FROM THE RECTOR: EASTER DAY
Sandra Schneiders recounts a conversation with her teacher, New Testament scholar Raymond Brown, a few weeks before his death. Brown’s last major work was a two volume commentary on the passion narratives of the four gospels. She wanted to know if Brown was going to write on the resurrection. He replied, “I prefer to research that topic face to face.” (Sandra Schneiders, “The Resurrection [of the Body] in the Fourth Gospel: A Key to Johannine Spirituality,” in John R. Donahue, ed. Life in Abundance: Studies in John’s Gospel in Tribute to Raymond E. Brown [Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2005]).
Were he to have written such a volume, it would be much shorter than his The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels, 2 vols., Anchor Bible Reference Library (New York: Doubleday, 1994). There is so much less narrative of the risen Lord. What we have is crucial. And the small amount of material invites in its own way a greater dependence on faith.
Easter Day emerges as the annual celebration of the resurrection during the first century of the Christian Era, I think it is safe to say. Scholars have some guesses, but there isn’t enough material for anyone to know why and when the transition from weekly meals by Jewish Christians on the sabbath – for them a day of rest – transitioned to weekly celebrations on Sunday – not a day of rest. New Testament references are often read to suggest Sunday celebrations were there from the beginning, but a careful reading of these references and other documents reveals considerable uncertainty on this point. Moreover, the earliest weekly celebrations seem to have been experienced as preparation for Christ’s Second Coming. Only later does the resurrection, the Sunday event, come into view. (Paul F. Bradshaw and Maxwell E. Johnson, The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity [Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2011], 3-13).
Like the experiences of the risen Lord, so much is unknown to us. And that’s really okay. The gospels of Easter and the history of Christian community are more about the present than the past. We gather on Easter, and on any day, because we share now, already and for ever, in the risen life of our savior Jesus Christ. As always, Easter celebrations at Saint Mary’s bring forth so many gifts of time, treasure, and witness.
As I write in the early morning of Maundy Thursday, preparations for the Easter Triduum are well underway. It begins tonight with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6:00 PM. On Good Friday the liturgy is offered in its entirety at 12:30 PM and at 6:00 PM so that as many people as possible may have the chance to worship. As is our custom, the parish clergy sit for confessions following both services.
On Saturday evening, April 23, at 7:00 PM, as the sun nears its setting in New York, the Sunday of the Resurrection begins. On its great festivals and on every Sunday, the day begins on its eve. This is the principal service of the principal feast of the year. A special reception follows the vigil. There will be Easter Eggs for young children to find after the vigil and after all the Masses of Easter Day.
On Easter morning, 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. By the time I get some lunch, Jesus Christ is risen today will have been sung at the Vigil and at all of these Masses. It will be buzzing through my brain and I won’t be able to turn it off – not an entirely bad thing.
We have the privilege at Saint Mary’s of closing Easter Day with a service of Solemn Evensong & Benediction that is as powerful as any of the year. The choir sings. Living water is recalled – read, "sprinkled everywhere". The Eucharist is exposed while Luke’s account of Jesus meeting his disciples on the road to Emmaus is read (Luke 24:13-25). By God’s grace, our hearts burn with an awareness of God’s presence among us until the end of the ages.
This is the thirteenth Easter Triduum I have celebrated at Saint Mary’s – more than anywhere else in my life. The riches of worship here were apparent from the first, but my awareness of relationships of this community continues to grow. I sense deeply during these days the faith and commitments of those who have been here before. And I sense deeply the thoughts and prayers of people throughout the world who know this parish and remember it with thanksgiving as they worship elsewhere. I hope all of us may have a fresh awareness of how great God’s gifts of life and love are for all people. Happy Easter. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Carol, Sharon, Krislea, David, Abraham, Timothy, Mary, Virginia, Mordecai, Murray, Maureen, Doreen, Anna, Margaret, Julia, Dorothy, Alan, Chris, Rolf, Gert, William, Daisy, Rick, Emil, religious, and John, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Nicholas, Christine, and Rob . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 24: 1878 Ella Mitchell Clarke; 1900 Susan Christine Mees; 1993 Claude Cecil Morris, Jr.
THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE CONGREGATION will be held following the Solemn Mass on Sunday, May 1, 2011. The meeting will receive reports from parish organizations, staff and the board of trustees. The meeting will be asked to elect two delegates and two alternate delegates to serve as our representatives to the annual diocesan convention and for the convention called to elect a bishop coadjutor for the diocese.
LITURGICAL NOTES FOR THE TRIDUUM . . . On Maundy Thursday all are invited to share in the washing of feet. Those who participate remove socks or stockings and shoes at their seat. (The floors have been cleaned with extra care!) . . . The Watch before the Blessed Sacrament is held through the night at Saint Mary’s, following the Maundy Thursday liturgy. The easternmost doors of the West 46th Street entrance to the church are open through the night. A sexton is on duty in the church through the night . . . For the Great Vigil of Easter, many enjoy the tradition of bringing a small hand bell for ringing in the celebration.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the Adult Forum will not meet on Sunday, April 24, Easter Day . . . On Easter Monday, Morning and Evening Prayer will not be read; the Noonday Office and the 12:10 PM Mass will be celebrated . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study will meet on April 27, Wednesday in Holy Week . . . Confessions will be heard only by appointment on Saturday, April 23, and Saturday, April 30.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Congratulations to Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., who celebrates her seventeenth anniversary of life profession on April 25, in most years the Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist. This year, Saint Mark’s Day is celebrated on Monday, May 1 . . . Many thanks to all who have helped to make Holy Week the week it is at Saint Mary’s! . . . As we are about to go to press, we’ve been told that Father John Hamilton is out of ICU but is still recovering in the hospital. Please continue to keep him in your prayers . . . Parishioner George Handy was able to be at Saint Mary’s for Solemn Mass on Palm Sunday. It was good to see him. He continues to improve and he tells us that we should expect to see him here with ever greater frequency. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Attendance: Palm Sunday 348.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . On Good Friday, nearly all of the music sung at the liturgy comes from the Church’s ancient chants appointed for the day. During the Veneration of the Cross, however, the choir sings a modern setting of the Reproaches by John Sanders (1933–2003). At the Great Vigil of Easter, the setting of the Mass ordinary is Messe solennelle (1951) by Jean Langlais (1907–1991), the French composer and organist who was blind from a young age. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Laudate Dominum by Marcel Dupré (1886–1971). On Easter Day, the organ prelude before the Solemn Mass is Saraband for the Morning of Easter from Six pieces (1940) by Herbert Howells (1892-1983). The Vidi aquam is sung to the setting by the little-known Portuguese composer Filipe de Magalhães (c. 1571–1652). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa paschalis by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594). This work for an Easter Day Mass is based upon chants associated with the liturgy, also sung today by the choir. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Dic nobis, Maria by Venetian composer Giobanni Bassano (ca. 1558–1617). On Sunday evening, at Solemn Paschal Evensong and Benediction, the evening canticles are sung to the setting by Herbert Howells (1892–1983) for Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. Howells, whose style of Anglican church music is very much a hallmark of the genre, composed many sets of canticles and the Mass ordinary for many of the major cathedrals and collegiate chapels of England. At Benediction, the O salutaris is sung to the setting for six voices by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505–1585). The Tantum ergo is a particularly grand setting suitable for the large-scale space and liturgy at Saint Mary’s, composer Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937). 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 Bach and the Early Baroque 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) . . . 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.
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 Adult Forum will meet on the first four Sundays in May, when Grace Bruni will lead a church-history series on the complex relationship between civil and ecclesiastical authority during the Middle Ages. Grace writes, “While many people are, thanks to Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole, familiar with the story of Thomas Becket and Henry II of England, theirs was by far not the only or the most dramatic conflict between secular and ecclesiastical powers during the Middle Ages. In a period in which both the Roman church and greater and lesser secular lords were consolidating their power and governance, it was perhaps inevitable that conflict would frequently rise. This class will provide a basic background on different power structures in the Middle Ages and explore three different conflicts between these competing powers and interests. Those interested in doing some background reading might take a look at R.W. Southern’s The Making of the Middle Ages, especially the second chapter. . . . 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.
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