FROM THE RECTOR: ASSUMPTION AT SAINT MARY’S
Solemn Mass on weeknights began at Saint Mary’s with the institution of the Reverend Donald Lathrop Garfield as rector on Monday, February 1, 1965, the Eve of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. I’m sure it provoked a great deal of comment here and elsewhere. Before this, no Masses had been celebrated in the evening since the beginning of the tenure of the Reverend Granville Mercer Williams, SSJE, in 1930. But things were changing in the 1960s, as they always do.
I’m not sure when Saint Mary’s began explicitly to celebrate the Assumption of Mary – my own hunch is that this began with either Father Delaney, rector from 1928, who resigned in 1930 to become a priest in the Roman Communion, or with Father Williams. That title, the “Assumption of Mary,” is still not in the present Prayer Book, but with the 1979 Prayer Book we Episcopalians have celebrated August 15 as “Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” We do know that from 1940, when August 15 fell on a Sunday, the Assumption was observed with Solemn Mass. It would not be until 1977, that the Assumption was celebrated with Solemn Mass when it did not fall on a Sunday. On Monday, August 15, 1977, Evening Prayer was said at 5:30 PM and High Mass was celebrated at 6:00 PM. The following year, a procession is also listed for this new evening service.
Father Garfield was a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission and of the committee that prepared the calendar for the 1979 Prayer Book. The addition of Saint Mary the Virgin to the calendar of the Prayer Book on August 15 was entirely in accord with ancient tradition. In bulletins for Solemn Mass after 1977, Father Garfield described the day as “our feast of title.” In origin, August 15 may have been about Jesus’ conception at a time when Jesus’ birth was celebrated in Jerusalem on May 15. (Paul F. Bradshaw and Maxwell E. Johnson, The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity [Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2011], 213). By the end of the fifth century, it was being celebrated in Jerusalem as the day of Mary’s death (Ibid., 207).
Perhaps the Anglican Reformation’s greatest theological break with the past was not the break with Rome, but the Church of England’s severing itself from the cult of the martyrs and from devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Both are so ancient, and so much a part of the evolution of Christianity, that their origins are undocumented. Both seem to me to be extensions of fundamental Christian preaching on the resurrection of the body (cult of the martyrs) and the incarnation of the Lord (devotion to Mary) – in other words, Easter and Christmas.
In working with children, Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi, founders of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, realized that the younger the child, the greater the capacity for the most important things. The only presentations from the Old Testament given to three- to six-year-old children in the atrium are prophecies of the birth of Jesus. One example: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2a). The very first presentation to the children (Altar I: table, cloth, candles, cross) includes the proclamation, “Jesus died and is risen.” In the catechesis, the children never hear the death of Jesus separated from his resurrection. I think we Episcopal Christians, and others, will be drawn again more deeply into the mystery of Mary and the martyrs because these are born of Christmas and Easter.
