From the Rector: Eight Years On
On Saturday morning, December 5, 1998, the Board of Trustees met and voted to call me to be the ninth rector of Saint Mary’s. As the meeting ended, Gerald McKelvey, acting president of the board, called the Bishop of New York, the Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, to ask formally his permission to extend the call. The bishop gave permission. The board went to the midday Mass. After the Mass Gerald called. I was sitting at my typewriter in the rectory study in Michigan City, a beautiful oak paneled room with a large fireplace. I thought I might be called as rector, but one is never sure. I pretty much collapsed after Gerald’s call, knowing that my life had changed.
Tuesday, December 8, 1998, was Saint Mary’s patronal feast, of course. During the Mass Gerald announced the board had called me as the new rector. At the same time I was meeting with the vestry of Trinity Church, Michigan City to ask their permission to resign. Something else happened between December 5 and December 8. What are called “Letters Dimissory” were accepted by the Bishop of New York from the Bishop of Northern Indiana. I actually became a priest of the Diocese of New York on December 8, 1998. I would not leave Michigan City until after the new year had begun.
My first service as rector would be the Solemn Mass on Candlemas. Two memories stand out from that day. First, I spent most of the day helping the sexton on duty (there was just one in those days) clean the church. Second, I remember how happy I was to be here. There were many, many kind people here that night. It was very, very hard for me to leave Trinity Church. The warmth of the welcome at Saint Mary’s was so important to me when I first arrived.
On Friday, February 2, 2007 I will begin my ninth year of service at the altar of this church. I remain very thankful for the opportunity that has been given me. Almost always I am delighted by the challenges of personal growth and growth as a priest that have come to me in this place. I remain thankful for my vocation, thankful for the Episcopal Church, and optimistic for the future.
I hadn’t looked at the text of a “Letters Dimissory” for years until a few minutes ago. I’m very glad Bishop Francis Gray was able to certify to Bishop Grein that I was “a Priest in good standing, and has not so far as I know or believe, been justly liable to evil report, for error in religion or for viciousness of life, for the last three years.” (What about the years before that? And what is “viciousness of life?”)
Attached to the formal letter of agreement of call between me and the Board of Trustees is an appendix listing all of the Holy Days of the year for which the rector is expected to assure due celebration. Anyone reading it knows that the worship of God is truly at the heart of this community.
I thank you for the confidence you have had in me to be your rector and for all the help you have given me. I look forward very much to the future as it unfolds for us, as we come together at the altar to worship, and as we go forth to serve in Christ’s name. Stephen Gerth
SOLEMN EVENSONG ON CANDLEMAS EVE . . . The Prayer Book appoints special lessons and psalms for the eves of the greater festivals of the Church year. Because of the present configuration of clergy and organists on the church staff, it is possible for us to renew a great tradition of the Church, Solemn Evensong on the eve of these feast days. I plan for us to continue to offer Solemn Evensong on the eve of our patronal feast with the parish choir. On other eves we will sing Evensong congregationally, as we do most Sunday evenings of the year. On Thursday, February 1, at 6:00 PM Solemn Evensong will be offered. There will be no sermon. Eucharistic Benediction will not be given. There will be no 6:20 PM Mass. But the glorious solemn offering of Evening Prayer will be made. I expect the service will last thirty minutes. (It will be the first one like this so I’m not entirely sure!) The next occasion for Solemn Evensong on the eve of a greater festival will be May 16, the Eve of Ascension Day. S.G.
