From the Rector: Eucharistic Connections
This spring a lot of my reading has been focused on the history of the Eucharist. It’s an enormous subject, and one that I will never master, but I am a person who went to seminary in large part because I thought I was called to preside at the Eucharist. It’s still the foundation of my journey as a Christian person and my work as a Christian pastor.
Recently I pulled out a book by Nathan Mitchell, Cult and Controversy: The Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass (New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1982). There may be some new scholarship that might alter aspects of Mitchell’s readings, but I think the book remains a very good summary of how, around the year 1000 AD, Western Christianity managed to lose the Eucharistic banquet and at the same time to find Christ behind the glass of the monstrance.
If there were ever something of a “big bang” moment for the Eucharist as we know it, with respect, perhaps it was not the Last Supper of Christ and his disciples, but the “last suppers” of Christians where bread was broken and the cup shared at dinner, that is, in the course of the principal meal of the day. This seems to have happened almost everywhere by the end of the first century. Again, by the end of the first millennium of the Christian era, the Eucharist would be an object more than an action; it would no longer be experienced as spiritual food for the journey of Christian people. It would be about Christ’s sacrifice.
Before I go any farther, let me say, the life I know in Christ continues to be shaped by Eucharistic adoration. During Sunday Evensong & Benediction, we always stop for a few minutes of silent prayer with the Sacrament exposed. I know the “Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them” (The Book of Common Prayer, 872). But there is something compelling about Christ’s presence as Word and Sacrament. My soul is fed by being still before this Presence. I don’t think this journey would be the same if I weren’t being led to a renewed sense of being nourished by Bread and Wine.
John’s gospel ends with the dialogue of Jesus and Peter, where Jesus admonishes Peter to feed Jesus’ sheep. If we continue to seek to be fed, continue to seek the food that nourishes to eternal life, I believe we will have strength better to bear the burdens of life and better to keep our eyes on the kingdom to come. It is at the altar we are fed for God’s work. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Carol, John, Robbie, MaryJane, Sharon, Wayne, James, Robert, Chris, Angie, Rolf, Daisy, Ross, Nicholas, Robert, Elsa, William, Gert, Mary, George, Rick, and Pegram, PRIEST, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially John, James, Kayla, Marc, and Benjamin . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 13: 1935 Peter William Weber
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE between Martin Franks of Washington, D.C., and Sherry McCaffery of Washington, D.C. 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 first time of asking. S.G.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Our Christian Education classes have concluded for the year and will resume in October. Child care will continue every Sunday throughout the summer from 8:45 AM until 1:00 PM. Please stay tuned for announcements about our 2010-2011 Christian Education schedule and offerings . . . The renovation of the Parish House hallways and stairwell continues this week . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, June 12. Father John Merz will hear confessions on Saturday, June 19.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thank you to all those who worked so hard to make Corpus Christi such a fine day here at Saint Mary’s: to our musicians, led by James Kennerley; to our acolytes; to our ushers and volunteers who helped with the procession and carried the canopy over the Blessed Sacrament; to Sister Laura Katharine and Daniel Craig, who provided extra help in the sacristy . . . Terry Carlson is the curator of the Visual Arts program’s latest exhibition in Saint Joseph’s Hall. He conceived the idea and saw it through to opening day, last Sunday. We are grateful for his hard work, his creativity, and his generosity. Thank you also to Dick Leitsch, parish archivist, who helped Terry to find and choose images for the exhibition . . . Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will be away from the parish June 12-19, attending a training program for adults who work with children in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd . . . Seminarian Rem Slone is traveling to Israel and the West Bank along with other participants in The Christian-Jewish Seminarian Program on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which is a joint project of the American Jewish Committee (New York Chapter) and Auburn Theological Seminary. He will be back at Saint Mary’s on June 20. When Rem returns to New York he will be helping out in the parish office, working on several projects . . . Thursday, June 24, The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Mass 12:10 PM & Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, June 29, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Mass 12:10 PM & Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Monday, July 5, Independence Day, Federal Holiday Schedule: The church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM, the noon services are offered, and the parish offices are closed . . . The Rector will be away from the parish from Tuesday, June 15, until Tuesday, June 22. He returns to the office on Wednesday, June 23 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 270.
FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass is Chorale by William Mathias (1934-1992). Mathias is also composer of the Mass setting and the postlude. Born in Wales, he was a child prodigy, playing the piano at three and composing at five. He later studied under Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His music encompasses a variety of styles and influences, but it is his choral music that is best known (his anthem Let the people praise thee, O God was performed for over one billion people at the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana). At the ministration of Communion Benedictus from Messe in h-Moll (Mass in B Minor) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) will be sung . . . On Sunday, June 20, the music at the Solemn Mass will be sung by the choir of Saint John’s Church, Tampa, Florida. The choir’s director is Simon Morley. James Kennerley
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch will speak at the LGBT Center on the “Julius’ Sip–In” on Tuesday, June 15, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. Dick was a participant in the Sip-In and president of New York’s Mattachine Society on April 21, 1966, when it was illegal in New York for homosexuals to be served alcoholic drinks at a bar. This event is free but reservations are needed: firstname.lastname@example.org . . . Dick was also interviewed for the film “Stonewall Uprising” which opens on Wednesday, June 16, at the Film Forum.
NEWS OF OUR MUSICIANS . . . The members of early-music quartet, New York Polyphony, have all sung here at Saint Mary’s and are well known to members of the parish. Geoffrey Williams is married to Saint Mary’s chorister, Emilie Williams (Geoff and Emilie were married here at Saint Mary’s; Craig Phillips, also a member of New York Polyphony, was married here last February). New York Polyphony recently issued a new CD entitled Tudor City. The CD was recently a WQXR Radio “pick of the week” album.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . On Sunday, August 15, 2010, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus, will be celebrant for the Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM in observance of the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on August 9, 1960. Our guest preacher will be the Reverend Dr. David Wood, parish priest, Grace Church Joondalup, and Anglican chaplain, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. More details to follow. Please mark your calendars.
A REMINDER . . . Parish Treasurer Randy Morgan and Business Manager Aaron Koch would like to remind the members of the parish community that it is important to keep up to date on pledge payments during the summer months, a time when the parish has often experienced “cash-flow” problems. Thank you to all those who continue to support Saint Mary’s so generously.
SAINT RAPHAEL’S GUILD OF USHERS . . . We are looking for a few good women and men who are willing to serve as ushers at Mass on Sunday mornings, on holy days, and at Evensong and Benediction on Sunday afternoons during the academic year. Ushers usually serve one Sunday per month. If you know how to smile, like to meet new people, are eager to welcome our visitors, and are willing to help newcomers learn more about the parish, perhaps this ministry is for you. If you are interested, please speak to George Handy, Randy Morgan, or Father Jay Smith.
THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST . . . The Community will be holding their annual celebration of Commemoration Day on Saturday, June 26, in Mendham, New Jersey. Father Gerth will be the celebrant at Mass and our new Superior, the Reverend Sister Eleanor Francis, will be the preacher. After Mass, lunch will be served. Sister Laura Katharine and I welcome our members of SMV to join us. For the luncheon, please RSVP to one of us by Sunday June 20. Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, 379
Wednesday Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, 1752
Friday Bernard Mizeki, Catechist and
Martyr in Rhodesia, 1896
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Saint Mary’s is open every day of the year for worship, prayer and rest. Most weekdays the church is open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Saturdays the church is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. On Sundays it is open from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM. On holidays the church is open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
On Sundays our services are: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM, Mass 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Organ Recital 4:40 PM, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM.
For the complete list of daily services, please see our web page at www.stmvirgin.org.