From The Rector: Christ the King
The last Sunday of the Church year, since the liturgical renewal of the 1960s, is observed as a commemoration of the kingship of Christ. An embattled and defensive bishop of Rome instituted this feast in 1925. Remember that this was before the Vatican became a city-state through a treaty with Mussolini’s Italy in 1929. Since 1870, the bishops of Rome had turned themselves into “prisoners” within the Vatican’s boundaries. Pope Pius XI believed that a feast to commemorate Christ’s lordship would fight the “plague of anticlericalism” of the day.
There were a couple of problems with this approach. First, the Epiphany, next to Easter, has always been the Church’s most ancient and important feast and it has always been a celebration of Christ’s kingship rooted in the events of Jesus’ life. Second, for Pius XI, “kingship” was a royal idea, perhaps understandable for a man who still wore the triple tiara, even though the papacy had lost its temporal power to the kingdom of Italy. However, Jesus’ kingship was never of this world (John 18:36).
I don’t know who gets credit for the “Christ the King solution” that was readily embraced by others in those halcyon days when Western Christians acted with more sensitivity to each other than we seem to do today. There is a wonderful logic to having the Sundays after Pentecost, with their Sunday by Sunday journey through the gospels, conclude with a Sunday that focuses our attention on the one whose kingdom will never end.
The present world financial situation is dark, grim. Millions of people have been hurt and more are going to be hurt by the decisions corporate and political leaders have made and are making still. One of the saddest things I’ve read recently was some of the testimony a Secretary of the Treasury gave to Congress in 1939. He told Congress that after eight years of his work, unemployment was as bad in 1939 as it was in 1932. The only thing that had changed was that the country had a mountain of new debt. I’m not going to bet against the United States’s future, but I think the next few years will not be easy at all and will bring more opportunities than we might like for clarity about what we believe in.
Since coming to New York I have handled the almost daily encounters with people who ask me for a handout of some kind by responding only to a very few specific needs. One request that I always try to fulfill is to buy food for someone who tells me he or she is hungry and asks me specifically to buy him or her something to eat. “I’m hungry; can you buy me something to eat?” elicits a response deep in my heart, my biology, that is different from almost any other. I’ve never known hunger, but I have known people who have been hungry. I know one of my grandmothers grew up in great poverty and knew hunger. I am not far generationally from many who survived the Irish potato famine.
Saint Mary’s seems busier to me. It’s winter, so people come inside – and at 62 degrees during the week (we turn it up a little for services on Sundays) it’s a very manageable break from the weather for people who have nowhere to go. I don’t see much despair on people’s faces – but I keep my eyes open and hope the spiritual clarity of our welcome and our beliefs will help people meet the challenges that they face.
For the parish, the budget process for 2009 is already well underway – and about this I will have a full report next week. We don’t know what the new year will bring, but I do know that Saint Mary’s will matter in unexpected and important ways in the days to come. I really do not look for the rulers of this world, spiritual or temporal, to be my rulers and guides. Technically, Pope Pius XI may have gotten the Sunday Mass thing wrong; but he was right about Christ. He and he alone is our king. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Samuel who is hospitalized, and for Joseph, Scott, Troy, Frank, Brooke, Stephen, Donna, Laura, Madeleine, Marc, Janelle, Joanne, Olga, Jennie, Gloria, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Rozalind, Connie, Rick, Robert, priest, and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Christopher, Curtis, Timothy, Benjamin, Marc, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew and Brendan; and for the repose of the soul of Basil Browne . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 23: 1897 George Blanchard; 1901 Frederick Hoyt, Jr.; 1934 Caroline Francis Melville; 1968 Christopher Cliffcom; 1976 Calvin Gray; 1985 Gary Grubb.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Basil Browne died on Thursday, November 13. Basil was a great friend of Saint Mary’s. His funeral will take place at his parish, Trinity Church, Wall Street, on Monday, November 24, at 10:00 AM. Please pray for Basil, for his family, and for all who mourn.
