FROM THE RECTOR: PREPARATION FOR EASTER
The fundamental purpose of the gospels is to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus. Everything else is secondary to this Good News. For all of their commonality, each of the evangelists writes about Jesus very much in his own way. If the purpose of Lent is to prepare to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection at Easter, one way to prepare could be to try to hear again what Mark, Matthew, Luke and John wanted us to know about Jesus so we could have faith in his death and resurrection. If I may make a suggestion for you for Lent: read a gospel, and then read another. Keep reading—they aren’t long—until you bring Mark, Matthew, Luke and John (read in this order) to Holy Week.
The more I learn about the history of Christian life and worship, the broader my appreciation has become of the many different ways the Good News is lived out over time. That said, I really love Lent at Saint Mary’s, not because we do so much. Lent at Saint Mary’s is a time when less really is more. At sung services there is almost no organ music. Because of the richness of our musical tradition here, this abstinence from organ during Lent (a very old church tradition) is perhaps the single most powerful sign for us that this time of year is different for a reason.
At the center of our community’s observance of Lent is the weekly Sunday Eucharist. If you do nothing else to observe the season, you’ve got it covered, one might say, covered very well, if you make it to Mass on Sunday. We are in “Lectionary Year A”—and its Lenten Sunday gospels are the best of the three years.
All three years of the lectionary cycle begin with Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness in Matthew (Year A), Mark (Year B) and Luke (Year C)—note, there is no such story in John because in John Jesus is not baptized and does not have conversations with Satan. For the rest of Lent we are in John. The gospels on successive Sundays are Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3:1-17), Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (John 4:5-42), Jesus Healing the Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41), and the Raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44). Each of these gospels is Good News and invite those who hear them to believe in Jesus.
Easter is God’s revelation about Godself that changes everything for God’s creation, which we call the life of this world and the world to come. When Jesus reveals this to Thomas who has not believed the words of the other disciples, the evangelist writes, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).
I don’t think it is possible to be a person of faith in this world without disbelief and fear overshadowing us from time to time. But as Saint Paul wrote to the first community of Christians in Rome, “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (Romans 10:8). And as the gospeler at Mass traditionally prays, while marking the book and his or her body with the sign of the cross, “May the words of the gospel be in our minds, in our hearts and on our lips.” Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR John, Sharon, Gloria, Dick, Richmond, Gypsy, Rick, Jack, Michael, Heather, Rob, Takeem, Linda, Eloise, Arpene, Margaretta, religious, Paulette, priest, Harry, priest, and for Don, bishop; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark, Alex, and Elizabeth; and for the repose of the soul of Ruth Gilletto . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 2: 1874 Miriam Frances Ryno; 1905 Helen Louise Frances; 1927 Eliza Ann Peabody Prime; 1928 Katherine Woodfin, Bernard McClendon; 2003 Eileen Sorensen.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . We received news this week that Ruth Gilletto, the mother of John Basil, recently died at the age of ninety-five, after a long illness. John is the artistic director of the American Globe Theatre here at Saint Mary’s. Please keep Ruth, John, his wife Liz, their family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers.
THE FIRST DAY OF LENT: ASH WEDNSDAY, like Good Friday, is a day of fasting in the Episcopal Church. It is also a day when traditionally flesh meats are not eaten. The point of the fast on these days is to remind ourselves that we hunger for the Lord.
THE ORDINARY WEEKDAYS OF LENT are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial. The Fridays of Lent are also observed by abstinence from flesh meats. Abstinence is not observed on Sundays in Lent (or on the Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, or the Annunciation, March 25).
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Christian Education for children and adults meets on the regular schedule on Sunday, March 2 . . . There is no Bible Study on Wednesday night, March 5 . . . Ash Wednesday is March 5. The Eucharist will be celebrated at 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 12:10 PM and 6:00 PM. Ashes will be imposed from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM . . . Stations of the Cross will be offered Fridays in Lent at 6:30 PM . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, March 1, by Father Gerth and on Saturday, March 8, by Father Smith.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to all who helped last Sunday to clean the anteroom of the Lady Chapel . . . Congratulations to John Basil who was recently granted tenure at Marymount Manhattan College . . . The Rector will be away from the parish Friday, March 7, through Friday, March 14 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 220.
SAINT RAPHAEL’S GUILD OF USHERS . . . Please contact Randy Morgan to let him know if you are available to serve as usher on Ash Wednesday (March 5), the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25), Fridays in Lent at 6:30 (Stations of the Cross), or during Holy Week (April 13-20). Thank you so much for your ministry!
