The Angelus

Volume 8, Number 31

From the Rector: Momentum at Saint Mary’s

Late last spring Sister Barbara Jean, superior of the Community of St. John Baptist, approached me about the possibility of her order having a home for two or three sisters at Saint Mary’s.  A conversation and period of discernment began.  Her order started in England but its first work in the United States was here in Manhattan.  The sisters’ motherhouse is now in Mendham, New Jersey, and they are well known to many in our parish community.  From the beginning of the conversation the Board of Trustees and I have been very excited.

One of my favorite verses of scripture is Matthew 13:52, “Jesus said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’”  Our mission house was built to be a convent for religious sisters who would be dedicated to working with the “women and girls” – as they used to say – of the parish.  The parish house was for the male curates whose work would have a focus with “men and boys.”  As our conversation continued so many possibilities for the future opened up.

I asked an architect to give me a preliminary idea of what it would cost to put the fifth floor of the Mission House in shape so that two sisters could be in residence (and so that there might be space for a third to stay occasionally).  I asked for our Bishop’s blessing on the conversation very early in the process.  Our contacts with the sisters have increased.  Many of you know Sister Deborah Francis who has been with us most Wednesdays since the winter.  Last Christmas a member of Saint Mary’s national community sent a donation of $25,000.00 and asked me as rector to decide how it might best be used.  I immediately had an idea.

Independently of this, another group of parishioners wanted to make a start on a few other projects that need attention – and they started to write checks.  It looks like we have three more years of struggle to get to the promised land of a balanced operating budget – we are well on the way and I no longer worry that we will make it.  In 1996, the parish raised almost $900,000.00 to repaint the church.  I think when we have balanced the budget the time will be right for the next capital campaign.  In the meantime, we have opportunities to keep our momentum going.  At Father Beddingfield’s suggestion, we are calling this small campaign “The Momentum Fund.”

This week the parish community, local and national, will be receiving appeal materials from the Board of Trustees.  Our Goal is $150,000.00.  We think we will need at least $50,000.00 for construction (and plumbing) on the Mission House fifth floor for a residence for the sisters.  We need new kneeling cushions for the church – and we need 400 of them.  These will cost $30,000.00.  We also need a new hot water heater for the entire Saint Mary’s complex.  This project will cost $25,000.00.  Forty-five thousand dollars is needed to restore the handrails for the front of the church and additional small scale capital improvements to the complex.  Yes, there’s much more to be done.  But I think the time is right for these projects now.  On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I ask for your support.

The sisters’ ministry has evolved over the years and the two sisters who will be stationed first at Saint Mary’s have a particular ministry of spiritual direction and counseling and of teaching.  I can hardly wait for their help in the sacristy!  They will be part of our regular Sunday and weekday community of prayer.  Their ministry in the parish and to the local community will grow and evolve.

Restoring our handrails and providing proper kneeling cushions for the church are projects that speak for themselves.  The purchase and installation of a new water heater for a plant like ours (and the removal of the old one) is more expensive than you might imagine, especially in the middle of New York City.  More projects await growth and funding so that the work of this parish goes forward, but for now, these are the ones that the leaders of the parish have suggested.

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church, our governing body in this country, has been much in the news this week.  But for me the real news is that Saint Mary’s mission is growing.  Our doors are open.  The Book of Common Prayer is used in the richest way.  Our parish life is shaped by the daily discipline of prayer and service.  Our mission continues to be what it was when the first group of Saint Marians gathered:

We enter upon this work, not only with the intention of preaching the comfortable Gospel of Christ, and of ministering the Holy Sacraments to His people, but also, of restoring to its proper place and important the Worship of God – the rendering of Adoration to Him as a congregational and ceremonial act --, (made beautiful, majestic and impressive by all the outward adornments, which are called the Beauty of Holiness, springing from the heart-love, within) but, which in later times have been forgotten. 

The Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, 1868.

I invite you to join in the excitement and momentum of the future here at Saint Mary’s.  Stephen Gerth


PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Daniel and Gloria who are hospitalized, and for Suyeko, Roxanne, Grace, Tony, Michelle, Ray, Isa, Joy, Christine, Danny, Ann, William, John, Laura, Gabriela, Eve, Roy, 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 . . . June 26: 1985 Kenneth Mealy.


CONFESSIONS . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, June 24, by Father Beddingfield and on Saturday, July 1, by Father Gerth.


LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Feast of Saint Peter & Saint Paul, Apostles, is Thursday, June 29.  As is our custom, a Sung Mass will be offered at 6:00 PM on Thursday in addition to the 12:10 Mass that day.  The 6:20 Mass on the Eve, Wednesday, June 28, will also be for Saint Peter & Saint Paul.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press, Daniel Craig continues at Hackensack University Medical Center and Gloria Fitzgerald is recuperating at the Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Center in West Haverstraw, New York.  Please keep them in your prayers . . . The Spirituality and Reading group continues with the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  The next meeting, on Sunday, July 23, will continue with its discussion of The Cost of Discipleship and will also begin to discuss Letters and Papers from Prison . . . Father Mead is on vacation.  He returns to the parish on July 6 . . . This week we have appreciated the help of Beth Mahaffey in the office this week while Sandra Schubert has been on vacation . . .  Flowers are needed for the Sundays in July.  Please contact the parish office if you wish to give them . . . Father Gerth, Father Beddingfield and several parishioners will be joining the Community of St. John Baptist for their Commemoration Day celebrations on Sunday afternoon, June 25 in Mendham, New Jersey.  All who may be in the area are invited to attend.  The community’s website can be found at . . . Pictures from our Corpus Christ Procession through Times Square can be seen in the photo gallery of the church web site . . . Attendance Last Sunday 297.


CHILD CARE & SUNDAY SCHOOL. . . Child care is offered from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM each Sunday and during Solemn Masses celebrated during the week.  Sunday School is offered October through May from 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM.  Please contact Father Mead for more information.


NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass the prelude is an improvisation on ‘Lobe den Herren’ and the postlude is Toccata d-moll, BWV 538 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  Emilie Williams, mezzo-soprano and Geoffrey Williams, countertenor, are the cantors.  The music during communion is Dou way Robyn/Sancta Mater, an anonymous fourteenth century English song based on a trouvère, a musical form originating in the music of wandering medieval musicians (known in France as troubadours and trouvères) . . . Many thanks to all the musicians of our professional choir for a wonderful season of music-making.  The full choir does not sing on Sundays of the summer months, and returns for the Solemn Mass on the Assumption, August 15 and weekly on Sunday, October 1.  One or more singers from our choir provide music at summer Solemn Masses.  Robert McCormick


The Calendar of the Week

Sunday              The Third Sunday after Pentecos

Monday                    Weekday

Tuesday                     Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, 444

Wednesday               Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, c. 202

                                    Eve of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles 6:00 PM

Thursday               Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles

Friday                        Weekday

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 Said 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.  The 12:10 Mass on Wednesday is sung.  The Feast of Saint Peter & Saint Paul, Apostles, is observed with Sung Mass on Thursday, June 25, at 6:00 PM.

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