From the Rector: Christmas at Saint Mary’s
Tuesday, December 25, is Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, there will be two Masses, a Sung Mass at 5:00 PM and Solemn Mass at 11:00 PM. The parish choir will sing for both services and there will be special Christmas carols and music before both services. On Christmas Day, there is one service, Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM. Yours truly is celebrant and preacher for all of these Masses. Each one is glorious and different in its own way.
A special gift has been received for music at the 5:00 PM Sung Mass. A brass ensemble will be joining the full parish choir for Christmas carols and music at 4:40 PM and for the Sung Mass at 5:00 PM. The music includes Gerre Hancock’s Missa Resurrectionis as well as carols and anthems. Brass and organ will accompany the choir and congregation on hymns. This is the third year we have offered the service. And it has proved to be a great addition to the service schedule, especially for families with children. The service will last just over an hour. Needless to say, all children are always welcome at all Masses at Saint Mary’s – especially the Masses of the Christ Child on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The Solemn Mass of the Nativity at 11:00 PM is the traditional Christmas Eve service of the Church. The ministers of the assembly enter while the choir sings triumphant words from the second Psalm, “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.’” The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ, which recounts salvation history, is sung by a minister. An image of the Christ child is carried in solemn procession to the crèche.
After the image of the Child has been reposed at the crèche, a solo soprano voice begins the first verse of one of the most beloved Christmas hymns, Once in royal David’s city. As the congregation joins in singing the rest of the hymn, the ministers move from the crèche to a station below the rood (the great beam above the chancel on which there is a very large crucifix – one great symbol of our belief that Christ Crucified and Risen reigns over all). At the rood, the final verse is sung: “Not in that poor lowly stable, with the oxen standing by, we shall see him: but in heaven, set at God’s right hand on high . . . .” We continue with the Mass.
At the Solemn Mass on Christmas Day the Church hears the prologue of John’s gospel proclaimed. The parish choir sings. After the ministration of Communion, the congregation joins the ministers of the assembly in procession to the crèche where the Angelus will be prayed. And the assembly gets to sing different Christmas hymns – ones appropriate to the day (and ones we can’t get in on Christmas Eve!). Christmas Day, December 25, is the first day of Christmas. Our celebration begins on its eve because, on the greater festivals of the year, the Church continues to reckon time as the first Christians did, from sunset to sunset.
For those who are new to the parish, I want you to know that it is entirely appropriate for Christians to come to Mass and to receive the Holy Communion on Christmas Eve OR Christmas Day – AND it is entirely appropriate for Christians to go to Mass and receive Holy Communion on Christmas Eve AND on Christmas Day.
Finally, if you have the opportunity to bring friends or family to Church, I want you to know that, as always, all are most welcome. Perhaps the best gift one can give at Christmas is to bring someone to Mass who does not know the Lord Jesus. Stephen Gerth
2008 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . To date, we have received $377,692 in commitments for 2008, or 75.5% of our goal – three-fourths of the way! We have $122,308 left to go. Included in the tally so far are almost $37,000 in commitments from new pledgers, and returning pledges are averaging 11% higher than 2007! Thanks to everyone for the generous response, and we look forward to hearing from the rest of you soon. Note that the pledge form can now be filled out online. Check it out! Steven Heffner, treasurer
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Roland, Wayne, Lois, Terry, Mary, Jane, José, Jack, Gert, Ana, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, Carl, priest, Thomas, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Steven, Andrew, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher, Marc and Steve . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 16: 1959 Emily Cooper Campbell, 1996 Viola Douglas; December 17: 1998 Lee Demgem; December 19: 1898 Thomas McKee Brown, priest & rector, 1991 Grace L. Taylor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: the Advent Quiet Day is Saturday, December 15 . . . Bishop Grein’s class on the Parables of Jesus continues on Sunday morning in the Mission House at 10:00 AM . . . Friday, December 21, is the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle and the twenty-fourth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood of Father Gerth . . . You can help decorate the church for Christmas on Saturday, December 22, Sunday December 23, and on Monday, December 24. Please speak with Dale Bonenberger or MaryJane Boland if you can help one or more days! . . . Roseanne Valeri recently received her diploma in medical administration, coding and billing from the Chubb Institute. Congratulations, Roseanne! . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, December 15, and Father Gerth on Saturday, December 22 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 369, Dedication 95.
