Grace Lacurto, 1899 - 2000
Grace LaCurto, the oldest member of Saint Mary's, died on Tuesday, December 5, in Greenwich, Connecticut. She was born on January 16, 1899. She was confirmed at Saint Mary's on December 18, 1947 and had been an active member of the parish until she could no longer manage the commute from Connecticut every Sunday. Older members and friends of the parish will remember that for years she presided over the pouring of coffee after the Solemn Mass on Sundays. She retired from The New York Times. She is survived by a niece in Texas. In the last years of her life she was cared for faithfully by the clergy and parish visitors of Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut, for which we are most thankful. Her requiem will be celebrated on Monday, December 18, at 2:00 PM in her parish church which she dearly loved. May her soul rest in peace. S.G.
From the Rector: Light in Darkness
Christmas decorations tell me it is December; the earth tells me it is Advent. In the midst of the lights and sounds of the city where I live and walk daily, I seem to sense the increasing darkness of creation. It moves me more than the most splendid displays of lights at this time of the year. The dark is peaceful and cold. It invites me to rest and to wait. My desk doesn't do this. My diary certainly doesn’t do this. The altar may do this for others but at this time of the year it makes me worry about all that needs to be done in the last days before Christmas. Yet, the peace is all around me. It is in the earth. God's creation invites you and me to pay attention to it, and, I believe, to rest and to wait.
The great Christmas prophecy comes to us from the Prophet Isaiah, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light" (Isaiah 9:2a). These are not words that describe all the ways in which God can reveal himself, but it does describe the most important and complete way God has revealed himself to his creation, in the revelation of the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, Light in the midst of darkness, Light which we can see.
It is very easy for my days to be filled right now with decorations, as it were, and not enough earth. Curiously, it is when I am noticing and focusing on decorations, on things that don't matter, that I am most vulnerable to the temptations of depression. There's a reality and an honesty to the darkness of the night and of the earth that for me is usually peaceful, occasionally a little scary, but real.
I can be afraid or depressed by the shadows of this life, of living. Isaiah's prophecy was made to a people, a nation, who were depressed by the inheritance of their disobedience to God's will for their lives, that they love him and their neighbors as themselves. No matter how great the darkness is in our lives we know from John's Gospel that the darkness does not overcome the light, in this world or in the world to come.
Sometimes I ache in the dark corners of my life; but light seems to come. I certainly can understand how people could be overcome by darkness and heartache in this world, but the earth itself seems to stand as a great prophetic reminder of the fullness of God's love for all people, who despite their failings, their disobedience and their imperfection remain the great sign of his presence in this world.
I hope you and I may find rest this month in the midst of everything. I hope you and I can enjoy the darkness of the earth. I hope you and I will take time to see the brightness of the light in this world, in each other, in ourselves, and above all in the Christ.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked 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, Peter, Phillip, Chester, Romi, David and Charles, priest, and for the repose of the souls of Ed and Grace . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 18: 1993 Ed Martin Riley; December 19: 1991 Grace L. Taylor.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Zephaniah 3:14-20, Psalm 85:7-13, Philippians 4:4-9, Luke 3:7-18 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin, 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 December 16 by Father Garrison and on December 23 by Father Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, is "Gaudete" (rejoice) Sunday. Rose vestments are worn and flowers are used on the altar . . . The Vestment Care Day has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 13, 2001 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM . . . The Wednesday Evening Christian Formation Series returns on January 10 with Father Breidenthal leading the class, “Life Together.” The discussion will be based upon the book by the same title by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which can be found in most bookstores . . . Thursday, December 21, the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle is the Rector's seventeenth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood . . . Attendance last Sunday: 183, Immaculate Conception 295.
SUMMARY OF DECEMBER 11, 2000, BOARD MEETING . . . At the Annual Stated Meeting, on December 11, 2000, the Board of Trustees: 1. Discussed the future of the Mission House. 2. Learned that pledges for 2001 are currently at $170,497, with 80 pledges received thus far. The total number of pledges for the year 2000 was 92, for a total of $159,374. Thus people are pledging at a higher level this year. 3. Heard that year 2000 pledge statements as of November 30, 2000, will be mailed out shortly, to give people a year-end view as to where they stand, with regard to pledges. 4. Voted unanimously to endorse Mr. John Beddingfield’s postulancy for Holy Orders in the Diocese of New York. 5. Accepted with regret the resignation of Mr. Gerald McKelvey from the Board. Mr. McKelvey will continue as a member of the Mission House Committee. 6. Elected officers for the year 2001: Vice-President, Mr. James Dennis; Treasurer, Mrs. Barbara Klett; and Secretary, Dr. Leroy Sharer. [The Rector serves as President of the Board of Trustees.] Leroy Sharer, secretary
SOME WORDS OF APPRECIATION AND THANKS . . . We just cannot begin to keep track of all the people who help to make an evening like the patronal feast on December 8 such a success. It was extraordinary to have the Bishop of New York as celebrant and the Rector of Saint Thomas Church as preacher for the Solemn Mass. Has this ever happened before? We were honored by the presence of many friends of Saint Mary's too. Some were old friends, some new. All helped to enrich the offering of the liturgy. The preparation for an event like this begins months in advance really. Clergy, altar servers and Brother Lawrence Guild begin to make many decisions about how the event will happen. Howard Christian has it in the back of his mind that the flowers need to be especially beautiful. As the day approaches people appear to work during the day and in the evenings. Bulletins are prepared. Vestments selected. Brass and silver are polished, world without end. The cooks cook. The staff have many details to remember and so do all the parishioners involved in the Mass and the reception afterwards. In the end, it is splendid and a wonderful way to honor the Lord and the heritage that has been entrusted to us. I thank each of you for your help in making it such a wonderful evening. S.G.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday of Advent
Wednesday Ember Day
Thursday Saint Thomas the Apostle
Friday Ember Day Abstinence
Saturday Ember Day
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.