From Father Mead: Celebrate the Annunciation at Saint Mary’s
I write on Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19. When the sextons saw a white chalice veil set for last night’s evening’s mass for the Eve of Saint Joseph, they called my cell phone to confirm the color: not to confirm that they should change the tabernacle veil to white, but instead to confirm that someone had made a mistake. Since lesser feasts are not observed at Saint Mary’s during Lent, it’s been purple vestments since Ash Wednesday. The colorful surprises will continue all week. This Sunday is “Rose” Sunday. Spectacular rose vestments, less restraint on the organ and, of course, flowers on the altar will mark a decidedly different feel to the fourth Sunday in Lent. But Rose Sunday is still part of Lent: it will feel like a brief respite, rather than a day off. It will be on Tuesday, March 24, that the church will begin a celebration that is decidedly un-Lenten. That night, we will begin to commemorate the Annunciation with Solemn Evensong. The celebration will extend through Wednesday, March 25, and conclude that evening with Solemn Mass. At that Solemn Mass we are thrilled to have the Reverend L. Kathleen Liles, rector of Christ and Saint Stephen’s Church on the Upper West Side as our preacher. The service will feature the music of the full choir (see the music section for details) and great hymns, and will be followed by a great big reception.
There are, of course, other ways to celebrate something in the middle of Lent. The city celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day this past Tuesday in a way that is a bit different than how we will celebrate the Annunciation. The weather was fantastic and so the crowds were huge. It’s a fun day to be in New York, but it always strikes me as odd that the Church is hosting New York’s version of Mardi Gras deep in the middle of Lent (last year I think it was actually in the middle of Holy Week). I suppose one way to break the Lenten fast for a day is to enjoy the fact that “drunk and disorderly” is generally not viewed as an offense during any of the big parades hosted by the city each year. Saint Patrick’s Day is not alone; it’s just the first of a yearly run of thematic parades that all leave the city, and many of its participants, trashed. As a resident of Times Square, my take on most of these city-wide events (no matter how admirable the root cause for celebration may be) is summed up by the activity of the church sextons who were busy washing down and cleaning the church steps the next morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating who you are or where you came from; I just find it strange that, usually, if I don’t know in advance what the theme of the day is, I have trouble knowing what’s being celebrated. The theme is so often overwhelmed by the celebration that an important ethnic or religious day morphs into nothing more than a huge party. Maybe it’s for this reason that New Year’s Eve is such a big celebration: there is no theme to get in the way.
By sundown many ancient festivals probably looked and felt the same as the ones celebrated in our day: huge citywide parties. It is thought by many scholars that a number of Christian feast days were dated so as to offer an alternative to or even a replacement of similar local blowouts. Though Annunciation is not one of these, it is linked to one feast that probably is: March 25 is exactly nine months before Christmas. It is possible that Christmas was placed at the end of December to stand in contrast to the Pagan Feast of the Unconquered Sun God celebrated on December 25 which was then the winter solstice. If this is true, the growing length of days corresponded nicely to the True Light coming into the world, and the church was able to offer an alternative celebration. I doubt very much that those early Christmas celebrations were boring. I bet they were fantastic…but I also imagine they never lost their focus and degenerated into the same old thing.
One of the reasons Saint Mary’s is so special is because it’s a house not only of prayer but also of celebration. Very few churches throw the party that we all throw on a major feast. I remember the first time I celebrated the Assumption here. The eastern seaboard was blacked out, everything was quiet in the city, yet Saint Mary’s was packed with revelers singing together in the sweltering heat. It was beautiful and awesome and at the end of it, all I could think about was “How great Thou art!” On March 25 at 6:00 PM, Saint Mary’s will celebrate the Annunciation. It’s a wonderful opportunity to sing out, celebrate and have a blast. I think in the midst of Lent, at the start of spring, its something that we all probably want to do. I hope you’ll be able to join us. I’m looking forward to feeling and hearing the thunder of the organ, the mastery and skill of the choir, and the rumble of the congregation belting out Marian hymns! Matthew Mead
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Kirk, Patrick, Angie, Jack, Ben, Alice, Harold, Marcia, Richard, Mary, Stephen, Laura, Brooke, Donna, Madeleine, Marc, William, Gert, Mary, Daisy, Rozalind, Rick, and Stephen, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Christopher, Omar, Curtis, Timothy, Benjamin, Marc, Terrance, Steven, Andrew, and Patrick; and for the repose of the souls of Janice, Edward, Vivian and Malva . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . Betty Wilson; March 22: Sarah Lee, 1889; Katherine Ott, 1914; Katherine Kopf, 1914; Emma Crego Pierce, 1930; Mary E. Fargher, 1971
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Father Smith’s older brother Lawrence died on Wednesday, March 18. Please pray for Father Smith, his family, and for all who mourn.
