Christ the King
The Solemnity of Christ the King is not an ancient Christian feast. The celebration was introduced by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and was appointed for the Sunday before All Saints' Day. On the surface it seems like a good idea. Certainly Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is not a bad thing to be reminded of this. Pope Pius XI called for hearts to be consecrated anew to the Christ on this day. Again, not a bad idea at any time. What bothered liturgists for decades afterwards is that the feast celebrated a "title" apart from a specific event in the life of Christ. The liturgical cycle of the Church rests on the celebration of the incarnate life of the Lord. And there were already a few feasts of the kingship of Christ in the calendar, not to mention the purpose of every Sunday Mass.
In my mind the kingship of Christ is fundamental to Christmas, Epiphany, the Easter Triduum and Ascension. It is almost impossible to preach a sermon on any of these great feasts, all associated with specific saving actions by Christ himself, without mentioning directly or indirectly the kingship of the Lord. Jesus' saving work isn't a result of titles given him by his followers. Many people called him "Lord" before he died. He was their Lord from before creation but no one believed until he died and rose.
In the liturgical reforms of the Roman calendar in the late 1960s a deft solution was proposed for the Solemnity of Christ the King. It was moved to the last Sunday of the year. The reform of the calendar, which has now replaced the one-year cycle of previous centuries, also includes an expansion of the biblical readings associated with this feast. In Year A we have the Great Judgment from Matthew, in Year B we have Pilate questioning Jesus about the nature of Jesus' kingship from John, and in Year C we have the mocking of Christ on the cross at his crucifixion from Luke. The feast is now oriented as the liturgical year is oriented to the end of time when God will be all in all.
Another of the great reforms of the 1960s (the real, substantive and enduring changes from that era weren't about second-rate guitar music, sitting on the floor for Mass and a host of other bad ideas) was the recovery of the historic shape of the Advent Season, which we enter with evening prayer on the Eve of the First Sunday of Advent. Advent is a season of preparation and only secondarily of penitence. Although Gloria in excelsis is not said on ordinary Sundays in Advent, "Alleluia" continues to be used for the acclamation of the Gospel. (And "Alleluia" is only omitted during Lent and Holy Week.) Certainly we prepare for Christmas by acts of penitence and confession of our sins, but the primary emphasis of the great tradition is not on our sinfulness but on being ready for the Lord when he comes.
I remind you again, and will probably repeat this next week, of the opening words of the historic entrance song for the First Sunday of Advent, "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you" (Psalm 25:1a). In lifting up our souls and our lives to our Lord there are things each of us want to leave behind. Christ the Lord promises us that he will cleanse our lives and he will wipe away every tear from our eyes and hearts. And again, he does this not by title or fiat, but by being born, by living, by suffering, by dying, by rising from the dead and ascending into heaven.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Charles, priest, who is hospitalized and for Beatrice, Jack, Olga, Helen, Mary, Lucille, Frances, Carl, Harold, Frank, Cindy, Eleanor, Jane, John, Kersten, Nolan, Barbara, Santiago, Rick, Judy, Mary Josephine, Anthony, Roy and Peter.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 26: 1998 Ronald L. Cox; November 30: 1970 Sarah Lucille LaBosse; December 1: 1977 Calvin Nash; 1989 George Johnson, Sr.; 1992 Margaret Louise Rigler.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Daniel 7:9-14, Psalm 93, Revelation 1:1-8, John 18:33-37 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Breidenthal, Preacher: Jennifer Reddall, 10:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth . . . Confessions will be heard on November 25 by Father Gerth . . . Confessions will be heard on December 2 by Father Garrison.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Class will meet on Saturday, December 3, in Saint Joseph's Hall from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM . . . Vestments work continues. Some folks will be here this Saturday, November 25, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM to work. We now expect Gina Bianco of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Textile Department to be with us on Saturday, January 13. Some may have noticed that a lot has been done and we want everyone to know it. We also want everyone to know there is a lot we can do . . . Shakespeare As Theologian continues on Wednesday evenings in Saint Benedict’s Study, 7:00 PM - 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.) . . . Attendance last Sunday: 191.
WHAT'S A 'QUIET DAY' ANYWAY? . . . .A "quiet day" is a mini-retreat, a time to slow down, take a break from the seasonal frenzy and reflect a little on your life and what God may be doing in your life. The format often involves short meditations or talks given by a leader and includes time for reflection, for sitting in the church, for simply being quiet. Our Advent Quiet Day will take place on Saturday, December 9, from 10:30 AM – 3:00 PM in Saint Joseph's Hall. If you are interested in attending, please call the parish office at (212) 869-5830 or list your name on the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
SUMMARY OF NOVEMBER 20, 2000, BOARD MEETING . . . At its November 20, 2000, meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Heard that pledge income for 2000 is ahead of what has been budgeted, although the amount is behind what we have in signed pledges. This will probably be largely made up by people who pay their yearly pledges at the end of the calendar year; 2. Heard a report from the Investment Committee, chaired by Mr. Terrance O’Dwyer, about the performance of our investment funds. The Rector has invited Mr. O’Dwyer to submit a report about the investments at the Annual Parish Meeting, which will be held on Sunday January 28, 2001; 3. Heard a report about the Stewardship Campaign, which is going well; 4. Reviewed the job description for the Music Director and heard that the Music Search Committee has begun its work; 5. Discussed possible dates for a long range planning retreat for members of the Board of Trustees; 6. Heard that the annual Stated Meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held on Monday December 11, 2000, in the Octave of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, as is required by the by-laws. The meeting will be preceded by a Corporate Communion for Board members at the evening Mass; 7. Heard about plans for a reception following the Solemn Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, on December 8. Bishop Grein will preside at the Mass, and Father Andrew Mead, Rector of Saint Thomas Church, will preach. There will also be a reception for the entire parish in the newly renovated Rectory on Friday January 5, 2001, following the Solemn Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany that evening; 8. Discussed the need for two new staff positions, an administrative assistant to work with new members and parish growth, and an on-site buildings manager who would work from Sundays through Thursdays each week. The latter person would also be in charge of the sextons; 9. Discussed the need for a new sound system for the church. Some experts will be consulted about this, as an initial step.
FROM "KEEPING THE FAITH", TOWN & COUNTRY FOR DECEMBER 2000 . . . "Thomas Jayne, interior decorator, New York City: On Christmas Eve I go to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, on 46th Street. It's very pretty, it's famous, the music is great, the ceremony's beautiful, and they parade the bambino through the church. Designer Howard Christian does the decorations, and they're always gorgeous – palmetto with magnolias and papyrus, very exotic, not your generic red and green. The Magi are placed up on the chancel on a Persian carpet, and they travel through the church during the weeks of Christmas until, at Epiphany, they arrive at the crèche. it's really lovely. You need to distill the holiday down to what's really important to you. The mother of a friend died, and he was depressed. But someone invited him for Christmas, and he had a really good time. He told me, "Christmas is an opportunity for something wonderful to happen." We've all been in Christmas situations that were pretty ghastly, but it's important to remember that Christmas is an opportunity."
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 Last Week after Pentecost
Tuesday Kamehameha & Emma, king & queen
Thursday Saint Andrew the Apostle
Friday Nicholas Ferrar, deacon Abstinence
Saturday Channing Williams, missionary 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.