FROM THE RECTOR: MAIN EVENTS
There are twenty-nine services offered at Saint Mary’s between Saturday evening, April 16, and Sunday evening, April 24 – and I’m not counting the parish clergy sitting for confessions after the two services on Good Friday. But, all services and days are not equal. I think it is fair to say, that if you wanted to rank the two most important services of the week they would be first, the Great Vigil of Easter, on Saturday, April 23, at 7:00 PM and, second, the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, April 17, at 11:00 AM.
In the second century, Sunday replaced the Jewish Sabbath as the weekly day for Christians to gather for worship. Sunday wasn’t originally a day to celebrate the resurrection, but the day when the Church gathered to be ready for the second coming of Christ. (Paul F. Bradshaw and Maxwell E. Johnson, The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity [Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2011], 3-13). Saturdays became a day to recall creation (Ibid., 24). The history of the transformation of Sunday into a weekly remembrance of the resurrection and also of the emergence of Sunday as the great day of the resurrection can be the subject of another article – when I manage to gain a clearer understanding of the current state of the question.
Sunday does emerge as the weekly celebration of the resurrection and Easter Day then becomes the principal celebration of the Church year. The Church still reckons time on Sunday and on its greatest festivals as the first Christians did, and as Jesus and his disciples did, from sundown to sundown. The great celebration of the great Sunday of the year is the night when Jesus passes over from death to life and Light shines in the darkness. This is the main event of Holy Week, the Great Vigil of Easter. Together we hear more Scripture at the Vigil than at any other service of the year. There is glory and power to this first Mass of Easter that cannot be put into words. It should be experienced and it can only be celebrated with presence.
The Sunday of the Passion, that is the Sunday before Easter Day, is the original, if you will, Good Friday. In the first two centuries of the Christian era, the Church gathered for weekly Eucharist on Sundays. Once a Sunday of the resurrection emerges, a Sunday of the passion becomes part of the rhythm of the year. The liturgies of this Sunday have come to include celebrations of Jesus’ triumphal entry – originally celebrated on the evening of this Sunday. But Church tradition knows no “Mass of the Palms.” The palm liturgy is a powerful proclamation and witness to Christ, but what makes the Sunday before Easter Day a “main event” is the Mass of the passion. Somewhat confusingly, the palms have won out over the passion in nomenclature. “Palm Sunday” is our common name for the “Sunday of the Passion.” And I’ve pretty much surrendered on that one. Again, the 11:00 AM Palm Sunday liturgy would be number two on my list for the most important services of Holy Week and Easter Day.
I think one could go one or two ways about numbers three, four and five. One could make an argument for Easter Day Evensong as the third main event – and by all means, do not miss it if you can possibly make it. But the liturgies of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday would be my choice to tie for third place and make Easter Day Evensong number five.
One of the most important insights of the twentieth-century liturgical movement was a recovery of a sense that the congregation of baptized persons is the Body of Christ. In the great services of Holy Week, the liturgy gives us the opportunity to experience this in profound ways. At Saint Mary’s we take full advantage of the opportunity.
On Palm Sunday and on Good Friday, the account of Jesus’ death is solemnly chanted in parts. The congregation takes the part of Jesus, not the celebrant, not a soloist, but the people, the members of the Body of Christ. On Maundy Thursday, everyone is invited to sit to have their feet washed and then to wash the feet of another (details on how we do this follow in this newsletter). On Good Friday, the congregation approaches the cross for veneration two by two. After two venerate, they stand and hold the cross for the next two.
The unifying theory of Holy Week worship at Saint Mary’s, again, is that the people are living members of the Body of Christ. We celebrate and proclaim his death and resurrection. By God’s grace, we are already part of Christ’s community of eternal life.
The Great Vigil of Easter is the first Mass of the resurrection. We begin in darkness. We conclude with Jesus Christ is risen today, alleluia. James Kennerley is playing Tournemire’s Variations sur Choral-Improvisation sur le "Victimae paschali". It will be a glorious beginning to Easter Day.
