FROM SISTER DEBORAH FRANCIS:
PRAYING FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM
As many Saint Marians know, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Israel and the West Bank, with a parish group from New Jersey. When I first told people that I was going on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, they expressed concern for my safety. I must admit I had some doubts myself. The terrible violence of Syria’s civil war continues unabated and there have been concerns that the violence might spread to neighboring countries. That, of course, did not turn out to be the case.
Our group toured a great many of the usual pilgrimage sights. We stayed at a kibbutz by the Sea of Galilee; prayed at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth; and visited the Mount of the Beatitudes and the Golan Heights. We travelled to the Dead Sea and saw Masada and Qumran. In Jerusalem, we went to the Mount of Olives and walked the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We saw the Kotel (the “Wailing Wall”) and the Temple Mount. We also visited various archaeological sites. On Sunday, we attended the Arabic Mass at the Anglican Cathedral of Saint George. We were able to walk some of the streets of Jerusalem and visited the city’s bustling open-air market. We also made a sobering visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Memorial to those who died in the Holocaust. In Bethlehem, we visited both the Church of Nativity and the Shepherds’ Field.
I will never forget the view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives or the powerful presence of God at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There are so many memories that I will treasure. The most moving part of the pilgrimage was the opportunity to meet so many people who are looking for reconciliation and understanding among Palestinians and Israelis. One almost never hears about such people in the news. So often, one hears about conflict and bloodshed.
The first person we met was Palestinian entrepreneur, Reem Yunis. She and her husband operate a company called Alpha Omega in a new high-tech industrial park in Nazareth. It develops medical devices for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. She employs fifty people, both Jews and Arabs. She wants to create jobs for her people and an alternative to violence. Dr. Marc Rosenstein is the executive Director of the Galilee Foundation for Value Education. He runs a youth circus for both Jewish and Arab teenagers. One evening we heard two stories, one from a Palestinian woman and a Jewish man, who are involved in Parents Circle–Family Forum. This is a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization of over 600 families. All of the families have lost at least one family member in the ongoing conflict. The organization attempts to promote healing and understanding through dialogue, sharing of stories, and careful and intentional listening.
In Bethlehem, we met Antwan Saca of the Holy Land Trust Organization. He spoke about the traumas that have shaped both the Jewish and Palestinian narratives: the Holocaust for the Israelis and the 1948 loss of land and sovereignty for the Palestinians (known in Arabic as “the Nakba,” meaning “disaster” or “catastrophe”). These competing narratives cannot help but frustrate progress in achieving a just and lasting peace. The Trust attempts to break down fear of the “other” through non-violent methods. In Jerusalem, we visited United Hatzalah, which attempts to unite all sectors of Israeli society, by saving lives and providing relief to anyone in distress, without discrimination. The organization responds to car accidents and medical emergencies, by using locally-trained volunteers and GPS technology.
All of these persons and organizations seemed to me to be signs of hope in the midst of a seemingly interminable conflict. They are not waiting for the politicians to come up with a peace plan. They are building trust, understanding and alternative narratives. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Shalom/Salaam/Peace, Sister. Deborah Francis, CSJB
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Dick, Sharon, Pierre, David, Rick, Takeem, Jacob, Linda, Rob, Babak, Tyler, Mary, Casey, Eloise, Arpene, and Paulette, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark, Alex, Elizabeth, Ben, and Daniel . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 10: 1908 Ira E. Powell; 1943 Anna R. Irwin; 1955 Agnes Bausch; 1967 Jane F. Pease.
FRIDAY ABSTINENCE . . . The ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2013-2014 . . . As of November 6, just a week into the campaign, we have received pledge cards from thirty-one households. $106,971.00 has been pledged to date, 23.8% of our goal of $450,000.00. We have received six pledges from households that have never pledged before, or that have not been able to make a pledge in recent years. Six households have been able to increase their pledges this year. We urge all the members and friends of Saint Mary’s to return their pledge cards as soon as possible. We continue to ask that you prayerfully consider this year’s appeal and to be generous. Commitment Sunday is November 24, the Feast of Christ the King. Please help us to continue our mission and ministry to our members, to our community, to our diocese, and to the world. If you did not receive a pledge packet, but would like to receive one, please contact the parish office. Thank you to all who continue to support Saint Mary’s so generously . . . Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together and that in every place your servants call upon your Name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours for ever. Amen.