LITURGICAL NOTES FOR THE WEEK . . . On Thursday, February 1, at 6:00 PM Solemn Evensong for the Eve of the Presentation will be sung. On Friday, February 2, at 8:30 AM Morning Prayer will be sung. The Noonday Office is prayed at 12:00 PM. At 12:10 PM there will be Blessing of Candles & Sung Mass. At 5:30 PM an organ recital is offered. At 6:00 PM there will be Blessing of Candles, Procession & Solemn Mass . . . Saturday, February 3, is the Feast of Saint Blase. The traditional blessing of throats will be offered during the 12:10 PM Mass.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Daniel, Suzanne, Kevin, Brian, Ana, José, Gert, Harold, Robert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, Joy, William, Gabriela, Eve, Virginia, Mary, William, Gilbert, Rick, Thomas, priest, Louis, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Barron, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy and Dennis and for the repose of the souls of Peter and MaryAnne . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 28: 1987 Wan Tang Jou; February 2: 1985 Walter Phelps Warren, John Doy Woods; February 3: 1983 Van Buren Chaney.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Rebecca Weiner’s father-in-law, Peter Tompkins, died on January 24. Please pray for him, for Rebecca and her husband Ptolemy, and for all who mourn.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to all who prayed for and supported the Honduras Mission Trip. The group has returned, healthy and having had a good week. More information will follow in the coming weeks . . .Confessions will be heard on Saturday, January 27, by Father Beddingfield and on Saturday, February 3, by Father Gerth . . . The Board of Trustees meets on Monday, January 29, at 7:00 PM . . . Attendance Last Sunday 357.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Ricercar del quinto tono by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594). The postlude is Ciacona e-moll, BuxWV 160 by Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Messa a quattro voci da cappella (1650) by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Monteverdi wrote a great deal of music, both sacred and secular, and served as maestro di cappella of St. Mark’s, Venice, where he revolutionized a deteriorated music program. This work is composed in what is known as stile antico, or a Palestrina-like polyphonic style that by the early seventeenth century was decidedly old-fashioned. It is one of only two masses surviving from Monteverdi’s years at St. Mark’s (he was contracted to compose one each Christmas). Though organ continuo and various instruments typically would have accompanied a performance in Monteverdi’s day (with instruments doubling the vocal parts), this morning organ alone is used. The motet at Communion is O bone Iesu, attributed to Loyset Compère (c. 1445-1518) . . . The organ recital at 4:40 PM is played by Paul M. Weber . . . On the feast of the Presentation, the organ recital at 5:30 PM is played by Kyle Babin . . . The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa aedis Christi (“Mass of the house of Christ”) by Herbert Howells (1892-1983). This hauntingly beautiful setting was composed 1958 for the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, England. Though set for unaccompanied four-part choir, it frequently splits into six and seven parts, creating a rich and full texture to the sound. Howells made many notable contributions to sacred music; a great deal of it is not widely heard, however, and this mass is among his numerous neglected works. The composer of the Communion anthem, A New Song (1997), is James MacMillan (b. 1959), a Scottish-born Roman Catholic who has become one of Britain’s finest living composers of liturgical music. His music is always eloquent and deeply prayerful, and his elegant and striking setting of a portion of Psalm 96 causes the text to be heard in a new way. The postlude is Howells’s Paean from Six Pieces (1940). Robert McCormick
THE SUPER BOWL . . . Saint Mary’s 3rd Annual Super Bowl party will be held following Solemn Evensong & Benediction on Sunday, February 4, 2007. The party is a pot-luck centered around Fire & Brimstone Curate Chili (made by, not with, real curates). We will watch the game “Movie night style” on the twenty foot projection TV in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . For those Saint Marians who don’t know anything about football or who think football is a different game called soccer, Father Mead will offer a “class” entitled “Football for Anglo-catholics” before the game begins.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Our weekly parish Bible Study continues Wednesday, January 31, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. Throughout the Epiphany Season we will study the Parables of Jesus. The class ends February 7 . . . On Sunday, January 28, Father Mead will offer a class entitled: “The Structure of Solemn Mass: Ordinaries, Propers, Minor Propers” . . . On Sundays, February 11 & 18, Father Beddingfield will offer a two-part class entitled: Anglo-catholics & Mission: The Good, the Strange and the Holy . . . On Sunday, February 25, the Reverend Louis Weil, professor of liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, will offer a class on The Rites of Holy Week . . . Unless otherwise noted, Sunday classes begin approximately 15 minutes after Solemn Mass concludes. For details and resources please visit the Adult Education section of our parish website.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Tuesday Charles, King and Martyr, 1649
Thursday Brigid, 523
Eve of the Presentation
Friday The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Saturday Blase, Bishop and Martyr, c. 316
Please see the newsletter for the special schedule for the Eve and Day of the Presentation.
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