From the Rector: Holy Week Meals
Christians gather for many reasons, but most of all we gather as a community to eat and drink the Supper of the Lord. That’s something that’s all too easy to lose sight of. For a lot of reasons – not the least being that for a thousand years Christians in Western Europe celebrated Mass in a language almost no one spoke – the meal became hidden by rite. The special ceremonies and observances, of the week that begins with the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday and ends with the Great Vigil of Easter, at their best do not obscure who we are or what we are here to do. We are the Church, the Body of Christ, the assembly of the baptized. We come together to recall the way Jesus Christ opened the eyes and hearts of humankind to God’s purpose for creation by dying and rising. We come together to accept God’s work in our own lives and his call to work in his world.
There are three Eucharistic celebrations for Palm Sunday. The first is the Sunday Vigil Mass at 5:00 PM on Saturday evening, March 15. On Sunday, there is Mass at 9:00 AM and at 11:00 AM. The Mass begins with the Liturgy of the Palms in the church. The 11:00 AM Mass includes, weather permitting, a procession through Times Square. Of all the days of the year, this 11:00 AM liturgy typifies Saint Mary’s character as an urban liturgical parish. Cab drivers, most Muslim, will honk their horns at us – not for us to stop blocking traffic but so they can get palms too. The tourists in the square will grab for them. There is an element of our rites where we move from Christianity to civic observance and back again. There is no 10:00 AM Mass on Palm Sunday. Following the Liturgy of Palms (and the Procession), the Mass of the Passion is celebrated. This service betrays its antiquity in many ways, notably the omission of the Nicene Creed and the Confession of Sin (respectively, eighth and sixteenth century additions to the Mass). As powerful as the Liturgy of the Palms is, as powerful as the readings of the Passion may be, we gather to eat and to drink. Jesus has been opening eyes and hearts in the breaking of Bread since the first Easter Day.
Daily Morning and Evening Prayer and the Holy Eucharist are offered following the regular schedule on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week. On Tuesday, all are invited to attend the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral at 10:30 AM where the bishop will consecrate chrism for anointing at baptism. Father Mead, Father Smith and Father Merz will be attending. It’s my turn this year to be here for the 12:10 Mass.
On Maundy Thursday there is no 12:10 PM Mass. There is only one Eucharist, the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6:00 PM. The offering on Maundy Thursday is entirely for the poor. Again this year the Board of Trustees has designated this offering for our mission companion parish in Honduras. At Saint Mary’s, all members of the assembly are invited to participate in the Washing of Feet. One sits to have one’s feet washed, then one washes the feet of the next person. Bread and Wine are consecrated for Communion during this Mass and for the Communion of the Church on Good Friday. During the night, all are invited to come to the parish to pray, traditionally for one hour, before the Sacrament. A signup sheet for “The Watch” will be available this Sunday. (The easternmost doors of the church on 46th Street will be open and a sexton will be on duty through the night.)
The Good Friday Liturgy is celebrated twice, at 12:30 PM and at 6:00 PM, so that as many as possible can participate in the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord. At 7:00 PM on Easter Eve, March 22, we begin the celebration of the Sunday of the Resurrection.
If you are new to Saint Mary’s I invite you to come and to participate in the liturgy with an open heart. Let the rites speak, let the rites shape, let the rites lead. It’s in our hearts that the Lord makes his love most known. Holy Week is not primarily about private prayer, but common prayer. It’s about the relationship we have to God and to each other in Christ. Our Holy Week meals nourish and strengthen us for living out the gift of life God has given us. Come and see. Come and eat. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Nadia, Lisa, Hazel, David, Katherine, Robyn, Doreen, Brooke, Allison, Theresa, Terry, Mary, Gert, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, Carl, PRIEST, and Charles, PRIEST; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Andrew, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher, Marc and Steve; and for the repose of the soul of Alan . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 18: 1947 Howard Noble Place, 1965 Mary Louise Barreaux; March 20: 1954: Karl Irving Bennett; March 22: 1971 Mary E. Fargher; March 24: 1952 Ida Mary Steifel.
