The Angelus



When I was invited to New York by the board of trustees to interview for this job I asked to meet with Father Edgar Wells.  I did so for many reasons, but one in particular.  I had learned very quickly in the parish I was serving in Indiana of the unique bond I had with my predecessor there.  There were things I could ask him and find out from him that no one else could know.  I knew that if I were to come to Saint Mary’s, like Father Wells, I would retire from Saint Mary’s.  That’s the pattern here and in many other great parishes.

I had met him once before, during my first year at Nashotah House.  I knew his name before then because the priest who sent me to seminary had been Father Wells’s first seminarian in Illinois.  Father Wells was serving on the board of trustees of Nashotah and was there for a meeting.  I don’t know if I am actually taller than Father Wells, but in my mind’s eye, I always look up to him.

Father Wells invited me to his apartment for breakfast – and gave me homemade pancakes and a generous stack of bacon.  He talked openly and frankly about the challenges he had faced, the challenges he saw coming for the parish, about the personal growth that the work had demanded of him and would demand of me if I were called.  Perhaps the conversation was made easier because I had been formed for priesthood in the Midwestern Anglo-catholic tradition and had been sent to seminary by the Diocese of Chicago.

When I accepted the position, one of the first notes I had was from Father Wells.  His graciousness to me has been enormous during these eleven years.  Should I live to retire from the parish, I hope I will be able to follow his example in the future.  More important, in my own way, I hope I follow his example – and the examples of our predecessors – now.

As we go to press on Thursday, August 12, I can report that Father Wells is scheduled to go home on Friday and that he has every intention of being with us on Sunday for the Solemn Mass.  Arrangements are being made for this to be as easy for him as possible so that he can enjoy the Mass and reception as much as possible.

His and my former bishop, the Right Reverend James Winchester Montgomery, IX Bishop of Chicago, will be with us.  Friends of Father Wells from Canada and New York will be concelebrants.  Our preacher, Father David Wood from Perth, Australia, is here and has been of great help to Father Wells, Father Smith and me this month.  The music will be splendid; the hymns will convert the most hardened souls.  And, it seems, we may well have some break in this hot summer weather.  Following the Mass there will be a reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall.

Finally, I want to say something about Father Wells’s leadership as a parish priest.  Certainly his life is grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His loyalty in relationship to Christ has also been a loyalty to the Episcopal Church and the vows he made when he was ordained.  Life is about growth, even as that growth leads us to the death of our mortal bodies and the eternal life God shares with us in Christ.  Father Wells never stopped growing in Christ.  He never got “stuck.”  Saint Mary’s flourishes today because of his commitment to his growth in Christ as a person and as a priest.  I hope whether you are here or far away on Sunday, you will remember with thanksgiving the fiftieth anniversary of the ordination of the Reverend Canon Edgar Fisher Wells to the priesthood.  Stephen Gerth


YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Matthew, Thomas, Judi, Madeleine, Carol, Sharon, Margaret, Connie, Patricia, Delia, Gerardo, Cesar, Chris, Rolf, Daisy, Ross, Nicholas, Elsa, William, Gert, Rick, Emil, religious, Charlotte, religious, Pegram, priest, and Edgar, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially John, James, Kayla, Marc, and Benjamin; and for the repose of the soul of Marie . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 15: 1880 Annie E. Jones; 1898 Philip Hone; 1899 Helen Moore; 1912 Arthur McLellan; 1913 Helen Marie Skan; 1914 Frederick Loeffler; 1935 Harry Anson Kelly; 1949 Arthur Tschenlin; 1963 Rose Macchia.


THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, August 16, at 6:30 PM, on the second floor of the Mission House, following Evening Prayer . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, August 14, and on Saturday, August 21


THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Matthew Kerr continues to be gravely ill.  He is at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington.  His parents, of course, are Tom and Judi, and they are with him.  Please keep them all in your prayers . . . Thank you also to our acolytes, readers, and ushers, who have continued to serve so faithfully during these hot summer months.  We are grateful for their ministry . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 171.


FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The choral music on Sunday will be sung by Saint Mary’s Choir, accompanied by Mr. Timothy Brumfield.  I will be director.  The prelude is Fantasia in G Major, BWV 572 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis C-dur, KV 259 (Orgelsolo) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).  An early work, this setting was probably composed in Salzburg in 1776.  It is quite brief with a condensed setting of the text, as is the case with several of Mozart’s other masses of that period.  This may be due to the views of the prince-archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg, who preferred simple and straightforward music during the liturgy.  At the ministration of communion, the choir sings the motets Ave Maria by Robert Parsons (c. 1535-1571/2) and Maria virgo à 10 voci by Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 1554/1557-1612).  Little is known of Parsons’ life, apart from the fact that he was a chorister in the Chapel Royal, and perhaps taught the young William Byrd.  One of the most influential musicians of his time, Gabrieli represented the culmination of the Venetian school of composition.  This motet features two choirs of five voices each.  James Kennerley


