From the Rector: Starting Points
One of the many remarkable things about the first disciples, something that is true in all four gospels, was how slow they were to understand what Jesus’ presence in their lives would mean. Even after his resurrection, their faith was unsure. When they began to live out of their faith in his resurrection they became convinced of his presence and his gift of life, and then they began to discover the direction their own lives were to take. Like love, faith is discovered not when we begin a relationship but in its unfolding. And worship, like love and faith, finds its meaning in our lives as it unfolds.
Christians gather to be with Jesus Christ. Worship is about encountering his presence among us. Worship is a starting point, not the point, for Christians. We are not the primary focus of Christian worship, nor does the liturgy itself have some kind of existence independent of us or of Christ. In worship we return to Christ’s presence among us so that we can live in this world with him and for him.
One can imagine that many who knew and loved Jesus’ disciples, their friends and family members, were looking for them to return to their former lives after his death. They didn’t. Their lives would continue to be different because they had allowed their relationship and faith in Jesus to change them, slowly, haltingly, but surely and for ever.
Our parish has always had an extremely strong sense of its mission to be a place of worship. I think that one of the principal reasons this parish community was able to persevere in the face of the change and then degradation of its neighborhood from the 1960s until the 1990s was its clarity about its mission to be a place of worship. I think our clarity today about our primary mission remains the foundation for us to step forward in mission and service. Here Jesus Christ continues to change our lives, slowly, but surely and for ever. And we have “tools” to help us understand and deepen our encounter with Jesus when we come together.
The primary tool for Christians is the Bible. I cannot oversell the importance of reading the Bible, of knowing the biblical narrative, of reading the Bible as prayer. There are odd and sometimes lengthy passages here and there. (If I were to die today my tombstone could say accurately, “He never read all of the Book of Numbers.”) There is no shortage of commentaries and Bible dictionaries to help in reading and studying the Bible.
I cannot begin also to oversell the importance of Sunday Eucharistic worship for those on the journey with Christ. It may be a commonplace occurrence but one never knows when we are going to respond to Christ in a new way when we come together. I’m still praying and reflecting on the sound of the water and the pottery vessels during the washing of feet on Maundy Thursday. Until this year, it never occurred to me to think that these were the sounds in the Upper Room. Bells did not ring during the Last Supper; incense was not offered. But the water was there. I believe it is right to think that those in the Upper Room were as silent during Jesus’ washing of feet as we are today. They could hear the water if they listened.
The Easter Season continues until Pentecost – alleluia, alleluia. Like Sunday Mass, it too is the great starting point of the Church year. I invite you as I invite myself to see every Mass as a beginning, that which takes our past and opens us to the possibility of a new understanding of God’s love and new opportunities for sacrifice, service and celebration in the days we live on this earth. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Aaron, Charles, Virginia, Daisy, Joseph, Michael, Ana, Kevin, Gert, Robert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, William, Gabriela, Eve, Virginia, Mary, Gilbert, Rick, Suzanne, Thomas, priest, and Charles, priest, 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 . . . May 3: 1947 Rachel Howland; May 4: 1995 Alexandrina Patricia Hunte; May 5: 1965 Elizabeth Perrigo.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Tuesday, May 1, is the Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James . . . Confessions will be heard on May 5, by Father Beddingfield, and on Saturday, May 12, by Father Gerth . . . The Reading Group meets Sunday, May 6 after the Solemn Mass and will be discussing part one of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon . . . Father Mead’s Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study on the Maccabees continues this week. The class follows the 6:20 PM Mass and meets in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . Many thanks to Jim Dennis and all who helped with the very special reception to celebrate the new ministry of the Community of St. John Baptist last Sunday . . . Please note our website may be temporarily unavailable Thursday, May 4, or Friday, May 6, as we update our domain status . . . Attendance last Sunday 515.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Ad regias Agni dapes (the Eastertide office hymn for Evensong) from Le Tombeau de Titelouze, Opus 38/7 by Marcel Dupré (1886-1971). The postlude is Christ lag in Todesbanden (second setting) by Georg Böhm (1661-1733). