From the Rector: Saint Mary’s Mission House
On Thursday, March 15, Saint Mary’s Mission House will again become a community house for women religious. We will formally welcome Sr. Deborah Francis, Sr. Laura Katherine and the Community of St. John Baptist to the parish at Solemn Evensong on Sunday, April 22 (mark your calendars). The leadership of CSJB and of the parish believes we have a unique opportunity at the beginning of the twenty-first century to renew both parish life and the work of the sisters.
Our parish and CSJB were founded in the wake of the catholic renewal within Anglicanism in the nineteenth century, usually called “The Oxford Movement.” From its inception, this renewal was about more than “smells and bells.” It was a renewal of Christian community, mission and service. In England it took root in working class and slum areas. In the United States it moved into newer areas of our city, like Longacre Square (known since 1904 as Times Square). One aspect of what came to be called the Anglo-catholic revival (renewal or movement) was the reestablishment in Britain of religious orders for men and women for the first time since the suppression of religious life by Henry VIII.
In the early days, some of the women’s religious communities were loosely organized and parish-based. The Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of the Order of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary were active at Saint Mary’s in the 1880’s and 1890’s. Later, the Saint Mary’s parochial community was received into the larger Community of St. Mary. After the death of Father Thomas McKee Brown, our founding rector, several of the sisters moved to other houses of the order around the country. When Father Joseph G. H. Barry came as rector in 1909, he stipulated that sisters would return to the parish. To this end, he invited the Sisters of the Holy Nativity, whose mother house was in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The “Holy Nats” were a large part of parish life at Saint Mary’s until their order consolidated some of their houses. The sisters left the parish in 1965.
The Community of St. John Baptist was founded in England in 1852 and came to the United States in 1874. They built their first convent in New York City, where on the Lower East Side they worked with immigrants through their Holy Cross Mission and with women from the streets through the Midnight Mission. They founded schools, convalescent hospitals, orphanages, and summer rest homes. In 1900 the Community bought land for a convent in Mendham, New Jersey, where they ran an orphanage and a school. Today the sisters continue a ministry of hospitality from Mendham, while many of the sisters go into parishes and other settings for ministry. In a real sense, the return of a religious community to the parish and the return of CSJB to a mission in Manhattan is a renewal of the heritage of both communities. And it’s happening here in Times Square.
The resident sisters will immediately become a part of the parish worshipping community. I have already had several inquiries about whether the sisters’ work will include spiritual direction. (Yes!) I have asked Sr. Laura Katherine to help me work in a new way with Saint Mary’s Guild, our parish altar guild. Sr. Deborah Francis is already helping us in the parish office and assisting during Mass as a reader and chalice bearer. The order has a special pastoral ministry to the sick and shut-in. I think I can speak for CSJB and Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees when I say we are excited by the possibilities and look forward to the unfolding of new work as our relationship unfolds.
In our country too many of our own Episcopal parishes have their front doors closed nearly every day of the week. Saint Mary’s doors are open and open for all. Saint Mary’s continues to witness daily to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to serve others in his name. We continue to seek what is best and most useful to the gospel in all areas of our life, including our work in Honduras, in Christian formation and in liturgical music. We live our life according to the Church year. As our Bishop wrote a parishioner earlier this year, “One of the things about being a member of St. Mary’s is that one really does get the picture of what the seasons of the Church year are about. And that understanding adds immeasurably to the richness, not only of being a Christian, but of being a human being.”