LENT AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Fridays during Lent are observed with special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. Stations of the Cross are offered on Fridays in Lent at 7:00 PM . . . The Reverend Peter Powell will offer an Adult-Education Class on the Psalms at 10:00 AM each Sunday in Lent . . . The Reverend Robert Rhodes will preach on March 29 at Solemn Evensong & Benediction . . . Lent is a season of simplicity: throughout the season, except for major feast days and the Fourth Sunday of Lent, there are no flowers on the high altar, organ music is used only to accompany singing, and there are no pre-service organ recitals, preludes, or postludes . . . In addition to our regular observance of Lent, this year Father Mead and Father Smith will offer a six-part, fifteen-minute midday Bible study on the Gospel narratives of the Passion of Jesus. The class will meet in the choir area every Wednesday in Lent (not in Holy Week) immediately following the 12:10 PM Sung Mass: on Wednesday, March 25, Father Mead will continue the account of Jesus’ Crucifixion.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Please join us this Saturday, March 21, at 1:15 PM for a wonderful short concert by St. Mary’s, Calne, UK, who will sing the US première of David Bednall’s Requiem for choir, organ and viola. The performance will last about forty-five minutes and is free and open to all . . . This Sunday at Solemn Mass, Ms. Elizabeth Baber is the Cantor and Mr. Robert McDermitt the organist. During Communion, Ms. Baber will sing the motet Eile, mich, Gott, zu erretten (“O God, make haste to deliver me”), a setting of verses from Psalm 70 by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672). The work is taken from the first of the two volumes of his Kleine geistliche Konzerte (Little Sacred Concertos), published in 1636 . . . At the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, the full choir will sing the Western Wind Mass by John Sheppard (c. 1515-1559/60) and, at Communion, the motet Ave Regina Caelorum (“Hail, Queen of Heaven”) by Peter Philips (1561-1628). The great organ, all but silenced during the course of Lent, will be heard in its almost-full glory, with a prelude, postlude and improvisation at both Solemn Masses this week . . . The Saint Mary’s Singers meet this week at 3:30 PM (note later start time). Of particular note is a new setting of Tantum Ergo, to be sung at Solemn Benediction. It was composed by Saint Mary’s Singers Tenor and professional composer, Allen Hill and was written for James Kennerley and the choir. It stands as a companion to his O Salutaris, which was first performed a few weeks ago, and was also composed for the choir. Please note that we have professional singers leading each voice part, so, if you were thinking of joining us, do not be worried that you’d be the only one in your section! If you have any questions, please email me on email@example.com. James Kennerley
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . James Kennerley will be away from March 19 until lunchtime on March 22, for a graduation ceremony at Cambridge University . . . Saturday, March 21, 1:00 PM, Concert at Saint Mary’s: The US premiere of Requiem by composer David Bednall, performed by the Choir of Saint Mary’s School, Calne (near Salisbury), England. Admission is free . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, March 21 . . . Sunday, March 22, Mission and Outreach Meeting is CANCELLED and will be rescheduled when Fr. Smith returns . . . Sunday, March 22, Solemn Evensong and Benediction, the Reverend Deacon Jedediah W. Fox, preacher . . . Tuesday, March 24, Eve of the Feast of the Annunciation, Solemn Evensong at 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, March 25, The Feast of the Annunciation: Sung Matins at 8:30 AM, Sung Mass at 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM, the Reverend Kathleen Liles, Rector of the Church of Christ and Saint Stephen, Manhattan, preacher . . . The fifteen-minute Bible Study will meet immediately after Wednesday’s Sung Mass on March 25, at 12:45 PM, in the chancel choir. This week Father Mead will continue the account of Jesus’ Crucifixion . . . Father Montgomery will hear confessions on Saturday, March 28. Confessions are also heard by appointment . . . Anjellicle Cats Rescue, a local cat and kitten rescue and adoption agency, will host an adoption event on Saturday, March 28, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall. If you want to adopt a cat or a kitten or have your cat microchipped, please stop in!
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Please look for the Maundy Thursday sign-up sheet in Saint Joseph’s Hall. As is our custom, Saint Marians sign up for an hour of the all-night watch before the Blessed Sacrament on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday . . . Theater at Saint Mary’s: Resident theater, The American Globe Theatre, presents Henry V, by William Shakespeare, March 26–April 25, Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM (no performances during Holy Week). Tickets are $15.00 . . . Sunday, March 29, Solemn Evensong and Benediction, the Reverend Robert Rhodes, preacher. Father Rhodes is a graduate of the General Theological Seminary. He worked here at the parish as a seminarian. He is, at present, the Rector of Grace Church, Westwood, New Jersey . . . Thursday, April 2, 8:00 PM, Concert at Saint Mary’s: Music for Double Choir, The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director. The concert is a presentation of the Miller Theatre at Columbia University. For tickets, please call the theater box office at 212.854.7799. Admission is $40.00 . . . We are sorry to have to announce that Father Allen Shin, Chaplain of Keble College, Oxford, and former curate at Saint Mary’s, will not be with us during Holy Week. He had been scheduled to preach at Evensong on Palm Sunday and on Easter Day . . . Saturday, May 2, 10:30 PM, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Ordination to the Diaconate: Rebecca Weiner Tompkins . . . Holy Week rehearsals for members of the Saint Vincent’s Guild: Saturday, April 4, at 10:00 AM, Rehearsal for Palm Sunday followed by Stripping of Palms; Sunday, April 5, at 1:00 PM, Rehearsal (1 of 2) for Maundy Thursday; Thursday, April 9, at 5:00 PM, Rehearsal (2 of 2) for Maundy Thursday; Friday, April 10, at 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Rehearsals for the Good Friday services; Saturday, April 11, at 4:00 PM Rehearsal for the Easter Vigil . . . The Rector began his sabbatical on January 1; he returns to New York at the end of March and to the office on April 1, in time for Holy Week . . . Attendance: Last Sunday, 3 Lent 309.
