Christmas at Saint Mary's
For a month or more now I have been asking people at our weekly church staff meeting, "What happens here at Christmas time that I need to know about?" Week by week more is remembered and your new rector is slowly being brought up to speed. Bulletins and service registers are checked. Memories are checked with others. I think I am up to speed about what is going to take place and I am very thankful for the help I am getting from my colleagues on the parish staff.
Of course, it is still Advent at Saint Mary's and will be all week until Friday. The one concession we make is that we are going to decorate the Christmas tree for Saint Joseph's Hall after Mass this Sunday, December 19, so that the children and teenagers in the parish will have an opportunity to help with this project. Nothing will be done in the church until we have celebrated Morning Prayer and Mass for December 24th, on Friday, December 24, at 8:30 AM. This is the last Mass of Advent. Then Howard Christian and his assistants will go to work.
The "Midnight Mass" will be at 11:00 PM this year. I know it was not too many years ago when it was unsafe for this community to celebrate at this hour; but that is no longer the case. Instead of an organ recital before the Solemn Mass, this year there will be music for organ, brass, choir and congregation. This will begin at 10:30 PM. Procession & Solemn Mass of the Nativity will follow. I can hardly wait. On Christmas Day there will only be one liturgy, Solemn Mass of Christmas Day, at 11:00 AM. Sunday, December 26, we will observe the regular Sunday schedule.
Father Shin and I will both sit for Christmas confessions on Wednesday, December 22, from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM. And he and I will both sit for confessions on Christmas Eve from 10:00 PM until 10:30 PM.
On Christmas Day the service concludes with a procession to the crèche. On Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day (and on March 25th) the custom of kneeling during the Nicene Creed at the words concerning Jesus becoming man is retained. (That is to say, where we now bow during the creed on the two great feasts of the incarnation we kneel.)
There are always questions about Communion at Christmas. The rules of the Episcopal Church are stated in all of our bulletins. If you have guests or are sitting next to persons who may be unsure of themselves, I think it is important to see if you can be of any help to them. This goes for managing prayer books and hymnals too. If you come to Midnight Mass and receive Holy Communion you may also come to Mass on Christmas Day and again receive Christmas Communion.
I think that is enough on details. In fact it is probably too much. I hope as many people as possible will be able to come to the liturgy to enter and enjoy the worship and not be worried about details. Life is so very short and too short to be consumed with anxiety about details. True, I am working hard to prepare to be celebrant and preacher at the Midnight Mass. But I am also working hard to prepare myself to enjoy the wonderful privilege of worshipping here. By God's grace it will be a very glorious, merry and holy Christmas for our parish community and our many friends. I hope you will be able to be here for Christmas.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jack, Herbert. Margaret, Warren, Katherine Rose, Margo, Shirley, Robert, Rich, Julia, Owanah, Clara, Daniel and Samuel John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 19: 1991 Grace L. Taylor; December 24: 1962 Charles Moran; December 25: 1986 Norman Albert Rollings.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: 2 Samuel 7:4,8-16, Psalm 132:8-15, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin, 10:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 11:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 5:00 PM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector . . . On Saturday, December 18, Father Gerth will hear confessions . . . On Wednesday, December 22, at 5:00 PM Father Gerth and Father Shin will hear confessions . . . On Christmas Eve at 10:00 PM Father Gerth and Father Shin will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . One volunteer is needed for the AIDs Tea at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital this Sunday. If you can help, please call Jon Bryant . . . Many thanks to all who made the patronal feast on December 8th such a wonderful occasion! Too many made special efforts to begin to list the names of those who helped, but we really do know who you are and appreciate all you do to make our worship at the altar and our fellowship afterwards worthy of our mission and ministry. Thank you! . . . As we go to press 74 pledges have been received for the Year 2000 Operating Budget that total $128,653.00. Members of the Stewardship Committee have begun making telephone calls to members to get in their pledges. Your commitment to Saint Mary's makes a difference. Please help! . . . Your help is still needed with money for Christmas flowers and greens. As we go to press, $1,046.00 has been donated for this Christmas and $1,000.00 has been donated to the Flower Fund deficit. At least $500.00 additional is needed for the Christmas decorations. We are not going to grow the Flower Fund deficit. Slowly but surely we are going to pay the future back. The Rector promises that the Easter Flower Appeal will be well in advance of the celebration, but Saint Mary's still needs your help now to meet our needs for Christmas decorations that will be enjoyed prayerfully not only by our parish community but by the many hundreds of people who daily enter Saint Mary's to pray. Please help! . . . Father Shin is in charge of adult Christian formation at Saint Mary's. If you are interested in learning more about being a Christian or becoming a member of the parish please speak with him or any of the members of the clergy . . . This Sunday, December 19, the Rector's Class will meet in Saint Benedict's Study at 10:00 AM. This is the last Christian education offering in the parish until next year . . . Copes of Father Breidenthal's book, Christian Households, and year 2000 Ordo Kalendars are available in the bookshop . . . The Bishop of New York will receive the First Vows of Brother Anthony-Francis as a solitary on Tuesday, December 21, at the 8:30 AM Mass in Saint Ansgar's Chapel at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Your prayers and presence are requested . . . Attendance last week: Patronal Feast 229, Sunday 160.
SUMMARY OF DECEMBER 13, 1999, BOARD MEETING . . . At its December meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Elected officers for the coming year: Mr. Gerald McKelvey, Vice-President; Mrs. Barbara Klett, Treasurer; and Dr. Leroy Sharer, Secretary; 2. With the Rector, appointed a Budget Committee, which will prepare the budget for the Year 2000, to be presented at the next meeting of the Board. The committee consists of Linda Bridges, Jim Dennis, Tom Kamm, and Barbara Klett, as well as Father Gerth; 3. Heard a report from Phil Burgess, who has been in contact with Larry Trupiano, who preserves the organ. Mr. Trupiano has indicated that the organ is in good condition; 4. Heard from Jim Dennis, Chair of the Stewardship Committee, about follow up contacts of people who have not yet pledged for the nest year; 5. Heard from the Rector about the Search Committee for the new Music Director. This committee will be chaired by John Schultz, with other members being Dale Bonenberger, Charles Carson, David Gillespie, Herb Kirschner, and Elizabeth Seacord-Feldman. The committee was charged by the Rector to survey the congregation and also to learn what other leading Anglo-Catholic parishes are doing, with regard to their music programs; 6. Heard a report about the meeting of the Investment Committee, as mentioned in last week’s Angelus; 7. Heard about a conference that will be held in San Francisco in February, of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes. Father Gerth plans to attend this meeting, along with one member of the Board of Trustees; 8. Heard about a new banner that will be put up on the 46th Street side of the Church. The banner will measure 6 X 25 feet, and it will be easily visible from the corner of 46th Street and Seventh Avenue. It will cost $1,900, and it is expected to last for about six months, before it will need to be replaced. A special gift has made this possible; 9. Discussed possible dates for the Annual Parish Meeting.
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 6:15 PM. On Saturdays Mass is said at 12:15 PM.
The Daily Office
On ordinary Sundays Morning Prayer is said at 8:40 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 Fourth Week of Advent
Monday Weekday & Eve of Saint Thomas
Tuesday Saint Thomas the Apostle
Friday Christmas Eve
Saturday Christmas Day
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.