THANK YOU . . . The end of October and the first few days of November are always busy here at Saint Mary’s and so they were again this year, especially since All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day fell so close to Sunday, always a busy day here at the parish. We would like to thank all those who worked so hard, beginning early in the week, to prepare for what turned out to be a beautiful and moving time in the life of the parish. We are grateful to our floral designer and those who assisted him; to our sister sacristans; to our faithful and incredibly hard-working servers and ushers; to our musicians who performed very demanding music during a long weekend and who performed so very beautifully; to those who provided gracious hospitality on Friday night; to the parish staff, including our hard-working sextons, as well as to our parish volunteers; to Bishop Richard Grein who battled New York City traffic and the crowds in Times Square, arriving just in the nick of time, to preach a very fine sermon on Friday night; and to all of those who joined us—our visitors, our friends, our neighbors, and our members—to praise God along with the whole communion of saints. We are very grateful. Jay Smith.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . On Saturday, November 9, 8:30 AM–4:00 PM, the parish’s delegates will attend the 237th Convention of the Diocese of New York, at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenues . . . Adult Forum, Sunday, November 10, 10:00 AM, Mission House, 2nd Floor, Father Pete Powell leads the second part of his three-part series on “The Book of Exodus” . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on November 13 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will also meet on November 20. The class will not meet on November 27 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 9, by Father Jim Pace. Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 16, by Father Stephen Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . On Friday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Shannon Dohar and Babak Homayoonmehr received the sacrament of Holy Baptism. We rejoice with them and we are grateful that they are now members of the Body of Christ gathered in this place. Please keep them and their families in your prayers . . . Please welcome our new sexton, Mr. Harka Gurung. Harka comes highly recommended and is already working very hard, along with our very able sextons, Mario Martinez and Stefano Esposito, to learn his new duties. Please introduce yourself to Harka and welcome him to the parish . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch remains at Amsterdam House to continue his rehabilitation therapy. Amsterdam House is located across from the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, at 1060 Amsterdam Avenue, between 112th and 113th Streets. We suggest that you call Amsterdam House to make sure that Dick is there before visiting. The phone number at Amsterdam House is 212-316-7700. If you wish to visit a resident of Amsterdam House, you must bring a picture ID with you. Please keep Dick in your prayers . . . If you would like to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church, please speak to a member of the clergy. Bishop Dietsche will be with us on Monday, December 9, at 6:00 PM . . . The Legacy Society will not be meeting this year, in part because of the complexities of the calendar (December 8 falls on Sunday this year). We hope that we will be able to host a gathering of the Society in 2014. Members of the Legacy Society have committed themselves to making future gifts to Saint Mary’s, often by remembering the parish in their wills . . . Father Jay Smith was away from the parish in mid-October attending a CREDO conference for Episcopal priests. He found it very useful He would like to thank the rector, his fellow clergy and staff members, and all the members of the parish, who pitched in, took up the slack, and made it possible for him to be away at such a busy time of the year . . . Father Gerth is away from the parish, on vacation, until Friday, November 15. He returns on Saturday, November 16 . . . Donations are requested: for altar flowers on November 17 and 24 and on December 15; as well as for the reception after the Solemn Mass on the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Monday, December 9 (transferred). If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the Finance Office . . . Attendance: All Saints’ Day 233; All Souls’ Day 76; Last Sunday 200.
OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET THE CANDIDATES . . . On Saturday, December 7, delegates will gather in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine to elect a new suffragan bishop for the diocese of New York. Seven “walkabouts” around the diocese have been planned so that New York’s Episcopalians can have the opportunity to meet the candidates and ask questions before the election. Two walkabouts are scheduled to take place in Manhattan: Wednesday, November 13, 7:00 PM, Trinity, Wall Street (with video live-streaming); and Friday, November 15, 1:00 PM, The Church of the Heavenly Rest.
