From the Rector: The Easter Triduum
Lent ends as the sun sets on the Thursday before Easter Day. With this sunset, the Easter Triduum begins. Triduum (Latin for “Three Days”) is the common name for the celebration of the Passover of the Lord across the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Day. The services are celebrated with a particular richness, integrity, and simplicity here at Saint Mary’s. Especially if you are new to the Church, I invite you to make every effort to be here. For many, these celebrations renew faith as few others can.
The calendar is confusing. The “Three Days” are reckoned according to the Jewish tradition. The first day begins at sunset on Thursday and ends at sunset on Friday. The second day begins at sunset on Friday and concludes at sunset on Saturday. The third day begins at sunset on Saturday and concludes with sunset on Sunday. Confusingly, by our reckoning of time, there are four days here: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Eve and Easter Day. But Jesus died and rose on the third day according to the way he reckoned time.
For the first few centuries of the Christian era, most people preparing to become members of the Church underwent formation largely apart from what we would call Sunday worship. When it came time for them to be baptized, they were given only the minimal information needed to be able to participate. What they experienced at Easter would begin to be explained in the weeks after baptism. The larger meaning, of course, would be lived out over their lives.
I’ve been attending, as parishioner or member of the clergy, celebrations of the Triduum for over thirty years at this point. I’m no longer surprised there’s something spiritually new for me every year; I just can’t predict when or how it will come about. Because of my work and study, I know a considerable amount about the history of the rites. But the Spirit moves in and among us in his own way. I don’t know when it will be his will to open my eyes or my heart in a new way.
Several years ago on Maundy Thursday, I realized, for example, after the appointed music for the washing of feet had been sung, it was silent in the church except for the same sounds Jesus and his disciples would have heard, water, pitchers, cloths, movement. It was an awareness in my soul that came from worship, not study.
I invite you most especially to be here on Easter Eve or on Easter morning for one of the Easter Masses. The Great Vigil on Easter Eve is a solemn celebration and the principal Mass of Easter. The 11:00 AM Mass on Easter Day is also a solemn celebration. There will be hymns at the said Masses too on Easter Day at 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM. On Sunday afternoon the parish choir sings at a special form of Solemn Evensong at 5:00 PM that is offered only on Easter Day – and Saint Mary’s is one of the rare places where the traditions and resources make Solemn Paschal Evensong not only possible but well-attended. I invite you to be here. Stephen Gerth
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Dorothy who is gravely ill, for Charisse, Martha, Jean, Gloria, Kirk, Patrick, Angie, Jack, Ben, Alice, Harold, Marcia, Richard, Mary, Stephen, Brooke, Laura, 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, Benjamin, Marc, Terrance, Steven, Andrew, and Patrick . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 12: 1881 Frances Greenfield; 1890 Rebecca Nicholas; 1900 Emma Caroline Haines; 1924 Ellen Gunn; 1929 Robert Kane; 1943 Carlotta Cowing Coerr; 1975 Violet Carolyn Codney.
HOLY WEEK & EASTER DAY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Schedule: See the detailed schedule at the end of the Online Angelus . . . Photos: Digital photographs for the parish website needed: Anyone who can take digital photos during the Holy Week services please speak with one of the priests. Ideal photos include lots of people in the congregation and action shots! . . . Volunteers: The Flower Guild is looking for volunteers to help decorate the church for Holy Week. The flower team needs help on Saturday, April 11, beginning at 9:00 AM, right after Matins, until late afternoon. We need as many hours as volunteers are able to give. We can use people with talent and experience at floral arranging, and we can use people who simply follow directions and who are willing to help out; we also need people who are willing to sweep and clean up while work is in progress. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, it’s spiritual. Please join us. Just show up or send an email to Marie Rosseels and let her know that you able to be with us – and thank you . . . Acolyte Rehearsals for members of the Saint Vincent’s Guild: 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. Dinner in the Rectory for all acolytes, readers, and flower guild members will follow the rehearsal . . . Watch before the Blessed Sacrament: Please look for the Maundy Thursday sign-up sheet in Saint Joseph’s Hall. As is our custom, members and friends of the parish sign up for an hour of the all-night watch before the Blessed Sacrament on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday . . . All of the clergy of the parish will sit for confessions following both Good Friday liturgies. Confessions are not heard during Easter Week except by appointment.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . At the services on Good Friday, the choir will sing traditional plainsong and an extremely moving setting of the Reproaches by John Sanders (1933-2003), former organist at Gloucester Cathedral. At the Easter Vigil, the choir sings Communion Service in E (“Collegium Regale”) by Harold Darke (1888-1976), written for King’s College, Cambridge, and the setting in eight parts of Jubilate Deo by Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 1554/1557-1612). The setting of the ordinary at Solemn Mass on Easter day is Missa “Congratulamini mihi” by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599). During the ministration of communion, the motet is Dum transisset Sabbatum by John Taverner (c. 1490-1545). The postlude is Widor’s famous Toccata (from Symphonie V, Opus 42/1). The 4:30 PM organ recital is given by James Kennerley; it will include works by Walton, Bach, and Vierne. At Solemn Evensong, the professional choir sings as the canticles the virtuosic ten-part Great Service by William Byrd (c. 1540–1623). The Saint Mary’s Singers meet NEXT week, April 19 at 3:00 PM to sing Evensong. Please note that we have professional singers leading each voice part, so, if you were thinking of joining us, (and this would be a very suitable occasion to do so), do not be worried that you’d be the only one in your section! If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com. James Kennerley
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We are told that a photo essay about Saint Mary’s will appear in the City section of the New York Times on Sunday, April 12, Easter Day and that additional photos will appear on the Times website . . . Monday, April 13, Easter Monday, Holiday schedule: the church will open at 10:00 AM, the parish office will be closed, and only the noon services will be offered . . . Father Mead will be away from the parish from Thursday, April 16, until Wednesday, April 22. He returns to the office on April 23 . . . Father Mead’s Wednesday Night Bible Study will not meet during April . . . Our resident theater company, The American Globe Theatre, presents Henry V, by William Shakespeare, through April 25, Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM (the Sunday performances are sold out; there are no performances during Holy Week). Tickets are $15.00 . . . Saturday, May 2, 10:30 AM, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Ordination to the Diaconate: Rebecca Weiner Tompkins . . . Sunday, May 17, AIDS Walk . . . Attendance: Palm Sunday 476.
