The Angelus

Volume XII, Number 17

From the Rector: Inheritance and Vision

Many people in our parish community are busy right now with preparations for Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.  It all seems so easy once we get to the services on these days; but that’s because so many have been giving generously of their time and treasure.  When the great days come, this kind of preparation makes it possible for us to eat and drink with a special richness in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank you to all who have helped and who will be helping as the days approach.

In addition to Holy Week and Easter, in this year of grace the celebration of “The Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary” falls on Thursday before Holy Week, March 25.  Last Sunday we had the respites of the Fourth Sunday in Lent – rose vestments, flowers on the altar, and the organ accompanying all of our hymns.  For the Annunciation, the tradition gives us more than a break from Lent; we get everything but the word “alleluia.”  We celebrate Mary’s response to God’s will for her life.  The angel tells Mary, “For with God, nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).

On the greater feasts of the year, the Church reckons time according to the Hebrew tradition.  These days begin at sunset on the eve.  Thus, on the Eve of the Annunciation, Wednesday, March 24, Solemn Evensong will be offered at 6:00 PM.  On the Annunciation the schedule of the day is: Sung Matins at 8:30 AM, Noonday Office at 12:00 PM, Sung Mass at 12:10 PM, Organ Recital at 5:30 PM, and Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM.  Our organist James Kennerley is playing works by Bach and Franck for the recital.  The Reverend Thomas E. Nicoll, rector, Saint John’s Church, Larchmont, will be the preacher for the Solemn Mass.  Of course, a reception follows in Saint Joseph’s Hall.

I met Father Nicoll when he and I ended up at a clergy conference in Florida that was sponsored by the Church Pension Fund.  Tom’s been the rector of Saint John’s since 1993.  He is a member of my profession whose commitment to theological study has been a real encouragement to me since I’ve gotten to know him.  I really appreciate him being with us so late in Lent.  I hope very much many of our wider parish community may be able to join us for the Solemn Mass on the Annunciation.

In the meantime, Holy Week and the Easter Triduum approach.  The full schedule of services is available on the parish website.  The two most important services of the week are the principal Mass of the Sunday of the Passion (the original and continuing celebration of the Lord’s death) and the principal Mass of the Sunday of the Resurrection, that is, the Great Vigil of Easter.

For Christians, Sunday has always been the Lord’s Day.  In the second century, what we call Easter is the first Sunday of the year to be set aside as a special commemoration.  After this, the Sunday before Easter becomes what we might call the original Good Friday, that is, the Sunday of the Passion.  The other great ceremonies and services of the week, for the most part, will begin to develop in the fourth century as Christianity becomes a legal religion in the Roman Empire.

This year, most Sundays the gospel lessons are from Saint Luke.  If you are looking for a personal preparation for Holy Week, I suggest reading Luke.  It takes about an hour if one doesn’t stop along the way too much.  Luke is the gospel with a wider vision of Christian community, one that includes all nations.  It’s perfect pre-Holy Week reading, especially in a year when the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) comes three days before the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday.  More than any other gospel, Luke reminds us that what we know of our past is there to lead us forward. Stephen Gerth


YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Carol, Mary, Jane, Kate, Beth, Patrick, Donald, Angie, Rolf,  Jack, Daisy, Ross, Alice, Charlie, Jo Ann, Roger, Henry, Nicholas, Chris, Dorothy, Robert, Elsa, Juan, Chris, William, Gert, Mary, Rick, Mitties, priest, and Pegram, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially John, James, Christine, Kayla, Marc, Benjamin, Patrick, and Andrew; and for the repose of the souls of James and Joseph . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 21: 1888 Horace Bradley Tebbetts; 1910 Reuben A. Reeves; 1911 William Kennedy Davidson; 1913 Frank J. Baker, William F. Farson; 1938 Joan Manookian.


THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Friday, March 19, is Saint Joseph’s Day.  In addition to the regular schedule of services, the last service this Lent of Stations of the Cross will be at 6:30 PM . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, March 20.  Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, March 27 . . . The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, March 22, at 6:30 PM, in the Arch Room, on the second floor of the Mission House . . . The Feast of the Annunciation: Solemn Evensong on the Eve of the Feast, Wednesday, March 24, 6:00 PM; Thursday, March 25, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM, Reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall, 7:30 PM . . . Saturday, March 27, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra Concert.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Flowers are needed for the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25.  If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Parish Office . . . Parishioner Terry Carlson continued his work on the lighting in the church this week, making a number of changes and improvements, large and small.  He has refocused a number of instruments that light the nave and the chancel; he’s added lights in the ceiling, which will provide more light in the nave.  And he’s even fixed some lights on the front of the church.  Thank you, Terry! . . . Volunteers are needed to help decorate the church for Easter.  Some preparatory work will be done during the day on Wednesday in Holy Week and on Maundy Thursday.  Most of the work will be done on Holy Saturday, Easter Eve, from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM.  If you would like to help out this year, please speak to José Vidal, Marie Rosseels, MaryJane Boland, or Rick Austill . . . Because of the severe rainstorms in our area last weekend, Saint Cecilia’s Girl’s Choir of Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut, was unable to be with us for Evensong & Benediction as scheduled.  We are grateful to parishioner Leroy Sharer, who stepped in as cantor for the service.  His ministry was much appreciated.  We hope that our friends from Greenwich will be able to join us for Evensong in the near future . . . The Annual Meeting of the parish will take place on Sunday, May 2, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, at 12:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall.  The deadline for reports is Monday, April 19 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 203.


FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT . . .  At Solemn Mass, the ordinary is Missa Canonica by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897).  Composed mainly in 1856 (a new Kyrie was produced in 1857), primarily as a technical exercise in his revised study of counterpoint, the setting was not published for a century afterwards, and was first performed in 1983.  At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Geistliches Lied (“Sacred Song”), Op. 30 by Brahms.  Geistliches Lied, one of Brahms’ most sublime works, was also written in 1856, as a result of the same stimuli as the Missa Canonica.  It features a double canon between the four voice parts, bound together by an undulating organ part.  And yet, because of Brahms’ extraordinary skill, the artistry transcends the technical genius, which remains hidden to the listener . . . At the organ recital at 5:30 PM on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, I will play works by Bach and Franck.  At the Solemn Mass, the choir will sing the Cantus Missae (Messe in Es-dur), Opus 109 by Josef Gabriel Rheinberger (1839-1901).  This setting for double choir, the composer’s only such setting, was composed in 1878 and dedicated to Pope Leo XIII.  At the Ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Ave Maris stella (“Hail, star of the sea”), composed in 1899 by Edward Grieg (1843-1907).  James Kennerley


ALTAR SERVERS . . . Rehearsals for the Maundy Thursday Liturgy: First Rehearsal, Sunday, March 28, Palm Sunday, 1:30 PM (a light lunch will be served after the rehearsal); Second Rehearsal, Maundy Thursday, April 1, 5:00 PM . . . Rehearsals for the Good Friday Liturgies: The rehearsal for the 12:30 PM Liturgy will take place on Good Friday, April 2, at 11:00 AM; the rehearsal for the 6:00 PM Liturgy will take place on Good Friday at 5:00 PM . . . Rehearsal for the Great Vigil of Easter: Saturday, April 3, 4:00 PM . . . Rehearsal for Easter Day Evensong: Sunday, April 4, 4:00 PM . . . Thank you in advance to all of our faithful and hardworking acolytes for their service at this busy time of year.


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . March 21: Father Peter Powell will conclude his Lenten series on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah on Sunday.  The class has been a great success and we are very grateful to Father Powell for agreeing to teach here at Saint Mary’s once again.  Father Powell writes, “Isaiah is unique among the books of the Old Testament because it is clearly the work, not of a single author, but of a school of prophets beginning in the eighth century before the Common Era (BCE), and extending at least into the sixth century and perhaps even into the fifth century.  Isaiah of Jerusalem speaks to the time of the ascendancy of Judah.  Second Isaiah gives hope to the chosen people in exile and Third Isaiah deals with the disappointment after the exile’s end.  The New Testament appropriates much of Isaiah to make sense of Jesus, particularly his crucifixion, especially by using the Servant Songs of Second Isaiah.  This course is designed to make Isaiah more accessible and to help the members of the class to understand the book’s message of hope, while opening up its beauty to all who attend.” . . . The Adult Forum will not meet on the following Sundays: March 28, April 4, 11, or 18 . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on March 24, 31, or April 7.  The class will resume after the Easter break on April 14 and will continue until Wednesday, June 9. The class normally meets at 6:30 PM on Wednesdays in the Arch Room of the Mission House; it is led by Sister Deborah Francis and Sister Laura Katharine and is continuing to study the Book of Job.


THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST will be presenting an exhibition of icons, “The Glory of Orthodoxy: A Treasured Collection of Icons,” at the community’s convent in Mendham, New Jersey, on May 22-23, 2010.  Some of the icons in the exhibition were “written” as long ago as the seventeenth century.  Sister Eleanor Francis, C.S.J.B., superior, writes, “The sisters and I have initiated a capital campaign program and all proceeds of the icon show will benefit this campaign.  To that end, we are seeking the support of individuals through a $50.00 sponsorship of an icon in the exhibit.  We invite you to join us for this marvelous event, and we thank you most sincerely for your consideration and your generosity.”  For more information, please speak to one of the sisters or visit


IN CONCERT AT SAINT MARYS . . . The New York Repertory Orchestra (NYRO), David Leibowitz, music director, will present its next concert at Saint Mary’s on Saturday, March 27, at 8:00 PM.  The program will include Busoni’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 (“Geharnischte”), Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, and a world premiere of a work by Stephen Dembski, Raven-Year, which was commissioned by NYRO.  For information, please send an email to, call 212.662.8383, or visit . . . On Saturday, April 10, 2010, at 2:30 PM, Ryan William Jackson will play an organ recital in the church.  The program is Maurice Duruflé’s complete organ works.  Admission is free.  For more information you may visit



The Parish Clergy

The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector

The Reverend James Ross Smith, curate

The Reverend Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, deacon

The Reverend John Merz, assisting priest

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


Parish Staff

Mr. Aaron Koch, business manager

Mr. Steven Gonley, building superintendent,

Mr. Miguel Gonzalez, Mr. Mario Martinez, Mr. H. Antonio Santiago, sextons