STEWARDSHIP MATTERS . . . “Why I Love Saint Mary’s”: An Ongoing Series. Heather Kopelson and Michael Innis-Jiménez write, “Saint Mary’s is home. When we first moved back to New York, we searched online for an Anglo-catholic parish with good music, compiled a list of several we planned to visit, and decided to start in Times Square. The beauty of the building and of the liturgy made an immediate impression on us, but it was the warm and sincerely effusive welcome from clergy and fellow worshipers that called us to become members. We never did make it to the rest of our list. The Saint Mary’s community has welcomed us with joy and generosity, supporting us and rejoicing with us as our family has grown. When our family grew suddenly after Mike’s daughters moved in with us, the Saint Mary’s family was there with open arms. Saint Marians were there throughout Heather’s pregnancy and Teo’s first year, as excited as we were with every new development. The wonderful baby shower was the most visible expression of that anticipation, a memory to cherish forever. Another Saint Mary’s experience that will be with us forever is Teo’s baptism on All Saints’ Day, 2007, when everyone welcomed him into the Body of Christ and promised to support him with a resounding ‘we will.’ We hope that Teo will be an ‘in utero to grave’ Episcopalian, and we plan to show him photos of his baptism when he’s old enough to look at them instead of just trying to eat them. We’ve moved away from New York City to start new jobs. We will miss serving at the altar and helping Smoky Mary’s live up to its nickname, but Saint Mary’s will always be an important part of our family – no matter what our zip code.”
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude before Solemn Mass this week is Adagio from Symphony No. 3 in F-sharp minor, Opus 28, by Louis Vierne (1870-1937). The setting of the ordinary is Missa Euge Bone by English composer Christopher Tye (c. 1505–c. 1572). Tye was very much a composer for the reformed Church, and flourished chiefly in the reign of King Edward VI. Indeed, a play written in 1605 suggests that Tye actually taught music to the king, whose father said, “England one God, one truth, one doctor hath for music’s art, and that is Doctor Tye, admired for skill in music's harmony.” His mass was possibly written as his doctoral exercise for Cambridge University in 1545. It is in the form of a “parody mass,” where the music is modeled on an existing tune, in this case an antiphon, now lost. The motet is by Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625). Gibbons was, like Tye, a leading composer of his day, and had much to do with the royalty of his time. He was a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge, a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and organist of Westminster Abbey. Like Tye, Gibbons probably wrote O clap your hands together (1622) as his doctoral exercise for Oxford University . . . The Saint Mary’s Singers rehearses this Sunday, November 23, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM, and then sing for Solemn Evensong at 5:00 PM. If you would like to join, please come to any of our rehearsals – no audition necessary! James Kennerley
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, November 23, the Feast of Christ the King and Commitment Sunday. We encourage you to bring your pledge cards and add them to the offering at Mass. Our guest preacher at Solemn Evensong on Sunday at 5:00 PM will be the Reverend John Beddingfield, rector of All Souls Memorial Church, Washington, DC . . . The Adult Education class will not meet on Sunday, November 23 or November 30. The class will resume on Sunday, December 7, at 10:00 AM . . . Wednesday, November 26, Eve of Thanksgiving Day, Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . The 7:00 PM Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study will not meet on November 26 . . . Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Said Mass at 12:10 PM; the Parish Office is closed and the church will close at 2:00 PM . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, November 22, and on Saturday, November 29.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thanks so much to everyone who gave so generously to our outreach effort for AIDS Action International this year. Father Rand Frew expressed his gratitude for the parish’s continued commitment at a time when his and many other non-profit organizations are concerned about meeting their goals . . . The Bishop of New York has appointed Father Mead to serve on the diocesan Commission on Ministry. Congratulations, Father Mead! . . . Organ curator, Larry Trupiano, worked on the chancel organ console this week, part of a long-term repair and improvement project. We are very grateful to Larry for his quiet, generous commitment to Saint Mary’s and our music program . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 338.
COMING EVENTS . . . Members of the Sunday School are invited to make an Advent Wreath on Sunday, November 30 at 10:00 AM . . . Mother Mitties de Champlain preaches at Evensong on Sunday, November 30. Mother de Champlain is vicar of Saint Clement’s Church, West 46th Street, and professor of homiletics at the General Theological Seminary . . . Sister Laura Katharine will lead an Advent Quiet Day on Saturday, December 6, from 10:15 AM to 3:30 PM . . . The Saint Mary’s Guild will not meet on Saturday, December 6 . . . Sunday, December 7, 6:30 PM, Legacy Society Reception in the Rectory . . . Monday, December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Sung Mass at 12:10 PM and Solemn Pontifical Mass at 6:00 PM, the Right Reverend Jeffrey D. Lee, bishop of Chicago, celebrant and preacher . . . On Sunday, December 21, the Rector will celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Our guest preacher for Evensong will be the Reverend Dr. Louis Weil, Hodges-Haines Professor of Liturgics, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King
Tuesday James Huntington, Priest and Monk, 1935
Eve of Thanksgiving Day
Thursday Thanksgiving Day
Friday Kamehameha and Emma, King and Queen, 1864, 1885 Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of the First Sunday of Advent
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Christian Formation & Sunday School, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 4:40 PM Organ Recital, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction.
Childcare is available from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM every Sunday.
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 Wednesday 12:10 PM Mass is sung. Thursday Masses include anointing of the sick.
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.