FROM THE RECTOR: ASCENSION 2014
Bishop Allen Shin’s ordination last Saturday at the cathedral made me very aware of how many lives are touched over time by the ongoing life of our parish community. We were well represented by members of the congregation and our clergy. I suspect that there were others there who have been connected with Saint Mary’s that I do not know. It was a day to be happy, proud and, above all else, to be thankful for God’s presence and work in the life of Allen Shin. The new bishop will be with us as celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass on Ascension Day, Thursday, May 29, at 6:00 PM. I’m sure there will be a large congregation—so come early for the organ recital at 5:30 PM.
I was honored to be among those chosen to present the bishop-elect to the presiding bishop at the beginning of the ordination service. A member of the parish read the first lesson. A former seminarian was the cantor for the litany; another member of the parish was among those reading the intentions. A parishioner presented Saint Mary’s gift of the new bishop’s episcopal ring. Rector Emeritus Edgar Wells presented the pastoral staff, a gift of retired presiding bishop Frank Griswold. At the altar the new bishop was attended by our parish deacon and another former parishioner, now deacon of the parish where Allen was serving as rector when he was elected bishop suffragan of New York. Again, there were many members of the parish community in the cathedral.
It was not an entirely easy day. As the service started, we presenters waited in the south aisle of the nave, just ahead of Allen; I realized he was not standing alone. A security guard was in procession with him. I’ve gotten used to seeing security for the bishop at major services at the cathedral. I confess I teared up a little to think of what it will be like for Allen to need this kind of protection from time to time during the course of his ministry. That said, I’m so thankful our bishops are careful about the challenges and sacrifices their work requires of them.
The cathedral is arguably the outstanding church building in North America. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was chief consecrator—and clearly the presider as she led the worship of the congregation. Bishop Griswold preached—he had sent Allen to seminary and ordained him deacon. Our former bishops Richard Grein and Mark Sisk, along with our former bishop suffragan Catharine Roskam, were among the co-consecrators. Bishop Sisk was dean of Seabury Western Theological Seminary when Allen was a student. Bishop Grein ordained him priest in 1996 while he was beginning his service at Saint Mary’s. At one point before the service I was standing with Father Wells and Father Alan Moses, vicar, All Saints Church, Margaret Street, London. I realized all three of us had had the privilege of hiring Allen as a colleague.
Bishop Shin and his wife Mrs. Clara Mun will be with us on Thursday night for the service and for the reception afterwards. Whether you are new to the community or someone who knew Clara and Allen long before I did, I hope you may be able to be here Thursday night. It’s Eastertide. There will be great music, great Scripture, great preaching. There are three great hymns about Christ’s ascension to be sung: “Crown him with many crowns, “See the Conqueror mounts in triumph,” and “Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!” One more hymn will be sung, the Easter sequence, “Christians, to the Paschal victim offer your thankful praises!”—and we will do just that. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Steven, Denise, Dennis, Bert, Robbie, Polly, Victoria, Bruce, McNeil, David, Sharon, Sylvia, Kenneth, Rick, Gloria, Jack, Takeem, Linda, Arpene, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Alex; and for the repose of the soul of H. King McGlaughon, priest . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 25: 1898 Sarah Slokes Powell; 1915 Margaret McQuiston; 1917 John Schilling; 1923 Josephine Smith Pullman; 1967 Lillian Clizbee; 1973 Lester T. Morgan; 1976 Frank Morgan.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The Rev. H. King McGlaughon, Jr., died on Wednesday, May 21, at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Father McGlaughon was a priest of the diocese of East Carolina. Please keep King, his partner, the Reverend John Conners, their family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers. S.G.
THE FRIDAYS OF THE EASTER SEASON are not special days to be observed by acts of discipline and self-denial. This year abstinence will be observed on ordinary Fridays beginning June 13.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Sunday-morning education classes for both children and adults have now begun their summer break. Classes will resume in the fall . . . Monday, May 26, Memorial Day, Federal Holiday Schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. Only the noonday services are offered and the parish offices are closed . . . Wednesday, May 28, Eve of Ascension Day, Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 29, Ascension Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM . . . Saturday, May 31, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Said Mass 12:10 PM . . . On Saturday, May 24, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith, and on Saturday, May 31, by Father Stephen Gerth.
FATHER SMITH’S SABBATICAL . . . Father Smith will be on sabbatical from May 30, through August 30, 2014. He’s received a grant for his planned study from the Louisville Institute. I’ve asked him to write the main newsletter article (before he leaves!) next week to tell you more about his plans. In the meantime, I want you to know The Book Sale will not take place while he is away. If you have an addition or change to the prayer list, please contact the parish office.
THE VISITATION OF MARY . . . For many years we have had a Sung Mass for the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on its eve when May 31 falls on a Saturday. This year, because of Ascension Day occurring on Thursday, May 29, it seems wise to alter our custom this year. There will be only one Mass to commemorate this day, Saturday, May 31, 12:10 PM. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Stewardship Campaign: If you have not yet made a pledge for 2014, but would like to do so, please contact the parish office . . . Donations for altar flowers are needed for all of the Sundays in July, August and September. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office. We also hope to receive donations to help defray the costs of the receptions following the Solemn Masses on Ascension Day, Thursday, May 29, and the Feast of the Assumption on Friday, August 15. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . This year the Gay Pride March is on Sunday, June 29. If you would be interested in forming a Saint Mary’s contingent to march together in the parade (or if you feel called to help make a banner for the parade!), please speak to Rick Austill. Please note: the parade, and the parish contingent, is open to all. You don’t have to be gay to march! . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 248.
