From the Rector: Seeking Spiritual Gifts
Yesterday at the local Food Emporium I stood behind a man who was about my age who was asked to provide proof he was over twenty-one. I couldn’t help myself. It was probably a good thing it was my day off and I was not in clericals. “Did you just ask him for an ID?” The clerk replied, “Company policy.”
The late Rabbi Edwin Friedman used to assert that we lived in an era of “societal regression.” If I remember correctly, he used this phrase to describe what he saw was a society organizing itself around weakness instead of strength. One way he saw this was how new ideas were handled. He thought we had arrived at a point where new ideas were greeted with more concern about whom they might hurt rather than excitement about whom they might help. In 1992, he was massively unimpressed by those who thought Christopher Columbus’s voyage five hundred years earlier had been a mistake.
Certainly there are periods of societal regression. China under Mao, Russia under the Stalin, and Germany under Hitler were periods of enormous regression and evil. The collapse of the classical world with the fall of Rome is an example of an era of regression for different reasons and in different ways. The widespread and widely popular resistance to racial integration in Virginia during my childhood, not to mention the existence of racism and racial segregation in the first place, was regressive. In too many places around the world the color of one’s skin, one’s gender, one’s sexual orientation, and one’s family background continue to be reasons for discrimination.
It’s worth noting that for centuries, churches and political institutions have failed equality for long periods in American history, not to mention other countries or times. But the liberty with which Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1) shapes the unfolding of human history. There’s been too much progressive change in my own lifetime for me to give up hope, and I expect to see more. One question: How do we live while God’s reign unfolds in this world and in our lives?
I hope over the course of my life not to grow too cynical about ecclesiastical, political or corporate institutions. I hate to see the Church or any institution adapting readily, reflexively, to weakness. It takes work to be on the side of strength. I hope the Holy Spirit continues to propel your heart and mine forward to greater trust in God and greater understanding of how we can avoid becoming icons of regression, weakness and fear. I hope the Holy Spirit continues to help us see progress where it is real and to guide us to work for the unfolding of the kingdom of God.
The weekly newsletter from Grace Church, Joondalup, Perth, Australia, always closes with an image of a bookmark with these words that could be ours as well: Christ look upon us in this city, and keep our sympathy and pity fresh, and our faces heavenward, lest we grow hard. Stephen Gerth
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Allan, Jewell, Aaron, Thaddeus, Awilda, Jananie, Charles, Charisse, Grace, Mike, Carol, Jean Marie, Dorothy, Rick, Kirk, Jack, Alice, Harold, Marcia, Richard, Mary, Stephen, Laura, Donna, Madeleine, Marc, William, Gert, Mary, Daisy, Colleen, Rick and Richard, bishop . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 31: 1919 Rebecca Morgan Adams; 1934 Herbert Guppy; 1995 Louis Stephen Stancill.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE for Michael Henry Bruni of New York City and Jessica Grace Treiman of New York City. If any of you know just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. This is the third time of asking. S.G.
PENTECOST AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Bishop Richard Grein broke his collar bone a few weeks ago. He and I were hoping that he would still be able to come on Pentecost to confirm. On Wednesday, May 27, his physician strongly recommended that he stay home and continue to rest. Serendipitously, Bishop Andrew St John, rector of the Church of the Transfiguration, New York City, is free to be with us for Evensong on Pentecost. Holy Baptism will be celebrated at the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass. Confirmation will be celebrated during Evensong. Thank you, Bishop Grein, for trying to make it! Thank you, Bishop St John, for stepping in! S.G.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Monday, June 1, is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In addition to the regular morning and noonday services, there will be a Sung Mass at 6:00 PM.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. Friday abstinence resumes on June 5. It is not observed during Eastertide, Christmastide or when feasts of our Lord occur on Fridays.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Jana Chrustowksi MacKenty was born on May 5, 2009. She is the daughter of Dagmara and Bill MacKenty. Mother and daughter are doing well and we hope they will be in church very soon! . . . Altar flowers are needed for the following dates: June 14 and June 28. Please contact the parish office if you would like to make a donation . . . On Sunday, June 14, after the Solemn Mass, a buffet lunch will be served in Saint Joseph’s Hall. At the same time, and also in Saint Joseph’s Hall, we will be holding a Guild Fair. Representatives of the various parish guilds will be available to answer questions about their work and ministries here at Saint Mary’s. It will be a great opportunity to join a parish guild! We hope that you will be able to join us . