FROM THE RECTOR: CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY
“Smells and bells – in liturgy, as in life – guarantee meaning by revealing Mystery,” writes Nathan Mitchell in his column for Worship in the January 2011 issue. I’m not sure I would put it quite that way, but as rector of Saint Mary’s, I’ve got to love it. His column this month is called “The Mute Sense” (Volume 85, Number 1, 75-85). It begins with his memory of the smell of his church and the life he knew as a child in the farm country of the Midwest. But his concerns are much deeper.
Mitchell is writing about how God reveals and nurtures God’s reign in our lives and in our world. His reflections carry the reader, not surprisingly, to the Sunday Eucharist and the Paschal Mystery. He quotes the late Aidan Kavanagh, “We don’t have Sunday because of the Eucharist; we have Eucharist because of Sunday” (pp. 84-85). In speaking of Sunday, Mitchell observes, “Sunday is ‘the eighth day’ because it makes time’s meaning depend on content rather than duration” (p. 83). Really good stuff.
Episcopalians still keep the traditional twelve days of Christmas. The thirteenth day, January 6, is the Epiphany. The calendar of the Church evolved and still is evolving. My own sense is that our Church did very well to follow the tradition. Just as Sundays break into our week, the fixed holy days of Christmas, Holy Name and the Epiphany break into our lives because of their meaning.
Saturday, January 1, is the Feast of the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The birth of Christ began to be celebrated in Rome on December 25 in the middle of the fourth century. In sixth-century Spain, following Luke’s account of Jesus’ circumcision on the eighth day, the feast we now call the “Holy Name” began to be celebrated. The “name of the Lord” and the “name of the Lord Jesus” are familiar New Testament expressions. Jesus’ name itself is a prayer. For a great deal, but not all, of the Christian era, January 1 has been the beginning of the civil year. This year at Saint Mary’s there will be a Sung Mass on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM.
Sunday, January 2, will be “The Second Sunday after Christmas Day” and we will observe our regular Sunday schedule. The gospel will be Matthew’s account of the flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15,19-23). We will be singing Christmas carols and hymns.
Thursday, January 6, is “The Epiphany Our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is one of the seven “principal feasts” of the Church year. Our observance begins on the eve, Wednesday, January 5, with Solemn Evensong. (It’s at this service we will sing the beloved hymn We three kings of Orient are.) On Thursday, Morning Prayer will be sung at 8:30 AM. The 12:10 Mass will be sung. James Kennerley and Joseph Arndt will play an organ recital at 5:30 PM. The Solemn Mass of the day will be at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow in Saint Joseph’s Hall. On Friday, January 7, our Christmas decorations will come down. Following Mitchell’s lead, I think it’s right to say we don’t give meaning to Christmas and its celebrations; Christmas and Epiphany reveal God for his world.
One of the graces of the blizzard that hit New York City is the way the snow has kept Christmas trees and greens from being thrown away. There’s simply too much snow for anyone to put a tree out. I suspect many who put trees up on Thanksgiving weekend may be tired of their trees now. But, I keep Advent before Christmas. For us at Saint Mary’s, it’s still Christmas and we are still celebrating, as Episcopalians do, the twelve days and then the Epiphany. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Carol, Sharon, Wayne, Larry, Mary, Stephen, Peter, João, Lynn, George, Alan, Chris, Averie, Lin, Tom, Robert, José, Daisy, Rolf, Gert, Rick, Emil, religious, John, priest, and Matthew, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially James, Nicholas, and Christine; and for the repose of the souls of Mildred and Mary . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 2: 1915 Frederick Charles; 1928 John Chamberlain; 1931 Everett Vincent Thomas; 1936 Warreta Atlanta Selden
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Parishioner Larry Hamil’s mother, Mildred Kathryn Montgomery Hamil, died on Christmas Day. Parishioner Mary Robison’s grandmother, Mary Hyatt McCaughan, also died on Christmas Day. Please keep Mildred, Mary, Larry, Mary, their families, and all who mourn, in your prayers.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE for Leonard Surdyk and Mercedes Colwin, of Long Island, New York. 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 second time of asking . . . I publish the Banns of Marriage for Ricardo Eugenio Miranda and Julia Elizabeth Heard, of Brooklyn, New York. 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 second time of asking. J.R.S.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will meet on Sunday, January 2. The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on January 5 . . . On New Year’s Eve, Friday, December 31, the church will be open from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM . . . On Saturday, January 1, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, there will be a Sung Mass at 11:00 AM. The church will be open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM . . . Please click on this link for the Services of Christmastide & The Epiphany . . . Confessions will be heard by Father Gerth on Saturday, January 8.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner and acolyte Stephen Shull was in a car accident in California during Christmas week. He writes, “I'm feeling quite a bit better. I've been told that I don't have any permanent damage, and nothing is broken, but it appears that it may be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to recover completely.” Please keep Stephen in your prayers . . . Former curate, Father Matthew Mead, is scheduled to have back surgery on Tuesday, January 4. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Seminarian Rem Slone will be taking the General Ordination Examinations next week. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Weekly offering envelopes will be available at the ushers’ table in the church this weekend for those who have requested them . . . Sponsors are needed for the reception following the Solemn Mass on Candlemas, Wednesday, February 2. If you would like to sponsor the reception, please call the finance office or speak with Father Smith . . . Altar flowers are needed for the first three Sundays in February. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the Finance Office . . . Attendance: Christmas 892, Last Sunday 183.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Music this Sunday is sung by a trio drawn from the main choir. The setting of the ordinary is Mass for Three Voices by William Byrd (c. 1540–1623). Byrd was one of the finest English composers of the Renaissance, who cultivated many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music. His three Masses (for three, four and five voices respectively) were published during his lifetime through a royal monopoly granted by Queen Elizabeth I. Many argue that it was the high favor in which he was held by the queen that allowed Byrd to publish music of and for the Roman Catholic liturgy at a time when members of the Roman Church were being persecuted for refusing to accept the reformed Church of England. James Kennerley
CARDIOPULONARY RESUSCITATION TRAINING . . . During the Solemn Mass on the Epiphany 2009, a member of the congregation, Dr. Leroy Sharer, had a cardiac arrest. Of course you know Dr. Sharer is fine. But the event made it apparent that more of the members of our community need to be able to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Gifts have been given to pay for the equipment and the fees associated with the placement of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at our church. We’ve penciled in Saturday, January 29, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM for the training to be conducted. Eight people are needed to take the course. Clint Best and Leroy Sharer have been helping this project along. Both may be able to answer many questions better than me. Right now, I’m recruiting. I repeat, we need eight people. We were very fortunate that a nurse, Maria Axiotis, was visiting us on Epiphany 2009 and that Rick Miranda and Father Smith had had this training – and that MaryJane Boland immediately got out her cell phone and called 911 when Leroy collapsed. Please let me know if you will do the training. If Saturday, January 29, is not possible for you, you may be able to take the training at another time at Emergency Skills, Inc. But we need eight people from our community to do the training so we can be a site for an AED. S.G.
SOME WORDS OF THANKS . . . Thank you to all those who volunteered so many hours and worked so hard at Christmas: our musicians, who sang so beautifully; our faithful servers, ushers, and readers; all those who gave of their time to decorate the church, polish brass and silver, prepare the altar and work in the sacristy: Joe Armoogan, Rick Austill, Dexter Baksh, MaryJane Boland, Grace Bruni, Troy Buttone, Terry Carlson, Daniel Craig, Tom Heffernan, Scott Holman, Christopher Hoyt, Robin Landis, Dakota Manuel, Richard Mohammed, Mary Robison, José Vidal, Cooki Winborn, Sister Laura Katharine, Sister Deborah Francis, our sextons, and a young visitor from France, who walked into the church and asked if he could volunteer. His name, appropriately enough, was Gabriel. Thanks to all! (Please forgive us if we’ve left anybody out; we’ll make any additions or corrections in next week’s newsletter!)
SAVE THE DATE . . . Super Bowl Sunday is Sunday, February 6, and, once again, our Super Bowl party and potluck dinner will take place in Saint Joseph’s Hall, beginning at 6:00 PM, following Evensong. Grace Bruni has agreed to organize the event once again. Details about the provision of food and beverages will follow shortly, but we hope that many Saint Marians and their friends will be able to join us for what is always a fun evening and a good opportunity to spend time together here. This is a wonderful way to introduce your friends to the parish. (And, if truth be told, you can have a good time even if you don’t know anything about football!). Jay Smith
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2010-2011 . . . As of December 29, we have received pledges from 165 households. $409,306.00 has been pledged to date. We are still 10% short of our goal and have received pledges from 77% of the households that pledged during last year’s campaign. We still have some work to do, but we think we are going to make it! Every single gift, no matter its size, brings us closer to our goal! Thank you to all who have pledged during this year’s campaign.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet next on January 5 at 7:00 PM, following Solemn Evensong. The class will be led by our seminarian Rem Slone . . . The Adult Forum resumes on Sunday, January 16, when parishioner, Professor Robert Picken, will begin a three-part series (January 16, 23, and 30) on the history of Christian mission. The title of the series is “Matteo Ricci and The Great Encounter.” Professor Picken will discuss the following topics: the arrival of Western intellectuals in China, when Jesuit missionaries went to that nation at the end of the sixteenth century; the initial success of those missionaries; the Chinese-rites controversy; and the failure of the China mission in the eighteenth century. The implications for a modern-day theology of mission will be discussed . . . Father Jay Smith will lead a five-part series on The History of the Bible in English (February 6, 13, 20, 27, and March 6) to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are now collecting new or very lightly used and well-laundered coats for the New York Cares Coat Drive, which runs from December 1-31 . . . We also continue to collect non-perishable food items for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Please look for the basket in the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall. J.R.S.
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