NEW CDs FROM RUTH CUNNINGHAM . . . We are happy to announce that Ruth Cunningham, a singer in our professional choir, has two new CDs available in Saint Mary’s gift shop and through http://www.ruthcunningham.com/recordings. Light & Shadow: Chants, Prayers and Improvisations is a recording of her new solo program. She accompanies herself on harp, piano and shruti box, and plays flute and recorder. Harpmodes: Journey for Voice and Harp features improvisations for voice and medieval harp.
SPECIAL OUTREACH PROJECT . . . We are collecting new and “lightly used” winter coats for the New York Cares drive. If you have a coat to donate, please speak to Father Smith.
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES . . . At its December 12, 2007, meeting, the Board of Trustees thanked Lana Mullen and Roman Schreiner for their service as their terms were completed and elected Michael Innis-Jiménez and Randy Morgan to four-year terms. (Normal service is a single four-year term. Trustees may not be reelected to the board within a year of completing a term of service.) The Board reelected its officers to serve for another year: Thomas Jayne is vice president, Steven Heffner is treasurer, and Susan Miranda is secretary. The rector serves ex officio as president of the Board.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the voluntaries are, respectively, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660 and BWV 661 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Surge propera’ by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). The Spanish Victoria lived and worked for many years in Rome, though he is recognized as Spain’s finest composer of that period. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1575 by the last surviving English Roman Catholic bishop. This setting for five-part choir is based upon a motet of the same name by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, which sets a text from the Song of Solomon. Accompaniment is by chamber organ and dulcian (the Renaissance predecessor to the bassoon), as was common in Victoria’s day. The motet at Communion is an anonymous sixteenth-century English piece, Rejoice in the Lord alway, which quotes from the day’s Introit: Gaudete in Domino semper . . . The recital at 4:40 PM is by long-time parishioner and former organ curator Martin Boehling . . . Another great Advent hymn, with its stirring tune and uplifting text, is sung at the Offertory at both Masses: Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding (tune: Merton). The Hymnal 1982 Companion notes that this hymn increased in popularity in the U.S. thanks, perhaps, to its inclusion on a recording of Advent Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge, England, though it has been in American Episcopal hymnals since 1892. The text was originally an office hymn for Lauds. Robert McCormick
THANK YOU VERY MUCH . . . Our common life is enriched by the time and talents of so many parishioners and friends of Saint Mary’s. We are very grateful to Steven Heffner and MaryJane Boland for their leadership and the long hours given to the Stewardship Campaign; to Dale Bonenberger and Rick Austill for their creative work as floral designers this year; to Jim Dennis, who was our host at the reception on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; to David Jette, Eric Peterson, Bob Picken and Leroy Sharer, who have been our hosts at the Evensong receptions this autumn; and to Ray DeVries, George Handy, Esther Kamm and Dennis Smith for their help with the Christmas mailing.
SUNDAY SCHEDULE CHANGES IN THE NEW YEAR . . . Beginning with the first Sunday of the New Year, January 6, 2008, the Sunday morning schedule will change. The 9:00 AM Mass will be a Sung Mass and the 10:00 AM Mass will be a Said Mass. The Solemn Mass will continue to be at 11:00 AM. Christian Education for all will be at 10:00 AM. Morning Prayer will continue to be sung at 8:30 AM and Solemn Evensong & Benediction will continue at 5:00 PM. Nursery care will be available from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday of Advent
Monday Advent Weekday
Tuesday Advent Weekday
Wednesday Advent Weekday
Thursday Advent Weekday
Eve of Saint Thomas the Apostle
Friday Saint Thomas the Apostle Abstinence
Saturday Advent Weekday
Eve of the Fourth Sunday of Advent
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong and 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.
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.