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . We are just short of reaching 90% of our ambitious goal of $450,000 in this year’s campaign. We would love to reach our goal this year! We know that most of the readers of the Angelus are committed supporters of the vision, and the ministry and mission, of this parish. Please join other friends and members of Saint Mary’s in helping us to keep our doors open seven days a week, so that we can continue to praise God and to serve God, each other, and our brothers and sisters in the world. If you would like to make a pledge, or to increase your pledge for 2014, please contact the finance office. We are grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary’s with such generosity. The Members of the Stewardship Committee
AIDS WALK 2014 . . . Last year, the Saint Mary’s team did very well in its fundraising efforts. This year we hope to do even better! This year’s Walk will take place on Sunday, May 18. We are hoping to be able to add more members to our team this year. It is already possible to register and begin fundraising. Simply go to the GMHC/AIDS Walk website. Ask to join an already existing team and select the Saint Mary’s team. Teams are listed in alphabetical order. We are listed as “Saint Mary the Virgin – 0445”. If you have questions, please speak to MaryJane Boland or Clark Mitchell.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . The Mass setting at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning is Missa secunda by Hans Leo Hassler (1564–1612). Hassler was one of three musical sons born to the organist, Isaac Hassler, town musician of Nuremberg, Germany. Hans Leo’s initial instruction was at the hands of his father, but because Nuremberg had both commercial and artistic ties with Venice, Italy, Hassler was sent to study with Andreas Gabrieli. Though in Venice for only a short time, Hassler quickly absorbed the musical innovations of the Venetian School and helped define what was to be called the Baroque era. Musicians such as Hassler, and later Schütz, carried the concertato style, the polychoral idea, and the freely emotional expression of the Venetians into the German culture, creating the first and most Baroque development outside of Italy. Hassler’s sacred music is both for the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church. Stylistically, his earlier music is more progressive than his later: he used polychoral techniques, textural contrasts and occasional chromaticism in the music he wrote after his study in Italy; but most of his later religious music is conservative, using linear polyphony in the manner of Palestrina. Whether of an advanced technique or a more restrained character, his work is always meticulously crafted and beautiful of sound. At the ministration of Holy Communion on Sunday, we hear a five-voice motet of Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585) entitled O nata lux de lumine. One of the truly great English composers, Tallis lived in near obscurity as a monk at Waltham Abbey in Sussex, and though he was to create many works for the newly formed Anglican Church, he always remained devoted to the “old faith.” O nata lux is the office hymn for Lauds on the Feast of the Transfiguration . . . On Sunday afternoon at 4:40 PM, the organ recital will be played by Gavin Patrick McIlhinney. Gavin is a student at Westminster Choir College, Rider University, in Princeton, New Jersey. His program includes works by Georg Böhm (1661–1773), Marcel Dupré (1886–1971), Eric Smith (1906-1985), and Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847). At Evensong at 5:00 PM, the service will be sung by the Choristers of the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, conducted by David Shuler, organist and music director.
BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION & RECEPTION . . . If you, or someone you know, would like to be baptized at the Easter Vigil on April 19 please speak to Father Smith or Father Gerth. If you would like to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church, you may also speak to a member of the clergy. Confirmation & Reception will be celebrated at the Solemn Mass on Ascension Day, Thursday, May 29, at 6:00 PM by our newly ordained bishop suffragan.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Christian Education on Sunday, March 2: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will take place in the Atrium at 9:45 AM; Church School for the older children will meet with Peter Secor at 10:00 AM in the Morning Room . . . The Adult Forum will meet at 10:00 AM on the second floor of the Mission House. Prof. Bruce Mullin will lead the class (see below for more detail) . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on March 5, Ash Wednesday. The class will resume on March 12 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Jay Smith
THE SUNDAY MORNING ADULT FORUM . . . This coming Sunday, March 2, at 10:00 AM Professor Bruce Mullin will conclude his three-part series on the history of Anglicanism and the birth of the Episcopal Church, with a lecture on “The Rise of the Episcopal Church in America”. Dr. Mullin teaches church history at the General Theological Seminary. He has advised the Episcopal Church on a variety of historical and canonical matters and he is known to be an excellent lecturer . . . In the Adult Forum on Sunday, March 9, at 10:00 AM, Father Peter Powell will begin the second half of his class on the Book of Exodus. Father Powell’s series will take place on all the Sundays in Lent . . . We hope that you will join us for any or all of these classes. No prior study or experience is necessary. All are welcome.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At the Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, New York, New York: Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral, February 25–May 18, 2014. On Sunday afternoon, March 2, there will be three free lectures about this new exhibition. The lectures will take place at the Metropolitan Museum on Fifth Avenue (not at the Cloisters). At 3:15 PM, the Very Reverend Dr. Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, will give a lecture about the stained glass and conservation efforts at the Cathedral. Dean Willis is a good friend of Saint Mary’s. There is more information about the exhibition, and about the lectures, on the museum’s website.
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . March 5, Ash Wednesday . . . Fridays in Lent, Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM . . . Monday, March 24, Eve of the Annunciation, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, March 25, The Annunciation, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, April 13, Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . . The cold weather continues so donations of warm clothing, as well as new, unopened packets of underwear and socks, especially white cotton socks are still needed . . . The Holy Cross School and its Scholarship Fund at Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery, Grahamstown, South Africa, a house of the Anglican Order of the Holy Cross. Donations may be made c/o Brother Robert Sevensky, OHC, Superior, Holy Cross Monastery, PO Box 99, West Park, NY 12493. When making a donation, it would be helpful if you could let the brothers know that you heard about the school through 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. J.R.S.