From the Rector: Triumph of the Cross
Sunday, September 14, is Holy Cross Day. It is a “Feast of our Lord” that may take precedence over the ordinary Sunday celebration, and certainly this is the tradition at Saint Mary’s. Quite unlike the Sunday of the Passion or Good Friday, the Mass is triumphal in its sorrow, its joy and its proclamation. We use a beautiful responsorial psalm at the Solemn Mass. The refrain is simple and simply powerful, “Faithful cross above all other, one and only noble tree.”
The gospel for the day is from John. In Jerusalem, Jesus explains to his disciples the glory and meaning of the death that, in John’s gospel, he knows awaits him. Jesus says, “Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of the world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:31-32). In the world of John’s gospel, Pilate is on trial on the Friday we call good. Jesus, nailed to the cross, reigns over all that is seen and unseen from the tree. Pilate and his minions of death have no power over John’s Jesus. Jesus said, and in John he really means it, “I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:1-2). This is a long way from Mark’s Jesus who dies with a cry after the haunting words of the psalmist, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).
The 1928 Prayer Book was the first that required Episcopal priests to make the sign of the cross on the forehead of the person being baptized. It was optional in the earlier American Prayer Books, but has always been required in the English books. Puritans in the Church of England in the sixteenth and seventeenth century objected to its use. Its use is no longer a major source of controversy in the Episcopal Church, but I am often surprised by how awkward it makes persons from a Protestant background feel. It’s a nonverbal prayer that children can do long before they can say the Lord’s Prayer. God only knows why Christians have ever fought about it.
There is mindless, tragic suffering in our world (I write on the morning of September 11, 2008) and in our own lives. Very few of us have not known injustice or even evil at some point in our own lives. The proclamation of Jesus’ triumph on the cross, his obedience to truth, his willingness to suffer, his triumph of resurrection through dying continues to be the central revelation of God about himself and his purposes for humankind.
In John’s gospel, Jesus is asked by his disciples, as they passed a man born blind, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him” (John 9:2-3). In some way he could be said to be speaking of himself and of all of us. Jesus was not crucified because he had sinned, but so that you and I might believe in him and in the one who sent him. You and I will die too and the works of God will be manifest in us.
All Masses are great, but some are a little grander than others. The principal Mass this Sunday (11:00 AM) will include great hymns. As is our custom, a relic of the True Cross may be venerated in the Mercy Chapel at the conclusion of Mass. I hope you may be able to be with us on Sunday. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Clare, Madeleine, Marc, Linda, Janelle, Joanne, Kevin, Olga, Jennie, Gloria, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Katherine, Rozalind, Marietta, Connie, Rick and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Timothy, Benjamin, Christopher, Marc, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew and Brendan . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 14: 1898 Margaret Hammond; 1917 Margaret Carswell; 1964 Helene Weinstock.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, September 13. Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, September 20.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . James Kennerley, interim organist and music director, placed second out of a field of over 300, at the Eleventh Annual Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival, held in Wethersfield, CT, September 5-7, 2008 . . . Father Mead celebrates his fourth anniversary of ordination to the Priesthood on September 18 . . . Parish administrative assistant Sandra Schubert recently published an essay about the Saint Francis Day celebration at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in a volume entitled Pet Prayers & Blessings (Sterling Publishing, 2008) . . . Altar flowers are needed for the remaining Sundays in September . . . The Rector will be away at a Leadership in Ministry course from Sunday evening, September 14, until Wednesday afternoon, September 17. He will then be in Maryland taking care of business related to his mother’s care and other family affairs until Sunday, September 21. He will be back in the office on Monday, September 22 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 256, Nativity of Mary 78.
COMING EVENTS . . . Monday, September 22, is the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (transferred). That night the Reverend Dr. Mitties DeChamplain will be instituted as Vicar of Saint Clement’s Church, 423 W. 46th St., at 7:00 PM . . . September 28, and Monday, September 29, “Primary Things: A Liturgical Conference of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin” . . . The fall schedule begins on Sunday evening, September 28, the Eve of Saint Michael and All Angels. The Right Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will be celebrant and preacher for Solemn Pontifical Mass on Monday, September 29, at 6:00 PM. Solemn Mass is preceded by an organ recital at 5:30 PM played by James Kennerley . . . Saturday, October 4, 6:00 PM, Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest, Saint Joseph’s Hall & Organ Loft . . . Sunday, October 5, Ordination of Mr. Jedediah Fox to the Diaconate in Billings, Montana . . . Sunday, October 12, Sunday School will begin at 10:00 AM, and will be led by Jed Fox . . . Mark your Calendars: Friday, October 31, 2008, the Eve of All Saints Day, Solemn Pontifical Mass, 6:00 PM, The Right Reverend Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York, celebrant and preacher.
