In the Midst of Life
As soon as the parish clergy and staff collected themselves on Tuesday morning, we covered the altar in purple. We have been celebrating Masses for the Departed, at Noon and at 6:00 PM ever since. We are praying for those who have died and for those who mourn. There will be time to focus our prayers for our nation. There will be time to pray specially for our leaders and those who serve in the armed forces of our nation. There will even be a point when we will pray for our enemies as Jesus tells us to do. But now we are praying for the victims of evil, for those who died and for those who mourn the loss of fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, partners, fiancées, family, friends and colleagues.
We are reminding ourselves of the central proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that Jesus died and has risen, and gives his eternal life to all. It is the Father’s will that all may have life in this world and in the world to come. We do believe the dead live in Christ. We believe in the Real Presence of Christ in our world and in all people. In Christ we reach through the veil and shadow of death with faith and hope in new life.
For all who are members and friends of Saint Mary’s, I want you to know that your parish church has been open. Your parish clergy have been here and will be here. Masses and Offices are said. Confessions, formal and informal, are being heard, both in the church and on the streets of our neighborhood. Enough of the church staff has been able to be here that we have been able to help with the spiritual and physical needs of many who found our doors open.
Prayers and expressions of concern for Saint Mary’s began to arrive from around the nation and the world as soon as the news of this horrific evil became known. Masses are being offered with special intentions for us in this city that we may respond to the needs of each other and that we may be delivered from further destruction and evil.
The spirit of the people of our city has itself been to me a sign of God’s presence in the midst of this evil. It is hard for me to call to mind the extraordinary kindness and generosity of everyone I’ve seen since I saw the World Trade Center burning, and it is hard to write without becoming emotional. It just hasn’t seemed to matter that people are tired. Needs are being met heroically.
I write this on Thursday morning, September 13. As far as I know at this point in time, no member of our parish community perished. But members of our community know many who have died. They are grieving. And I am confident that the kindness and witness of our parish community will comfort them and strengthen them.
We of course are not the only parish at prayer. Throughout our diocese and our Episcopal Church, the Gospel is being proclaimed and Mass is being offered. We don’t yet know the names of all who have died. But there may be a day and a time when it is appropriate for us to read their names publicly. For now, we gather up our grief, our pain, our anger, and our frustration—we gather them all up in prayer, and we go again and again to the altar, to partake of the One in whom there is life eternal.
All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last. (John 6:37-39)
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for the members of the Armed Forces of our country on active duty, especially Edward and Andrew, for the civil and public safety officers of our city and state, for Marion, Beatrice, Godfrey, Jack, Harold, Olga, Carl, Eleanor, John, Peter, Joseph, Michael, Kenneth, Ursula, Jessica, Russell, Susan, Esme, Tessie, Richard, Jennifer, John, William, Norma, Barbara, priest, Charles, priest, and Arthur, priest, and for the repose of the souls of Jorge, Mary, Grace and Donna.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 21: 1976 Harold E. Pim.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Exodus 32:1, 7-14, Psalm 51:1-11, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-10 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, September 15 and on Saturday, September 22 by Father Gerth.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday will be Prelude on Song 13, and the postlude will be Prelude on Bryn Calfaria, both by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). Miss Jennifer Grenne, soprano, will be our soloist. The solo at communion will be Komm in mein Herzenshaus from the cantata Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80 by J. S. Bach (1685-1750).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press, Procession & Solemn Mass will be offered on Friday, September 14, at 6:00 PM, for Holy Cross Day. . . Many thanks to all who have called or have been able to come by the parish to help during this period. Your presence has been very helpful to our guests and to the parish staff and clergy . . . Your Rector cannot speak more highly of the service of the parish staff and clergy during these days. Because of volunteers and the donation of food from a restaurant we were prepared to keep the church open all night if that had proved necessary. We are thankful that people were able to return to their homes . . . The Ordination of Priests will be held as scheduled at the Cathedral on Saturday, September 15, at 10:30 AM. Our Bishop believes that part of our response to terrorism is to continue to witness to the life of the community . . . Attendance last Sunday: 235.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . The Wednesday evening classes will resume on September 19. We begin this year with a series led by Father Breidenthal on “The Prodigal Son.” Discussion will be based upon the story from Luke 15 and will explore various ways the passage can be understood, experienced and applied to our lives. Those arriving for classes on weeknights after Mass are reminded of the doorbell that rings in Saint Benedict’s Study located inside the 46th Street Parish Building entrance.
CELEBRATING A NEW BISHOP . . . The Diocese of New York invites you to be present at the recognition, investiture and installation of the Right Reverend Mark Sean Sisk as the Fifteenth Bishop of New York and for the Mass on the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels, Saturday, September 29, 2001 at 11:00 AM at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.
ALTAR FLOWERS . . . Flowers are needed for several Sunday’s during the month of October, - 14, 21, 28 are open, and for All Saints’ Day, November 1st. Flowers can 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. Or you can call the parish office at (212) 869-5830 or e-mail Eileen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please understand that on some occasions there may be ore than one tribute or dedication.
OPEN HOUSE . . . Saint Hilda’s & Saint Hugh’s School invites interested persons to attend an open house on Thursday, October 11 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The event will allow visitors to meet faculty, administration and other parents, as well as tour the school. For more information, please call 212 932-1980. The school is located at 619 West 114th Street in Manhattan.
From The Supplication in The Book of Common Prayer
O Lord, arise, help us; and deliver us for thy Name’s sake.
O God, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have declared unto us,
the noble works that thou didst in their days, and in the old time before them.
From our enemies defend us, O Christ;
Graciously behold our afflictions.
With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts;
Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.
Favorably with mercy hear our prayers:
O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ;
Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Hildegard, abbess
Tuesday Edward Pusey, priest
Wednesday Theodore of Tarsus, bishop
Thursday John Patterson & Companions, martyrs
Eve of Saint Matthew’s Day 6:00 PM
Friday Saint Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist Abstinence
Saturday Ember Day
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Matthew G. Weiler, 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.