The Angelus

Volume 10, Number 45

From the Rector: Public Sacred Space

Sometime in the next few weeks cold weather will arrive and it will be necessary to keep the inner entrance doors of the church closed.  During the warm weather, there is something remarkable about the distinctive character of Saint Mary’s.  One useful way to think of our church building is as “public sacred space.”

In the first three centuries of the Christian era, the Church met privately.  With the legalization of the Church in the Roman world, the Church could and did acquire property and began to meet openly.  For the next few centuries, the non-baptized would not be present when the Church assembled for worship.  But as the classical world gave way to early Christendom in Western Europe, church buildings became and remain, for the most part, open to all.

There can be something extremely powerful about Christians at prayer, especially in a place like Saint Mary’s, where the building is at once in this world, but pointing to another world, another dimension of creation, to God himself.  Our open doors are an invitation to be in this world and to be aware of God.  Even in the winter, this invitation remains.  The inner entrance doors on 46th Street have clear glass windowpanes inset in them.  We open the doors of the narthex (foyer) out, so that they too become an invitation to enter.  Even the 47th Street inner doors, although they have stained glass windows, are set so that they (and the open gate on the stoop) invite people to enter.

This Sunday we begin the fall, winter and spring Sunday schedule for the parish.  Vacations, for most of us, are over.  Our extraordinary professional parish choir returns to the Sunday Solemn Masses.  Sundays begin with Morning Prayer being sung at 8:30 AM.  The Sunday morning Mass schedule remains the same; Said Mass 9:00 AM, Sung Mass 10:00 AM, and Solemn Mass 11:00 AM.  On Sunday evenings, Solemn Evensong & Benediction is offered at 5:00 PM.  I think we are the only parish church (or cathedral, for that matter) in our country where Sung Matins, Solemn Mass and Solemn Evensong are normative.  Among the things that make it worthy of our efforts and our substantial monetary support is that at our best, we do not offer it just for ourselves, but for those whom God is calling to faith and for God’s glory.

You and I have a lot going for us when it comes to welcoming others.  Our buildings work.  Our worship works.  Christianity is not about buildings or worship, but people.  I remind you that Jesus did not leave behind a Prayer Book.  But he and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with us, to make us his brothers and sisters, truly God’s children. 

Our buildings and our worship give us a tremendous foundation for ministry.  We don’t have to be serious and formal in our welcome to others – the building and our worship will take care of that.  But it’s you and I who can show in how we live and in how we welcome others that God’s kingdom is still unfolding in this world and in this place.  Stephen Gerth


PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Narvel and Carl, priest, who are hospitalized; Natasha; Doreen; Fred; Gert; Virginia; Ana; Kevin; Gloria; William; Gilbert; Roseanne; Susie; Rick;  Suzanne; Thomas, priest; Bruce, priest; and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Andrew, Steve, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher and Marc; and for the repose of the soul of Beatina . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 7: 1962 Stephen Waterman Mason, 1965 Josephine Barreaux; October 9: 1971 Roger Rolt-Wheeler, 1987 Barbara L. Coates.


IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Walt Leiding’s mother, Beatina Emma Tosti “Betty” Leiding, died on Saturday, September 29.  Please pray for her, for Walt and for all our mourn.  S.G.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: Saint Mary’s Guild meets Saturday, October 6, beginning with the 12:10 PM Mass . . . The parish office will be closed on Monday, October 8, in observance of Columbus Day.  The church will be open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  The only services will be 12:00 Noonday Office and 12:10 PM Mass . . .  Brother Clark Berge, S.S.F has been elected minister provincial of the Society of Saint Francis.  Clark served as seminarian and deacon at Saint Mary’s and his ordination to the priesthood was celebrated here on September 21, 1985.  After service in his home diocese, Olympia, he joined the Franciscans.  He remains a friend to many in the parish, and we are delighted for him and his brothers that he has been called to this new ministry . . . Parishioner Peter Pennoyer was honored by the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts with their Ambassador Award at a dinner on September 26 . . . Beginning this Sunday, October 7, there will be refreshments in Saint Joseph’s Hall following Solemn Evensong! . . . The Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study continues on Wednesday, October 10, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study, following the evening Mass.  We are studying Saint Paul’s life and writing . . . The Introduction to Christianity Series continues on Sunday at 12:45 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study, following the Solemn Mass.  This Sunday, Father Mead begins a two-part series on Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, October 6, by Father Gerth and on Saturday, October 13, by Father Smith. . . . Join a group of Saint Marians for a Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest in Saint Joseph’s Hall (and the organ loft!) on Saturday, October 13, at 6:00 PM.  All are invited to bring any German-themed food for this pot-luck affair; German-style beverages will be provided . . . Attendance last Sunday 295, Michaelmas 93.


RECEPTION FOR NEW AND PROSPECTIVE MEMBERS . . . On Monday, October 15, at 7:00 PM, following Evening Prayer and Mass, there will be a reception in the Rectory for the parish’s new and prospective members.  Invitations to the reception will be mailed at the end of this week.  If you do not receive an invitation, but would like to take this opportunity to meet others from the parish and hear some of what’s ahead, please call Father Smith at 212-869-5830, ext. 17.


NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The full choir returns this Sunday, October 7.  The choir sings on Sundays and holy days through Corpus Christi, May 25, 2008 . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Präludium D-dur, BuxWV 139 by Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707).  2007 marks the 300th anniversary of Buxtehude’s death.  The postlude is Alleluyas (1965) by Simon Preston (b. 1938).  The setting of the Mass ordinary today is Missa a cinco vozes by Joan Cererols (1618-1676), a little-known, early Baroque Spanish composer.  His music is characterized by bold, syncopated rhythms, and this Mass, composed in the old-fashioned stile antico, is no exception.  Cererols, a monk, lived at the monastery of Montserrat for almost his entire life.  The motet at Communion is O quam suavis by Sebastián de Vivanco (c. 1551-1622) . . . Our Postcommunion hymn at the Solemn Mass is one particularly beloved of Anglicans, O thou who camest from above.  The text is by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) and the tune, ‘Hereford’, is by Wesley’s grandson, composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1878).  Charles Wesley, a leader in the Methodist movement and a priest of the Church of England, was a prolific writer of thousands of hymn texts.  During his lifetime metrical hymn singing was not commonplace in Anglican liturgies, but quickly became a cherished part of the Methodist tradition     . . . On October 9 at 8:00 PM, concert organist Paul Jacobs, head of the organ department at the Juilliard School, will play Olivier Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement on our Aeolian-Skinner organ, uniquely suited to the music of Messiaen.  This concert is sponsored by the Juilliard School and is free to the public.  There will be a pre-concert lecture at 7:30 PM.  Robert McCormick


HONDURAS MISSION TRIP 2008 . . . A group from Saint Mary’s and other parishes in the diocese has gone on a week-long mission trip to the Church of San Juan Evangelista, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for the last few years.  This year’s trip is scheduled for January 14-20, 2008. On Sunday, October 14, at 2:00 PM, there will be a information presentation in Saint Benedict’s Study for all those interested in learning about the trip, lending support from home, or just finding out what this is all about.  Please contact Rebecca Weiner Tompkins ( for more information.


MORE ON THE MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY . . . Don’t be shy; you may be more extroverted than you think!  Help the ushers, the clergy and hosts at coffee hours to welcome newcomers to Saint Mary’s.  There are several things you can do: help guests to locate hymnals and bulletins (remember, negotiating one’s way around our service books can be a bit of a challenge for the uninitiated); discreetly help latecomers to locate their place in the service; introduce yourself to guests at Coffee Hour; introduce newcomers to other parishioners with whom they share things in common; and ask our guests if they would like to fill out a card (located in the back of the church and in Saint Joseph’s Hall) if they are interested in learning more about Saint Mary’s.  J.R.S.


FROM THE SISTERS . . . Sister Deborah Francis is available by appointment for spiritual direction.  If you are interested, please contact her at the parish office or speak to her after Mass . . . The annual parish retreat at the convent in Mendham is scheduled for Friday, May 16, 2008 to Sunday, May 18, 2008.  Please mark you calendars! . . . Sister Deborah Francis will provide an Introduction to Centering Prayer on Sunday, October 21 . . . Sister Laura Katharine will provide an Introduction to the Enneagram on Saturday, November 3.


The Calendar of the Week

Sunday      The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Monday         Weekday

Columbus Day – Federal Holiday Schedule

Tuesday         Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, 1253

Wednesday   Weekday

Thursday      Philip, Deacon and Evangelist

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 Solemn Evensong and 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.

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.