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, May 30. Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, June 6 . . . It’s not too early to sign up: sponsors are needed for the reception following Solemn Mass on Assumption, Friday, August 14. Father Smith coordinates the reception. Please let him know if you want to make a cash donation . . . . Attendance: Ascension Day 268, The Seventh Sunday of Easter 301.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is the Intröit from Messe de la Pentecôte by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa octo vocum by Hans Leo Hassler (1512-1562). Though he was Protestant, Hassler, a student in Venice of Andrea Gabrieli (c. 1510-1586), wrote a good amount of Latin music for Roman Catholic liturgy (in addition to madrigals, keyboard music and instrumental music). This work for double choir (two distinct choirs of four parts each) bears the influence of the Venetian polychoral tradition. This tradition, which was prominent at the time of the transition from Renaissance to Baroque styles of music, is particularly associated with Giovanni Gabrieli, organist of St. Mark’s, Venice (who was a nephew of Andrea Gabrieli and a contemporary of Hassler). At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Loquebantur variis linguis (“The apostles were speaking in various languages”) by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585). The postlude is an improvisation by Mr. Kennerley on the magnificent plainsong melody Veni creator spiritus . . . The Saint Mary’s Singers rehearse THIS SUNDAY, May 31, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM. Trinity Sunday, June 7, is our last Evensong for the year, and will be sung by the combined choirs of Saint Mary’s – a perfect time to try us out! The rehearsal is at 3:00 PM downstairs in the choir room. Music is by Stanford, Parry and Elgar. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at email@example.com. James Kennerley
MISSION & OUTREACH . . . Food Pantry: You are invited to bring non-perishable food items on Sundays. The food is then delivered to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry on 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues. J.R.S.
IN OUR CITY . . . The Martha Graham Ensemble (now known as Graham II) will present its 2009 New York Season, Saturday, May 30 at 8:00 PM, Sunday, May 31 at 7:30 PM, and June 1 at 7:00 PM at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School Theater, located across the street from Saint Mary’s at 120 West 46th Street. The Martha Graham Ensemble has offered us a limited number of free tickets for the Saturday and Sunday night performances. If you would like to attend one of those performances, please call or e-mail Aaron Koch at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a pair of tickets – first come, first serve. The tickets for the Saturday performance will be distributed after the noonday Mass (around 12:40 PM) or before 5:00 PM Evening Prayer (see Dick Leitsch). The tickets for the Sunday performance will be distributed at Coffee Hour after the Solemn Mass (see Father Smith).
THE FIRST BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. . . . This year we commemorate and give thanks for the first Prayer Book on Thursday, June 4. From Lesser Feasts and Fasts, p. 256: “The first Book of Common Prayer came into use on the Day of Pentecost, June 9, 1549, in the second year of the reign of King Edward VI. From it have descended all subsequent editions and revisions of the Prayer Book in the Churches of the Anglican Communion….[The Book] was primarily the work of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1533-1556. The principal sources [used] in its compilation were the medieval Latin service books [used in the Diocese of Salisbury], with enrichments from the ancient Greek liturgies, certain ancient Gallican rites, and the vernacular German forms prepared by [Martin] Luther….The Psalter and other biblical passages were drawn from the English “Great Bible” authorized by King Henry VIII in 1539…The originality of the Prayer Book…lay in its simplification of the complicated liturgical usages of the medieval Church, so that it was suitable for use by the laity as well as by the clergy. The Book thus became both a manual of common worship for Anglicans and a primary resource for their personal spirituality.”
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday
Monday The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Tuesday The Martyrs of Lyon, 177
Wednesday The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886
Thursday The First Book of Common Prayer, 1549
Friday Boniface, Archbishop, Missionary & Martyr, 754 Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of The Body & Blood of Jesus: Corpus Christi
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 4:40 PM Organ Recital, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction (until June 7); June 14-September 27: Evening Prayer 5:00 PM, Said Mass 5:20 PM. 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: 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass.
Confessions are normally heard on Saturdays 11:30-11:55 AM & 4:00-4:55 PM.