CHILDREN AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Children are always welcome at Mass at Saint Mary’s. The Rector encourages families with children to sit at the front of the church – so the children can see easily and clearly. Childcare for younger children is available in the Saint Benedict’s Nursery & Playroom which is open and available every Sunday from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM . . . Sunday School for children meets on Sundays during the academic year at 10:00 AM, in the Morning Room (follow the blue signs in Saint Joseph’s Hall to the Morning Room). Sunday School is led by Deacon Jedediah Fox and Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B.
MISSION & OUTREACH . . . The Mission & Outreach Committee meeting on Sunday, March 22 is CANCELLED. The meeting will be rescheduled when Fr. Smith returns . . . The Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Episcopal Church, 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues: Saint Marians are invited to bring non-perishable food items on Sundays and place them in the basket at the ushers’ table in the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall during Coffee Hour. (The Food Pantry is looking for items such as canned tuna fish, peanut butter, jelly or preserves, Parmalat milk, dried milk, coffee, pasta, rice, tomato sauce, canned soup, canned beans and other canned vegetables, etc.) The food is then delivered to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry on 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues. Thank you to all who continue to give so generously to the Food Pantry! Jay Smith
AIDS WALK 2009 . . . The AIDS Walk is Sunday, May 17, and Saint Mary’s team will walk for the fourth year in a row. So far, twelve Saint Marians have signed up to walk along with 45,000 other New Yorkers. To learn how to participate, please pick up an information sheet at church, online, or contact the parish team captains, MaryJane Boland and Andrew Smith. Our goal is to have thirty walkers from Saint Mary’s and to raise at least $25,000 towards a cure for HIV/AIDS. MaryJane Boland & Andrew Smith
LENTEN POEM WITH ONE WORD MISSING
By Rebecca Weiner Tompkins
Mid-March in the country,
that late night the thawed world
slept, patchy grasses still,
while inside we curled
in our own breaths and outside
shut blinds, the surprising snow
came on silently, spreading
over everything with its sudden
coat of heavy quiet. Now
we discover morning’s usual
brightness piled right up to
our eyes at the window,
the sky seeming like
sun could shine behind
but wouldn't. Instead
the lightest flakes are falling
all coming down
to the only color left, its
feathery close cover not
closing, but holding us too
and we open the door and our
hands and faces, even
our eyes, to know that slight touch
able to change everything, so
much waiting, finally slowed
by this steadiness,
but of such deep mind.
Rebecca Weiner Tompkins is a member of Saint Mary’s and is preparing for ordination to the diaconate. She will be ordained at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 10:30 AM.
COME AND SING WITH US! . . . Saint Mary’s Singers is looking for members. We are a group of parishioners and non-parishioners who now sing twice a month at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Times Square. The church has one of the finest acoustics in the city, as well as one of the city’s greatest organs. Why don’t YOU consider taking a break from work on Sunday afternoons to come sing and socialize with a group of Saint Mary’s neighbors, friends, and parishioners. If you are able to match pitch and have a desire to sing, especially some of the great Anglican choral repertoire, why not consider being part of our new choir? We promise that you will have fun! Professional singers lead each voice part, so you will never be alone! If you would like to join, or just come along for a rehearsal, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. James Kennerley
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saint Mary’s offers a wide variety of concerts each year. In addition to concerts offered by our music department, we also host a number of outside groups who offer concerts in the church . . . Every Sunday, 4:40 PM (October to June, except during Lent): Before Sunday Evensong & Benediction Saint Mary’s offers a weekly organ recital by a visiting musician . . . Saturday, March 21, 1:00 PM: Lenten Recital by the Choir of Saint Mary’s School, Calne (near Salisbury), England. Admission is free . . . Sunday, March 29, 5:00 PM: The Service of Evensong and Benediction is sung by the Choir of the Church of Saint Paul, Fairfield, Connecticut, Jonathan Abdenour, director . . . Thursday, April 2, 2009, 8:00 PM: Music for Double Choir, The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director . . . Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 1:15 PM: The Choir of the Royal Memorial Chapel, Sandhurst, UK, Peter Beaven, director.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Monday Weekday of Lent Abstinence
Tuesday Weekday of Lent Abstinence
Eve of the Annunciation
Thursday Weekday of Lent Abstinence
Friday Weekday of Lent Lenten Friday Abstinence
Saturday Weekday of Lent Abstinence
Eve of the Fifth Sunday In Lent
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Sunday School & Adult Christian Education, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 4:40 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.
A service of Stations of the Cross is offered every Friday in Lent at 7:00 PM
Saturday: 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass. Confessions are heard Saturdays at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM or by appointment.