Through the years, we live into the mystery of the gift of life in this world and the gift of eternal life in the world to come – the mysteries of incarnation and resurrection. The collect for Saint Mary the Virgin really does “collect” our Christian hope, “O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever” (The Book of Common Prayer , 243). Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Julia, Annemarie, Caleb, Brendan, Luis, John, Mary, Lee, Donna, Dianne, Dorothy, Isaura, Gert, and Rick; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark, Christine, and Rob; and for the repose of the souls of Matthew Drew Kerr and John C. Klett, Jr. . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 14: 1896 Philena Margaret Vrooton; 1914 Elsie Catherine Schnorr; 1915 Mary Louise Whitney Sanford.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Barbara Klett’s husband, John C. Klett, Jr., died at home on Wednesday, August 10. Jack was 84 years old. Funeral plans have not yet been finalized. Please pray for Jack, for Barbara, for their family, and for all who mourn.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . One of our parish’s greater festivals of the year is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Monday, August 15. Morning Prayer will be sung at 8:30 AM. The Noonday Office is prayed at 12:00 PM. There will be a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM. Organist and Music Director James Kennerley will play a recital at 5:30 PM. Solemn Mass will be celebrated at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, August 13. Father Jim Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, August 20.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Our annual Assumption appeal was mailed on Monday, August 8. We urge you to give the appeal your prayerful consideration. The parish’s needs are great; and thank you to all those who continue to support Saint Mary’s so generously . . . Thank you so much to Grace Bruni, George Handy, Dick Leitsch, Brenda Morgan, Jason Mudd, Marie Rosseels, Sharon Singh, Dennis Smith, Reha Sterbin, Guy Strobel, and José Vidal, who worked hard last Sunday to send out the mailing. The work party was led by Mr. Handy. It was a great pleasure to have him and Dennis with us. They have sent out many mailings here at the parish over the years and their expertise and patience are greatly appreciated! . . . The renovation of the Atrium is now well underway. The two rooms that used to be the rector’s and the secretary’s offices are losing the wall that separated them. The new (traditional) light fixtures are already up. The floors have been refinished and the room has been painted. The fall session of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd starts on Sunday, October 2. Please tell your friends and family! For more information, please contact Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins . . . The meeting for our new Women’s Group is being rescheduled. Details to come . . . If you would like to help sponsor the reception following the Solemn Mass on Monday, August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, please contact Aaron Koch . . . One summer, several years ago, Simon Morris, then a seminarian at Oxford, spent several weeks living and working with us here at Saint Mary’s. Now ordained, Father Morris is officially “assistant curate,” though in fact “priest-in-charge,” at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Tottenham, in London, England. Some of the riots about which we’ve been reading this past week, took place in Tottenham. Father Morris wrote a short piece for The Guardian about his parish’s response to these events. The article can be accessed here . . . The Rector is currently on vacation through Saturday, August 13 . . . Attendance: Transfiguration 84; Last Sunday 188.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass on Sunday is Lied from Vingt-quatre pièces en style libre, Opus 31, No. 17, by Louis Vierne (1870–1937). The cantor is Ms. Guadalupe Peraza, mezzo-soprano, and I will play the service. During the ministration of communion, Ms. Peraza will sing an unaccompanied setting of the traditional English/Melungeon song Poor wayfaring stranger. (“Melungeon” is a term that refers to people of mixed-ancestry in, or associated with, the southern Appalachians and to their heritage and cultural legacy.) Finally, the postlude will also be taken from Vierne’s Vingt-quatre pièces en style libre . . . At the Solemn Mass on the Feast of the Assumption, Monday, August 15, the setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa “Assumpta est Maria” by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525–1594). Often regarded as the greatest of the late-Renaissance masters (perhaps his only rivals are William Byrd and Orlande de Lassus), most of Palestrina’s career was spent in Rome (his name comes from the town of his birth, not far from Rome). He was a boy chorister at Saint Mary Major, and at various points in his career was maestro di cappella of the basilicas of Saint Peter, Saint John Lateran, and Saint Mary Major. Palestrina composed a great quantity of liturgical music, including 104 masses. A number of these were based upon his own motets (including today’s setting; the motet on which the setting is based will be sung at Communion). This late setting for six-part choir is one of the composer’s most beloved works. Before the Solemn Mass, at 5:30 PM, I will play an organ recital. The music will include works by Marcel Dupré (1886–1971), Johann Gottfried Walther (1684–1748), and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). James Kennerley
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We need your help! We are still working hard to support our outreach partner, the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Sister Deborah Francis, who often volunteers at the Food Pantry on Friday, reports that donations, including donations from government sources, have decreased recently. Recently, the Pantry was only able to provide a much reduced amount of food to those who depend on it for their weekly nutritional needs. Please consider making a cash donation to the Pantry (write a check to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and put “Food Pantry” in the memo line); or place non-perishable food items in the basket at the ushers’ table near the 46th Street entrance to the church on Sunday mornings. If you have questions about the Food Pantry, please speak to Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., or Father Jay Smith.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Thursday, September 8, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass at 12:10 PM and Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Sung Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist, Mass at 12:10 PM, Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM and Mass at 6:20 PM . . . Thursday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels, Mass at 12:10 PM and Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, October 2, 2011-2012 Schedule Begins: Sung Matins resumes at 8:30 AM; Church School resumes at 9:45 AM; the Adult Forum resumes at 10:00 AM; The Saint Mary’s Choir returns to sing at the Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM; Solemn Evensong and Benediction resumes at 5:00 PM . . . Monday, November 14, 6:30 PM, New & Prospective Members Reception.