LET THE THANKS BEGIN . . . Holy Week is a busy time at Saint Mary’s. We are blessed to have so many talented and hard-working volunteers. Thanks so much to all those who have been giving so much of their time to support our common life and mission: to the acolytes and choristers who have been attending special rehearsals; to those who have been working on publicity, taking Holy Week postcards to the local hotels and distributing them during the Palm Sunday procession to Times Square; to those who have begun decorating the church; to those who have been helping out in the office; to our outreach volunteers who have been taking food to the St. Clement’s Food Pantry; to our sextons; to all who have lent a hand during this busy time.
SAYING GOODBYE . . . Our seminarian, the Reverend Deacon Jedediah Fox, will be graduating from General Seminary next month. We expect that he will be ordained to the priesthood on the Day of Pentecost, May 31, 2009, in Helena, Montana. His last Sunday at Saint Mary’s will be May 17. We plan to thank him and to say goodbye to him before then. At that time, we would like to present him with a going-away gift. If you would like to make a donation toward such a gift, you can send a check to the Finance Office, made out to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, with “Jed Fox Gift” in the memo line.
CHILDREN AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Please bring your children for the Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Day following Solemn Mass! . . . 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, twenty-two Saint Marians and friends of the parish have signed up to walk along with 45,000 other New Yorkers. Our goal is to have thirty 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 is then delivered to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry on 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues. On Tuesday, April 7, we made our fifth food delivery to the Food Pantry. At its last meeting the Board of Trustees voted to designate the entire Maundy Thursday collection this year to benefit the Food Pantry. Thank you to all who continue to give so generously to this important outreach effort J.R.S.
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. On Easter Day, our own music director and organist, James Kennerley, will play the recital before Solemn Paschal Evensong & Benediction (he will play music by William Walton, J.S. Bach, and Louis Vierne) . . . 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.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: A letter from the Reverend Dr. J.G.H. Barry, III Rector of Saint Mary’s to the Reverend Leslie Lang dated May 2, 1926. (Father Lang served at Saint Peter’s, Westchester Square, and at Saint Thomas, Fifth Avenue. He preached here as a guest on many occasions. He was apparently regarded with great fondness at Saint Mary’s. Announcements in Ave, the parish magazine, of Father Lang’s upcoming preaching engagements at the parish inevitably referred to him as “our beloved Father Lang.”) Father Barry wrote, “I just got back last night from the Church Congress in Richmond where I read a paper on mysticism in religion. The Church Congress is supposed to be a very broad-church affair, but in reality it is very representative of the [Protestant Episcopal Church]. There were very few modernists on the programme, not so many as there were Catholics. Being in [Virginia], there were a great many Evangelicals which is the prevailing type of Churchmanship there. I had a very delightful time as Dr. Delany and I motored down and back. We brought back with us as far as Washington Father Williams of the [Society of Saint John the Evangelist].” In the event, Dr. Barry was succeeded as rector of Saint Mary’s by the Reverend Dr. Selden Peabody Delany, his driving companion. Dr. Delany was succeeded, in turn, by the Reverend Granville Mercer Williams, SSJE. This was almost certainly the only occasion when three rectors of St. Mary’s ever undertook a road trip together. Dick Leitsch
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day
Monday Monday in Easter Week
Tuesday Tuesday in Easter Week
Wednesday Wednesday in Easter Week
Thursday Thursday in Easter Week
Friday Friday in Easter Week No Abstinence
Saturday Saturday in Easter Week
Eve of the Second Sunday of Easter
Easter Day: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Said Mass with Hymns, 10:00 AM Said Mass with Hymns, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 4:30 PM Organ Recital, 5:00 PM Solemn Paschal Evensong & Benediction. Childcare is available from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM every Sunday.
Monday in Easter Week: 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass. Tuesday through Friday in Easter Week: 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 in Easter Week: 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass. Confessions are not heard on Saturday in Easter Week except by appointment.