The Angelus

Volume 10, Number 32

From the Rector: Hail and Farewell

This Sunday, July 6, Robert McCormick will conclude his service as organist and music director of the parish.  As you know, he has accepted a position at Saint Paul’s Parish, Washington, D.C.  His first Sunday with us as the parish musician was on July 1, 2001.  It’s been a wonderful seven years in every way.  I am very proud of the work he has done here and I know you join me in wishing him the best in the years to come.

Robert came to us right out of Westminster Choir College.  He took a chance on us, and we took a chance on him.  It just seemed right.  Several of us can remember his audition for the position.  When he left the gallery the choir members still up there looked down at me and the other committee members and gestured, “He’s the one.”  He certainly was.

I came to Saint Mary’s not knowing great church music, choral or organ.  I learned a great deal from Robert.  Robert helped show me how the best music with the liturgy together could make a greater and more glorious whole.  We’ve been privileged for seven years now to have the benefit of his musicianship, his growth and his very hard work.  There are so many great moments, so many accomplishments, that I can’t begin to mention but a very few.

I will never forget hearing him play his first hymn for a service at Saint Mary’s – serendipitously, a hymn he will play on his last Sunday.  Lift every voice and sing is one of the great American hymns celebrating freedom and faith.  I will never forget the Sunday in 2003 when I was recovering from a medical test, and I came down from the rectory and sat behind the altar to hear the choir sing a gospel anthem.  The joy of the music filled the church; the joy of the people seemed to be pulling even more from the musicians.  Again, it was music and worship taking us into a greater place.

In April I happened to be the priest to take Communion to the choir and observed Robert conducting Christus resurgens by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594).  He and the choir were filling the church with glorious music, beautifully sung.  I will never forget how his whole being with his musicians were one. 

Finally, at his second Easter Vigil at Saint Mary’s, when the then Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold had presided at the Triduum, he played Choral-Improvisation sur le “Victimae paschali” by Charles Tournemire (1870-1939), as reconstructed by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986).  There were over 300 people in the church.  It was the conclusion of the Easter Vigil.  Ninety-nine percent of those who were there – and they had been there for over three hours – ignored the Easter dismissal.  We sat and listened.  By our listening we were joining Robert’s music, Robert’s offering.

Music is a special kind of offering, a special participation in creation as it unfolds.  It’s a moment of work and can be a moment of genius.  Like so much of God’s creation, a musician’s creative work unfolds in time.  Yet the memory of beauty and offering lives for those who hear.  Robert’s work at Saint Mary’s has been above all his response to Christ and the gifts he has been given.  We have been privileged to be a part of the journey God has for him.  Stephen Gerth


PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jim, Jennie, Jack, Gilbert, Gloria, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Doreen, Katherine, Alan, Ovidiu, Bill, Eugene, Marietta, Esther, Mike, Richard, Betty, Janine, Taylor, Connie, Anne, Rick, Charles, Samuel, Philip, Carl, priest, 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, and for the repose of the soul of Mario . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 9: 1991 Blanche Evelyn Preene; July 11: 1981 Pelham St. George Bissell.


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 Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, July 5.  Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, July 12.  Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, July 19 . . . Father Smith returns to the parish from vacation on Monday, July 7 . . . Father Gerth is away on vacation from July 10 through July 23.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Although he lives in Ashville, North Carolina, Jim Crawford has been an active member of Saint Mary’s for over forty years now.  He visits when he can.  He’s having eye surgery just before the July 4 holiday.  Please keep him in your prayers . . . In late June, Grace Treiman organized a trip to see the New York Philharmonic in Central Park.  If you are interested in organizing a Saint Mary’s on the Road outing, please contact Father Mead . . . We ask for donations for flowers for the upcoming summer Sundays: July 20, July 27, all of the Sundays in August except August 17 . . . A special word of appreciation to all who serve as ushers and acolytes on Sundays and weekdays through these warm summer months! . . . Attendance last Sunday 240.


THE SECOND TIME OF ASKING . . . One of the seven sanctuary lamps that hangs from the rood screen needs substantial repair.  This set of seven hanging lamps hung in the parish’s first church at 228 West Forty-fifth Street and were brought to our second and present parish home for its first service on December 8, 1895.  The repair is going to cost $2,100.00.  If the lamp were not part of our original furnishings and part of a set I’m not sure it would be worth doing the repair.  The Rector welcomes all donations, large and small, for this repair.  S.G.


NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on St. Peter.  The postlude is Crown Imperial (A Coronation March, 1937) by William Walton (1902-1983), arranged for organ by Herbert Murrill (1909-1952).  The cantor is Mr. Steven Fox, tenor, and the music at Communion is Then shall the righteous shine forth from Elijah, Opus 70, by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).  Robert McCormick


A NOTE FROM THE ORGANIST AND MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . It has been an incredible, high honor to serve Saint Mary’s for seven years as music director.  I will never forget what a special time in my life this has been.  Leaving such an amazing place, one that is so dear to me (and always will be), is very hard.  While I will miss so much, from the organ to the acoustics to the thrilling liturgy, it is the people, all of you, whom I will miss the most, by far.  Thank you for all your support; great thanks go to my wonderful colleagues on the parish staff as well.  Finally, I’d like to express my deep gratitude to Father Gerth for his never-failing confidence, leadership and support during my time here.  Saint Mary’s will remain in my heart and in my prayers for the rest of my life.  If you are visiting Washington, D.C., please come see me at Saint Paul’s, K Street!  R.McC.


FAMILIES INTERESTED IN SUNDAY SCHOOL . . . On Wednesday, July 16, at 7:00 PM, Father Matthew Mead and Nicole Mead will host a dinner for anyone with children interested in Sunday School at Saint Mary’s.  Children are of course invited to attend the dinner which, weather permitting, will be held on the outdoor roof terrace of the Mead apartment.  If you are interested in attending the dinner, please contact Father Mead at  Matthew Mead


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ONGOING WORK . . . As we go to press, work has begun on insulating the heating pipes in the basement room below Saint Joseph’s Hall.  The work should pay for itself as soon as the heating season begins! . . . Work has also begun on renovating a bathroom in the rectory.  It turns out that the 1895 bathroom had a terrazzo floor, like the church, and one and a quarter inch marble foundations for the original fixtures.  These were covered over with concrete in the early 1960s.  Sadly, the terrazzo and marble must be removed to replace water pipes . . . The stained glass window panel in the 47th Street door has returned.  Next on the list are the windows in the confessional . . . As you climb the stairs of the Mission House you can see the work of our sextons refurbishing the floor pads – a messy job but one that help makes our buildings look not just used but loved . . . For the record, two new window air-conditioning units have been purchased, one for the Parish House and one for the Mission House.  Both are the most energy efficient (and quiet) models available.


THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE of the bishops of the Anglican Communion begins on July 10 and concludes on August 3.  Please include a prayer to support the ministry of our bishops, especially Katharine, our presiding bishop and Mark, our own bishop, in your daily devotions.


Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church.  Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace.  Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it.  Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior.  Amen.


The Calendar of the Week

Sunday                   The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Monday                     Weekday

Tuesday                     Weekday

Wednesday               Weekday

Thursday                   Weekday

Friday                         Benedict of Nursia. Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 520  Abstinence

Saturday                    Of Our Lady

Eve of the Ninth 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.