On the day itself, hymns are sung at the said Masses at 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM. The solemn Mass of the day is at 11:00 AM – I can hardly wait to hear the Agnus dei from Missa Paschalis by Orlande de Lassus (1532–1594).
Then, there’s Solemn Paschal Evensong on Easter Day at 5:00 PM. The parish choir sings at the service. There is a procession of the clergy to the font and a sprinkling of holy water of the assembly as the procession returns. The hymns for the procession are O sons and daughters, let us sing! and The strife is o’er, the battle done! The highlight of the service for me is Eucharistic Benediction. As we kneel with the Eucharist exposed for adoration, Luke’s account of Jesus meeting his disciples on the road to Emmaus on the evening of the first Easter Day (Luke 24:13-35) is read.
When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:30-35)
I invite you to be here for the great celebrations of Holy Week and Easter Day. To members of our wider parish community and especially to local members who are not able to be here in person, we will hold you up in the days of Holy Week and Easter. In Christ we are already and always One in Him. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Carol, Sharon, Reha, Ben, Murray, Maureen, Jennie, Doreen, Margaret, Julia, Dorothy, Alan, Chris, Rolf, Gert, William, Daisy, Rick, Dennis, Emil, religious; and John, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Nicholas and Christine; and for the repose of the soul of Willie and Jennie . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 17:. 1885 Paul Everhardt Luttjen; 1911 Harold Jack Bloy; 1913 Victor Edmund Cook; 1917 Cornelia Smith Waugh; 1920 Ann Catherine McClain; 1925 Henry Dutton Pierce; 1943 Josephine C. Rust.
SPECIAL PALM SUNDAY SCHEDULE NOTE: There is no 10:00 AM celebration of the Eucharist on Palm Sunday. The Masses of the day are Sung Vigil Mass on Saturday, April 16, at 5:00 PM, Sung Mass on Sunday, April 17, at 9:00 AM and Solemn Mass on Sunday at 11:00 AM.
ABOUT THE WASHING OF FEET ON MAUNDY THURSDAY . . . All who wish to participate are invited to do so. Children may need the help of their parents to do so, but they are especially invited to participate as they are able. After the sermon, the celebrant will invite the people to come forward to have done for them and to do what Jesus did for his disciples. People remove socks or stockings and shoes at their seat and approach the chancel with bare feet. Four chairs are set up. One sits to have one’s feet washed (a little warm water is poured) and then dried. Then one kneels to wash the feet of the next person. The appointed anthems from Scripture are sung (Prayer Book, 274-275). Then, there is silence. The assembly hears what was heard in the Upper Room, the sound of pottery, the sound of water.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Stations of the Cross, Friday, April 15, at 6:30 PM . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the Adult Forum will not meet on Sunday, April 17, Palm Sunday, or on Sunday, April 24, Easter Day . . . The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, April 18, at 6:30 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study will not meet on April 20, Wednesday in Holy Week. The class will resume the following week on Wednesday, April 27 . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, April 16. Confessions will be heard by the parish clergy after both of the Good Friday liturgies on April 22. Confessions will be heard only by appointment on Saturday, April 23, and Saturday, April 30.
