From the Rector: This Sunday is Christ the King
When this feast was instituted in the Roman Church in 1925, it was not immediately adopted by other Christian communities. Its popularity among other denominations in the West has a lot to do with the elegant “fix” the feast was given in the lectionary scheme proposed under Pope Paul VI: the feast was moved from the last Sunday of October to the end of the Christian year, and is now observed by most Western Christians.
Sundays with “themes” are almost unheard of in traditional Christian worship – the historic exception being Trinity Sunday. The Eucharistic celebration is shaped by the events and teaching of Christ’s life that come down to us in the four gospels, not by themes. The Epiphany is actually the ancient and great feast of Christ’s kingship: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1-2). Again, by placing Christ the King at the end of the Church year, Christ’s kingship becomes the focus and end of all our days. A liturgically subversive idea, again, a “theme” Sunday, has been redeemed by uniting it with the reality of Christ’s sovereignty over all at the end of time.
I believe this kind of thing matters in a very practical way. The Christian life is not a theme, an idea or an abstraction. Christianity is about the death and resurrection of the God-man Jesus and the gift of eternal life to those who believe in him. Belief is more than an intellectual assent – it is that but it is also a lived reality, birth, life, death and eternal life.
When people encountered Jesus in the gospels they often wanted him to do something for them – and often he did. We frequently read of a follow-up, such as, “Go, and sin no more.” The encounter with the Holy One was rarely personal and private. It flowed into relationships with others and with the wider community.
Christians have understood since Jesus walked among us that our faith calls us to respond with the whole of our lives, with our time, our talent, and our treasure. The last gift gets lost for a lot of Christians, here and elsewhere. But the journey in Christ is incomplete, a shadow of its true self, if it we don’t work on responding with all of our being.
This Sunday our parish lay leadership is asking the members and friends of Saint Mary’s to make a commitment to the work of Christ through this parish church. Readers of this newsletter know the need is real. Readers know I believe Saint Mary’s should be a community where money is never a problem. I dream of our problem being how to spend excess funds for mission. I invite you to consider prayerfully your response to Christ and to make that response now. I invite you to join me in making a new commitment to Saint Mary’s for the New Year. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Wayne, Lois, Terry, Mary, Frederick, Jane, José, Jack, Gert, Ana, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, Seamus, Ronald, religious, Carl, priest, Thomas, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Steven, Andrew, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher, Marc and Steve . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 26: 1998 Ronald L. Cox; November 30: 1970 Sarah Lucille La Bosse; December 1: 1977 Calvin Nash, 1989 George William Johnson, Sr., 1992 Margaret Louise Rigler.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We welcome the Right Reverend C. Christopher Epting, ecumenical officer of the Episcopal Church, as celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM on Sunday, November 25 . . . We welcome the Reverend Gawain de Leeuw, rector, Saint Bartholomew’s Church, White Plains, as preacher for Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM . . . Friday, November 30, is the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle . . . Thanks to Robert McCormick for his excellent presentation this past Sunday on Liturgical Music . . . Saint Vincent’s Guild will meet immediately after the Solemn Mass on Sunday, December 2, the First Sunday of Advent. We will review serving at the altar. This is a great time for newer members of the guild to learn and for older members to share their knowledge . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, November 24, and Father Smith on Saturday, December 1 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 313.
HELP DECORATE THE CHURCH FOR CHRISTMAS . . . The Flower Guild invites all to join in the work of decorating the church for Christmas. They promise a lot of fun for all who join in. Work will start on Saturday, December 22 from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and continue on Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve morning, from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM. There will also be some things to do on Sunday, December 23, following the Solemn Mass. It will help us to know if you can come. Please speak with Dale Bonenberger or MaryJane Boland.
From the Stewardship Committee . . . In the first week and a half since pledge cards were mailed out, the finance office has received over $170,000 in commitments, or about 31% of our goal, and the average pledge is up 21% over last year! Watch this space for further updates.