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Il bianco e dolce cigno’ by Stefano Bernardi (c. 1585-1636). An Italian composer, Bernardi worked for a time in Rome and later lived in Salzburg, where he composed a large-scale Te Deum for the consecration of that city’s cathedral. This setting is based upon a motet of Jacques Arcadelt. The motet at Communion is Sing joyfully by William Byrd (1543-1623) . . . The recital at 4:40 PM is played by Chad Kelly, Saint Mary’s music intern, featuring works of Bach, Dupré and Howells. Chad is filling in for our previously scheduled recitalist, who had an unavoidable conflict arise . . . Reminder: Kyle Babin’s final doctoral recital will be held at Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, May 1 at 8:00 PM. All are welcome and admission is free. The recital of all French music includes works of Couperin, Franck, Vierne and Alain. Robert McCormick
Postage rates go up . . . This coming May 14 the postage rates for a one ounce letter will increase to 41 cents. The cost of mailing the Angelus will rise from $107.25 to $112.75 per week. The yearly total will increase to $5,863.00. The cost to e-mail the Angelus is 03 cents per mailing at a savings of 38 cents per person. Sign up now to receive Angelus by e-mail and help save Saint Mary’s $5,434.00 a year! Contact Sandra at email@example.com to make the change to e-mail today. If you can’t get e-mail please consider a gift of fifty dollars to offset the cost of printing and mailing the Angelus. We appreciate your support as we continue to look for ways to save money.
SAINT MARY’S GUILD BEGINS MONTHLY MEETINGS MAY 5 . . . Under the direction of Sister Laura Katharine, the Saint Mary’s Guild (primarily responsible for the care and maintenance of liturgical vestments and vessels) will meet the first Saturday of every month. The inaugural meeting is Saturday, May 5. Members of the Guild will gather at the 12:10 PM Mass in the church and then move to Saint Benedict’s Study for lunch. After lunch the Guild will clean the parish altar vessels and make necessary repairs to the parish vestments. If you are interested in joining the Saint Mary’s Guild, please speak to Sister Laura Katharine or Father Mead, or simply come to one of the monthly meetings.
ANGLO-CATHOLIC HYMNODY . . . Mr. Robert Picken will lead a three-part study of Anglo-catholic Hymns and Hymnody. The classes meet following Solemn Mass in Saint Benedict’s Study on Sundays, April 29, May 6 and May 13.
HABITS OF THE HEART: ANGLICAN RELIGIOUS LIFE . . . Join Sister Deborah Francis and Sister Laura Katharine in Saint Joseph’s Hall after the Solemn Mass on Sunday, May 20. The sisters will present an overview, brief history and casual conversation about Anglican religious orders and what it is like to be an Anglican nun. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about religious life, and specifically a chance to get to know our sisters better.
JOIN OR SUPPORT THE SAINT MARY’S AIDS WALK TEAM . . . Saint Mary’s team will walk again this year on Saturday, May 19, and on Sunday, May 20, and we would love you to join us on one or both of those days. If you can’t walk with us, please donate to our walk. To learn more, pick up an information sheet at church or contact MaryJane Boland or Mary Robison. Our goal is to have 25 walkers from Saint Mary’s and to raise $15,000.00 for the fight against AIDS.
WEBSITE LITURGICAL CALENDAR . . . The online parish Liturgical Calendar has undergone a few changes lately. The current week is now displayed, with links to the current month and current year. Links to next year and past years are also available. Additionally, all readings for the week are available at the bottom of the weekly calendar. If you are unable to make it to the Daily Office, Daily Mass or a certain feast day, you can still read the lessons!
RECTOR AT CREDO . . . The Church Pension Fund began a pilot program in 1994 to help members of the clergy to examine their lives and work and to discern the direction their vocations might take in the future. The program was given the name “Credo” – “I believe.” The pilot program proved to be of significant value to those who participated and the program has continued to grow. Several colleagues have encouraged me to attend. I finally signed up. The conference time available to me this year for which I did not already have a calendar conflict begins on Monday evening, April 30, and continues until Monday, May 7. I will be away these dates. S.G.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fourth Sunday of Easter
Monday Easter Weekday
Eve of Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles 6:00 PM
Tuesday Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles
Wednesday Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, 373
Thursday Easter Weekday
Friday Monnica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387 No 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 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.
Saturday in Easter Week: 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass.