From the Rector: Daily Mass
In the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Luke describes the outpouring of the Spirit on the apostles, their first preaching and how those who heard Good News were baptized. The chapter concludes, “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-57). It’s too easy and far too common for us to read the present into the past – the apostles were not, for example, the Church’s first “priests” or “bishops.” Our idea of “breaking bread” – that is, the Mass – was not their idea. The vocabulary and meaning that would come to be attached to “giving thanks” (the meaning of the Greek word “eucharist”) was in the future. Frankly, it is hard even to write about the past in a fresh and direct way because it is almost natural for us to read the present into the past, instead of reading from the past to the present.
Liturgical scholar Paul Bradshaw remarks on the early Christian tradition of “feeding on the life-giving Jesus” in an article on “The Eucharistic Sayings of Jesus” (Studia Liturgica 35, 2005, page 11). Before any language or understanding of “sacrament” emerged, Christians wanted to feed on the life-giving bread that sustained their new life in Christ. But, by the beginning of the 1200s the Eucharist became a sacrifice, not a meal. The rubric in the Prayer Book that requires the celebrant to receive Communion comes right out of the Middle Ages. Its purpose was to ensure sure that at least someone received Communion, that the Eucharist was minimally a meal.
The more I read about the Reformation, the more I appreciate the work of Thomas Cranmer and the first Book of Common Prayer (1549). If there weren’t people to communicate with the priest, bread and wine would not be consecrated. The priest would not receive alone; the Eucharist was no longer to be something independent of the Communion.
Daily celebrations of the Eucharist finally seemed to die out among Anglicans in the eighteenth century. They returned with the Oxford Movement in the 1830s. At Saint Mary’s, founded in this tradition, Mass has been celebrated daily since the parish opened the doors of its first church home on West 45th Street on December 8, 1870.
It shouldn’t surprise us that Christians would want to pray together Sunday by Sunday, day by day, as they are able. The Eucharist is food for the journey of faith and life. It is not the only food, but it is one that Jesus gave us. I believe the Holy Spirit continues to help Christians on our journey of faith. We live in a time when the Church has given us a renewed sense that the Eucharist is both meal and sacrifice. This is an extraordinary thing. God does not wants us to be hungry for his Word or his Sacrament. We have the Mass. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Brannon who is gravely ill, Samuel who is hospitalized, Philip who is hospitalized, Carl, PRIEST, who is hospitalized, and for Janine, Taylor, Connie, Anne, Richard, Marietta, Esther, Bill, Eugene, Katherine, Daisy, Mary, Terry, Gert, William, Gilbert, Rick, Gloria, and Charles, PRIEST; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Christopher, Marc, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew and Brendan . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 17: 1972 Charles Henry Genet.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, June 14. Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, June 21.
COMING EVENTS . . . Tuesday, June 24: The Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . The Acolyte Picnic, which had been scheduled for Saturday, August 2, has been canceled . . . Friday, August 15: The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM, followed by a reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Reverend Lee Peyton, who served here as an assisting deacon this winter and spring during a term at the General Theological Seminary, will be ordained priest on Saturday, June 21, 2008 at Christ Church Cathedral, Saint Louis, Missouri . . . Congratulations to the Reverend Robert Rhodes, who will take up his duties as rector of Grace Church, Westwood, New Jersey, on Monday, June 16. Father Rhodes was seminarian and assisting deacon here at Saint Mary’s before he was graduated from the General Theological Seminary in May 2003 . . . We have received a baptismal certificate for Reha Sterbin. Reha, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, was formerly a member of Saint Mark’s, Philadelphia. She lives in Queens and is a computer programmer. Reha has been actively, and enthusiastically, participating in the life of the parish for some time now. We are happy to welcome her, officially and at last, as Saint Mary’s newest member . . . We will be mailing mid-year pledge statements in mid-July. Traditionally, we experience some cash-flow difficulties during the summer months. If you’ve forgotten to make a payment and would like to catch up on your pledge, this would not be a bad time to do it. If you have questions, please contact the Finance Office; and thanks very much to all for your support of Saint Mary’s . . . Father Smith will be on vacation until Monday, July 7 . . . Sister Laura Katharine will be away from the parish until the afternoon of Saturday, June 14. Sister Deborah Francis will be away from the parish until Tuesday, June 24 . . . The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, June 16, at 7:00 PM . . . Attendance: Fourth Sunday of Pentecost 258.
WHAT SAINT MARY’S MEANS TO ME . . . George Handy, parishioner and head of the Guild of Saint Raphael, was confirmed here at Saint Mary’s in 1927. He celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday, June 5, 2008. He has contributed to the life of the parish in ways beyond counting. His welcoming presence, his ministry, and his friendship have provided comfort to many Saint Marians and their visitors through the years. Mr. Handy recently wrote the following, “When I was asked – what does Saint Mary’s mean to you -- I jokingly replied, ‘I had no choice – my mother brought me here when I was 3 years old!’ I could write a book about the past 87 years, but I’ll just list some of the many privileges membership in Saint Mary’s has afforded me since 1921. My three brothers and I served at the altar in every role from boat boy to thurifer, and my mother volunteered in the Altar Guild for most of her life here. We were a family of six living on West 46th Street until my father died in 1928 and was buried from Saint Mary’s. In the following years, we celebrated Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas on complete meals delivered to us by the Sisters of the Holy Nativity, who served from the Mission House. I’m certain I can say that I’m the only living person who was presented for confirmation by our fourth rector, the Reverend Seldon Peabody Delany, at a service officiated by the Right Reverend William Thomas Manning, X Bishop of New York. When I served in World War II for four years, I received many encouraging letters from clergy and members, and when we returned we were honored by the installation of the Calvary Shrine at the rear of the church. Not one of us was killed during the war. My mother died in 1958 and was buried from Saint Mary’s, [with] the Reverend Grieg Taber officiating. I married my wife Helena in 1943 just before going to Europe, and we enjoyed 58 years of serving Saint Mary’s. I have been chair of the St. Raphael’s Guild of ushers for the past 15 years and have had the pleasure of serving with many new members – at least eight of us have become trustees. When Helena died in 2001, Father Gerth and the staff arranged everything, and the two Roberts and full choir sang the Fauré Requiem at her funeral. This was all brought back to me on All Souls’ Day when they did the Fauré Requiem again and we processed to the vault where her ashes are reposed. I return my pledge card on the day it arrives. Saint Mary’s is so important to so many of us, and our financial support is what keeps the doors open and the incense burning.”
BRING A FRIEND TO CHURCH . . . “Nor is a lamp lighted to be put under a bushel, but on the lamp stand” – Matthew 5:15. O.K., it’s true: our building can be warm during the summer months. Still, there’s something wonderful about the greater simplicity of our worship during these leisurely weeks after Pentecost. If you’ve been thinking about inviting a friend to church, this may be a good time to do it: Why not get an early start? Morning Prayer at 8:30 and Sung Mass at 9:00. This may be your opportunity to see what the early Sung Mass is all about; or perhaps Solemn Mass, with chant, lots of opportunities for congregational singing, and Coffee Hour afterwards – a very good way to introduce friends and family to the life of the parish. James Ross Smith
DO YOU WANT TO BE AN ALTAR SERVER? . . . Members of the Saint Vincent’s Guild serve as acolytes at the high altar for all Masses on Sundays and throughout the week. All are welcome to serve; please speak to Father Mead if you are interested in serving at the altar. The Saint Vincent’s Guild members are very friendly. If you are interested in meeting some great people and playing an integral part in Saint Mary’s beautiful liturgies, this is the Guild for you! Matthew Mead
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Berceuse from Vingt-quatre pièces en style libre, Opus 31/19, by Louis Vierne (1870-1937). The postlude is Menuet gothique from Suite gothique, Opus 25, by Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897). The cantor is Scott Dispensa, baritone, and the music during Communion is Lord God of Abraham from Elijah, Opus 70, by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) . . . The setting of Agnus Dei that we sing at Sung Masses and at Solemn Masses during the summer is a very simple plainsong setting, originally from the Gregorian chant Requiem Mass. The music and its Latin text, with the customary alteration for Requiems (“Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the word: grant them [eternal] rest.”), was adapted with English words by Mason Martens (1933-1991). Martens was a church musician, composer and scholar who frequently attended Saint Mary’s. Robert McCormick
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, 1752
Wednesday Bernard Mizeki, Catechist and Martyr in Zimbabwe, 1896
Friday Weekday Friday abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of the Sixth 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.
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 PM 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.