AIDS WALK 2011 . . . GMHC has added up the numbers and done its final accounting and we are very happy to report that the Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk Team ranked 32nd out of a total of 3,641 teams that participated in the AIDS Walk last May! Participants in AIDS Walk 2011 raised a total of $6,214,768 and Saint Mary’s raised $16,339 of that total. Though we had fewer walkers than last year, we raised more money and ranked higher among teams overall. We are grateful to all our families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues -- and of course to our fellow parishioners – who supported us and who gave so generously. Thank you very much. Next year’s AIDS Walk is on Sunday, May 20, 2012 – some of us will walk Saturday, some Sunday. Please save the date! This Walk really matters. MaryJane Boland
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 5, at 6:30 PM, in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House. The class will be reading The Letter to the Ephesians. Led by Father Jay Smith, the class will meet on October 5, 12, 19, 26; November 9, 16, 30; and December 14 and 21 . . . This year many of the adult-education classes on Sunday mornings will focus on the things that make Anglicans and Episcopalians distinctive, even unique. We will look at polity, liturgy, architecture, vocabulary, theology, ethics, and Scripture as we explore our rich Anglican tradition. We begin on Sunday, October 2, at 10:00 AM with a discussion of bishops – after all, the word “episcopal” comes from the Greek word for bishop. We will look at the origins and history of the episcopal ministry in the church, and will focus on the following questions: Why are bishops so important to Anglicans? How do they serve the church? And, just in time for New York’s election of a coadjutor bishop on October 29, we will ask, how does the Episcopal Church go about choosing its bishops? The class will be led by Father Jay Smith. The following week, Sunday, October 9, just five days after the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, Dennis Raverty will teach a class on the late medieval painter, Giotto, and the relation of his work to the life of Saint Francis. On Sunday, October 16, Dr. Raverty will return and give a lecture on the principles of Gothic architecture. This class will give us a foundation for a return, later in the year, to a study of our own church building and its neo-Gothic style. Also on Sunday, October 16, at 1:30 PM, Dr. Raverty and the Reverend Kathleen Liles will lead a group of parishioners from Saint Mary’s and the Church of Christ and Saint Stephen on a “vertical tour” of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Please stay tuned for more details about the tour. The sisters have begun a capital campaign. One of their fundraising efforts involves the sale of The Nun Better Cookbook, a volume newly produced by the Community. There are 380 recipes in the book, which has hard covers and a tough comb binding. Each section of the book is marked by an attractive tabbed divider. The cost of each book is $18.00, plus shipping and handling. For more information or to order a copy (or two!), please speak to one of the sisters or call 973-543-4641 x 9. . . Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam continues at the Rubin Museum of Art through October 24, 2011 . . . The Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) is presenting On Eagles’ Wings: The King James Version Turns Four Hundred to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Authorized Version of the Bible. The exhibition runs through September 18, 2011 . . . At MOBIA, October 28, 2011–January 15, 2010: A Short History of Family Bibles in America . . . Also at MOBIA, October 28, 2011–January 15, 2012: The Land of Light and Promise – 50 Years Painting Jerusalem and Beyond. Paintings of the Holy Land by Ludwig Blum (1891–1974).