Our community life at Saint Mary's is full of wonderful events and celebrations that sustain us and keep us in our journey in faith. As a Christian community most of these events tend to be centered in worship and the fellowship that surrounds worship. We are people gathered at the Table and we feel at home at the Table as at no other place.
I write to you a few days before the parish’s patronal feast on Friday, December 8. The preparation for the feast, the Mass and the reception, goes forward. Musicians and clergy prepare. The household staff cleans. Bulletins will be folded. Many telephone calls and e-mail messages are exchanged. Yet for all of its similarities to other events of the year will be unique.
It is not often that we have the Bishop of New York and the Rector of Saint Thomas Church leading the worship of the community. It will be such a privilege to be here. Whatever difficulties and burdens (and joys) I may bring to worship I know I will be transformed by being part of this community at prayer. The great occasions of the church year have their special joys, as do the ordinary ones, but there is certainly a special intensity to our celebration when it is led by the Bishop. And what an honor for us to have Father Andrew Mead here to preach.
I enjoy life and, I can say, I like myself most at the times when I am aware of how wonderful and special it is. Almost always it is a powerful emotion. This kind of awareness transforms my spirit and my physical body. It is something that helps me to be more than I ordinarily am. It strengthens my faith in the gift of life and my faith in the Lord.
Our popular culture invites us all too often to be defensive about the fact that we are religious. When I am in touch with my beliefs at my best I simply am joyful. Each moment is precious and I am thankful for the gift.
As I write, I know many are looking forward to Friday evening, to Sunday morning and to the rest of the Advent and Christmas seasons. We have the opportunity to enjoy so much each time we come together. I invite you to prepare your hearts, your minds and your bodies to be captured by the unique beauty of holiness at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin this year. Don't miss it. Be here.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Richard, Beatrice, Jack, Olga, Helen, Mary, Lucille, Frances, Carl, Harold, Frank, Cindy, Eleanor, Jane, John, Kersten, Nolan, Barbara, Santiago, Rick, Judy, Mary Josephine, Anthony, Roy, Peter, Phillip, Chester, Romi, Rodney, priest, and Charles, priest, and for the repose of the soul of Grace . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 11: 1962 Carol Elizabeth Hollister; December 12: 1961 Jeanette Bolton; 1962 Martha Townroe; December 14: 1952 Amy Florence Nicholas; 1997 Edward David Miller; December 15:1989 Lorel Brownell Britt; December 16: 1959 Emily Cooper Campbell; 1996 Viola Douglas.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Baruch 5:1-9, Psalm 126, Philippians 1:1-11, Luke 3:1-6 . . . 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 Shin . . . Confessions will be heard on December 9 by Father Shin and on December 16 by Father Garrison.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The parish has just received word of the death of Grace LaCurto. More information will follow . . . The parish rejoices with Adeline Chong and Nick Mann upon the birth of their daughter, Lucy Emma Mann, born on November 22, 2000 . . . Father Charles Whipple is recovering from his recent hospitalization and has asked that the parish know of his deep gratitude for their prayers and for the many visits and calls he has received from our priests and from our members. We all continue to wish him a speedy recovery . . . Another dear friend of Saint Mary's, Father Rodney Kirk who now lives in the Virgin Islands will be having radiation therapy over the next few weeks. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Special thanks to Dale Bonenberger, Christina Hansen and Marguerite Torres who helped Ann Sokolowski bake cookies for upcoming coffee hours. Thanks also (from the kitchen volunteers and all the grateful, if greedy cookie-eaters) to the donor of a new large Kitchen Aid mixer for the kitchen! . . . Gay Gotham Chorus will have its concert, “From a Sacred Space” at Saint Mary the Virgin on Friday, December 15 at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $20 and $25 and can be obtained by calling 212-663-7748 . . . The Vestment Care Day has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 13, 2001 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM . . . Shakespeare As Theologian meets for its final class Wednesday evening, December 13 in Saint. Benedict’s Study, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM, led by Father Thomas Breidenthal. Father will begin leading a Wednesday evening class, “Life Together” on January 10. The discussion will be based upon the book by the same title by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which can be found in most book stores . . . We are hopeful to receive permission soon to replace the rectory fence that was damaged by an automobile last summer. Landmarks seems pleased with our proposed design, for which we are most thankful . . . Attendance last Sunday: 199 (Just think—if you had invited that friend you thought of inviting, we would have had 200!)
The Calendar of the Week
SUNDAY The Second Sunday of Advent
Wednesday Lucy, martyr
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
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.