Easter Triduum II
I know it was the Reverend Jeffrey Lee, now rector of Saint Christopher's Church, River Hills, Wisconsin, who got my attention one day when he said, "I wonder what it would be like if the people took the role of Jesus on Good Friday." We had been at Nashotah House together. I can no longer recall when the conversation took place, but it was before my first holy week as rector of Trinity Church, Michigan City, Indiana. When I first had the chance as a rector to assign the role of Jesus in the Passion to the congregation I did. There were complaints but they were of the kind that confirmed the insight of this decision. The people take the part of Jesus on the Sunday of the Passion and on Good Friday. The purpose of the Easter Triduum is for us to share in Jesus' death and resurrection and to help us live as members of his body.
Another Influence: Shortly after Christmas 1997, as I began to prepare for Holy Week, I started to write a newsletter article about Baptism at Easter. As I started to write I realized that Easter was not the occasion for Baptism, but that Baptism itself is the Easter event. Again, I had heard these words in one form or another for years but their meaning and power did not overwhelm me until much later. Like so many Christians, I have been moved to faith by a eucharistic Jesus; I had seen bread and wine become his Body and Blood. It was harder for me to meet the Jesus of the tomb, to see him die and rise in the person of those who were called to the Sacraments of Initiation.
As I write I have just completed another major meeting, this time with Father Shin, the parish musicians and altar servers who serve as masters of ceremony during the liturgy. We necessarily spent a lot of time going over the details of doing the liturgy and very little on the meaning and context. Yet I want you to know that whatever details we were working on what was always in my mind was meaning and context: How do we die and rise with Christ? How do we proclaim his life among us? How do we receive his Word and his mission for us?
Holy Week will be full at Saint Mary's. The usual Holy Week service cards should be available early next week. The service times are already in the current issue of AVE. Inevitably rites evolve; they are always living rites in the catholic tradition of the Church. They evolve and change not necessarily because the texts themselves change. Rites evolve and change as communities continue to be led deeper into Christ's call to them.
I know that many will focus on the details doing of the liturgy, and to some extent that is well and good. But I would urge you to be looking most of all not at details but for the Body of Christ and for the call that you have received within this Body to love and serve the Lord. I invite you to see Jesus Christ die and rise again in those called to the Sacrament of New Birth. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST… Your prayers are asked for James, Mabel, Dennis, Carol, Olga, Helen, Jack, Margaret, Shirley, Hannah, Yamily, Dawn, Bryn, Mary, Lucille, Frances, Ronald, André, Edgar, Helen and Marilyn . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 10: 1993 Edna Isabelle Matthews Craig; April 12: 1975 Violet Carolyn Cadney; April 13: 1958 Earle W. Stevenson, 1992 George Edward Mueller.
FROM THE PARISH REGISTER . . . During March letters of transfer were received for Carol O. Selle from Saint Thomas Church, New York City, and for David Jette from Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Burlington, Vermont. During March letters of transfer were sent for Janet and Hugh Tidwell to Saint Thomas Church, New York City.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 5: 1-11, John 11:1-44 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Breidenthal; Preacher: Richard Lawson, 10:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: The Rector, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin . . . On Saturday, April 8, Father Gerth will hear confessions . . On Saturday, April 8, Father Shin will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . A Requiem Mass will be celebrated for Thomas Frederick Davies Haines on Thursday, April 13, at 10:00 AM. His ashes will be interred following the liturgy. The requiem will be held in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy. Your prayers and presence are requested . . . Mabel Lewis continues in rehabilitation at Long Island College Hospital. Please keep her in your prayers . . . On Thursday, April 13, Maxine Thevenot will play a degree recital at Saint Mary’s, including works by Vierne and Messaien, at 8:00 PM. There is no admission charge. Miss Thevenot is a student of McNeil Robinson, former organist and music director of Saint Mary’s . . . Please remember Stations of the Cross on Friday, April 14, at the Church of the Transfiguration . . . New issues of Forward Day by Day and Abbey Letter are available on the ushers’ table . . . Altar Servers: On Saturday, April 15, there will be brass polishing at 10:00 AM, Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday rehearsals at 1:00 PM and palm stripping immediately following the rehearsal . . . Eleanor Pritchard has joined Saint Mary’s Guild and is caring for the small altar linens. Eileen Whittle is now caring for the fair linens. And of course Carmen Wallace cares for the sacred vessels. If you would like to help with the altar work, please speak with the Rector . . . The Board of Trustees meets in Saint Benedict’s Study at 7:00 PM on Monday, April 10 . . . Attendance last Sunday: 126.