COMING EVENTS . . . The Gospel According to Matthew: Father Peter Powell will teach the final class in this series on Sunday, March 16, at 10:00 AM in the Mission House . . . Holy Week begins this Sunday, March 16; the Right Reverend Frank T. Griswold will celebrate and preach at the principal services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, March 20 – March 22 . . . Easter Day is March 23. The Rector will celebrate and preach at Sung Mass, Solemn Mass and Solemn Paschal Evensong & Benediction. Father Smith will preach at the 10:00 AM Mass . . . Liturgical Hymnody led by Mr. Robert McCormick, Sunday, March 30 . . . The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori will celebrate and preach at Solemn Pontifical Mass for the Feast of the Annunciation, Tuesday, April 1, 6:00 PM . . . Learn about the Lives & Thoughts of Saint Benedict, Saint Francis, the leaders of the Oxford Movement, and Dr. Joseph G. H. Barry at 10:00 AM, Sundays in April . . . Dinner & Bible Study on the Letter to the Hebrews, Wednesdays in April and May at 7:00 PM . . . Ascension Day, Thursday, May 1 . . . The Parish Retreat at the Community of Saint John Baptist in Mendham, New Jersey, Friday, May 16, to Sunday, May 18 . . . AIDS Walk 2008 on Sunday, May 18 . . . Organ Recital by Robert McCormick, with special guest Ruth Cunningham, soprano, on Monday, May 19, at 8:00 PM
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Digital photographs for the parish website needed: Anyone who can take digital photos during the Holy Week services please speak with one of the priests. Thank you! . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, March 15 (11:30 AM–11:50 AM and 4:00 PM–4:50 PM); and the clergy of the parish will sit for confessions following both Good Friday liturgies. Confessions will not be heard, except by appointment, on Holy Saturday, March 22. The clergy do not sit for confessions on Saturdays during Eastertide except by appointment . . . We have received a Letter of Transfer for Burt Abelson. Many of you know Burt already. We congratulate him and are very happy to welcome, officially, as a member of Saint Mary’s. We have also received a Letter of Transfer for Yvonne Noradunghian. We are very happy to welcome her to the parish. Please introduce yourself to both Burt and Yvonne when you get a chance . . . Attendance: Stations 30, Last Sunday 344.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . From Father Smith: I recently met with a parishioner of Saint Mary’s who met with me in order to tell me that he needed to move back to the Midwest for a time to take care of an ailing relative. He’s not sure when he’ll be back. However, he wanted me to know that he intends to remain a member of this parish, to continue to stay connected, to visit several times a year, and to continue to pledge. He described this parish as his “spiritual home.” He had some specific requests; ways that he thought we could stay in touch with him. During our conversation I also discovered some things that I didn’t know before – talents and gifts that this parishioner had that I knew nothing about. I hope that when he returns he will be able to use those gifts here, back home. I told him that I was impressed, and moved, by the clarity of his commitment and his understanding of what it means, in very concrete ways, to be a member of the Body of Christ in this place. Our conversation helped me to understand, in new ways, what making a pledge to Saint Mary’s is all about.
HELP IS NEEDED TO DECORATE THE CHURCH FOR EASTER . . . The Flower Guild requires assistance on Thursday, March 20, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (for decorating the Altar of Repose and preparing flowers), and on Saturday, March 22, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Please see or e-mail either MaryJane Boland (email@example.com) or Dale Bonenberger (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
AIDS WALK 2008 . . . Saint Mary’s team will again participate in the AIDS Walk on Trinity Sunday, May 18 – many are walking Saturday so they can attend Mass on Sunday. Information is available at www.stmvirgin.org/missionandoutreach or from MaryJane Boland (email@example.com). Our goal is to have thirty walkers from Saint Mary’s and to raise at least $20,000.00 for the fight against AIDS.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . On Palm Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the setting of the Mass ordinary (of which Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei are sung) is Missa in die tribulationis (1980) by McNeil Robinson (b. 1943), former music director of Saint Mary’s. Mr. Robinson composed this setting specifically for Palm Sunday at Saint Mary’s. The passionate, mournful, prayerful and dramatic nature of the music suits the Mass of the Passion in this church perfectly . . . On Maundy Thursday, the setting of the Mass ordinary is Chichester Mass (1974/1979) by William Albright (1944-1998). Albright, an organist and composer who until his death was professor of music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, wrote this setting for the choir of Chichester Cathedral on the occasion of the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary. It is a brilliant piece for unaccompanied choir filled with great contrasts, from the intensely exciting Hosanna to the deeply calm and peaceful Agnus Dei . . . On Good Friday, during the Veneration of the Cross, the choir sings a familiar setting of the Reproaches by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), the Spanish priest and composer of the late Renaissance. Victoria’s setting of the moving text is at once simple and beautifully haunting. Robert McCormick
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
Monday Monday in Holy Week
Tuesday Tuesday in Holy Week
Wednesday Wednesday in Holy Week
The Easter Triduum
Thursday Maundy Thursday
Friday Good Friday Strict Fast & Abstinence
Saturday Easter Eve
Sunday The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day