The Angelus


FROM THE RECTOR: Connecting with our past

The Annual Meeting of the congregation will take place on Sunday, May 2, following the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass.  At this meeting, the Board of Trustees, parish organizations and staff present reports on the work of the past year.  Members of the parish elect our two representatives (and two alternates) to the annual convention of the Diocese of New York.  The meeting is a small celebration of what we do all year.  2009 was a year of significant transition at Saint Mary’s.  This meeting will give us a chance to reflect on the shape of our common life and to look ahead at the coming years.  There is much for which to be thankful.

Most readers of this newsletter know that Saint Mary’s was organized under the Free Church Act of the State of New York.  “Free Church” does not mean “independent.”  It means that the parish cannot charge “pew rents.”  Its doors and services are open to all, free of charge.  Saint Mary’s was organized this way with the permission and direction of the Right Reverend Horatio Potter, bishop of New York (1861-1887).

The certificate of incorporation for Saint Mary’s was filed on December 3, 1868.  The original trustees were the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, Bowie Dash, James Geddes Day, William P. Lee, Henry K. Leonard, the Reverend Flavel Scott Mines, and William Scott.  Both Father Brown and Father Mines were sons-in-law of Mr. William Scott.  On December 8, 1870, the doors of the first parish church were opened at 228 West 45th Street, which is now the parking garage between the Minskoff Theatre and Junior’s Bakery.  My hunch is that those men could have imagined Saint Mary’s and Times Square today.  They were part of a generation that thought big about the parish, the wider Church and the future.

The Story of St. Mary’s is a 1931 history by Newbury Frost Read.  (It can be read in the archives section of the parish website.)  Mr. Read used minutes of the board of trustees and newspaper articles as the primary sources for his narrative.  He had been elected to the board in 1929 and within a few months became its secretary.  For most of its history Saint Mary’s has lived beyond its means.  There was never enough money to do all the things people wanted to do.  One wonders how parish treasurers, then and now, might write a history of Saint Mary’s.  What has driven every generation in this parish to look forward is the glimpse we have had, the call we have had together, of Jesus Christ our Lord.

As is our custom, this Sunday before the conclusion of the Solemn Mass, there will be a stational prayer at the Shrine of our Lady.  The month of May has been a time for special devotions to Mary since the Middle Ages.  Then, we will sing the hymn that was sung as the first service in our church building began, “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.”  If you want to know what has drawn people to this place, the text of this hymn is as good a place as there is to start.  Stephen Gerth


I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE for Rebekah Rachél Sterbin and Benjamin Slusky.  If any of you know just cause why they may not be joined in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it.  This is the third time of asking.  J.R.S.


I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE for Daylene Hunte and Felipe Lee.  If any of you know just cause why they may not be joined in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it.  This is the third time of asking.  J.R.S.


YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Carol, MaryJane, Dennis, James, Sharon, Wayne, Reha, Ben, Daylene, Felipe, Chris, Alicia, Angie, Rolf, Daisy, Ross, Roger, Emil, Henry, Nicholas, Robert, Elsa, William, Gert, Mary, Rick, Edgar, priest and Pegram, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially John, James, Kayla, Marc, Benjamin and Andrew; and for the repose of the souls of Teri, Marilyn, and Richard . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 2: 1950 Ferdinand Baumann


IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . We have just received news that Teri Hennelly-Baldwin, the sister of former parishioner Noel Hennelly, died on March 4, 2010, after a long illness.  Please keep Teri, Noel, and all who mourn in your prayers.


THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Annual Meeting of the Parish will take place on Sunday, May 2, at 12:45 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Saturday, May 1, is the Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles . . . Saint Mary’s Guild will meet on Saturday, May 8, following the 12:10 Mass . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, May 1.  The Rector will hear confessions on Saturday, May 8.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . If you would like to know more about Saint Mary’s Guild, the parish’s altar guild, please speak with one of the sisters or to Marie Rosseels . . . Michael Reid is still coordinating donations for the National Bone Marrow Program.  He can be contacted at . . . Parishioner David Jette celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary as the head verger at Trinity Church, Wall Street, during the month of April.  He was honored by Trinity’s clergy and staff at a recent Sunday Eucharist.  David is secretary of the board of trustees.  Congratulations, David! . . . Father Smith continues his Book Sale on Sunday in Saint Joseph’s Hall.  All funds are used to help those in need . . . Mark your calendar: Ascension Day is Thursday, May 13.  The Day of Pentecost is Sunday, May 23.  Trinity Sunday is May 30.  The Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated on Sunday, June 6 . . . On Sunday May 30, we offer our final service of Evensong and Benediction of the academic year.  Beginning on Sunday, June 6, the final service of the day will be Evening Prayer, said in the church at 5:00 PM, until the first Sunday in October . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 251


FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT . . . The prelude Sunday morning is an improvisation on Vruechten – a Dutch tune sung today to the hymn “This joyful Eastertide”.  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa Ave Regina caelorum by Tomas Luis de Victoria (c. 1548-1611). Born in Avila, Victoria became a chorister in the cathedral in 1558.  When his voice broke, he enrolled as a student at the Collegium Germanicum in Rome in 1565, a city in which he would hold various positions for the next twenty years.  The mass setting “parodies” Victoria’s own settings of the Ave Regina caelorum.  In the sixteenth century and earlier it was a standard practice (which might well now be considered plagiarism, but was probably then considered a form of compliment) for a composer to take an existing motet or motets by another composer as a basis for creating a larger-scale work such as a mass by using, elaborating on and developing the material and combining this with new material to build a new work. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Ave Regina caelorum for five voices by Victoria . . . At Solemn Evensong and Benediction, music is sung by a small group drawn from the professional choir.  The canticles are the Fourth Evening Service by Adrian Batten (c. 1591-c. 1637), and the O Salutaris is by Jehan Alain (1911-1940).  James Kennerley


CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Wednesday, May 12, 8:00 PM, Voices of Ascension Chorus and Orchestra, “The Glory of Palestrina”.  The program includes Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli.  To order tickets visit or call 212.358.7060 . . . May 22, 2010, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, music director.  The program includes music by Kodály, Strauss, and Debussy.  Admission is free.  For information, send an e-mail to, call 212.662.8383. or visit


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumed on April 14, meets this week on Wednesday, May 5, at 6:30 PM, and will continue until Wednesday, June 9.  Led by the sisters, the members of the class have finished reading the Book of Job and will now take up the books of Ruth, Esther and the Song of Songs.  The class normally meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House.  All are welcome. No prior experience is necessary.


FLOWERS NEEDED . . . Flowers are needed for the altar for the following days:  Thursday, May 13, Ascension Day; Sunday, May 30, Trinity Sunday; Sunday, June 13; Sunday, July 18 and Sunday, July 25.  If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Finance Office.  Thank you to all those who have made such generous gifts, allowing us to decorate the altar and church.


AIDS WALK, SUNDAY, MAY 16 . . . Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk team is forming now.  We invite you to join the team.  The 2010 AIDS Walk is on Sunday, May 16, but many Saint Marians and their friends will walk on Saturday, May 15, in order to be in church on Sunday morning.  Flyers giving information about joining the team or supporting an individual walker will be on the ushers’ table near the church’s Forty-sixth Street entrance every Sunday.  If you can’t join the team, but would like to support its members, and this very worthy cause, you can give a check made out to AWNY to one of the priests or to the sisters.  You can also make a donation online at  At that website, click on Team Information” and then “click on 2010 Registered Teams.” Scroll down and click on Saint Mary the Virgin” and then click on “General Team Donation.”  In 2009, we had 33 walkers, 5 of them Gold (which means they raised $1,000 or more), and the team raised $17,456 and ranked 27 out of 2,885 teams for its fundraising efforts.  So far this year, we have 18 walkers, 2 of them Gold and one near-Gold.  So far, we have raised $6,670.  With the Walk just over two weeks away, we need to increase our efforts.  Please help the team to beat last year’s record!  If you have questions, please send an e-mail to Father Smith (, who can put you in contact with the team leaders, MaryJane Boland and Grace Bruni.


VISUAL ARTS PROJECT . . . Exhibit now in Saint Joseph’s Hall: “Illuminated Psalms by Lisa Bell”.  Lisa Bell is an artist and calligrapher who lives in Hartford, Connecticut.  Lisa is a graduate of the Pratt Institute.  Her work is owned by private collectors who value her exquisite calligraphy, use of bold color, fine papers, and handmade frames – she is a picture framer by trade – to create unique works of art in the tradition of the medieval scribes and illuminators of the biblical text.  Susan Wamsley, Saint Mary’s Visual Arts Program



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