The Angelus

Volume 10, Number 21

From the Rector: Music at Saint Mary’s

Robert McCormick has accepted the position of music director and organist at Saint Paul’s Parish, Washington, D.C.  I expect his last Sunday with us to be sometime in July.  Details remain to be worked out about how we will celebrate his work for this parish, but today I want to thank him and to wish him the best in his new position.   He’s done great work here for us, for which I cannot help but be thankful.  I am also thankful that we have a wonderful opportunity to build on all that we as a parish community have done in the past seven and a half years – and in the past 138 years of worship of this extraordinary parish community.

Robert is one of the finest musicians of his generation.  He came to us on July 1, 2001, just after his graduation from Westminster Choir College.  His gifts as a musician embrace both organ and choral work.  The range of his musical abilities is simply astounding.  His move to apply for the position at “Saint Paul’s K Street” was based in part on a desire to broaden his range of experience and in part to live and work in another city.  I know that his decision to apply for this new position was not an easy one.  He has often told me of his love for this parish and for its people, a love that remains strong.  His decision to accept the position at Saint Paul’s is founded on a sense of call to do something new with his God-given talents.  I know that he will not forget us and I hope that he will visit us often in the future.

When Robert first came to Saint Mary’s he spent hours and hours studying the history of music in this parish, pouring over more than a century of service bulletins.  With his talent, his very hard work, and his commitment to Saint Mary’s, our program has grown.  Saint Mary’s Choir is an all-professional ensemble.  Robert has recruited a truly fine group of singers who have the gifts and the background to sing in this demanding music program.  The new volunteer Evensong Choir already has nearly twenty members, and I look forward very much to those Sundays when they sing.  Robert was a part of the restoration of Solemn Evensong & Benediction to Saint Mary’s, as well as additional sung Masses and Offices to our regular cycle of observances.  As he leaves, I am proud of the role this parish and its traditions have had in shaping his first years as a full-time church musician.  We will all hear more from him in the years to come.

I can say that I didn’t begin to understand or appreciate what great church music really could be until I came to Saint Mary’s.  On those few occasions when I had worshiped in parishes with a choral program similar to ours, at some level it always seemed to be more about the music than about the Mass.  I suspect I was not as savvy a worshipper in those years, but Saint Mary’s has a clear orientation that music at its best, like the clergy, like the rite, like ushers and servers, is a servant of the assembly in the worship of God.  Part of this orientation is the real excellence of our musicians, professional and non-professional.  Part of this is also the great importance music has had here, in every generation, since its beginning.  But the largest part is due to the support members and friends of Saint Mary’s have given again and again so that our worship might be the best it can be in every way.

I expect the Board of Trustees at their meeting on Monday night to ask me to seek and appoint an interim music director.  My hope is that our next permanent music director and organist will take up his or her work by July 1, 2009.  I will have more details about the search for an interim and a permanent musician after I have met with the board.  In the meantime, I ask you to join me in wishing Robert the very best in the years to come.  I think we have a wonderful opportunity as a community to refresh our corporate memory of how great music has shaped the life of our parish and its work in the wider Church.  We also have an opportunity to dream about how this ministry can grow in the next part of our journey.  Stephen Gerth


PRAYER LIST . . . Sam, Storey, Norah, Guy, Diane, Ovidiu, Doreen, Brooke, Allison, Bill, Eugene, Joe, Pedro, Terry, Mary, Gert, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, Carl, PRIEST, and Charles, PRIEST; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Katharine, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Andrew, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher, Marc and Steve; and for the repose of the soul of Maurice, priest . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 20: 2006 Mary Grace Dougherty; April 23: 1993 Claude Cecil Morris; April 25: 1999 Helen Kingman.


IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The Reverend Canon Maurice Allen Garrison died on Tuesday, April 14, 2008, in Minnesota, where he lived near a niece who oversaw his care while he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in the last years of his life.  He was eighty-three years old.  May he rest in peace.  Canon Garrison was a beloved assisting priest when I first came to Saint Mary’s and had helped out with weekday Masses for many years.  Please pray for him, for his niece and for all who mourn.  S.G.


THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . On Sunday, April 20, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, the Right Reverend C. Christopher Epting, the ecumenical officer of the Episcopal Church, will celebrate and preach at the Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM . . . Also on Sunday, our seminarian Jed Fox speaks on “Keble, Pusey, Newman & the Oxford Movement” in the Adult Class at 10:00 AM.  The class is held on the second floor of the Mission House at 10:00 AM . . . Friday, April 25, is the Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, April 19.  Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, April 26.


