From Father Smith: “Things that were cast down are being raised up…”
Last Sunday I worshipped in a church in suburban Buffalo. The final hymn at the 11:00 AM “choral Eucharist” was “Lift High the Cross,” a favorite of mine. I stood up, opened my hymnal and got ready to sing. To my surprise, as the procession cleared the center aisle and the celebrant went into the large narthex of the very modern church building, the vast majority of the members of the congregation left their pews and headed on home. I stood my ground with ten or fifteen others, along with the members of the choir; and we did our best to do justice to that very fine hymn.
Now, I will admit that the parish’s resources could not compete with Saint Mary’s music department. We are particularly blessed in that regard. However, the choir had done just fine that morning. There were certainly no compelling aesthetic reasons to flee the building at the end of Mass; and I wondered why anyone would forego the opportunity to worship in that particular way, because it seems to me that music engages the senses, the emotions, the heart, in a way that nothing else does. (Don’t get me wrong. I think that the clean, pure, laconic simplicity of the Western rite’s “low” or “said” Mass is a fine thing. We worship that way a lot here at the parish and I’m glad that we do; but, still, I can’t imagine not having the opportunity to worship with music.)
As I walked back to my brother’s house that morning, I found myself very much looking forward to Holy Week at Saint Mary’s: the Palm Sunday procession (the route will once again go through Duffy Square), handing out palms to the folks in Times Square, trying happily, and gamely, to stay together as we sing “All glory, laud and honor”; the rich complexity of Maundy Thursday, with the intense, but quiet, rite of the “foot-washing,” the focus on the Eucharist and the link between the sacrament and service to the world (perhaps especially meaningful this year as the evening’s collection will be used to support our outreach partner, the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry), the beautiful Duruflé Ubi caritas, the altar of repose, the shift from the sensual richness of the day’s liturgy to the equally powerful image of starkness and emptiness as the altar is stripped and we quietly leave, to return again the following day, Good Friday; that day’s liturgy, done twice, in exactly the same way, for compelling pastoral reasons, but each liturgy somewhat different in tone and feeling (liturgy of course takes place in the present; it’s can never be exactly the same twice), the day’s ancient rites, the comprehensiveness of the Solemn Collects, a contemporary setting of the Reproaches; and, then, of course the incredible riches of the Easter Vigil and Easter Day; and throughout the Triduum there will be beautiful music and there will be great hymns for us to sing – being able to sing “When I survey the wondrous cross” on Palm Sunday and “Were you there when they crucified my Lord” will make up for my disappointing experience in Buffalo last weekend; and in all of this there is so much richness, so much to engage every part of us, senses, body, mind, heart, and spirit.
On both Good Friday and at the Easter Vigil we will hear the celebrant intone one of the Prayer Book’s greatest collects: “O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is a prayer that takes us deeply into the paschal mystery. As Holy Week approaches this year I’ve begun thinking about that prayer a lot. Life is sometimes difficult, hard, filled with surprises, not all of them pleasant; but life is also filled with much joy and great goodness, as well as the surprise that is grace: defeat turned into victory, sadness transformed by the power of love, life in the midst of death. That is the mystery that I look forward to celebrating with you this year. It’s good to be back home. Jay Smith
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Gloria, Jane Kirk, Patrick, Angie, Jack, Ben, Alice, Harold, Marcia, Richard, Mary, Stephen, Laura, Brooke, Donna, Madeleine, Marc, William, Gert, Mary, Daisy, Rozalind, and Rick; and for the members of our Armed Forces who are on active duty, especially Christopher, Omar, Curtis, Timothy, Benjamin, Marc, Terrance, Steven, Andrew, and Patrick; and for the repose of the souls of Ralph and James, priest . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 29: 1959 Lucille Dunscombe; 1966 Anna Jane Hemphill; 1997 Bruce Linville.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The Reverend James Zmyslo died Wednesday, March 25, 2009, after having been diagnosed six months ago with pancreatic cancer. Jim served as the Episcopal Chaplain of the Episcopal Campus Ministry at Penn State University for the last two years. Before that he served as Seminarian at Saint Mary’s from 2005 to 2006. Please keep Jim, his wife Charlotte, and all of his family and friends in your prayers. His funeral will be Monday, March 30, at 3:30 PM in State College, PA . . . Parishioner Bill Poston’s uncle, Senator Ralph Poston, died this past week. Senator Poston served in Florida’s state legislature. Please keep Senator Poston, Bill, his family, and all who mourn in your prayers.
FROM FATHER JAY SMITH . . . I would like to thank the Saint Mary’s community, its clergy, staff, members and friends, both near and far, who showed me so much kindness and gave me so much support this past week following my brother Larry’s death. Such concern helped more than I can say; it made me wonder how people deal with hard times, without a parish; and it made me realize, once again, how blessed I am to be a part of this community. I thank you. J.R.S.
