Near the end of the Palm Sunday procession, just before the deacon, subdeacon and I turned from Seventh Avenue onto Forty-sixth Street, a woman brought me a small pile of palms. She said, “These had fallen down.” I smiled and thanked her; but as soon as we turned the corner, I slowly dropped them. Smiling, I turned to Father Weiler and said, “Witnesses.”
There were many witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ in Times Square on Palm Sunday. But Christians have a particular witness. No matter what people say about who God is, what God does or what he cares about, Christianity is not about any of us being a good person. It’s about the death and resurrection the One who is Son of God and Son of Mary. It’s about a cross and tomb. Our palms were but one small witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The primary witness of the resurrection remains today the same as it was 2000 years ago, people of faith, the People of God.
I write to you on the morning of Good Friday. Our parish community has already stepped out of ordinary time into the Easter Triduum. The mysteries are unfolding – and the power of the ancient rites and ceremonies that have carried the Church through all times and places, and joys and sorrows, all sins and evils, continue to renew us.
There was a time not so long ago when the assembly was the passive observer, not the primary witness. That is no longer true of this community and many, many others. It is not only our witness to the resurrection that is strengthened by the way we are the Body of Christ but the faith we know and the strength we have as individuals to live in God’s light, joy and peace. It is like the difference almost between the picture of Jesus given in Mark’s Gospel and the one given in John. In Mark, Jesus is so alone it is not clear that he knows there will be a resurrection. In John, the Lord Jesus reigns from the tree. He is never alone. He and the Father are always one.
This newsletter comes to you with my prayer that you and I will be carried closer to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as the rest of the Easter Triduum unfolds. May our hearts always be open to believing in Jesus and to doing the things Jesus himself told us to do. Happy Easter. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Myra, Mary, Jerri, Sarah, Linda, Guiseppina, Doreen, Mabel, Gloria, Marion, Olga, Peter, Michael, Kenneth, Ursula, Maureen, Marie, Rick, Edgar, John, Joanne, Barbara, Jeffrey, priest, and Charles, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Ned, David and John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 4: 1987 Clara D. Lewis; 1992 Thelma Bradford Ingersoll.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE between George Varino III of New York City and Amy Ted Lesch of New York City. If any of you know just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. This is the first time of asking. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to all who have helped and will help with the liturgies of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum . . . The parish office will be closed on Easter Monday. The church will be open for prayer and worship on the regular weekday schedule . . . The parish clergy do not sit for confessions on Saturday in Easter Week except by appointment . . . Attendance Palm Sunday 374.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION IN APRIL . . . Last month the Women and Spirituality Group continued their study of Matthew (though, in an effort to keep in step with the liturgical year, they skipped ahead to the Passion narrative!) After Easter, they will resume their study when the Group meets again on Tuesday, April 9 at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. We hope to see you there! . . . Father Jay Smith will soon begin teaching a new four-part, Wednesday evening class entitled “Discovering Baptism in the New Testament.” The class will begin at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, April 10. This series will explore various passages in the Gospels and the Epistles examining how Baptism is understood and developed in the New Testament context. All members and friends of Saint Mary’s are invited to attend.
SUMMARY OF THE MARCH 25, 2002, BOARD MEETING . . . At its March 25, 2002, meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Elected two new members to the Board, Ms. Gloria Fitzgerald and Mr. Robert Loper. 2. Learned that there is a small leak in the slate roof of the Church, over the organ. There has not been any damage either to the organ or to the paint, and a roofer is being consulted about this situation, which needs to be dealt with quickly. 3. Learned that a second Stewardship Campaign will begin on May 1. 4. Heard about possible development plans for the Mission House. 5. Learned that summer interns from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, will be coming to Saint Mary’s. Leroy Sharer, secretary
ALL ARE INVITED . . . The Anglican Society (a venerable organization founded “to promote and maintain the Catholic doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church in accordance with the principles and contents of the Book of Common Prayer”) has a particularly timely topic for its annual public meeting this year. Dr. Lucinda Mosher will be our speaker, on the subject “Anglicanism and Islam--Then and Now.” Dr. Mosher heads the Diocese’s Anglican–Muslim Dialogue-- easily the most challenging job in our local interfaith/ecumenical efforts over the past six months. A year or so ago, at Father Shin and Father Breidenthal’s invitation, she taught a lively and well-attended Wednesday-evening series here at Saint Mary’s on Anglican–Muslim interactions. The Anglican Society meeting will take place on Thursday morning, April 4, in the Lounge at the General Theological Seminary (Ninth Avenue at 21st Street). Coffee is available at 9:00 AM. The meeting begins at 9:30 AM and will run to approximately 11:30 AM. Linda Bridges
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sunday of the Resurrection
Monday Monday in Easter Week
Tuesday Tuesday in Easter Week
Wednesday Wednesday in Easter Week
Thursday Thursday in Easter Week
Friday Friday in Easter Week
Saturday Saturday in Easter Week
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curate, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,
The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison, The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa,
The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priests, The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.