FALL CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The first Adult Forum of the academic year will take place on Sunday, October 3, towards the end of Coffee Hour in Saint Joseph’s Hall.  Parish Archivist, Dick Leitsch, will give a talk on the early history of Saint Mary’s, focusing on Father Thomas McKee Brown and the organization of the parish during its early years.  The presentation will take place in connection with the current exhibition of images from the archives in Saint Joseph’s Hall.  Parishioner Terry Carlson is curator for this exhibition which is sponsored by the parish’s Visual Arts Program . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will resume on October 6, at 6:30 PM.  Once again this year, the class will be led by Sister Deborah Francis and Sister Laura Katharine.  The class will be reading selections from the so-called “apocryphal” or “deutero-canonical” books of the Bible.  Building on their reading of the Wisdom literature last year, the class will have the opportunity to study such important themes as the end of prophecy and the rise of apocalypticism, in addition to wisdom themes in the Bible.  If you have questions, please speak to one of the sisters . . . Church History Series: The Church in England during the Middle Ages through the Lens of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: The four-part series will be led by parishioner Grace Bruni and will meet on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM, on the second floor of the Mission House (October 10, 17, 24 and 31).


LOOKING AHEAD . . . Tuesday, August 24, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, September 6, Labor Day, Federal Holiday Schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM; only the noon services are offered; and the parish offices are closed . . . Wednesday, September 8, The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass at 12:10 PM and Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Mass at 12:10 PM and Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Fourth Annual Oktoberfest and Hymn Sing, Saturday, October 2, 6:00-9:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall and the Organ Loft.  All are invited.  Please consider inviting your friends.  James Kennerley will be giving his wonderful “tour of the organ,” something that children of all ages will find fascinating and entertaining . . . In November the Visual Arts Program will present Nativity Scenes: Works on Paper by Carlos Molina in the gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Saturday, December 11, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, Advent Quiet Day, led by Father John Beddingfield.  Father Beddingfield, who served at Saint Mary’s as curate, is the Rector of All Souls Memorial Church, Washington, D.C.


APPEAL TO OUR “CYBER-FRIENDS” . . . This week we made our first attempt to reach out to our national and international community of friends, many of whom stay in touch with life at Saint Mary’s only through the Internet, in order to ask them for their support.  We e-mailed a letter to our cyber-friends from Father Gerth, in which he expressed his gratitude for their interest and support and invited them to consider making a financial gift to Saint Mary’s.  We have already begun to receive some responses to the appeal, for which we are very grateful.  James Ross Smith


ALTAR FLOWERS are needed on the following dates: August 22 and 29, September 19 and 26, October 24, November 7, 14, and 21.  If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the finance office.


OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are still collecting non-perishable food items and new or gently used clothing on Sundays for the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s.  Look for the basket at the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall


FALL CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, October 16, 2010, 8:00PM, The Early Music Series of the Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, In Paradisum, Stile Antico.  Memorials and swansongs by Byrd, Dufay, des Prez, Lassus, and others . . . Saturday, October 23, 2010, 8:00 PM (Free Admission), New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, music director & Olivier Fluchaire, violin; Roussel: Concerto for Small Orchestra, Piazzolla: Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 (“The Inextinguishable”).  For more information:, 212.662.8383, or . . Saturday, November 20, 2010, 8:00 PM, The Early Music Series of the Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, Giants of the Flemish Renaissance, New York Polyphony.  Favorites by Taverner, Ockeghem, Dunstable, Brumel, des Prez, and others . . . Saturday, December 11, 2010, 8:00 PM, Voices of Ascension, Christmas Concert. . . . Saturday, December 18, 2010, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, Annual NYRO Benefit Concert...and the 100th birthday of Samuel Barber; David Leibowitz, music director, Eric Jacobsen, cello.  Barber: Music for a Scene from Shelley, Schumann: Cello Concerto, Rimsky-Korsakoff: Scheherezade


AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At the Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway at 61st Street: Exhibition: The Glory of Ukraine: Sacred Images from the 11th to the 19th Centuries; Concert: Saturday, September 11, 2010, 3:00-4:00 PM, Darkness & Light -- Music from Ukraine and Beyond, The Caravel Quartet;


RESIDENT THEATER . . . The American Globe Theatre (AGT) recently announced its 2010-2011 season, its twenty-second season here in Times Square.  Lecture Series: “What Makes Shakespeare Great,” featuring John Basil, AGT Artistic Director; Lecture 1: Othello!, October 12, 2010, 7:30 PM; Lecture 2: Hamlet!, November 30, 7:30 PM; Lecture 3: Much Ado About Nothing!, January 11, 2011, 7:30 pm.  Staged Readings: Othello, directed by John Basil, October 19, 7:30 PM; Hamlet, directed by David Mold, December 7, 2010, 7:30 PM.  Full Production: Much Ado About Nothing, directed by John Basil, February 25-March 30, 2011.



The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector
The Reverend James Ross Smith, curate
The Reverend Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, deacon
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus


Saint Mary’s Mission House
Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B.
Sister Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B.
The Community of St. John Baptist


The Parish Musicians
Mr. James Kennerley, organist and music director
Mr. Lawrence Trupiano, organ curator


The Parish Staff
Mr. Aaron Koch, business manager
Mr. Steven Gonley, building superintendent
Mr. Miguel Gonzalez, Mr. Mario Martinez, Mr. H. Antonio Santiago, sextons