To Introduce a Curate
It was hot and humid last Sunday-- not unbearable-- but it was a summer Sunday in the city. Father Shin was in California at a conference. Father Breidenthal and I had the Masses. The Solemn Mass was a lot of fun, solemn holy fun, for me as your rector. Robert McCormick was on the bench for the first time as organist and music director. Robert did a great job with the organ. I was very happy indeed during his fine playing of the Tournemire Improvisation sur le ‘Te Deum.’ I was full of praise and my eyes were a little teary. Also in the congregation was our as-yet-unannounced new curate and his wife, the Reverend Matthew and Jana Weiler.
I couldn’t introduce our new curate to everyone on Sunday. Father Weiler is a transitional deacon from the Diocese of Central Florida. That diocese and our own diocese knew this was in the works, but it would not be until Monday morning that the formal letters requesting Matthew to be assigned to us could be sent.
Father’s resume came to me circuitously. He picked up Father William Parker’s name as interim priest from the diocesan web site in the spring. He sent him a letter at Saint Mary’s. It got sent to Father Parker in Syosett. Father sent it back to me. It arrived on a day I was nervous about finding a good priest. I put it aside in the pile for action. Eventually, I got around to calling someone in Florida who might know Matthew. The word came back that he is a good guy. Since he was in New Haven, where he had just been graduated from Yale Divinity School, I called him up and invited him to come to Saint Mary’s for a weekday Mass and to have lunch with me afterwards. During lunch I found myself wondering why he didn’t have a job. I liked him a lot; but he’s thirty years-old. On the surface he has the kind of attractive profile that parishes often seek in a new assistant priest. He had a good smile, a good sense of humor. What’s the problem? Why doesn’t he have a job?
The next morning I called Dr. Bill Franklin, a former member and trustee of Saint Mary’s, who is now the dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. “Why doesn’t Matthew have a job?” I asked. Bill gave him a strong recommendation and remarked that he had the gifts to help us grow. I then called the Diocese of Central Florida. The person there explained to me that there just weren’t a lot of jobs for newly ordained members of the clergy in that diocese this year. Bishop Howe had released Matthew to find a job elsewhere. And so, I and invited him and Jana to Saint Mary’s for a Sunday.
They were with us on Corpus Christi for the Solemn Mass. They had lunch with Father Shin and Clara Mun, John Delves and Jim Dennis, and me after Mass. We liked them. This past weekend they returned for a formal interview. I offered Matthew the position and he has accepted.
In one of my first contacts with Matthew I told him that I wasn’t sure I could be serious about considering him because he had only just been ordained deacon. Canonically, he cannot be ordained priest for six months, near the end of November. I would be crazy to hire him. We have fifteen Masses a week at Saint Mary’s. But as is so often the case, I hope it is not inappropriate to say, the Spirit seems to have a plan for Saint Mary’s.
Father Weiler has been serving at Saint John’s Church, New Haven. His last Sunday there will be July 15. He will begin work at Saint Mary’s on Monday, July 16. For the first few weeks he will be a commuter as the apartment for him and his wife is being prepared. I am so very, very thankful that he will begin his service while Father Shin is still with us. (Father Shin’s last Sunday will be September 9.) In the ordinary course of things, with permissions and approvals from the Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Central Florida and the permission of the Bishop of New York, Father Weiler will be ordained priest at Saint Mary’s at the end of November.
Again, I was especially happy last Sunday for many reasons. It was a hot day and we still had a good congregation. Father Figueroa and his daughter were with us on his last Sunday before returning home to Puerto Rico for July and August. Bishop Epting was in the sanctuary. There were visitors. There were people looking for a church – even on a hot Sunday. There was a good group of Saint Marians, the people who make this place their church home. I am so thankful for so many signs of life and of our future. We continue to welcome Robert McCormick. We welcome anew Matthew and Jana Weiler. When Saint Joseph’s Hall reopens we will have many, many things to celebrate.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jack , Henry, Harold, Olga, Carl, Eleanor, John, Peter, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Elwyn, Shirlah, Michael, Kenneth, Ursula, Jessica, Russell, Evelyn, Susan, Esme, Tessie, Richard, Rodney priest, Arthur priest.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 9: 1991 Blanche Evelyn Preene, July 11: 1981 Pelham St. George Bissell.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 66:10-16, Psalm 66:1-8, Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, July 7 by Father Garrison and on Saturday, July 14 by Father Gerth.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday will be Prelude and Fugue in G Minor by Healey Willan (1880-1968). The postlude will be Präludium und Fuge in g-moll by Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697). The soloist is Mr. Bill Burges, a regular member of the Saint Mary’s Choir, and his motet at communion will be Mache dich, meine Herze from Saint Matthew Passion by J. S. Bach (1685-1750).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Rector will return from vacation on Wednesday, July 11 . . . Invitations have been mailed for the new members’ and new friends’ reception on July 16. It is almost certain that someone who should have been invited has been overlooked, so if you know of anyone who might benefit from this occasion to learn more about Saint Mary’s, please encourage them to attend and have them call the parish office to RSVP, or call the church and we will send them an invitation . . . Attendance last Sunday: 199.
ALTAR FLOWERS . . . Some at Saint Mary’s may not be familiar with the process by which flowers are placed in church. Very early each Saturday morning, one of our volunteers (Howard Christian, Jon Bryant or [in the future] Timothy Higdon) goes to the flower district and gathers bundles of whatever can be found that is cheap, beautiful and likely to last through the week on our altar. The volunteer then arranges the flowers, moves buckets of water in and out of the church kitchen and spends several hours creating the arrangements. Flowers may be given in memory of the departed, in honor of a person who is still living, or in celebration of an anniversary. To place flowers in the church, simply send a check in the amount of $100.00 to the church and mark it “altar flowers.” Send this to Eileen Sorensen’s attention, and include with the check the names of the person or persons you wish to honor or remember. (Specific wording of dedications may be adjusted to conform to the style of the worship leaflet, but every effort will be made to reflect the intent of one’s dedication.) Flowers are needed for July 22, July 29, August 5, 12, 19, 26 and all Sunday’s during the month of September. If you are interested in giving flowers, please call the parish office at (212) 869-5830 or E-mail Eileen at email@example.com. Please understand that on some occasions there may be more than one tribute or dedication.
A VACATION FOR SPIRITUAL FORMATION CLASSES . . . Spiritual formation classes at Saint Mary’s have ended for the program year, but over the next few weeks Father Shin will be coordinating the 2001-2002 schedule. If you have ideas or requests for topics, please let him know. He can be E-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAINT JOSEPH’S HALL . . . The scraping, sanding, plastering, patching and painting continues, but it appears that great progress is being made. A special thanks to those in the parish and those who use our building for their flexibility and understanding during this time.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Wednesday Benedict of Nursia, Abbot
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 Rosemari Sullivan, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.