ACOLYTE REHEARSALS . . . There will be an acolyte rehearsal for Palm Sunday on Saturday, April 16, at 10:00 AM. There will be two acolyte rehearsals for Maundy Thursday. The first is on Sunday, April 17, at 3:00 PM. The second is on Thursday, April 21, at 5:00 PM. The acolyte rehearsals for the two Good Friday liturgies are on Friday, April 22, at 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The rehearsal for the Easter Vigil is on Saturday, April 23, at 4:00 PM.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS . . . There are a number of opportunities in the next week or so for members and friends of the parish to volunteer their time to help prepare for Easter. On Saturday, April 16, at around 11:00 AM, following the acolyte rehearsal, volunteers are needed to “strip palms” in Saint Joseph’s Hall in preparation for the three Palm Sunday liturgies . . . On Tuesday, April 19, at 1:00 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall, Sister Laura Katharine and Daniel Craig will be leading an altar guild “work day” to polish brass for Easter . . . Marie Rosseels is overseeing the decoration of the church for Easter this year. She will be at the church from the morning of Tuesday, April 19, until the afternoon of Saturday, April 23. If you would like to help and are able to commit to a specific time slot, please contact Marie to make arrangements.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reha Sterbin is a member of Saint Mary’s and a faithful member of our acolyte corps. There was a serious fire in her apartment in Queens early on Wednesday morning. No one was hurt, but the apartment was badly damaged. Please keep Reha and her husband, Ben Slusky, in your prayers . . . Father John Hamilton, priest-in-charge, Saint John’s Church, Getty Square, Yonkers, has been admitted to the hospital. He is not receiving visitors or phone calls at this time. John has been a good friend of Saint Mary’s since his seminary days. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Our annual Easter Appeal was mailed on Monday, April 11. Since the parish’s needs are great, we invite you to give the appeal your prayerful consideration and to be generous . . . Thank you to Grace Bruni, Rosemary Kulp, Dick Leitsch, Brenda Morgan, Jason Mudd, Reha Sterbin, and José Vidal, for giving up two hours on Sunday afternoon to send out the Easter Appeal mailing. Their hard work and attention to detail are much appreciated . . . The sign-up sheet for the Watch before the Blessed Sacrament will be on the bulletin board in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Sunday . . . The Committee to Elect a Bishop has prepared and published a profile of the diocese. The profile, “Welcome to the Diocese of New York,” may be read on the diocesan website. The convention to elect a bishop coadjutor is scheduled for Saturday, October 29, 2011, at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine . . . Cash gifts are still needed to fund the reception planned for the Easter Vigil on April 23. Please contact Father Smith or Aaron Koch in the Finance Office if you would like to help . . . Flowers are needed for Sunday, May 22, and Sunday, May 29. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the Finance Office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 204.
CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD . . . The class will not meet on Palm Sunday, April 17, or on Easter Day, Sunday, April 24. The class resumes in May and will meet on May 1, 8, 15, and 22. Sunday, May 22, is the final class of the year. On May 22, we will be saying goodbye to one of our teachers, the Reverend T. Remington Slone. We are grateful to Rem for all of his help with this ministry this year.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The music at the Solemn Mass on Sunday includes numerous chants appointed for Palm Sunday. These chants are among the Church’s great musical heritage and have been associated with the liturgy of the day for centuries. In addition, the setting of the Mass ordinary is Mass for Five Voices, Op. 64, by Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989). The setting, the text of which is in Latin, is a haunting piece for unaccompanied choir. Composed in 1964, it was commissioned by Cardinal Heenan, then archbishop of Westminster, and dedicated to Colin Mawby and the choir of Westminster Cathedral, London. Berkeley, who was Roman Catholic, was professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and among his famous pupils are William Mathias (1934-1992) and John Tavener (b. 1944). James Kennerley
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . TENET and the Spiritus Collective will perform on Saturday, May 14, at 8:00 PM as part of Miller Theatre’s Early Music series. Box Office: 212-854-7799. Tickets can also be purchased online . . . The New York Repertory Orchestra will present a concert on Saturday, May 21, at 8:00 PM, performing music of Berlioz, Rosenhaus, and Beethoven. Admission to the NYRO concert is free.
VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM (VAP) . . . There is a new exhibit hanging in the gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The work is by artist and calligrapher, Lisa Bell. Lisa, who lives in Hartford, Connecticut, graduated from the Pratt Institute. She writes, “My work combines all my passions and loves: painting, medieval art history, illuminated manuscripts, literature, poetry, liturgy, and God. It is my way of putting my heart on paper. Simply put, I choose the texts I use because they move me in some way. Often I illuminate psalms and prayers that reflect my state of mind, or the music I’ve been listening to at the time I’m creating them. That said, my focus as I work is very technical. I just try to keep the lines straight, the pen marks evenly weighted and spaced, all the letters the same height, and so on. Each piece comes to life on its own, at its own pace, and watching that transformation is, for me, one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. Each starts as a blank piece of paper sitting on a drafting table, and slowly becomes a living, breathing thing that is no longer ‘mine’” . . . On Friday, May 6, at 7:00 PM, VAP will present a lecture-presentation by painter Miguel Luciano in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Miguel is a talented young artist whose work uses humor, images drawn from the popular culture, and considerable painterly skill to address issues of colonialism, consumerism, and the encounters and clashes between Puerto Rican and North American cultures. His work was highlighted in the recent PBS series, “Art Through Time: A Global View.” The lecture is being presented in cooperation with El Museo del Barrio and Tertulia Latina. For more information, please contact José Vidal.
DIOCESAN ALTAR GUILD QUIET DAY . . . Bishop Sisk has asked Bishop Andrew St John, rector of the Church of the Transfiguration, New York City, to be an advisor to the altar guilds in the diocese. He will give a Quiet Day, “Bringing Our Work to God”, on Saturday, May 7, at Transfiguration between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Participants are asked to bring a brown bag lunch and to make reservations at email@example.com.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class meets in the Arch Room, on the second floor of the Mission House from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The class is led by the sisters and is currently reading the Book of Ecclesiasticus. Newcomers are most welcome! The class will not meet on Wednesday in Holy Week, April 20 . . . The Adult Forum will meet on the first four Sundays in May. Grace Bruni will lead a church-history series on the complex relationship between civil and ecclesiastical authority during the Middle Ages . . . On Sunday, June 5, Dr. Dennis Raverty, will give a lecture on The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood & the British Arts and Crafts Movement.
PRIDE MARCH: A CALL FOR HELP . . . The Committee on LGBT Concerns of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, in collaboration with Integrity NYC-Metro and the Oasis-Diocese of Newark, is asking for help once again this year to pay for the Episcopal Church’s float for the annual Pride March on Sunday, June 26. This is an important witness and Saint Mary’s contributed to the effort last year. If you would like to make a donation, you may send a check payable to The Church of St. Luke in the Fields and write “Pride March” in the memo line. Please mail the check to St. Luke in the Fields, c/o Paul Lane, 487 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.
AIDS WALK 2011 . . . The Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk team is making plans again, for the sixth year in a row, to participate in the 26th AIDS Walk on Sunday, May 15. The team will raise money, and most members will walk on Saturday, May 14, in order to be in church on Sunday. The team is small but successful: in 2010, there were 20 members; the team raised almost $15,000, and ranked 50th out of 3,000 teams registered for the Walk! The team needs your help to do even better this year. You may contribute to the Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk team by clicking here (if you prefer to write a check made out to AWNY, you can give it to Father Smith or to MaryJane Boland). Join the team by clicking here (click on Join a Team NOW, and select Saint Mary’s) and then raise money from your friends and colleagues. If you have questions, please e-mail the team leader, MaryJane Boland or speak to her on Sunday.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Exhibitions at the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), 1865 Broadway at 61st Street: Passion in Venice, Crivelli to Tintoretto and Veronese (through June 12, 2011); Let Your Light Shine: Bible Printing in Venice During the High Renaissance (through June 12, 2011) . . . Also at the Museum of Biblical Art: Lecture — The Tradition of Stations of the Cross, by Dr. Patricia Pongracz, MOBIA’s Director of Curatorial Affairs, Thursday, April 14, 6:30–7:30 PM. Admission is free.
The Reverend Thomas Remington Slone, The Reverend Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, deacons
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus
The Parish Musicians
Mr. James Kennerley, organist and music director
Mr. Lawrence Trupiano, organ curator
The Parish Staff
Mr. Aaron Koch, business manager
Mr. Miguel Gonzalez, Mr. Mario Martinez, Mr. H. Antonio Santiago, sextons