DOES YOUR CHILD WANT TO BE AN ACOLYTE AT SAINT MARY’S? . . . Saint Mary’s liturgical tradition is world-renowned; does your child want to be an altar server at Saint Mary’s? If you are interested, please contact me at email@example.com. I am recruiting children to serve at the high altar at the 9:00 AM Sunday Sung Mass and the 5:00 PM Christmas Eve Family Mass. Matthew Mead
STEWARDSHIP MATTERS . . . As of Sunday, September 7, we have received gifts amounting to $16,121.00, in answer to the Annual Assumption Day Appeal. Those gifts are being used to help us reach our 2008 pledge campaign goal of $548,000.00. Thus far this year, we have received $526,658.00 in pledges, which means that we're just 3.9%, or $21,372.00, short of the goal! If you have not yet made a pledge for 2008 or a contribution to the Assumption Day Appeal, but would still like to do so, please contact the Finance Office or Father Smith . . . Shortly after September 30, the Finance Office will be mailing third-quarter statements to all those who made pledges for 2008. We would urge you to examine your statement carefully and make plans to fulfill your pledge, if possible, before December 31. Please remember that less than 10% of the cost of keeping Saint Mary’s doors open is paid for by income derived from our endowment. We depend for our survival on the gifts and support of members, friends, and neighbors. Thank you very much to all who have supported Saint Mary’s so generously. J.R.S.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . This week at Solemn Mass, the organist is James Kennerley, interim organist and music director. The Cantor is Ms. Elizabeth Baber, who will sing “Paratum cor meum” by Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (c.1580-1651). The work is taken from his Libro primo di mottetti passeggiati a una voce (1612). Before Mass, Mr. Kennerley will play Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s (1848-1918) chorale prelude on the hymn tune Rockingham, sung today as the PostCommunion hymn to the words “When I survey the wondrous cross”. The tune is taken from the Second Supplement to Psalmody in Miniature, ca. 1780, harmonized by Edward Miller in 1790. Miller was apprenticed to his father, a pavior (a layer of paving stones and the like), but ran away to study music. At one time he was a flautist in Handel’s orchestra. He played the organ for 50 years at Doncaster Church, England, and composed hymn tunes and harpsichord sonatas. Cambridge University awarded him a doctorate degree in 1786. At the conclusion of the service, Mr. Kennerley and Ms. Baber and will sing a duet based on the words of Psalm 67, composed by Mr. Kennerley. The Saint Mary’s Singers will have its first rehearsal on Sunday, September 28, from 3:00-4:30 PM. We would love to have you join us – if you are interested, please contact the Music Office. James Kennerley
SAINT RAPHAEL’S GUILD OF USHERS . . . Lunch and Business Meeting on Sunday, September 21, following the Solemn Mass and Coffee Hour in the Vidal-Smith apartment on the fourth floor of the Parish House. If you have not done so already, RSVP to Father Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are interested in serving as an usher, please speak to Father Smith. New ushers are cordially invited to attend the meeting on September 21.
MARIAN HYMN SING & OKTOBERFEST . . . Join a very jovial group of Saint Marians for the second annual Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest in Saint Joseph’s Hall (and the organ loft!) on Saturday, October 4, at 6:00 PM. We hope you can join us! J.K. & M.M.
ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION BEGINS OCTOBER 5 . . . During October, Father Mead and Father Smith will teach Opening the Good Book: Reading & Interpreting the Bible. This four-session class (October 5, 12, 19, 26) aims at helping participants feel more confident and comfortable when they are reading, interpreting and discussing the Bible. We will propose some solutions to a number of commonly asked questions about reading and interpreting the Bible.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday Holy Cross Day
Tuesday Ninian, Bishop in Galloway, c.430
Thursday Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, 1882
Friday Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690 Abstinence
Saturday John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
Eve of the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Said Mass. Childcare is available from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM every Sunday.
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 Wednesday 12:10 PM Mass is sung. Thursday Masses include anointing of the sick.
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.