Ordination of a Priest
There are so many good theological and so many simply practical reasons for celebrating ordinations in cathedrals that I can foresee a time in the not too distant future when virtually all ordinations will be celebrated in cathedrals. It is extraordinary that a conjunction of location and events enables us to be the host parish for the ordination of our curate to the priesthood and to have the Presiding Bishop and Primate of our Church here to confer Holy Orders. I am sure the ordination of Matthew Weiler to the sacred priesthood will help us to renew our commitment as a Christian community to Christ.
Presbyter, meaning “elder,” is the New Testament word the Church uses for the order of ministry we commonly call in the Episcopal Church “priest.” Our ordination rite describes a presbyter as “pastor, priest and teacher.” I know I went to seminary because I thought I was called to say Mass, be a priest. I know that since leaving seminary and being ordained I have been learning that pastor comes before priest and one cannot be a really useful presbyter without a genuine commitment to all three roles.
Yet I don’t think it really matters in which role a presbyter senses the beginning of a call to ordained ministry. One of the realities of service to the Christian assembly is that a person who thinks of himself or herself primarily as a preacher will not be able to grow in that ministry if he or she is not growing as a pastor or priest. Ordinations, in this sense, are very much a beginning.
Saint Mary’s has had many priests and many ordinations over the years. The richness of our ordinary liturgical tradition enables these kinds of events to be absolutely extraordinary. Preparations for this service actually began as soon as we knew Matthew would come to Saint Mary’s as curate. I look forward so much to working together with him as a priestly colleague. His joy at serving at Saint Mary’s is something that renews my own commitment of service to the priesthood and to Christ. I hope very much you will be able to be here for the liturgy. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Helena who is hospitalized, for Alex, Marion, Harold, Olga, Eleanor, John, Peter, Michael, Kenneth, Ursula, Tessie, Jennifer, John, Jolene, Dorene, Christina, Julia, Maureen, Marie, Jake, Arthur, priest, and Charles, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph and Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 26: 1998 Ronald L. Cox; November 30: 1970 Sarah Lucille La Bosse; December 1: 1977 Calvin Nash; 1989: George William Johnson, Sr.; 1992: Margaret Louise Rigler.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Jeremiah 23:1-6, Psalm 46, Colossians 1:11-20, Luke 23:35-43 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 24, by Father Gerth and on Saturday, December 1, by Father Smith . . . NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday will be Adagio from Symphonie IV Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) and the postlude will be Grand Choeur Dialogué by Eugène Gigout (1822-1890). The Mass setting is Communion Service in G by Francis Jackson (b. 1917) and the anthem is Let all mortal flesh keep silence by Edward Bairstow (1874-1946). Jackson was Bairstow’s successor as organist and master of the music at York Minster Cathedral. On Friday, November 30 the Mass setting is Missa brevis by William Walton (1902-1983) and the anthem is The Spirit of the Lord is upon me by Edward Elgar (1857-1934). An organ recital, beginning at 5:30, will precede the Ordination and includes Crown Imperial, also by Walton, and Toccata und fuge in D-moll, BWV 538 (“Dorian”). The postlude will be Choral varié sur le ‘Veni Creator’ by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press, Helena Handy continues at Saint Luke’s-Roosevelt Medical Center. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Sacristy work day for altar servers is Saturday, November 24, at 10:00 AM . . . Rehearsals for the ordination are on Sunday, November 25, at 1:00 PM and on Thursday, November 29, at 7:00 PM . . . Journey in Faith meets on Sundays at 1:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . Remember the Patronal Feast: The Eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Friday, December 7, 6:00 PM, Procession & Solemn Mass. Our preacher is the Reverend Alan Moses, vicar, All Saints’, Margaret Street, London . . . The Women’s Group meets next on Tuesday, December 11, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . Mark the date: Advent Quiet Day at Saint Mary’s, Saturday, December 15, conducted by Bishop Epting . . . Attendance last Sunday: 182.
MAJOR CONCERT AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are pleased to announce that Saint Mary’s will host a concert by the American Boychoir on Thursday evening, December 13 at 8:00 PM. The American Boychoir is one of the world’s finest choirs of its type, and is widely recognized as the United States’ premier concert boys’ choir. The Choir is based in Princeton, New Jersey, and is conducted by Vincent Metallo, who assumed that position earlier this season. The American Boychoir tours and records extensively, and frequently appears with major orchestras in the city and abroad. We are fortunate that they will be presenting a full concert (rare for them in New York) here at Saint Mary’s. The program will include something to please everyone, including music of Christmas. Tickets are $25 ($15 seniors and for students with a valid ID) and are available by calling the church at (212) 869-5830, extension 25.
FOR THE NEW RITE . . . There will be many, many special things about our celebrations on Saint Andrew’s Day and on the First Sunday of Advent. Among these will be the use of two new sets of Solemn Mass vestments. The first is a red and gold set that will be worn for the first time at the ordination. The second is a set of purple vestments for Advent that will be worn for the first time at Father Weiler’s first Mass at 11:00 AM on Sunday, December 2. Christopher Hyland, a fabric merchant, has donated these vestments. The fabrics are spectacular. The vestments are being made by Patrick Boylan of Grace Vestments, a local firm. The red and gold set is intended for use on great occasions. The set consists of five chasubles, two dalmatics, seven stoles and a cope in addition to the materials for the altar and sacred vessels. The Advent set consists of three chasubles, one dalmatic, four stoles, a cope and the vesture for the altar and sacred vessels. The red and gold set is a memorial by Christopher to his parents. The Advent set is in memory of those who died in our city on September 11.
On the occasions when these vestments are worn the chasubles will be worn by bishops or priests and the dalmatics, when used, will be worn only by deacons. The epistle will be sung by an acolyte in ordinary server vesture. The gospel and prayers will be sung by priests who are vested as a priests. Most people, I dare say, will hardly notice the difference between having three chasubles at the altar as opposed to one chasuble (the Mass vesture of bishops and priests), one dalmatic (the Mass vesture of deacons) and one tunicle (the Mass vesture for subdeacons, an order of ordained ministry which no longer exists). Most of our sets of vestments for solemn Mass are in bad shape because of storage for decades on hangers and in rooms without proper temperature and humidity controls. In years to come, as new sets are ordered, the pattern of vested ministers for rites of the current Prayer Book will gradually replace the patterns for the rites which were current when the older sets of vestments were ordered.
Things the liturgically minded may notice: When we have three or more priests at the altar, all in chasubles, and no deacon, then the layperson serving as thurifer will do the censing of the assembly. Crucifers will hold the gospel book during the proclamation of the gospel. One of the acolytes will sing the epistle. The point, of course, of all of this is that our worship at Saint Mary’s should reflect the very highest standards of sacramental and liturgical theology of our own time. S.G.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Solemnity of Christ the King
Procession & Solemn Mass 11:00 AM
Wednesday Kamehameha & Emma, King and Queen of Hawaii
Eve of Saint Andrew’s Day 6:00 PM
Friday Saint Andrew the Apostle Abstinence
Ordination of a Priest 6:00 PM
Saturday Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon
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.