OUTREACH PROJECTS . . . AIDS Action International: Many parishioners and friends of the parish have already brought gift donations and have placed them in the box in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The response has been very encouraging: we have collected a variety of items and the total value of the items donated is roughly two thousand dollars, which is quite impressive. Thanks very, very much for your generosity! There is a sign in front of the box that explains the project in some detail. Sunday, November 25, is the final day to make a donation. Gift ideas are: new clothing for men, women and children of all ages, games, basic cosmetics, disposable cameras, phone cards, dolls and toys of all kinds, scarves, gloves and hats . . . Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD): we received a packet of information from ERD which explains who and what ERD is and does. It also explains ERD’s work “toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).” The goals are daunting; however, ERD has shown some remarkable growth and energy in the last couple of years and it’s worth taking a look at what they’ve been doing. We’ve placed the packet on the table in Saint Joseph’s Hall that we’ve set aside for information about the parish, about stewardship, Christian formation and outreach. J.R.S.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . We are honored to welcome the Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, XIV Bishop of New York, to lead a series on Sundays throughout Advent exploring the parables of Jesus . . . Sister Deborah Francis and Sister Laura Katharine will lead an Advent Quiet Day on Saturday, December 15. M.M.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Sinfonia from Cantata, BWV 29 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), transcribed by Marcel Dupré (1886-1971). The postlude is Nun danket alle Gott, Opus 65/69 (Marche triomphale) by Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933). Sunday’s choral music by American composers has a particular connection to this parish. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Mass for Mixed Chorus, Opus 84 by Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987). Persichetti, a Philadelphia native, worked as a church musician in his youth; for much of his career he was on the faculty of the Juilliard School, including a period as chairman of the composition department. This unaccompanied setting was composed in 1960 for New York’s Collegiate Chorale, a distinguished choir that remains active today and, in fact, presented a concert at Saint Mary’s in January 2005. The composer praised a recording of this work by the Saint Mary’s choir, under the direction of McNeil Robinson, around 1980. Persichetti employed traditional compositional techniques in his Mass, including counterpoint and plainsong thematic material, but his strikingly “modern” harmonic language gives a distinctly mystical and haunting effect. The motet at Communion, Sing ye praises to our King, is an early work, from a collection of four motets, by celebrated American composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990). The motets, written in 1921, were not published until 1979. The Saint Mary’s choir, again under Mr. Robinson’s direction, recorded the motets shortly thereafter. The recording was lauded by Mr. Copland . . . The Postcommunion hymn, King of glory, King of peace (tune: General Seminary), is yet another example of an older text (in this case, from a seventeenth century publication of George Herbert), matched with an elegant twentieth century American tune. The composer, David Charles Walker, was on the faculty of the General Theological Seminary, New York, when he wrote the tune . . . The recital at 4:40 PM is by Edward Landin. Robert McCormick
CLERGY FRIEND NEWS . . . The Reverend Michael Allen was instituted and inducted as rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Allendale, New Jersey on Tuesday, November 20 . . . The Reverend Dr. Andrew C. Blume will be instituted and inducted as rector of the Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch, New York City, on Sunday, November 25, at 4:00 PM . . . The Right Reverend Andrew St. John will be instituted and inducted as rector of the Church of the Transfiguration, New York City, on Friday, November 30, at 6:30 PM . . . The Reverend Dr. Peter Galloway has been appointed chaplain of the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and chaplain of the Royal Victorian Order. Father Galloway has preached at Saint Mary’s many times, having come first to the parish as a seminarian from St. Stephen’s House, Oxford, in 1982. For the last sixteen years he has been vicar of Emmanuel Church, West Hempstead, London. He takes up his new appointment on February 1, 2008.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Feast of Christ the King
Wednesday Kamehameha and Emma, King and Queen of Hawaii, 1864, 1885
Eve of Saint Andrew’s Day
Friday Saint Andrew the Apostle Abstinence
Saturday Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, 1637
Eve of the First Sunday of Advent
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.