Helena Maria Martinuk Handy, 1919 – 2001
Helena Handy died on Monday night, December 10, at Cabrini Hospice. Her husband of fifty-seven years, George Handy, was with her as he had been throughout her illness. She was born on May 30, 1919. They would have been married fifty-eight years on December 19. May she rest in peace.
Helena’s last days were spent in a lovely room in the hospice of Cabrini Hospital on 19th Street. Her room had a spectacular view of midtown Manhattan. It was a grace for Helena and George and friends who were able to visit. Helena and George spent virtually their entire lives in midtown. The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the original Metropolitan Life Building and so many other buildings that mark our city were built during their lifetimes. They could both remember when there was no Empire State building. As George stood vigil, it was almost as though the city they so love stood vigil as well.
They were married in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection on East Second Street. They indeed did obtain the special permission of the bishop to be married in Advent, granted because George was serving in the U.S. Army and was about to be sent overseas. Helena worked for one of the great old line New York department stores, Stern Bros., on 42nd Street. After the war they would become great travelers, both to Britain and the Caribbean.
I cannot recall the Russian greetings Helena attempted to teach me when I first came to Saint Mary’s. Even after she became very sick I always tried to greet her with a kiss on both cheeks, in the Russian fashion, on which she used to insist. I have only known her and George for the shortest period of time. I do know of the deep affection and love of this parish community for Helena and George. She was a very special lady to all who knew her.
As I write on Thursday, December 13, her body reposes in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy. A Solemn Mass of Christian Burial will be offered in the morning. The parish choir will sing Requiem by Gabriel Fauré. At the Commendation the Kontakion (Kievan chant) from the Eastern Orthodox Memorial Service will be sung.
As many of you know, George grew up at Saint Mary’s. When we began to discuss the arrangements for the liturgy for Helena, George told me he could remember his father’s coffin being in the Mercy Chapel in 1928. His father had died of pneumonia when George was ten years old. George’s mother and later Helena’s mother also would rest in that chapel before burial. It is not just the city that stands vigil with George and Helena. This parish church and all its saints welcome their sister as they wait for the rest of us in God’s kingdom. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Alex, Marion, Harold, Olga, Eleanor, John, Peter, Michael, Kenneth, Ursula, Tessie, Jennifer, John, Christina, Julia, Maureen, Marie, Jake, Rick, Edgar, Angela, Jennifer, Rose Mary, Arthur, priest, and Charles, priest, for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Ned and David, and the repose of the soul of Helena.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 16: 1959 Emily Cooper Campbell, 1966 Viola Douglas; December 19: 1991 Grace L. Taylor.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalm 146:49, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, December 15, by Father Weiler and on Saturday, December 22, by Father Gerth . . . Sunday, December 16, is the Third Sunday of Advent. It is known as “Gaudete” (rejoice) Sunday. The title comes from the first words of the Latin text of the introit for the day, “Gaudete in Domino semper,” that is, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Like the Fourth Sunday in Lent, rose vestments are worn and flowers are placed on the altar.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday will be Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660 by J. S. Bach (1685-1750) and the Postlude will be Pièce d’orgue, BWV 572, also by Bach. The prelude is one of three settings of the same Advent hymn (hymn 54 in the Hymnal 1982) from Bach’s Leipzig Chorales. The other two settings were played last Sunday. The Mass setting is Missa brevis by Simon Preston (b. 1938) and the anthem at communion is O thou, the central orb by Charles Wood (1866-1926). Preston is widely regarded as one of the finest organists alive today, and for a time was organist and master of the music at Westminster Abbey.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Our celebrant and preacher this Sunday, December 16, at the Solemn Mass will be the Reverend Thomas E. Breidenthal. Father was until very recently our assistant. He becomes dean of religious life at Princeton University on January 1, 2002. Please come to hear him preach and to say Godspeed on his new ministry . . . Many thanks to Penny Byham and Ryan Lesh for the altar servers’ Advent brunch last Sunday, which was held at Penny’s apartment. We understand a very good time was had by all . . . Thanks to all who helped to make the American Boychoir concert on Thursday night, December 13, such a success. It was real a treat to hear them in our building too! . . . We hope you saw the article on Saint Mary’s new vestments in last Sunday’s New York Times. The article included a photograph of the Presiding Bishop attended by two deacons all wearing vestments from the new red/gold set . . . Many thanks to those who contacted the Rector about donating altar linens. We are able to buy two new fair linens, two new credence cloths and a number of other necessary things for the altar. Your generosity is greatly appreciated . . . Friday, December 21, is the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle. It is the Rector’s eighteenth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood . . . Attendance: Immaculate Conception 204, Last Sunday 203.
HELPING AT GROUND ZERO . . . In response to parishioners who are still interested in possibly volunteering down at Saint Paul's, I have finally gotten some helpful information from Trinity Church: All of the December volunteer slots have been filled for some time. No slots are being filled for January, since it has not been decided how many, if any, volunteers will still be needed. I will continue to contact Trinity once each week to see if they are planning on continuing the work at Saint Paul's next month. If they are planning to continue, rest assured, I will let the SMV parishioners know so that they can have a chance to volunteer. Matthew Weiler
SUMMARY OF THE DECEMBER 10, 2001, BOARD MEETING . . . At its December 10, 2001, meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Approved a resolution to limit capital expenditures authorized by the Executive Committee of the Board (the President [Rector], Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary) to $5,000 without seeking approval of the Board. 2. Approved the appointment an Assistant Priest at Saint Mary’s. His name will now be submitted to the Bishop for his approval. 3. Voted to make the position of Music Director full time, effective with the 2002 Budget. 4. Heard that the Stewardship Campaign is ongoing, with a second round of letters to go out shortly, to people who have not yet made a pledge for 2002. 5. Discussed the need for a forward planning meeting, to set priorities for the next five years. 6. Elected the following officers for 2002: Vice President, Mr. Robin Landis; Secretary, Dr. Leroy Sharer; and Treasurer, Mrs. Barbara Klett. 7. Received, with regret, a letter of resignation from the Board of Trustees from Mr. James Dennis, who was also completing his term as Vice President of the Board. Leroy Sharer, secretary
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday of Advent
Monday Advent Weekday
Tuesday Advent Weekday
Wednesday Advent Weekday
Thursday Advent Weekday
Eve of Saint Thomas (6:00 PM)
Friday Saint Thomas the Apostle 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.