THE WATCH BEFORE THE BLESSED SACRAMENT . . . At the end of the liturgy on Maundy Thursday the Sacrament consecrated for the Communion of the Church on Good Friday is reposed in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy. The transfer to this altar and the decorations of this chapel recall Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked his disciples to watch with him for one hour. There is a sign-up sheet in Saint Joseph’s Hall for the Watch. You are asked to sign-up for one hour if you are able to do so. Although this tradition varies from parish to parish, presently the Watch is kept at Saint Mary’s from the end of the Maundy Thursday liturgy until the beginning of the liturgy on Good Friday. A security guard, Steve Sanders, who is a member of Saint Mary’s, will be on duty through the night. The easternmost doors of the church on 46th will be unlocked through the night.
SOME WORDS ABOUT BROTHER LAWRENCE . . . One of the most important ministries of our community is the ministry of hospitality. “Brother Lawrence Guild” is the name of the group that takes charge of food and fellowship and a lot of people are involved in this work. The group gave a great reception for their retiring chairman, George Blackshire, after the Solemn Mass on Annunciation Eve. But of course they do wonderful things all the time. Jim Dennis is now the chairman of the guild. The following names are on the current membership list, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a few more names should be added: John Beddingfield, Clinton Best, Dale Bonenberger, Jon Bryant, Sean Cassidy, Thomas Cerulli, Kathleen Chase, Howard Christian, Robert Cogliati, Martin Cowart, John Delves, Dean Driver, Steve Gilger, Pat Higgins, Herbert Kirschner, Barbara Klett, Michael Merenda, Ricardo Miranda, Susan Miranda, Suzanne Rochester, Leroy Sharer, Ann Sokolowski, Rosanne Valeri, Robert VanVleet and Charles Walsh. The level of hospitality is extraordinary here. I suspect many members of the parish may not appreciate how unusual it is. As your still relatively new rector and as someone who is a guest in other parishes I want to say publicly to those people who do so much that it is really appreciated. When the doors to Saint Joseph’s Hall are opened there is a great welcome. To all of you, thank you very much. S.G.
LENTEN TEA CEREMONY . . . On Thursday evening, April 13, at 7:00 PM there will be a Lenten Tea for the 20’s and 30’s Group in the Rectory. Keiko Onada will preside at a Japanese Tea Ceremony. This ancient ceremony will accompany a discussion of ritual and its relevance in our lives and in our worship. RSVP at (212) 869-5830 or Susan Miranda at Miranda@pbword.com.
VESTMENT CONSERVATION . . . Gina Bianco, a textile conservator, has looked at our vestments and is willing to assist us in evaluating what steps we should take in conserving them. She recommends that we begin with proper hanger preparation – hangers not for storage but for evaluating and working on the vestments. It would be great if we could have six volunteers who would be willing to work with her in sewing the correct materials onto hangers. If you are interested in working on this project please speak with Father Shin.
Stations & Benediction
This Friday, April 14
at the Church of the Transfiguration, 7:00 PM.
This week at Saint Mary’s
10:00 AM The Rector's Class in Saint Benedict's Study
10:00 AM Sunday Morning Bible Study in Father Shin's Office
1:00 PM Journey in Faith in Saint Benedict's Study
7:00 PM Paschal Mystery: Approaches New and Oldin Saint Benedict's Study
Thursday 10:00 AM Requiem Mass for Thomas F.D. Haines
7:00 PM Lenten Tea Ceremony
8:00 PM Organ Recital by Maxine Thevenot
Friday 7:00 PM Stations of the Cross and the Eucharistic Benediction
At the Church of the Transfiguration
Saturday 10:00 AM Servers Work Day
1:00 PM Passion Sunday & Maundy Thursday Rehearsals
The Calendar for the Fifth Week of Lent
Monday Weekday of Lent
Tuesday Weekday of Lent
Wednesday Weekday of Lent
Thursday Weekday of Lent
Friday Weekday of Lent
Special Lenten Abstinence
Saturday Weekday of Lent
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector, The Reverend Allen Shin, curate, The Reverend Thomas Breidenthal, assistant, The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft, The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison, The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa, assisting priests, The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.