Matthew Weiler is going to spend a few days on retreat at Saint Gregory’s Abbey, Three Rivers, Michigan, to have a period of prayer and reflection as he prepares for ordination to the priesthood. I told Matthew that when he came to Saint Mary’s I would try to be a good senior colleague for him and to provide him with opportunities to develop as a member of the clergy. I also told him that he was my first curate to be right out of seminary.
I was ordained deacon in the Diocese of Chicago at the Cathedral of Saint James with the rest of my class. There was a pre-ordination retreat for us. I was ordained priest, however, in the parish where I served in Dallas as it was outside of the diocese. In the Episcopal Church, canon law makes the transfer of a transitional deacon (that is, those who are going to be ordained priest) from the jurisdiction of one diocese to another before ordination to the priesthood very complicated. Matthew is in the same situation as I was.
This does mean that we are doing some things for him that would be done in other places with a diocesan group. The biggest example of course is ordination to the priesthood. If Matthew had been ordained deacon earlier he could have been a part of the diocesan ordinations here in New York in September. But the calendar of the Diocese of Central Florida is different from the calendar of the Diocese of New York. Matthew cannot be ordained priest before November 26. As rector of a parish with fifteen Masses every week, I want him ordained priest as soon as possible. I think November 30 is close enough.
Because Bishop Sisk was with us for his Visitation on All Saints’ Day, he preferred that another bishop preside at the ordination. It happens that Bishop Frank Griswold, our presiding bishop and primate, was available. What a tremendous honor for all of us that he will be here for the liturgy.
Rick Miranda, one of our parishioners who now works at the Episcopal Church Center, but recently worked at the Church Pension Group on the Episcopal Clerical Directory, recently asked me to guess on what day most priests in the Episcopal Church were ordained. I was pretty sure I knew the answer and I did, December 21, the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle. Most deacons are ordained right out of seminary in late May or early June. Saint Thomas is the Holy Day most convenient to get a deacon ordained priest before Christmas. (My gut tells me this is the reason why the Episcopal Church did not follow the lead of the Roman Church to clean-up the Advent Season by moving Saint Thomas’ Day to July).
In many places priests preside at their first celebration of the Eucharist on the morning after their ordination. My rector, the Reverend Paul W. Pritchartt, at the Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, wanted me ordained as soon as possible. But he also did something very special for me. Although I was ordained on December 21, he made me celebrant for the Midnight Mass for my first Mass. It was a very, very generous and thoughtful thing for him to do. To come as close to his example, as possible, Matthew’s first celebration of the Eucharist will be the Solemn Mass on the First Sunday of Advent, two days after his priesting.
Ordinations are public services of the church. The entire parish community is invited and expected. I hope many from other parishes in the city will be able to be with us too. I will take the opportunity to write in some detail about the service as the date approaches. I hope it is already on your calendar. In the meantime, pray that we as a community will be a good place for the beginning of the ministry of a man we are beginning to know and love as brother in Christ and as “Father.” Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Karen who is gravely ill, for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph and Mark, and for Howard, Alex, Marion, Harold, Olga, Carl, Eleanor, John, Peter, Michael, Kenneth, Ursula, Tessie, Jennifer, John, Jolene, Dorene, Christina, Julia, Maureen, Marie, Rick, Arthur, priest, and Charles, priest, and for the repose of the soul of Francis . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 6: 1988 Beatrice Emily Clark; November 7: 1986 Bruce Taylor; November 8: l992 Edna May Chaney.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 1:10-20, Psalm 32:1-8, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12, Luke 19:1-10 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 3 by Father Garrison and on Saturday, November 10 by Father Gerth . . . NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The Prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday will be Vater unser im Himmelreich, by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) and the Postlude is Präludium und fuge in f-moll, BWV 536, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750). The Mass setting is Plainsong, Mass IV and the anthem at communion is Lord, rebuke me not by Matthew Locke (?1622-1677).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Karen Benson is gravely ill. She is now in a medical unit on the fourteenth floor of Saint Vincent Medical Center. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Father Weiler is on retreat at Saint Gregory’s Abbey, Three Rivers, Michigan, through Wednesday. We are delighted that Father Jay Smith will be here on Sunday to help . . . The November/December issue of AVE went to the US Postal Service for distribution on Wednesday, October 24 . . . Saint Mary's Guild will meet on Saturday, November 10 at 10:30 for frontal repair and discussion for making covers for the smoke room shelves. We will also install the drawer liners for the new vestments at that time . . . Saint Vincent’s Guild (the altar servers!) will meet at 10:30 A.M. on Saturday, November 24 to prepare for the ordination and the P.B. Help is needed with brass and other cleaning duties . . . Parish Requiems are celebrated this week. Please see the Calendar . . . The Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, retired bishop of New York will be with us for the Mass of Christmas Eve at 11:00 PM . . . The Rector continues a Wednesday evening teaching series at Trinity By-the-Cove Church, Naples, Florida, on November 7 and November 14. He leaves on Tuesday afternoon and returns Thursday afternoons after the classes . . . Attendance last Sunday 210.
NEW WOMEN’S GROUP . . . The first meeting will be Tuesday, November 13 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM in Saint Benedict's Study following the 6:20 Mass. Lauren Winner will be the leader of the group, assisted by the Reverend Rosemari G. Sullivan, one of our assisting priests who serves the Church as Secretary and as Executive Officer of the General Convention. This first meeting will be a chance for all in attendance to consider the possible themes, issues, topics, and activities in which the Group will engage.
JOURNEY IN FAITH . . . It’s not too late to take a “Journey in Faith,” our Christian formation course that meets on Sundays from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM after the Solemn Mass. Father Smith will lead this Sunday’s class since Father Weiler is on retreat.
SAINTS ALIVE! . . . Wednesday evenings, November 7 and 14 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. For two evenings, John Beddingfield will lead a discussion that will look at the role of saints in the history of the church, in the context of the Anglican tradition and in our own lives. A part of the class will involve reflecting upon the liturgies of All Saints’ and All Souls’ and the ways in which this “season of saints” can speak to us. Come and join the conversation.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday Twenty-second Sunday After Pentecost
Monday Parish Requiem (A-G)
Tuesday Parish Requiem (H-M)
Wednesday Willibrord, Bishop & Martyr
Thursday Parish Requiem (N-R)
Friday Parish Requiem (S-Z) Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector, The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curate,
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.