TAKING THE SISTERS TO LUNCH . . . On Sunday, June 22, please join us after Mass for lunch with Sister Deborah Francis and Sister Laura Katharine of the Community of St John Baptist, who will be our guests. We would like to show our appreciation to the sisters for their work and ministry here at Saint Mary’s. Lunch is at Tommy Bahama, 551 Fifth Avenue at 45th Street. Please contact Renée Pecquex for further details and to make a reservation.
2014 NYC AIDS WALK . . . On May 17 and 18, the Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk Team walked in Central Park to demonstrate their commitment to raising money to combat HIV and AIDS and to support those whose lives have been affected by the virus. It was a great weekend and the members of the team were happy that their fundraising efforts have been so successful. As of Thursday, May 22, the Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk Team has exceeded its $30,000 fundraising goal for 2014. The Team has now raised $39,617.00. The Team is currently No. 10 out of all the teams that walked on May 18! Though that ranking may slip a bit after the final numbers come in from all the teams, including the corporate teams, that statistic is still very impressive indeed. We encourage all our members and friends to consider making a donation to support this effort. It is no longer possible to make donations online. However, donations can still be made until June 13. Checks paid to the order of AIDS Walk New York 2014 (not to Saint Mary the Virgin) should be mailed to the parish office. Thank you very much to everyone who has already made a donation. We are also grateful to all those who joined the team and to the team’s hardworking leaders, MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell. Jay Smith
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . The Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 25: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was among the greatest and most prolific composers in history. A child prodigy, he wrote more than 600 works including forty-one symphonies, twenty-seven piano concertos, sixteen operas, nineteen piano sonatas, and other chamber works. Made famous for his marvelously original operas, Mozart also wrote two dozen Masses at different times in his life, some as commissioned works, others without underwriting. The Missa brevis in C Major, K. 259 (“Orgelsolo”), which we hear on Sunday, is one of three Masses composed by Mozart, probably in 1776. It is scored for four soloists, four-part choir, violins, oboes, clarini (high-pitched trumpets), trombones and basso continuo (most probably a small organ). Although classed as a “missa brevis,” the inclusion of trumpets in the scoring makes it a “missa brevis et solemnis.” The Mass derives its nickname “Orgelsolomesse” (“Organ Solo” Mass) from the obbligato organ solo part of the Benedictus. At the ministration of Communion we hear the motet, Ave Regina caelorum, by Peter Philips (or Phillipps, Phillips, Philippe, Philippi, Philippus; c. 1560–1628). Philips was an eminent English composer, organist, and Roman Catholic priest exiled to Flanders for his faith. He was one of the greatest keyboard virtuosos of his time, and was well regarded for his transcriptions for keyboard of Italian motets by such composers as Lassus, Palestrina, and Caccini. He also wrote a large number of choral motets, of which Sunday’s offering is but one . . . The 4:40 PM Sunday Organ Recital will be played by M. Chad Levitt. His program includes music by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), François Couperin (1668-1733), and Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911) . . .The Eve of Ascension Day, Wednesday, May 28: Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM. Music at the service includes The First Service of John Amner (1579-1641) and the motet, “Ascendit Deus,” by William Byrd (1540–1623) . . . Ascension Day, Thursday, May 29: The 5:30 PM Organ Recital will be played by Brink Bush. His program includes music by J.S. Bach and Jean Françaix (1912–1997) . . . At the Mass the setting is Missa Ascendens Christus by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611). Victoria, or rather his music, has graced a goodly number of feast days this year at Saint Mary’s, and for several important reasons. First, there is a compactness and completeness to his many Mass settings that make his work suit our style of liturgy; there is an understanding of vocal line and interior construction that particularly suits our type of choir; but there is also a specialization to this music which is strictly liturgical and completely devotional in character, thus suited to days of special celebration. Victoria’s music, some of the most technically solid in the repertoire, is also some of the most perfectly suited to its purpose and stands totally in accord with the requirements of the Tridentine Rite. This is catholic music by definition ancient and modern. In the preface to his 1583 book of Masses, Victoria wrote: “I undertook for preference the setting of that which is universally celebrated in the Church . . . for what should music serve rather than the holy praise of the immortal God from whom number and measure proceed, whose works are wonderfully ordered by a kind of harmony and consonance?” Here is music which is at once joyful, passionately expressive and engaging, yet completely indicative of a mature faith. At the ministration of Communion, we will hear a motet by Peter Philips (c. 1560–1628), who was an eminent English composer, organist, and Roman Catholic priest exiled to Flanders for his faith. While his first compositions appear to be keyboard works of the English Virginal School, he also wrote sacred choral motets, perhaps numbering in the hundreds—new scholarship continues to turn up works attributed to this gifted musician. Mark Peterson
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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. The Episcopal News Service (ENS) recently posted a short video about the monastery and its school here . . . Outreach teams from the Common Ground Initiative have been working with those who are homeless, and who have been seeking shelter here at Saint Mary’s, to help the homeless to move off of the streets and into more stable living situations. We are grateful for Common Ground’s assistance . . . We welcome donations of: hand sanitizer; granola bars; applesauce, sold in small, plastic cups with peel-off tops; water; peanut butter and crackers; and other small items that can be packed in bags for distribution to those who are homeless . . . We continue to collect non-perishable food items for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Please place your donations in the basket near the ushers’ table on Sunday mornings. You may also make cash donations. Please speak either to Father Jay Smith or to Sister Deborah Francis. J.R.S.
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, June 8, The Day of Pentecost . . . Sunday; June 15, Trinity Sunday . . . Sunday, June 22, Corpus Christi (Sung Matins 8:30 AM; Solemn Mass, Procession to Times Square and Eucharistic Benediction 11:00 AM, Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM) . . . Friday, July 11, 8:00 PM, Parish Outing: New York Philharmonic Concert in Central Park.