I want to thank everyone whose support of our Momentum Fund has made this renewal of our common life possible. Isn’t it just great to be here at Saint Mary’s! Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Drew, Barbara, Virginia, Selina, Daisy, Chandra, Michael, Charles, Brian, Ana, Kevin, Gert, Harold, Robert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, William, Gabriela, Eve, Virginia, Mary, William, Gilbert, Rick, Thomas, priest, and Charles, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Sean, David, Barron, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher and Timothy . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 11: 1994 Virginia Greene; March 12: 1961 Muriel Iola Dorothy Blaine; March 15: 1969 Peter Chan.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Remember: Stations of the Cross, Fridays in Lent, 7:00 PM . . . After hibernating through most of the winter months, Movie Night will return on Friday, March 16. The movie will begin after Stations of the Cross concludes . . . We welcome Jesse Reyes and Victor Berrios as our two new sextons . . . As we go to press on Thursday, March 8, we await the delivery today of a new ramp for wheelchair access. It is supposed to be here before the close of business today . . . Our sexton Rueben Awuni routinely gathers clothes together and sends them back to his native country of Ghana. We told him we would ask the congregation to send along their unused or slightly used summer clothes. He can also accept shoes and sneakers. If you have any donations please speak to Rueben directly . . . Daylight Savings Time begins three weeks early this year. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead before you go to bed on Saturday, March 10 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, March 10, by Father Beddingfield and on Saturday, March 17, by Father Gerth . . . On Saturday, March 31, members of the Saint Vincent’s Guild (our altar servers) and the Saint Mary’s Guild (our altar guild) will strip palms for Palm Sunday and polish all of the parish brass for Holy Week and Eastertide. All are welcome to attend and help us . . . Attendance last Sunday 314.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Nunca fué pena mayor’ by Francisco de Peñalosa (c. 1470-1528). Perhaps Spain’s most important composer of the generation preceding Cristóbal de Morales, Peñalosa worked at a time when Spanish church music became greatly influenced by the international “Flemish” style. In addition, his career was aided by Spain’s prominence in the international arena at that time. A renowned singer, he was a member of the Papal Chapel choir after leaving Seville for Rome in 1517. When the Seville Cathedral chapter fervently and repeatedly demanded his return, the Pope himself interceded on Peñalosa’s behalf. This relatively brief setting (one of the composer’s six masses) is based upon a villancico (a type of Spanish song) by the Flemish composer Johannes Urrede. The motet at Communion is O vos omnes by Juan Esquivel (c. 1563-after 1613) . . . Many thanks to Robert McDermitt, who effortlessly stood in for me the two Sundays I missed due to illness, and to Kyle Babin, who played the Sung Mass on Wednesday, February 28. Robert McCormick
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Father Mead’s Wednesday Night Bible Study continues to study the Last Supper throughout Lent . . . Ms. Rebecca Weiner and the Reverend Thomas Heard will lead a class on the Deaconate on Sunday, March 25, following Solemn Mass.
THE ABC’S OF ERD. . . On March 11, following Solemn Mass, Mr. Erwin de Leon will discuss the ministry and programs of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). Learn how ERD’s international programs work towards fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals embraced by the Church. Find out how you can participate and support this work. Erwin is a parishioner at Saint Mary’s and works as interim church relations officer at ERD . . . Copies of Essentials: Lenten Meditations on Necessity and Abundance are available free of charge in the Saint Mary’s Gift Shop.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . . The Feast of the Annunciation is observed this year on Monday, March 26. The principal service will be Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM, preceded by an organ recital at 5:30 PM. A reception follows in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Palm Sunday is April 1. Morning Prayer will be sung at 8:30 AM and Solemn Evensong & Benediction will be at 5:00 PM. There will only be two Masses on Sunday morning, at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM. (This is the only Sunday of the year when it’s simply not possible to have a 10:00 AM Mass – there’s not enough time!) The 11:00 AM liturgy includes our procession through Times Square to distribute palms . . . On Monday, April 2, the choir of Eton College, Windsor, England, will sing Solemn Evensong here at 6:00 PM . . . On Maundy Thursday the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated at 6:00 PM. The Watch before the Blessed Sacrament is kept through the night in the Mercy Chapel . . . On Good Friday, the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord is celebrated twice, at 12:30 PM and at 6:00 PM . . . On Easter Eve the Great Vigil of Easter is celebrated at 7:00 PM. A reception follows in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . On Easter Day, Saint Mary’s observes a special form of Solemn Evensong at 5:00 PM in addition to the usual services of Easter morning. The full choir sings for this service, and all the major liturgies of the Triduum.
FAST FOR FRIENDS . . . This Lent, consider fasting to help feed others. Consider giving up one or two meals a week, saving that money and then contributing what you have saved to the Maundy Thursday Offering on April 5. The offering will go to the Weekday Meal Program at the Church of San Juan Evangelista in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday in Lent
Monday Weekday of Lent
Tuesday Weekday of Lent
Wednesday Weekday of Lent
Thursday Weekday of Lent
Friday Weekday of Lent Lenten Friday Abstinence
Saturday Weekday of Lent
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. On all Fridays of Lent, Stations of the Cross 7:00 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