Advent Quiet Day . . . Saturday, December 14, 9:30-3:00 PM, “My Soul Magnifies the Lord”: Praying the Anglican Rosary. Led by Father Jim Pace. Father Pace is an assisting priest here at Saint Mary’s. He is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at New York University’s College of Nursing. In addition to his work in the medical field, Father Pace has extensive experience in parochial ministry, hospice care, and in the area of pastoral counseling. On December 14, we will gather, beginning at around 9:30 AM. Coffee and pastries will be served. The first address will begin at around 10:00 AM. We will attend the noonday services, including Mass, and then lunch will be served in Saint Joseph’s Hall. There will be time for quiet reflection in the church, the chapels, and in Saint Joseph’s Hall throughout the day. (We are of course hoping for a quiet day on 46th Street. Our neighborhood can sometimes become noisy in surprising and unexpected ways!) If you plan to attend, please RSVP by December 10, so we can make plans for lunch. If you have dietary restrictions, please let us know. A donation of $10 to defray the costs of breakfast and lunch will be gratefully accepted. JRS
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . It has sometimes been said that church music did not occupy a central position in the output of the great composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791); however, it’s worth noting that over sixty pieces, including eighteen Masses and two vesper settings, are part of his catalogue. As organist and musical director at the court of the Archbishop of Salzburg, Mozart naturally had to write music for the church. After his move to Vienna in 1781 he received no more commissions for church music, apart from the strange and largely unexplained affair surrounding his Requiem. At the direction of Padre Martini, an influential Franciscan musician from Bologna, Mozart was to understand that a setting of the Mass ordinary was not to last more than three-quarters of an hour, except for the most solemn of occasions. As early as 1766 when Mozart was only ten years old, he began to compose a Mass of which only the Kyrie was completed. At the request of the Empress Maria Theresa, he wrote his first complete Mass at the age of twelve for the dedication of the Orphanage Church in Vienna. By 1776 he had written ten Masses, and during his years in Salzburg Mozart wrote a series of shorter Mass settings for which he drew on the models of his senior colleague Michael Haydn. The Missa brevis in B-flat, K. 275, which we will hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning, is notable for its sublime lyricism and grace while demonstrating a wide range of expression. The extended solo sections, particularly in the Agnus Dei show Mozart’s great melodic warmth, with more than a passing reference to his operatic successes. The requisite conciseness of these works does not exclude an abundance of invention. At the ministration of Holy Communion on Sunday we will hear the motet, Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our Hearts, by the inimitable Henry Purcell (1659–1595), celebrated musician of Westminster Abbey for more than twenty-five years under three monarchs. Mark Peterson
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on November 13 at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class, which is led by Father Jay Smith, is reading the Acts of the Apostles this year. All are welcome. No prior experience is necessary. On Wednesday, the class will begin its discussion at Acts 6:8, the portion of the book dealing with Saint Stephen . . . In the Adult Forum, November 10 and 17 at 10:00 AM, on the second floor of the Mission House, The Book of Exodus, led by Father Pete Powell . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Christian education for young children, continues on Sunday, November 10, at 9:45 AM, in the Atrium on the second floor of the Parish House. For more information, please speak to Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins. If you know families with children that might be interested in a vibrant and effective church-school curriculum, please tell them about the Catechesis and invite them to Saint Mary’s.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are gratefully accepting donations of warm clothing, as well as new, unopened packets of underwear and socks, especially white cotton socks. We send some items of clothing to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Other items are kept here for distribution to those in need . . . If you would like to make a cash donation to AIDS Action International, whose pre-Christmas event will take place at the Church of Saint Michael on Amsterdam Avenue in mid-November, please speak to Father Smith . . . Mother Yamily Bass-Choate, vicar, Church of San Andres, Yonkers, is a good friend of Saint Mary’s. Her husband, Father Horace Choate, served here at the parish in the early 2000s. Mother Bass-Choate and the people of San Andres are once again looking for donations for their Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving Project: their goal is to provide a Thanksgiving turkey dinner to all the families served by the pantry. A contribution of $20.00 buys a turkey for one family. We are happy to receive donations for this project. We will then send a check on to San Andres. Contributions can also be sent directly: San Andres Episcopal Church, 22 Post Street, Yonkers, NY 10705. Checks should be paid to the order of San Andres Episcopal Church.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Monday, November 18, 6:30 PM, The Seabury Auditorium at the General Theological Seminary, 440 West 21st Street, Kate Cooper in conversation with Deirdre Good about Prof. Cooper’s book, Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women. Prof. Cooper is professor of ancient history at the University of Manchester. Prof. Good is professor of New Testament and academic dean at the General Theological Seminary . . . At The Cloisters, September 10–December 8, 2013, Fort Tryon Park, New York City: The Forty-Part Motet (2001), a sound installation by Janet Cardiff.