering everything, including division.
This coming Wednesday is the 4th of July, Independence Day. Weather permitting I will spend the afternoon in Queens with my wife’s family eating way too much smoked beef brisket and watching part of the annual Coney Island hot dog eating contest on TV (the reigning champion might be out due to an injury to his jaw – go figure). I can’t wait! However, for me the primary celebration of the 4th of July won’t be a BBQ, a hot dog contest or even fireworks in the evening, but the 12:10 Mass of the day, at which I am celebrant and preacher.
I don’t think it is that much of a stretch to view Independence Day (also a Prayer Book holy day) in the same light as the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. On Independence Day we pray that we, a nation of many different peoples, might strive to mirror the peace and unity that we see in God (the Eucharistic preface appointed for the day is the Trinity). Since the American Guild of Organists is meeting that day at Saint Mary’s (see Notes on Music below), and Robert McCormick will be in the building (I doubt he normally spends his holidays at work) we are able to have our regular 12:10 PM Wednesday Sung Mass on the 4th of July. I think that will be a nice treat.
I was recently asked what it meant to be an Anglo-catholic: incense, vestments, processions, music? Sure, I answered, those can be great, but for me the most important Anglo-catholic witness is daily Mass and daily prayer – living all of the feasts, fasts and ordinary days of the liturgical year. Saint Mary’s has at least one Mass every single day of the year. Some of those Masses – to use a hot dog analogy if I may – are topped with the works, others are not. In either case I think the most important element remains the same. I love the great feasts. But I also love the ordinary life of the church. You never know who’s going to be present at any given service, you never know if there will be a big crowd, but you always know that Saint Mary’s is open and there are people worshipping and praying to God. Matthew Mead
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Henry, who is hospitalized, Thomas, priest, who is hospitalized, Pamela, Joan, Hilyard, Charles, Virginia, Daisy, Joseph, Marcia, Ana, Kevin, Gert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, William, Eve, Virginia, Mary, Gilbert, Rick, Suzanne, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Steve, Fahad, Sean, David, Barron, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher and Timothy; for Thomas and Peter who are to be ordained priest; and for the repose of the soul of George and of Marshall, priest.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . We have received word that George Harrison, a parishioner at Christ Church, Red Hook, New York, died on Sunday, June 24. Mr. Harrison worked for the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company and worked on the building and rebuilding of Saint Mary’s instrument under the direction of G. Donald Harrison (no relation). He is to be buried from Christ Church on Friday, June 29. Please pray for him, for his widow Gail and for all who mourn. S.G.
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) . . . The parish office will be closed on July 4 in observance of Independence Day. The church will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (later than usual on holidays because of the organ recital at 2:00 PM). The Noonday Office will be offered at 12:00 PM. The Eucharist will be celebrated at 12:10 PM . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, June 30, and on Saturday, July 7, by Father Mead . . . Father Beddingfield continues on vacation. He returns to the parish on Sunday, July 15 . . . Flowers for Sundays and feast days are needed for July 1, 8, 22 and the 29 and most of August. E-mail Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our flower donation form online at http://www.stmvirgin.org/article32741.htm . . . A special word of thanks to Father Smith for his assistance as celebrant and preacher during the summer months! Father is taking most of the Sunday evening Masses this summer . . . Attendance Last Sunday 280.
IN THE WIDER PARISH COMMUNITY . . . The Rector will be in St. Louis on Friday, June 29, for the ordination to the priesthood of the Reverend Thomas Heard, our former seminarian, at Christ Church Cathedral. He will return to the parish on Saturday, June 30 . . . Another friend of Saint Mary’s, the Reverend Peter McBride, will be ordained priest on Saturday, June 30, at Guilford Cathedral, Guildford, England. Father McBride is curate at the Church of the Holy Trinity & St. Mary’s, Guildford . . . Please remember Tom and Peter in your prayers this week.
PERSONNEL NOTE . . . Robert McCormick begins his seventh year as music director and organist of Saint Mary’s on July 1, 2007. I would like publicly to thank Robert publicly for his many gifts, his hard work and the wonderful ministry he has among us. Please join me in thanking Robert. S.G.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The full choir sings for the Solemn Mass on Sunday, a rare occurrence during the summer months. The Region II convention of the American Guild of Organists begins Monday, July 2, and Sunday’s music is offered in anticipation of the convention. The prelude is Adagio from Symphonie I, Opus 13/1 by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937). The postlude is an improvisation on ‘National Hymn’. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Osculetur me’ by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594). The Flemish-born Lassus, sometimes called the princeps musicorum or “prince of music,” was one of the late Renaissance’s most cosmopolitan and respected composers. Much of his training was in Italy; later he worked as Kapellmeister at the court in Munich for almost 40 years. This mass for double choir, among Lassus’s seventy settings of the ordinary, is a parody upon the composer’s motet of the same name, on a text from the Song of Songs. As in all of Lassus’s music, the music is always subservient to the meaning of the texts. The motet at Communion is Adoremus in aeternum (2006) by Iain Quinn (b. 1973), a new work written for the Saint Mary’s choir. It received its first performance at the Solemn Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi . . . 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
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!
SAINT MARY’S GUILD MEETS JULY 7. . . The Saint Mary’s Guild will 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 (email@example.com), or simply come to one of the monthly meetings.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Wednesday Independence Day Federal Holiday Schedule
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 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.