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, April 1, Father Smith will discuss the gospel accounts of Jesus’ burial.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The choir from Saint Paul’s, Fairfield, CT, has cancelled (due to a scheduling conflict) and will not sing Sunday, March 29, at Evensong & Benediction . . . 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! . . . 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 . . . Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 PM, Organ Recital: Noah Wynne-Morton, The Juilliard School . . . Wednesday, April 1, The Rector returns to the office . . . Friday, April 3, 7:00 PM, Stations of the Cross.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The Cantor this Sunday is Ms. Elizabeth Baber, soprano. Ordinarily, we would have the full choir sing on Sundays during the choir year. However, due to the financial restrictions placed on the church by the economy, the music budget was reduced by 65%, and this is one of the regrettable manifestations of those cuts (it costs us around $1000 for the full choir at each “regular” Solemn Mass). Ms. Baber will sing Gabriel Fauré’s delightful Pie Jesu during Communion. Fauré (1845-1924) was one of the most prolific composers of his time. His Requiem, from which this piece is drawn, is his most famous and widely-performed work. The Saint Mary’s Singers do not meet this week, but will meet next week at 3:00 PM to sing Evensong on Palm Sunday. Of particular note is a new setting of Tantum ergo and O Salutaris, 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. 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— James Kennerley
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thank you to George Handy, Esther Kamm, and Dennis Smith, who once again spent a long day organizing and processing the mailing of our annual Easter Appeal . . . . Thank you to all those who made the Feast of the Annunciation such a wonderful day: to the acolytes at both Masses, the ushers, those who prepared and hosted the reception after Mass, and, of course, the parish’s musicians . . . 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: Our 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 (though we are told that the Sunday performances are sold out; there are no performances during Holy Week). Tickets are $15.00 . . . 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 . . . 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 this week and to the office on April 1, in time for Holy Week . . . Attendance: Last Sunday, 4 Lent 243; Annunciation 248.
WHY I LOVE SAINT MARY’S, An Ongoing Series . . . “I first entered the doors of St. Mary’s on a visit to New York City in 1959. I knew then that St. Mary’s would become my spiritual home when I was to move to NYC the following year. Father Greg Taber was then rector. When I moved from New York later that decade Father Donald Garfield had become rector after the death of Father Taber. Yes, the beauty of the building, the quality of the music, the splendor of the liturgy and excellent preaching were all part of what attracted me to St. Mary’s, but it was something else which fed my soul at the depth of my very being. It was the love of Christ which I and my beloved experienced from both the clergy and the community in the years of joy we shared, but most especially when death came suddenly and unexpectedly to our door. Even these many years later I do not have the words to adequately express the effect this love had on my life and my faith. I continue to pledge to St. Mary’s in thanksgiving for the presence of God’s love in Christ Jesus which surrounded me and continues to surround those who enter through doors open to the city and to all who seek God. This is also why St. Mary’s is a beneficiary in my will. May St. Mary’s continue to be that holy place where the welcoming love of God in Christ Jesus continues to shine forth into our broken world.” Father Gene Paradise
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 . . . AIDS Walk 2009: Please join us. The AIDS Walk is Sunday, May 17, and Saint Mary’s team will walk for the fourth year in a row. So far, 15 Saint Marians and friends have signed up to walk along with 45,000 other New Yorkers. Our goal is to have 30 walkers and to raise at least $25,000 towards a cure for HIV/AIDS. 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. M.J.B. & A.S. . . . The Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Episcopal Church: 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! J.R.S. . . . From the Food Bank for New York City Website: The Food Bank has provided an update to its document, “NYC Hunger Experience 2008.” The subtitle of the update is “Food Poverty Soars as Recession Hits Home.” The document reads in part, “[Our updated report] shows that the number of city residents experiencing difficulty affording needed food has surged over the past five years — doubling from approximately 2 million to approximately 4 million from 2003 to 2008, representing almost half of all city residents (48 percent). The number having difficulty increased by almost 1 million (26 percent) within the past year alone, the highest increase in the history of the poll. Findings also show that 3.5 million city residents are concerned about needing food assistance (food from soup kitchens, food pantries and/or food stamps) during the next year, including 2.1 million (59 percent) who have never accessed food assistance in the past.” For more information: www.foodbanknyc.org.
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 email@example.com. 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 . . . Sunday, March 29, 5:00 PM: We regret that the Choir of the Church of Saint Paul, Fairfield, Connecticut, Jonathan Abdenour, director, will not be with us at Evensong on Sunday, March 29. We hope that they will be with us again in 2010 . . . Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 PM, Organ Recital: Noah Wynne-Morton, The Juilliard School . . . 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 . . . Friday, April 17, 7:30 PM, Organ Recital: Nathan Taylor, The Manhattan School of Music
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Monday Weekday in Lent Abstinence
Tuesday Weekday in Lent Abstinence
Wednesday Weekday in Lent
Thursday Weekday in Lent Abstinence
Friday Weekday in Lent Lenten Friday Abstinence
Saturday Weekday in Lent Abstinence
Eve of Palm Sunday
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.