Several years ago when I was serving in Michigan City, Indiana, some of the adults of the parish and I took the youth group of the parish to Washington, D.C. We went to the Holocaust Museum the very first day. If we had turned around and gone home at that point I would have considered the trip completely worth the effort. It was a good weekend and we and the kids really did enjoy it.
For some reason the other day I was reminded of one thing I didn’t enjoy. While we were at the Vietnam Memorial I was yelled at by someone who claimed to be a veteran. I was talking to two of the boys from the parish at the time, not very loudly and pretty seriously, as we stood next to the wall. The man yelled at me for not showing respect and in the flash of the moment I thought he was primarily showing off to impress the person he was with.
I was pretty speechless. Even thinking about the Vietnam War in a direct way, recalling growing up with it, increases my anxiety. I was just young enough not to serve. I turned eighteen in 1972. I can still remember going up to the newsroom of the college student newspaper to watch the numbers print out on the old AP news ticker. I can still remember my number – 256. Mine was the first year that men were not drafted.
My family had moved to Washington, D.C. when I was twelve. I grew up reading The Washington Post and hearing about Vietnam almost daily. I also remember the week LIFE magazine arrived filled with pictures of men who had been killed in Vietnam. I’m sure many readers of this newsletter remember that too. The men looked liked the older boys I went to school with. I’ve seen most of the big Vietnam films I think and I haven’t liked any of them for the same reason that I dislike most films about teenagers. The actors are always older. The average soldier in Vietnam was nineteen.
I wasn't dressed in clerical clothes that day at the Vietnam Memorial when the veteran yelled at me. It was July in Washington and we were on a field trip. But I was those boys’ parish priest. When the yelling started I happened to be speaking with them about the Vietnam Memorial in Michigan City. It was an odd moment. Standing at that powerful spot, speaking respectfully of how we honored those who died in this war in our own community, well, it was an odd moment. The boys and I were speechless. The veteran moved on. And we went on.
I wish the man had not yelled at us. My less - than - best self wishes that I had known something to say that would have communicated my profound respect for the lives that were lost and for those who served – and the respect of the young people who were with me – and would have been embarrassing to him for being so rude.
There were a few places on the trip where none of the kids goofed off, no, not the Washington Cathedral. (Anglo-catholic children, I think, are by nature suspicious of religious buildings that don’t smell like incense.) The places where they were quiet and respectful were the Holocaust Museum, the Vietnam Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
Wisdom. It is perceived and known and shared in many different ways. One of my colleagues at Trinity Church, Michigan City, used to remind me that no one ever knew exactly what another person had felt or gone through in this life. Every person is unique. And she also taught me that how we say things to each other was so very, very important. Even when we speak the truth it is necessary to speak it with love and understanding and wisdom.
Human relationships, between individuals and among members of a community, don’t have to be based continuously on misunderstanding. There are ways to reach across things which divide us. Self-awareness is always a good place to start. Self-awareness is one of the ways the Holy Spirit teaches us compassion. And compassion is a Christian virtue in which we are called to grow.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jean, Olga, Helen, Shirley, Hannah, Dawn, Mary, Lucille, Frances, Eleanor and Carl and for the repose of the soul of Donna.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 30: 1986 Edith Collins; August 1:1969 Mabel Upson; August 4: 1996 Harold Anderson Worrell.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Donna Zito, a former member of Saint Mary's, died on Sunday, July 23. Her requiem was celebrated on Thursday, July 27, at the Church of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, New York City. Please pray for Donna, for her father, Joseph Zito, who survives, and for all who mourn.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: 2 Kings 2:1-15, Psalm 114, Ephesians 4:1-7,11-16, Mark 6:45-52 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Shin, Preacher: Richard Lawson, 10:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth . . . Confessions will be heard on July 30 by Father Gerth . . . Confessions will be heard on August 5 by Father Shin.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Saint Mary’s Cursillo group will be having a picnic on Sunday, July 30, at 2:00 PM in Central Park. Enter on West 100 Street, look to left and you will see the group. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Tom Lisa at his home (212) 265-4899 . . . Ann Sokolowski reports that we are in need of several punch bowls. If you have one to donate it will be appreciated . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sunday, August 20, and for Sunday, August 27. If you are interested in donating flowers in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving please call the parish office at 869-5830 . . . There is a new "Episcopal Church Welcomes You" sign by the parish office door at 145 West 46th Street . . . Attendance last Sunday 141.
SUMMARY OF JULY 17, 2000, BOARD MEETING . . . At its meeting on July 17, 2000, the Board of Trustees: 1. Learned of the resolution of a disagreement that the American Guild of Organists had with St. Mary’s over the dismissal of the former Music Director. 2. Heard from the Treasurer that pledge income for the year is running ahead of the expected amount and that it is greater than it was last year at this time. However, as is the case for most of its customers, we are paying more for electricity from Con Edison this year. 3. Heard from the Rector that he will contact a consultant to assist us in the search for a new Music Director. 4. Elected two new members of the Board of Trustees, Mr. David Gillespie and Mr. Robin Landis.
A Collect for Feast of Saint John Vianney, August 4
Father of mercy, you made Saint John Vianney outstanding in his priestly zeal and concern for your people. By his example and prayers, enable us to win our brothers and sisters to the love of Christ and come with them to eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Worship at Saint Mary’s
The Holy Eucharist
On Sundays Mass is said at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. A Solemn Mass is offered at 11:00 AM. Monday through Friday Mass is said at 12:15 PM and 6:20 PM. On Saturdays Mass is said at 12:15 PM.
The Daily Office
On ordinary Sundays Morning Prayer is said at 8:30 AM and Evening Prayer at 4:45 PM. Monday through Friday Morning Prayer is offered at 8:30 AM, the Noonday Office at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM. On Saturdays the Noonday Office is offered at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM.
The Reconciliation of Penitents
Confessions are heard on Saturdays between 11:30 and 12:00 and between 4:00 and 5:00. Appointments can also be made with members of the parish clergy for the Reconciliation of Penitents at other times.
The ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
The Calendar for the Eighth Week after Pentecost
Monday Ignatius of Loyola, priest
Tuesday Joseph of Arimathea
Friday Jean Marie Vianney, priest
Saturday Monthly Requiem
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 Mary Haddad, assisting deacon,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.