From the Rector: Marion Elizabeth Freise, 1911-2006
Marion Freise died on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at the House of the Good Shepherd in Hackettstown, New Jersey, where she had moved in 2003. She was ninety-four years old and had been a member of Saint Mary’s for many years.
When I first moved to the parish, Marion was one of a group of women who lived in New Jersey and who were active in the parish. They came in on buses. They were very faithful. Shortly after I arrived, Marion’s doctors recommended that she stop making the trip into the city. Until she moved to the House of the Good Shepherd, Hackettstown, New Jersey, the curates and I would take turns bringing her Holy Communion at her home in Lyndhurst.
Marion had been director of the school of nursing at Saint Barnabas’ Hospital for many years. I can’t imagine anyone there wanting to cross her path in the wrong way, at the wrong time. The word “formidable” comes to mind. She struck me as someone for whom duty and work demanded nothing less than the best at all times. I suspect she had a reputation for fairness that was widely admired.
Her first memories of Saint Mary’s were of making visits here to pray with her mother when she was a child. They would always stop to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and to light candles at the shrines. When she was growing up there was a much greater division in the Church about was called “churchmanship” – whether the main service on Sunday would be Mass or Morning Prayer, what one would call one’s priest, whether there would be candles, incense, statues, vestments or even flowers in church. Marion was an Anglo-catholic and she meant it.
If I recall correctly she had known or met all but the first two rectors of Saint Mary’s, Father Brown and Father Christian. She didn’t have much time for parishes or people who did not work hard for Christ or who did not believe. It saddened her that the Episcopal Church seemed to lose so much energy in our metropolitan area in the 1970s. Too many churches closed. I know that she greatly respected my predecessor, Father Edgar Wells. Father George Bowen, rector emeritus of Grace Church, Newark, was a long-time friend of hers and was a great help to her in her move to the House of the Good Shepherd.
Marion had many friends at Saint Mary’s, more than I probably know. I do know Walter Morton kept in regular touch with her even after she moved to the House of the Good Shepherd. Marion had volunteered for many years here in the finance office. Eileen Whittle worked with her on the altar linens – something Marion continued to do once she moved to Hackettstown.
Marion’s body will be cremated and her ashes placed in the Lady Chapel Vault after a Requiem Mass on Saturday, August 12, at 10:00 AM. I hope it may be possible for many to attend. I look forward to meeting her family and to telling them what a privilege it was to know Marion. May she rest in peace. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for John, Robert and Gloria who are hospitalized, for Terry, Sandra, Daniel, Gloria, Roxanne, Grace, Tony, Michelle, Ray, Isa, Joy, Christine, Danny, Ann, William, John, Laura, Gabriela, Eve, Roy, Deborah, Virginia, Mary, William, Ana, Gilbert, Jeanne, Joseph, Rick, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie, Dennis and Derrick; and for the repose of the soul of Marion . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 8: 1963 Charles Augustus Edgar.
CONFESSIONS . . . Confessions now will be heard on Saturday, August 5, by Father Gerth and on Saturday, August 12, by Father Beddingfield.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Remember: child care is offered from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM each Sunday and during Solemn Masses celebrated during the week . . . As we go to press, John Simon-Ash is at Beth Israel Medical Center. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Visit the Adult Education section of the parish website for more information about opportunities to learn and grow this fall . . . The Spirituality and Reading group continues with the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The next meeting, on Sunday, August 20, will continue with its discussion of Letters and Papers from Prison . . . Flowers are needed for Sundays in August. Please contact the parish office if you wish to give them . . . Attendance Last Sunday 203.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on ‘Wareham’, hymn 137, O wondrous type! O vision fair. The postlude is Healey Willan’s (1880-1968) Prelude on ‘Wareham’. The cantor is Ms. Ruth Cunningham, soprano. The anthem at Communion is Ms. Cunningham’s setting of O nata lux. Robert McCormick
METROPOLITAN OPERA IN CENTRAL PARK . . . Join Saint Mary’s on the Road on Wednesday, August 23 at 8:00 PM in Central Park for Rigoletto. We will meet around 5:00 PM near the closest softball field to the stage – the west side of the Great Lawn (an easy way to find the group is to enter from Central Park West at 81st Street). To ensure that everyone is able to find the group, we have set up an e-mail/phone system. Simply e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you some of the cell phone numbers of people who are going to be there early. Bring your cell phone (with those numbers) and we’ll “talk you in” when you get to the park. Please bring some food and drink to share, and something to sit on. We’ll supply the plates, napkins and cups.
THE FESTIVALS OF AUGUST . . . Earlier this year Father Mead and I were looking at our old vestments and realized that we have very few “weekday” green sets – that is, a set of vestments to be used at a Mass where there is only one priest at the altar. We have lots of old and worn out red, white and black weekday sets, but no old green. I can’t remember now whether it was he or I who remembered that before the liturgical reforms of the 1970s, there was hardly an ordinary weekday in the liturgical calendar of Anglo-catholic parishes like ours without some kind of commemoration. Thus, the parish had little need of weekday green.
One of the great achievements of the new Prayer Book was an official calendar that was a middle way between what we used to call the Protestant and Catholic sides of the Episcopal Church. As a result of scholarship and a generous ecumenical spirit, a pretty broad consensus emerged among Western Christians about a reformed calendar centered on Sundays as the principal weekly feast of the Lord. There are very few festivals that are fixed on a date in the calendar, like this coming Sunday, the Feast of the Transfiguration, that take precedence over the ordinary Sunday celebration. This is a very good thing.
The Calendar of the Prayer Book, like the Lectionary, however, can be altered pretty easily by the General Convention – and alter they do. I try not to let this disturb me too much because in reality almost no one uses this material – just as most parishes don’t bother any more with Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, much less Eucharists on Major Feast days. Sadly, the more we add, the less people actually do.
In August at Saint Mary’s, in addition to the Sundays of the month, there is one great festival for us, the Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin on August 15. This is the Feast of the Assumption – the name Roman Catholics use for the day but which is a difficult title for many in our Anglican tradition. Nowadays this difficulty is largely tied to the proclamation by the Roman Catholic Church in 1950 of this belief to be a dogma necessary to salvation – that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the point of her earthly death. The problem is not that we don’t believe Mary is in heaven. The problem is that Pope Pius XII and his successors teach that Christians who don’t believe the dogma as defined by Pius XII will “will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul” (.Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, Defining The Dogma Of The Assumption, paragraph 47). We Episcopalians are able to celebrate Mary being taken by God to himself without threatening anyone with the wrath of God.
The other greater festival that occurs this month is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ on August 6. The feast was not widely observed in the West before the Reformation but has become extremely popular among Anglicans since adopted by the American Church in 1892. The wonderful collect was written for the reintroduction by the Reverend William Reed Huntington (1838-1909), rector of Grace Church, New York City, from 1883 until his death: O God, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen. S.G
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Monday John Mason Neale, Priest, 1866
Tuesday Dominic, Priest and Friar, 1221
Thursday Laurence, Deacon, and Martyr at Rome, 258
Friday Clare, Abbess at Assisi, 1254 Friday 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 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.
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