The Angelus



Anyone who's been around Saint Mary’s will have witnessed the Rector’s enthusiasm for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), the educational method for the spiritual formation of children developed by Sofia Cavalletti.  Saint Marians have recently been informed about our own CGS atrium, which will soon be open for children who are between the ages of three and six in what was formerly office space above St. Joseph’s Hall.  I use the words “our own” with special emphasis, since the words pertain to CGS becoming part of our identity as a parish.

Now that I have been training as a catechist, I know what my formation leader and others, including the Rector, feel when they get a particular expression on their faces that I can only describe as beaming.  This marveling and appreciative look is inspired by watching young children experience God in an utterly pure and present form – and by the realization that this experience of God, encouraged through carefully selected parts of the liturgy, an experience to which young children are particularly attuned, will enrich their lives from then on.  “Wondering,” meant both as a mode and as a word to be used in discussion with the children as they move through the seasons of the church year, is key to the way the catechists interact with, and communicate the lessons to, the children.  Such a natural and meditative engagement with the spiritual life and the life of prayer encourages the children’s seamless connection between themselves and the risen Christ.

The image of the Good Shepherd, the central emblem of the Catechesis, is one that children seem to comprehend fully, while they interact instinctively with the painted wood figures of a shepherd and sheep and simply enact the scenario with no cueing from texts or script, leading to the awareness that we also are brought home, cared for, and kept safe by Jesus.

There are many other scriptural presentations in the CGS (for example, the Advent prophecies, infancy narratives, parables, and the paschal mystery) all of which are designed to capitalize on this ability of the children to be completely accepting that Christ is with us. It has sometimes been claimed that Sunday school is really just disguised childcare or play. We who are and will be involved with the CGS have discovered that nothing could be further from the truth.  I say “we” because when I excitedly reported to the priest who is my CGS formation leader that the Rector is providing an atrium and that I am fortunate to have the assistance of seminarian Rem Slone, her answer was partly in the form of a question: “That’s great. Now, what about the parish?”  Of course, in many CGS programs there are people who construct the child-sized equipment or sew the miniature vestments that teach the liturgical seasons or cut out and replenish arts-and-crafts materials or paint wooden figures used in the activities. However, that is not the type of parish support for an atrium that she meant, but rather a recognition by the community of its significance.

There may not be a large number of children at Saint Mary’s at the moment, but those who are here are precious to us and it is a beginning, just as during the early days of the church’s history a few eventually became many. Clearly, without a present there is no future. The Rector’s commitment to the CGS shows what value he places on the building of an atrium, literally and figuratively.  To use a familiar cliché, if we build it they will come – not just to our atrium but to our parish and to our congregation, and to the Body of Christ. Saint Mary's children, our children, are the Christians of the future.

Returning to the title of this article: we are physically preparing the environment (a phrase from the CGS manual.)  The specific contents of our atrium are just the objects.  The children and their relationship to God are the subjects. Yes, we are building it, but they will come because we are truly preparing the environment, being a parish that nurtures our children, making it possible, we hope, for them to express the awareness of God in their lives, and therefore simultaneously nurturing the same thing in ourselves.  What God has prepared and built we continue; as the children recognize that the wooden figures in the pasture are about the Eucharist, we recognize our role in giving our children the opportunity to fully develop "the religious potential" that Cavalletti understood, and found inspirational, when she started this way of education, a potential we can help fulfill. In another CGS phrase, it is “a joyful journey,” one that we at Saint Mary’s are all beginning together.  Rebecca Weiner Tompkins


YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Carol, Mary, James, Sharon, George, Mary, Bryant, Daisy, Gerardo, Cesar, Chris, Rolf, Nicholas, Elsa, William, Gert, Rick, Emil, religious, Pegram, priest, and Edgar, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially John, James, Kayla, Marc, and Benjamin . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 29: 1889 Edward William Bridge; 1895 Irma Diller; 1928 Emma Haywood; 1930 Vincent Leguesne; 1936 Bertha McGouigle; 1944 Malcolm Burton Thompson; 1959 James Edward Emanuel; 1961 Joseph B. Thornell


THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Father David Wood will hear confessions at 11:30 AM on Saturday, August 28.  Father Smith will hear confessions at 4:00 PM on Saturday, August 28.  Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, September 4 . . . Father Gerth will be away from the parish from Monday, August 23, until Monday, September 6.  He returns to the office on Wednesday, September 8.


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 . . . A set of six tall wooden candlesticks, often added to the high altar on feast days, has been sent to a conservator for evaluation and restoration.  They were painted gold over a hundred years ago.  The conservator discovered that originally they were finished with silver leaf.  Our Fine Arts Committee is working with the conservator to propose the next steps . . . Two of the four “office lights” on the high altar have also been removed for conservation.  These candlesticks are brass.  Two have become unsteady.  We hope these will be able to be repaired quickly . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 207.


FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Music on Sunday is sung by Ms. Ruth Cunningham, soprano.  The prelude is the Prière à Notre Dame from Suite gothique, Opus 25, by Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897).  The Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei are sung to settings by Ruth Cunningham, with accompaniment improvised by James Kennerley.  At the ministration of Communion, the motet is Ave maris Stella, which is sung to a setting by Ruth Cunningham.  J.K.


CLERGY NOTES . . . On Tuesday, August 31, the Reverend Dr. John Kevern will celebrate the noon Mass.  Father Kevern has served as a parish priest in Chicago and as the Dean of Bexley Hall, an Episcopal theological school.  He has also served on two ecumenical dialogue commissions.  I am very grateful for his help this month . . . On Tuesdays in September, the Reverend Ajung Sojwal will be celebrant for the 12:10 PM Mass.  Mother Sojwal is a graduate of Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, Maharashtra, India; Fordham University; and the General Theological Seminary.  She was ordained in our diocese in 2006 and has served as priest-in-charge at the Church of Our Savior in Manhattan.  Her husband, the Reverend Milind Sojwal, is rector of All Angels Church, New York City.  The Sojwals have two children.  I am very thankful she can assist us in September.  S.G.


YOUR PARISH CLERGY CAN’T ADD . . . Jay Smith and I are thankful that one of the jobs Grace Bruni does is to go through the parish register a couple of times a year and re-do the columns where we add the numbers for Sunday and weekday attendance – and the columns where we add the number of Eucharists, Daily Offices and other Ministrations of the Church.  She says she used to keep track to see which of us was the most guilty when it came to arithmetical errors, but is now convinced that all have sinned and there is no health in us.  Grace, thank you for your help.  S.G.


FALL CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The first Adult Forum of the academic year will take place on Sunday, October 3, towards the end of Coffee Hour, around 1:00 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall.  Parish Archivist, Dick Leitsch, will give a talk on the history of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, focusing on Father Thomas McKee Brown, Saint Mary’s first rector 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 the 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, C.S.J.B., and Sister Laura Katharine,C.S.J.B.  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 . . . The Church in England during the Middle Ages through the Lens of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: This 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) . . . Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: Father Peter Powell will lead a three-part series on 1 Corinthians this fall (November 7, 14, and 21).  The series is designed to be an introduction to this very important letter.  During Lent 2011, Father Powell returns and will do a close reading of 1 Corinthians 15.  The fall series will be good preparation for the Lent series, but is not a prerequisite . . . The Adult-Education Class will not meet on Sunday, November 28, the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day . . . Bishop Anthony Bloom’s Beginning to Pray: Sunday, December 5, 10:00 AM.  A brief introduction to a well-known work by a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain.  Led by Father Jay Smith.


LOOKING AHEAD . . . 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 . . . Monday, September 20, Meeting of the Board of Trustees . . . 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 surely find fascinating and entertaining . . . Monday, October 11, Columbus 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 . . . Monday, October 18, Saint Luke, Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Thursday, October 28, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . 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.


ALTAR FLOWERS are needed on the following dates: September 19, October 24, November 7, 14, and 21.  If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the finance office; and thank you to all those who support this ministry so generously.


OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are still collecting non-perishable food items 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, and Monday, December 13, 2010, Voices of Ascension: Christmas Concert.  Information about programming and tickets is available at . . . 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


ANNUAL HOBART LECTURE . . . This year’s lecture will be delivered by Ellen T. Charry, the Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, on Thursday, October 28, in Synod Hall, on the Cathedral Close, at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue.  The day begins with Mass in the Cathedral at 10:30 AM and the lecture will begin around 1:45 PM, following lunch.  More information about making reservations for the day will be posted soon on the diocesan website,  Prof. Charry earned both the M.A. and the Ph.D. in religion from Temple University.  She received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College and a master’s degree in social work from Yeshiva University.  Her scholarly interests are centered on the Christian life.  She currently serves as an editor-at-large for The Christian Century and serves on the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.  She is a member of the Pursuit of Happiness Project established by the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University.  Her publications include God and the Art of Happiness (forthcoming, 2010); By the Renewing of Your Minds: The Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine (Oxford University Press, 1997); and Franz Rosenzweig on the Freedom of God (Wyndham Hall Press, 1987). 


AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . The Screwtape Letters “is a smart, provocative and wickedly funny theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view.”  It is now playing at the Westside Theatre (Upstairs), 407 W. 43rd St.  Tickets are on sale thru, by calling 212.239.6200,  or at the Box Office . . . At the Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway at 61st Street: Exhibition: The Glory of Ukraine: Sacred Images from the Eleventh to the Nineteenth Centuries; Concert: Saturday, September 11, 2010, 3:00-4:00 PM, Darkness & Light – Music from Ukraine and Beyond, The Caravel Quartet; . . . Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9, 2010, At the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues: a conference to mark the opening of museum’s new exhibition Embodying the Holy: Icons in Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism. From the museum’s website: “While the exhibition explores the iconographic, conceptual, and customary similarities between the sacral representations in Tibetan Buddhism and Orthodox Christian traditions, the two-day conference will range more widely in seeking to understand the universal power of religious symbolism.”  The exhibition can be seen at the museum from October 6, 2010, until March 7, 2011.


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