FROM THE RECTOR: CANDLEMAS 2014
The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, commonly called Candlemas, is celebrated on Sunday this year. The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will be with us for the 11:00 AM service, Blessing of Candles, Procession & Solemn Pontifical Mass. Blessing of Candles & Said Mass will be celebrated at the Saturday Vigil Mass and at the 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM Sunday services.
Bishop Griswold is well-known to this parish community and has been with us many times during Holy Week and for greater festivals through the years. In retirement he continues to write and teach. During the January 2014 term at the Virginia Theological Seminary, he was one of four leaders offering a course, “Art and the Theological Imagination.”
“The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple, also called the Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin,” to use its complete Prayer Book title, celebrates the story from Luke’s gospel of Joseph and Mary bringing Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth (Luke 2:22-40). Like many commemorations in the church year, its history is rich and complex, with variations across time and place, east and west. Candles and candlelight, processions and blessings, have been associated with the feast in various forms since the early Middle Ages.
Our Anglican tradition enables us to sing two great hymns in procession this Sunday, in place of a choir singing the traditional chants associated with this feast. With the procession we will sing five hymns in all at the Solemn Mass.
On all of the Sunday evenings in February we will have guest choirs singing at Solemn Evensong. This Sunday, the Parish Choir of Saint Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church will be with us and their music director Mark Pacoe will also play a recital at 4:30 PM (note the earlier start time). Saint Malachy’s (“The Actor’s Chapel”) is our near neighbor on West 49th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. And there is the annual Super Bowl event in Saint Joseph’s Hall immediately following Evensong.
Candlemas will also be the fifteenth anniversary of my becoming rector of this parish. I was celebrant here for the first time at the Solemn Mass on Tuesday, February 2, 1999. I remember only a few things about that day very clearly. I remember being nervous and excited through the whole evening Mass. I knew even before I got here that being rector of Saint Mary’s would challenge me to grow as a person and as a priest—and I think it’s fair to say it has in good ways.
Sometime last summer I realized that I have lived in Saint Mary’s rectory longer than any other place in my life. My family moved a couple of times while I was growing up. I moved for college, graduate school, seminary and, after ordination, work. In a few weeks a full quarter of my life will have been spent here—and I very much hope and expect I will be blessed with many more years here to come. I believe that you and I are truly graced to be able to worship and serve in Christ’s name with this parish as our church home. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Dick, Gypsy, Jack, Rick, Velvia, Eugene, Susan, Jonathan, William, Sharon, Rob, Takeem, Linda, Eloise, Arpene, Rebecca, deacon, and Paulette, priest, Clair, priest, and Harry, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark, Alex, and Elizabeth; and for the repose of the soul of Joyce Arlene Kline . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 2: 1885 Lewis Weston; 1905 Norma Ehrgood; 1910 William Trowbridge Eames; 1915 Dorothy Elizabeth Ott; 1923 Virginia Clark; 1985 W. Phelps Warren, John Doy Woods.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Joyce Arlene Kline, the mother of parishioner Susan Martin, died near her home in York, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, January 29. Please keep Joyce, her husband, Eugene, her daughter, Susan, and their family and friends in your prayers.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2014 . . . Our Stewardship Campaign continues! We received a number of pledges this past week. This was very encouraging news, indeed. We are steadily moving toward our financial goal of $450,000. We invite you to support the mission and ministry of Saint Mary’s. Please help us to keep our doors open. If you haven’t made a pledge for 2014, we encourage you to do so (no pledge is too small and it is never too late to make a pledge!). If you have made a pledge for 2014, we thank you. If you would like to receive a pledge card, please contact the finance office. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee: MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels. Jay Smith
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, February 2, Candlemas, Vigil Mass on Saturday 5:20 PM; Mass and Blessing of Candles 9:00 & 10:00 AM; Blessing of Candles, Procession and Solemn Pontifical Mass 11:00 AM . . . Sunday, February 2, 6:00 PM—10:00 PM, Super Bowl Party, Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Monday, February 3, Saint Blase, The Blessing of Throats will be offered during the 12:10 PM and at the conclusion of Evening Prayer at 6:20 PM . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will meet on Sunday, February 2; Church School for the older children will meet with Peter Secor on Sunday at 10:00 AM in the Morning Room. The Adult Forum will meet on Sunday at 10:00 AM in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House. The class will be led by Dennis Raverty . . . The Blessing of Throats will be offered during the 12:10 PM Mass and 6:00 PM Evening Prayer on Monday, February 3, the Feast of Saint Blase . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on February 5 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, February 1, by Father Stephen Gerth, and on Saturday, February 8, by Father Jim Pace.
