Charles Gaylord Mason, 1915 - 2000
“Full of life and energy and with a great sense of humor” is how anyone who knew Gaylord Mason would have described him. He was born October 4, 1915 and was confirmed at Saint Mark’s Church in Green Island, New York. He transferred to Saint Mary’s on February 5, 1985 and remained a faithful member of the parish. He lived a few blocks away from the parish and belonged to the Actors’ Fund during his younger years. At Saint Mary’s he was an active member of the Brother Lawrence Guild and helped with the folding of the Sunday bulletins every week. His love for and loyalty to the parish remained unchanged even after he became ill and had to move to the Actors’ Retirement Home in Englewood, New Jersey. After his death in June Gaylord’s ashes were sprinkled in the San Francisco Bay, as he had requested. He could not have picked a more romantic spot.
I learned of his death last Sunday in a surreal sort of way. George Blackshire brought in a letter from the Actors’ Fund addressed to another person and containing news of Gaylord’s death. The letter incorrectly stated that Gaylord had died on June 6. Looking at the letter, I remembered that it was just about that time that I had visited Gaylord. I checked my calendar and sure enough it was on June 6 that I had visited the homebound parishioners in New Jersey and this had included Gaylord.
I did remember that he was not in good condition. He was suffering from severe emphysema at the time and couldn’t talk very well. The nurse had me wear a pair rubber gloves and a gown before I went in to see him. Yet, neither from the nurse nor from Gaylord himself was there any sign that his life was nearing the end.
On Monday I called the Actors’ Fund to check on the circumstances of Gaylord’s death and to inquire about arrangements. I asked the person what time he had passed away. The answer: 10:40 AM. I was in total shock. Either I was led to visit the wrong person or something was very wrong, since I believed I was visiting Gaylord at the Actors’ Retirement Home at 3:00 PM. Since I had never met him before, it was possible that the nurse took me to a wrong person and I would not have known. I told the person at the Actors’ Fund that I had visited Gaylord on June 6 and that he seemed quite alive to me then. He double-checked the death certificate and told me that the date on the letter was mistaken. Gaylord had passed away on June 8. Even then it was just two days after I had visited him. It is still hard for me to believe that he had passed away almost three months ago and Saint Mary’s had only recently learned this.
This sad news of Gaylord’s death has come as a shock to many. Aside from sadness, though, there is something disturbing about it all. To this date the parish has received no notice informing us of Gaylord’s death. There is a double sadness about his death. Most likely he died alone. He had no close kin who kept in contact with him. His older brother passed away a long time ago. All he had were a few of his close friends and this parish family. Even during his stay at the retirement home Saint Mary’s remained important and dear to him. We sent him the Angelus every week as well as other parish news and I like to think he kept up on the gossip and goings-on of the parish.
What bothers me also is the fact that his religion was not regarded important and significant enough by those who took care of him at his death to inform his church of the sad news. Perhaps there are reasons for this. Perhaps Gaylord left no specific instructions for any funeral or memorial services. Perhaps, to many in a busy and understaffed retirement home, the church is just another impersonal and bureaucratic institution having nothing to do with individual persons. But all of this makes it more difficult for us to let Gaylord go. For those of this parish community who knew him and remember him fondly, his death seems not to have allowed us an opportunity for saying goodbye in our own way. And we have our own way of saying good-bye to the departed. Our way involves prayer. Our way involves memory. This Sunday, September 3, we shall remember Gaylord at Solemn Mass. Rest eternal grant unto him. O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him. May the soul of Charles Gaylord Mason rest in peace!
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Olga, Helen, Shirley, Dawn, Mary, Lucille, Frances, Eleanor, Carl, Harold, Frank, Deborah, Eleanor and Nettie. . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 8: 2000 Charles Gaylord Mason; September 3: 1965 Carol Jean Kearins; September 5: 1964 Joseph Henry Schuman; September 6: 1989 Martha McElveen Jones; September 8: 1952 Gwendolyn Eugenia Sands; 1989 Ruth M. Hinckley.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Deuteronomy 4:1-9, Psalm 15, Ephesians 6:10-20, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Shin, Preacher: Richard Lawson, 10:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin . . . Confessions will be heard on September 2 by Father Shin . . . Confessions will be heard on September 9 by Father Shin.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Amelia Rochester and Father Shin returned safely from their mission trip to Korea. We will be hearing more about their trip in the future . . . If you called the church office last week you may have spoken with Richard Lawson, our seminarian who helped during Eileen Sorensen’s vacation. His calm, steady and good spirit was greatly appreciated (even if he was a little slow with the photocopier!). Thanks again for all your help, Richard . . . On Sunday, September 10 the ushers will have a luncheon meeting at 2:00 PM . . . Attendance last Sunday 140.
SAINT JOSEPH'S HALL APPEAL . . . As we go to press, $12,205.50 has been received for the restoration of Saint Joseph's Hall. We think at least $20,000.00 will be needed to do a first rate paint job and to provide for modest decoration.
JOURNEY IN FAITH . . . Our catechumenate program, Journey in Faith, begins on October 8. Look for the brochure at church or speak with Father Shin if you are interested.
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 Twelfth Week after Pentecost
Monday Labor Day: One Mass only at 12:15 PM.
Friday The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Abstinence
Saturday Constance & Her Companions
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.