COMING EVENTS . . . Christian Formation: Sunday, April 27, 10:00 AM, “Christian Lives and Thoughts, Part III: Dr. Joseph G. H. Barry, Rector of Saint Mary’s,” led by Mr. Dick Leitsch . . . Tuesday, April 29, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Visual Arts Program Gallery Opening in Saint Joseph’s Hall: Works by John Pañuelas and J-F Vergel . . . Ascension Day is Thursday, May 1.  The Rector will celebrate and preach at the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM.  A reception follows in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Christian Formation: Sunday, May 4, 10:00 AM, “Saint Mary in Poetry,” led by Ms. Rebecca Weiner . . . AIDS Walk 2008 is on Sunday, May 18.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Susan Louise Wamsley Miranda and Jean-François (“J-F”) Vergel were married here at Saint Mary’s on Friday, April 11, 2008, in the Lady Chapel.  Father Gerth presided.  Susan has decided to take her maiden name, Wamsley.  Congratulations to them both . . . Flowers are needed for the following feast days and Sundays in May: Ascension Day, May 1; Pentecost, May 11; and the Feast of Corpus Christi, May 25 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 376.


YOUR PLEDGE DOLLARS AT WORK . . . We often talk about the ministry of this parish to the Times Square neighborhood and to our visitors from around the world.  We are able to undertake this ministry because we keep our doors open seven days a week, from early in the morning until well into the evening.  This past week we had a visitor who came to the noonday services.  After Mass, he told us that for the past four years he has been working in Europe for a UN-sponsored agency that is fighting AIDS, TB and malaria around the world.  He said that he had discovered Saint Mary’s several years ago during a difficult time in his life, a time of uncertainty about his vocation.  He found us because of the signs on 46th Street and our open doors.  He came here to pray, and he visited us a number of times over the course of several weeks.  It was here that he decided to apply for the position which he now holds, and he expressed his gratitude.  Your pledges help keep our doors open, so thank you one and all for your support of the 2008 pledge campaign.  If you have not yet made a pledge, but would like to do so, please speak to Steven Heffner, MaryJane Boland or Father Jay Smith.  J.R.S.


AIDS WALK 2008 . . . As of Wednesday, April 16, fourteen Saint Marians have registered to participate in this year’s AIDS Walk.  So far the Saint Mary’s team has raised 25% of its ambitious $20,000 goal. Individual team members do not contact their fellow parishioners for contributions.  Rather, they prefer to ask their fellow Saint Marians to support their parish team as a whole.  You can support the Saint Mary’s team and the fight against HIV and AIDS by visiting the AIDS Walk website and making a donation online or by writing a check.  In order to donate online, go to the AIDS Walk website (, click the Team Info link on the left-hand side of the home page, scroll down and click on “2008 Registered Teams,” and then look for “Saint Mary the Virgin.”  For more information about making a contribution, sponsoring the team, or joining the team as a walker, please contact MaryJane Boland (


NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Cantilène improvisée by Charles Tournemire (1870-1939), reconstructed by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986).  The postlude is Marche pontificale from Première symphonie pour orgue, Opus 13/1, by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937).  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa Congratulamini mihi by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599), one of the greatest Spanish composers of the late Renaissance period.  A bright and joyful “parody mass” dating from 1566, it is for five-part choir and is based upon an Easter motet by the Franco-Flemish composer Thomas Crecquillon (between c. 1480 & c. 1500-1557).  The music abundantly captures the exuberant nature of the text, Congratulamini mihi (from John 20, Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Lord).  The motet at Communion is Regina coeli laetare (à 4) by Cristóbal de Morales (c. 1500-1553) . . . The organ recital at 4:40 PM is played by John Walthausen . . . Saint Mary’s Evensong Choir sings a sixteenth-century Magnificat and Tantum ergo in B-flat major by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) this Sunday at Evensong & Benediction . . . The final hymn at the Solemn Mass, Sing ye faithful, sing with gladness (tune: Finnian), is a nineteenth-century text by John Ellerton, matched with a strong tune by Christopher Dearnley, composed in 1966.  Dearnley was organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.  Robert McCormick


The Calendar of the Week

Sunday                   The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Monday                     Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1109

Tuesday                     Easter Weekday

Wednesday               Easter Weekday

Thursday                   Easter Weekday

                                     Eve of Saint Mark, Evangelist   

Friday                         Saint Mark, Evangelist                                       No Abstinence

Saturday                    Of Our Lady

                                   Eve of the Sixth Sunday of Easter


Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Christian Education,

11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 4:40 PM Organ Recital, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction.

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: 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.