SUPER BOWL PARTY . . . Sunday, February 2, 6:00-10:00 PM. Admission $5.00. We hope that some of our parishioners will also be able to bring a dish to share at the party. If so, please contact Father Jay Smith and let him know what you will be bringing so he can plan the menu. Beverages will be provided. If you would like to volunteer to provide hospitality (set up begins at 4:00 PM), please contact Father Smith.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch has been able to visit the parish several times in recent weeks. He joined us for the Sung Mass on Wednesday and was able to serve at the altar for the first time in several months. It was good to have him back with us! Please keep him in your prayers . . . If you would still like to receive 2014 pledge envelopes, please contact the finance office . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays: February 16 and 23, and March 2. We also hope to receive donations to defray the costs of the reception on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 170.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Orlande de Lassus (1532–1594) was a Franco-Flemish composer of considerable influence. Endowed with an uncommonly beautiful voice, he was (by legend) thrice kidnapped as a chorister for use outside his village. His first known position was in the service of Ferrante Gonzaga, who passed through the Low Countries in 1544 on his way to Italy. By 1553 de Lassus was choirmaster at Saint John Lateran in Rome, remaining there for a year, then returning to his homeland and settling briefly in Antwerp. His career from 1556 was centered in Munich at the court chapel of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria, as maestro di cappella from 1563, with duties that included travel in Germany, Flanders, France, and Italy. While employed in Munich, he came to know both Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, each of whom spent time in the musical establishment he directed. His accomplishments brought formal recognition from Emperor Maximilian II, the French king Charles IX, and Pope Gregory XIII. Lassus’s production of over 2,000 works in nearly every Latin, French, Italian, and German vocal genre known in his time places him among the most prolific and versatile composers of the era. His approximately 530 motets include many religious works and ceremonial pieces. Almost sixty Masses of undoubted attribution survive complete. Most are parodies, modeled usually on his own sacred motets or, more often, other composers’ works. Yet one widely popular Mass is a parody of his own chanson, “Susanne un jour.” While he wrote several double-choir Masses toward the end of his life, most of his Mass settings are for four to six voices. It is a splendid five-voice Mass setting, the Missa Qual donna, that we hear on Sunday morning. The Nunc dimittis sung at the beginning of Mass, during the lighting of the candles, is from The Short Service by William Byrd (1543–1623). At the ministration of Communion we will hear a traditional motet for the feast of the Presentation, Maria das Jungfräuelein, by the German composer, Johannes Eccard (1553–1611). A one-time student of Orlande de Lassus, Eccard distinguished himself from his teacher by becoming inseparably linked to the history of the Protestant Reformation . . . At 4:30 PM on Sunday (note earlier time), the organ recital will be played by Mark Pacoe. Mr. Pacoe is the director of music at Saint Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church, 239 West 49th Street. His program includes works by Dietrich Buxtehude (1637–1707), Petr Eben (1929–2007), Ad Wammes (b. 1953), and Marin Marais (1656–1728). Mark Peterson
PLEASE WELCOME OUR GUEST CHOIRS . . . A number of choirs from parishes in the metropolitan area—and from England—will be joining us on Sunday evenings in the next few months for Evensong and Benediction. The parish choir of our neighbors from Saint Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church will be with us this coming Sunday, February 2. On Sunday, February 16, the parish choir of Christ Church, Riverdale, will be with us; and on Sunday, February 23, the parish choir of Saint Luke’s, Darien, Connecticut, will sing the service. Except during Lent, Evensong is preceded by an organ recital (at 4:30 PM on February 2, but normally at 4:40 PM). The service begins at 5:00 PM. We invite you to join us.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Christian Education on Sunday, February 2: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will not take place; Church School for the older children will meet with Peter Secor at 10:00 AM in the Morning Room . . . The Adult Forum will meet on the second floor of the Mission House. Dr. Dennis Raverty will lead the class (see below for more detail) . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on Wednesday, February 5. The class will begin reading at chapter 16: Paul is joined by Timothy; they travel to Troas and then to Macedonia; the first of the so-called “we sections” in Acts. Jay Smith
ART & SPIRITUALITY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . On Sunday, February 2, Dennis Raverty will begin a two-part series, entitled Rediscovering the Spiritual in Early Twentieth-Century Art: A Gentle Soul's Approach to Modernism. Dr. Raverty, a professor of art history at New Jersey City University, writes, “The radical stylistic innovations of early twentieth-century European painters has led most of us to the original mystical intentions of the artists themselves. This two-part series aims at restoring this transcendent dimension to their work. As explorers of interior psychological realms, these self-designated prophets and visionaries were a poignant ‘voice crying in the wilderness’ amid the madness and carnage of the first half of the century with its wars, dictatorships and death camps.” The first session of the series on February 2 is entitled German Expressionism on the Eve of the "Great War": The Artist as Mystic Vessel. During that class, Dr. Raverty will discuss the work of such artists as Vasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Paul Klee, Otto Dix, Ernst Barlach, Emil Nolde and Max Beckmann. Their work, intended to give concrete expression to the Spirit, will be critically examined in light of their all-but-forgotten sacramental aspirations. The class on February 9 is entitled Surrealism & the School of Paris between the Wars: The Artist as Mediumistic Being.
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, February 17, Washington’s Birthday (also known as “Presidents’ Day”), Federal Holiday schedule . . . March 5, Ash Wednesday . . . Fridays in Lent, Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The New York City Coalition Against Hunger is in the midst of its Annual Appeal for donations. Please visit the Coalition’s website for more information or to make a donation . . . 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. We also continue to collect non-perishable food items and cash donations for the Food Pantry. J.R.S.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At The Christoph Keller, Jr., Library of The General Theological Seminary, 440 W. 21st Street (between Ninth and Tenth Avenues), February 6-27, 2014: Religious Iconography of the 19th and 20th Centuries. The exhibition consists of twenty-two icons and a number of smaller pieces selected from a private collection previously owned by Father J. Robert Wright, who taught church history at the seminary for many years. The religious icons and articles come from Russian, Greek, Serbian, Palestinian, and Ethiopian traditions, and the exhibition celebrates faith and tradition, artfully expressed in painting, textile and silver-work of the Orthodox churches . . . At the Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway at 61st Street, “Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography (through February 14) is a video and audio installation which will transport the viewer and listener into America’s early twentieth-century, to the banks of rivers, lakes, and ponds where congregations gathered and sang as candidates holding hands in waist-deep water were submerged by a minister for baptism. The excitement and serenity of immersion baptism is seen in the projected images that date from 1890-1950. Recordings of artists like Washington Phillips, Carter Family, Tennessee Mountaineers, and lesser-known groups like the Belmont Silvertone Jubilee Singers, a vocal quartet in 1939, are featured. Rare vocal recordings of sermons and preaching, which highlight the fervor leading up to the moment of baptism, are also included.