Honest and Correct
Last week our middler seminarian Jennifer Reddall was working on a paper for one of her classes, the title: "Leadership, Power Dynamics, and Systemic Realities." She asked about Saint Mary's. I responded to some specific questions about the structure of our parish community and the role of the rector within the structure. In addition, my response included the following paragraph:
One key component of leadership - which is sometimes overlooked - is the relationship of leadership to serving as the pastor of the community. Real legitimacy as a rector within a community comes not from the canons but from service as a pastor. This is why the roles of presider and preacher are historically linked, because the presider/preacher is generally the pastor. This is a fundamental aspect of the priesthood that I really didn't take seriously until I functioned as a rector. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I didn't appreciate the primary importance of the work and role of a pastor, the being and the doing, in serving as the priest and teacher of the community. The rector presides because he or she is the pastor.
Sometimes I joke with people that I am "chained to the altar or to my desk." That is far more true than I wish it were. Yet at this juncture of the life of the parish and my service as rector, this is what I believe the parish needs me to do. By disposition I enjoy administration. I became a priest because I thought I was supposed to be saying Mass (a subject for another article). I love teaching more than anything and I continue to hope for opportunities to do this. But it is in work as a pastor that I have learned what it means to be a priest. I believe it is only in being a pastor that what I do as priest, preacher and teacher can be authentic.
I know a lot of folks pick up the morning paper these days to follow the saga of our national political life. I read The New York Times in the morning. It will tell you a lot about me that on Tuesdays I go immediately for "Science Times" and that my favorite section of the week is "Dining In/Dining Out" on Wednesdays. Yesterday, I followed my own rule of life and went directly for the food section, despite the headlines on the front page.
The restaurant review of the week mentioned expressions the French use to describe a good restaurant, "honest and correct." That is something I strive for in my work as a pastor, to be honest and to be correct. At 3:00 AM in the "pastoral care" room of a hospital emergency room, when a priest greets a woman whose husband has just died, all he or she can say is, "I am sorry your husband has died." Honest and correct and present.
All pastoral care is not so serious. I delight in calling on our homebound members. I always pay close attention to what these parishioners tell me about life, about the Church, and about themselves. I can't really repay them for the confidence they put in me by allowing me to serve them as their pastor except by trying to be honest and correct and with them.
Jenni's paper prompted me to think about my understanding of being rector of Saint Mary's and why our common life is organized in the way it is. Newer members of the community may not realize that the reason your priests live within the church complex is so that we can be available for pastoral care when it is needed. It is a very, very occasional night when both the rector and curate are away at the same time. The Mass is important. Prayer is important. Office work is important. Teaching is important. Saint Mary's hallmarks include all of these things and more. Our parish has a great tradition of priests who are pastors and this is a tradition I hope that I continue to live into.
Priesthood is not a 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM occupation, but nor is being a Christian. In the months and years ahead we will continue to rethink and revise our structural and organizational life at Saint Mary's. As we grow, may the roles we are asked to take on, as well as the roles we take upon ourselves, bring us closer to Christ and closer to one another.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Charles, priest, who is hospitalized and for Roy, Peter, Beatrice, Jack, Olga, Helen, Mary, Lucille, Frances, Eleanor, Carol, Harold, Frank, Cindy, Eleanor, Jane, John, Kersten, Nolan, Barbara, Santiago, Rick, Judy, Mary Josephine, and Anthony.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 9: 1990 Beryl Ermine Whittle; November 20: 1986 Richard Johnson; 1976 Calvin Gray; 1985 Gary Grubb; November 24: 1950 Harlan Perrigo; 1957 Frederick Delius; 1989 Aurora Van Heyningen.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Daniel 12:1-13, Psalm 16:5-11, Hebrews 10:31-39, Mark 13:14-23 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Shin, Preacher: Richard Lawson, 10:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth . . . Confessions will be heard on November 18 by Father Gerth . . . Confessions will be heard on November 25 by Father Shin.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: Saturdays at Saint Mary's, November 18, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. "How do we pray?" with John Beddingfield . . . To date $15,650 has been raised for the renovation of Saint Joseph's Hall. This work will not be undertaken until June 2001 because of the need to close the hall for four weeks. Contributions received will dictate the scope and scale of the renovation and estimates for the work are still being received . . . The parish office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, and Friday, November 24 . . . Attendance last Sunday: 162
SHAKESPEARE AS THEOLOGIAN will NOT meet this Wednesday evening. The class will continue on November 29 in St. Benedict’s Study, 7:00-8:30 pm, led by Father Thomas Breidenthal. The American Globe Theatre’s production of Hamlet runs through December 3. Call 212-869-9809 for more information. (The American Globe is located on the third floor of the church office building.)
THE ADVENT QUIET DAY will take place on Saturday, December 9, at 10:30 am – 3:00 pm. If you are interested in attending, please print your name on the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in St. Joseph’s Hall or call the parish office at (212) 869-5830.
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-fourth Week after Pentecost
Monday Edmund, king & martyr
Thursday Thanksgiving Day (Federal Holiday Schedule)
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday James Otis Sargent Huntington, priest
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.