Saint Mary's Matters
There was a good congregation for All Saints' last night. It was a lovely evening in so many ways. Robert Church played a wonderful recital before Mass (and finished with Alain's Litanies as a postlude!). The Mass, well, it was Saint Mary's on All Saints'. Has All Saints' Day ever not been observed with Solemn Mass in this building? The fact of our worship and the character of our worship matters for us and for others.
There is a significance to the public witness Saint Mary's makes daily to Christian belief. People don’t trip over our signs but they do see them. Our signage is not yet worthy of our building but it does get the job done. People see that we are open for worship every day.
If someone is practicing on the organ, everyone walking by the church knows it. Many enter. All who do fall reverently quiet when entering this sacred space. Saint Mary's was built to be a place of gothic light. Because the city has grown so tall around it, our church is usually seen through shadows. Last night, of course, the interior lights were on. It is a brilliant space, brilliantly redecorated by this congregation just a few years ago. In light and in darkness it speaks to people of God's presence among us in this world.
I believe it is correct to say that most members of the United Methodist Church probably don't know that their denomination got its name from their origins as English Anglicans who were "methodical" about the use of the Prayer Book. Methodists have long ceased from being "methodical" about the Prayer Book as have too many Anglicans. Yes, at Saint Mary's we often use words and phrases from the wider catholic tradition to name things. (We say "Mass" around here.) Yes, at Saint Mary's we enrich the liturgical tradition in places. (Can anyone really explain why the Prayer Book's version of the Exsultet should leave out historic material other than just wanting to be different?) Yes, we add the Angelus to the conclusion of Mass. (We aren't the only congregation to love a devotional practice or two that really makes little liturgical sense!) But Saint Mary's does frame its common life with the worship of the Church. We are in some real sense "methodists."
Most of you know that I make an effort to talk to visitors and newcomers. You would probably be surprised to know how many of them learn about Saint Mary's from the folding sign in front of the 46th Street doors and from the blue banner. Fewer newcomers tell me they have seen our regular ad in the Times. But our many friends who come on feast days do. Many people also read the ads. And last Saturday one congregation in the city published the fact that it was observing All Saints' and All Souls'. I think this public witness is very important.
If you are a member of the Episcopal Church in our area you know that Saint Mary's plans its common life around the Calendar of the Church. No, we don't observe every possible great feast with a solemn celebration. (For example, we omit the Transfiguration of our Lord (August 6), Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - which falls on May 31 and often conflicts with the end of the Easter Season in significant ways, Saint Michael & All Angels (September 29), the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (June 24) and Saints Peter & Paul (June 29)). We are, after all, a parish church, not a cathedral or a monastery. Every principal feast of the year and every Sunday, Holy Week, and many other days are observed with the riches of the tradition.
There will always be some people who confuse the form of worship with the meaning of worship. I certainly went through a period when the details of worship took on an importance out of proportion to their meaning. But the tradition and life itself has a way of bringing most of us around. Saint Mary's is a place where a community gathers to be the Body of Christ and to do the work that Christ calls it to do. And Saint Mary's matters because of this, because of what Christ has made us and what Christ is calling us to do. He promised that he would be with us always. I don't think he was thinking of the Tabernacle. I believe he was speaking of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us and among us. In the end, of course, God alone matters.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Rick, Kersten, Nolan, Olga, Barbara, Helen, Mary, Lucille, Frances, Eleanor, Carl, Harold, Frank, Cindy, Eleanor, Jane, Santiago and John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 6: 1988 Beatrice Emily Clark, November 7: 1988 Bruce Taylor, November 8: 1992 Edna May Chaney.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Psalm 119:1-16, Hebrews 7:23-28, Mark 12:28-34 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Gerth, Preacher: Richard Lawson, 10:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin . . . Confessions will be heard on November 4 by Father Garrison . . . Confessions will be heard on November 11 by Father Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training on Saturday, November 11, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM . . . Many thanks to all who were able to attend the vestment workshop last Saturday and for all of the work! . . . The 20s & 30s tour of the Cathedral last Saturday was fully subscribed . . . Attendance last Sunday: 199.
MEMORIAL SERVICE . . . A memorial service will be held for Gaylord Mason, a longtime member of this parish, this Sunday, November 5, at 2:00 pm, at the Actors Home. Anyone interested in attending the service should contact Rose Astor at the Actors Home located at 155-175 West Hudson Avenue, Englewood, New Jersey. The telephone number is (201) 871-0094 extension 131 for directions and information.
10:00 AM SUNG MASS SERVICE REPORT . . . During the month of October the following attendance was recorded for the new Sung Mass on Sundays at 10:00 AM: October 1 19, October 8 33, October 15 33, October 22 21, October 29 37. The liturgy begins promptly at 10:00 AM and is concluded by 10:45 AM. We are thankful in particular for the support of altar servers and ushers who assist us as we try to make this service helpful for those who attend. Our purpose in offering this Mass is to grow the parish. A year ago the average Sunday attendance in October was 15.
WEDNESDAY EVENING SERIES . . . Father Breidenthal will lead a five-class series on the Christian influence on Shakespeare's plays. "Shakespeare as Theologian" will look at King Lear and the Merchant of Venice. The participants are also invited to the play, Hamlet, presented by the American Globe Theatre on November 17 at 7:30 PM. The ticket costs $15. Please talk to Father Shin about reserving your seat for the show.
Worship at Saint Mary’s
The Holy Eucharist
On Sundays Mass is said at 9:00 AM 5:00 PM. A Sung Mass is offered at 10:00 AM. 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 Twenty-first Week after Pentecost
Monday Parish Requiem (H-M from All Souls’ Day list)
Tuesday Willibrord, missionary bishop
Wednesday Parish Requiem (N-R from All Souls’ Day list)
Thursday Parish Requiem (S-Z from All Souls’ Day list)
Friday Leo the Great, bishop Abstinence
Saturday Martin of Tours, bishop
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, The Reverend J. Barrington Bates, assisting priests, The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.