The Angelus

Volume 8, Number 52

From the Rector: Mission at Saint Mary’s

As I write, José Vidal, architect for the renovation of an apartment for the nuns from the Community of St John Baptist, awaits word from the New York City Department of Buildings that proposed plans have been approved.  Some may wonder about the delays that we have encountered.  This is New York.  Few things are simple.  After conversations with Saint Mary’s real estate attorney, I am confident that the Mission House, built to be a convent, can again be in part a convent.

Saint Mary’s was founded in 1868.  Its first church home, on 228 West Forty-Fifth Street, opened its doors on December 8, 1870.  From its inception, Saint Mary’s has been about the renewal of worship in the Episcopal Church – and I think the parish has been at its best when it has been on the forward edge of that renewal

We don’t have a written record but I do know that Saint Mary’s celebrated an Easter Vigil with Evensong in 1918.  In 1919 it went for the whole thing.  This was at a time when the Vigil was a Saturday morning ceremony in the Roman Church (and would remain so until 1955). Saint Mary’s started to celebrate the Easter Vigil on Saturday night.  If you looked around the church in 1920 and asked, “Where do you go to see the best kind of worship?”, the short list of parishes had to include Saint Mary’s.  Dr. Barry, the rector at that time, was widely acknowledged to be one of the great preachers of his day.  The music was revolutionary for the time.  What gave Saint Mary’s its integrity in its early decades was a commitment to mission, to being of service to others in Christ’s name.

You and I are blessed, I think, to be associated with Saint Mary’s at a time when there has been a renewal of worship, congregational life and mission.  Most readers of the newsletter will know of our parish’s continuing mission work in Honduras as well as our preparations for the arrival of Sr. Deborah Frances and Sr. Laura Katherine from CSJB.  There is again a notice in this newsletter about gifts for children living with HIV/AIDS at Christmas.  There’s also a new notice about Jericho Road, a housing initiative in New Orleans of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana – where the Episcopal Church has been doing great work since Hurricane Katrina. 

I don’t think our worship would be as useful to the gospel if the hospitality of the Lord’s Table was not lived out by our actions.  Within the solemnity of our worship, I work very hard to make clear the genuine warmth and love people have for God and for each other.  I also don’t think our worship is useful to the gospel without a sense of mission to others.

2007 Stewardship Campaign materials have been mailed.  (And if by chance they have not arrived, please let us know and we will get them to you.)  The Stewardship Campaign supports the general operating budget, the one that pays for utilities, insurance, program and staff.  It’s one of the fundamental pieces of the puzzle, like worship and mission, that enable our witness to the gospel. 

Each season in our lives presents us with new opportunities.  And if we don’t pay attention at these junctures, we will miss things and we will not grow.  This is the season for us to continue to focus on the basic health of Saint Mary’s, to keep the doors open, to keep the welcome warm, to keep the liturgy strong.  Commitment Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King, this year on November 26.

Saint Mary’s needs to increase its pledged giving by $100,000.00 in 2007 to continue its march to financial stability.  I haven’t figured out how I’m going to order my life so that I can increase my pledge by ten percent in 2007, but I am going to do that.  With great respect, I ask you to pray about what you can do for Saint Mary’s, to believe in the future of the mission and ministry of this parish, and to increase your personal giving to it in the new year.  Stephen Gerth


PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Arturo, Mary Ellen, Ana, Gert, Chip, Harold, Robert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, William, Gabriela, Eve, Virginia, Mary, William, Gilbert, Rick, Thomas, priest, Louis, priest, and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy and Dennis . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 20: 1986 Richard Johnson; November 23: 1976 Calvin R. Gray, 1985 Gary R. Grubb; November 24: 1950 Harlan S. Perrigo, 1957 Frederick Delius, 1989 Aurora Emralda Van Heyningen; November 26: 1998 Ronald L. Cox.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Liam DeCoursy Mead, son of Nicole Mead and the Reverend Matthew Mead, was born on Monday, November 13, at 7:49 AM.  He weighted eight pounds, thirteen ounces at birth and was twenty-one and half inches long.  The Meads are home and doing well . . . Saint Mary’s will be one of the New York Churches featured in “Jane’s New York” on Saturday, November 18 on NBC Channel 4 at 7:00 PM . . . Join the Spirituality and Reading Group after Solemn Mass on Sunday, November 19.  The group will discuss Watership Down by Richard Adam . . . Alternative Gifts for Honduras brochures are available in the church and at the mission section of the parish website . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 18, by Father Gerth and on Saturday, November 25, by Father Mead . . . Attendance last Sunday 340.


BIBLES STUDY AT THE MOVIES: GOSPEL OF JOHN . . . What happens when Bible Studies combine?  They watch a movie and eat Middle Eastern food!  The Saint Mary’s Tuesday Night Bible Study is gathering together with the Saint Thomas Church Adult Bible Study in Saint Joseph’s Hall to watch a film version of the Gospel according to Saint John.   The movie is over three hours long and will be shown in two parts on at 7:00 PM Tuesday, November 21 (part one) and at 7:00 PM Tuesday, November 28 (part two).  The movie is a word-for-word adaptation of the Gospel (NIV translation).  All are invited to attend.  Food for each session is pot-luck with a Middle Eastern (or Eastern Mediterranean) theme.  Matthew Mead


NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on ‘Hereford’, O thou, who camest from above, and the postlude an improvisation on ‘Austria’, Glorious things of thee are spoken.  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Plainsong Mass for a mean by John Sheppard (c. 1515-1559/60).  Sheppard, along with such composers as Thomas Tallis and Christopher Tye, was among the English musicians whose careers spanned the Reformation and the resulting changes in liturgical practice.  His sacred output includes Latin and English music.  This mass is relatively simple in style; its name reflects the use of plainsong (Gregorian chant) in alternation with polyphony, as well as the low range of the highest voice.  In Sheppard’s time the “treble” part in a choral work was the highest (soprano is a rough modern equivalent) and the “mean” part was slightly lower (somewhat equivalent to mezzo-soprano).  In this piece the mean is the highest voice.  The motet at Communion is Peccantem me quotidie by Claudio Merulo (1533-1604) . . . The organ recital is played by Christopher Creaghan, one of our city’s finest organists . . . Solemn Evensong & Benediction is sung this Sunday by the choir of men and boys of the Church of the Transfiguration, New York, including works of Purcell, Tavener and Duruflé.  Robert McCormick


RUTH CUNNINGHAM IN CONCERT . . . Ruth Cunningham, soprano and a member of our choir, is presenting a solo concert on Thursday, November 30 at 8:00 PM at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street.  The concert, entitled “Light and Shadow: Chants, Prayers and Improvisations,” features many of Ruth’s compositions and improvisations for solo voice, harp and recorder.  Admission is $20.00.


GIFTS ARE NEEDED FOR SAINT NICHOLAS CELEBRATION . . . AIDS Action International needs help gathering gifts for approximately 2000 children and adults who are living with HIV/AIDS.  UNWRAPPED holiday gifts for children and adults should be placed in the marked box in Saint Joseph’s Hall.  They will be taken to the cathedral on November 28 for the Saint Nicholas Celebration that evening at 7:30 PM.  Recipients include Saint Mary’s Children’s Hospital AIDS Home Care Program, Montefiore Medical Center’s AIDS Family Center, Saint Mary’s Episcopal Center, Bailey House and A Better Place.


The Calendar of the Week

Sunday              The Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Monday                     Edmund King of East Anglia, 870

Tuesday                     Weekday

Wednesday               Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, c. 117

Thanksgiving Eve

Thursday                Thanksgiving Day – Federal Holiday Schedule

Friday                         Weekday – Friday Abstinence

Saturday                    James Otis Sargent Huntington, Priest and Monk, 1935



Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,

5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & 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.  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