FROM THE RECTOR: POWER OF IDEAS
Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi are the earliest of what Adolf Adams (1912-2005) called the “idea feasts” in his book The Liturgical Year (1981). Both were introduced to the “universal” calendar of the Western Church by bishops of Rome in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. For several hundred years before, their predecessors had resisted the introduction of what had been local commemorations in Spain and France (Trinity Sunday) and in Liège (Corpus Christi). They resisted because the church’s liturgy had always been rooted in the actual life and teachings of Christ. The church was already proclaiming the Trinity at every Mass, was already celebrating the Body and Blood of Christ at every Mass.
After the Reformation other “idea feasts” emerged in the Roman Catholic Church: the Precious Blood (1849), the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1856), the Holy Family (1920), Christ the King (1925), and Divine Mercy Sunday (2000). At the Reformation in England, Trinity Sunday was retained by Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) in The Book of Common Prayer (1549) and Anglicans have celebrated it ever since. Massey Shepherd writes that Trinity Sunday “owed its popularity in England to its association with St. Thomas Becket, who directed its regular observance throughout the realm” (The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary  186).
Much like the introduction of reciting the Nicene Creed in the Sunday Eucharist, the “theme” Mass, if you will, for the Trinity emerged in the seventh and eighth centuries in Spain and Gaul, where the early fourth century Arian controversy was still alive. (Arius [c.250-c.336] had held that the Son of God was created by the Father, that he was not co-eternal with the Father.) The Mass of the Holy Trinity and the use of the Nicene Creed in the Mass were catechetical, that is, used to teach, and exclusionary. No one who was an Arian could say this creed or participate in this Mass with integrity.
All of that said, Christians are Trinitarian. We believe in one God in Three Persons. The Arian and other major theological battles of the past have shaped how we pray today. Our Trinitarian language doesn’t confine or control God in any way, but Christians agree this is how God has revealed God’s self to humankind and that we may use this language with confidence.
Two great hymns are associated with Trinity Sunday in the Episcopal Church, “Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!” and “I bind unto myself today.” Both will be sung at the Solemn Mass on Sunday.
John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876) composed the tune Nicaea to be sung with the first of these texts which was written by Reginald Heber (1783-1826). Heber’s text and Dykes’ tune make it one of the greatest of our nineteenth century Anglican hymns. The latter hymn is very popular with Episcopalians. Its text is attributed to Saint Patrick since A.D. 690. The text was published with the Irish melodies St. Patrick’s Breastplate and, for the sixth stanza, Deirdre in the English Hymnal 1906. Both hymns avoid the theological controversies of the past; instead they praise God for what he has done and is doing for us.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR William, Oscar, Mumtaz, Susanna, Sharon, Sandy, John, Ivan, Penny, Steven, Denise, Dennis, Robbie, Polly, Victoria, Bruce, McNeil, David, Sylvia, Kenneth, Rick, Gloria, Jack, Takeem, Linda, Arpene, Clara, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 15: 1927 Georgiana Hack; 1939 Marguerite Tracy; 1972 Robert Klobstock.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR . . . are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, June 15: Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM. This is the final Sunday Evensong of the season . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, June 14, and Saturday, June 21, by Father Jim Pace.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Sharon Singh has been admitted to Calvary Hospital Hospice, Bronx. Father Pace, Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins and Deacon Anthony Jones are providing pastoral care. Please keep Sharon in your prayers . . . Visual Arts Project: The exhibition of Maria Dominguez’s paintings, The Healer’s Series, continues in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . 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 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 247.
FROM FATHER PACE . . . Every Sunday we pray for those in our community who are in the active military. Of late, you have no doubt heard the name Mark. Mark is the third son of my former wife Margaret Olsen and me. Mark Patrick Pace is 23 years old and has been in the US Army Infantry since age 19. (He celebrates four years of service this month). Mark served two tours in Afghanistan and is currently stationed in Buehring, Kuwait. He will return to his home base, Fort Carson in Colorado, at the end of June, will do a brief tour in Hawaii to end 2014 (Mark loves to surf) and will then be assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio in 2015. Mark is a “25Q Satellite Transportable Terminal Operator.” He is currently specialist grade awaiting promotion to sergeant. I appreciate very much your prayers and I thank you for them. Jim Pace
MUSIC SEARCH COMMITTEE . . . I’ve asked board vice president Mark Risinger to serve as chair of a Music Search Committee to begin the process of us making an appointment to fill the position of organist and music director. Joining Mark on the committee will be Robin Landis and Geoffrey Williams along with board members Grace Bruni and James Dennis. I’ve asked the committee to approach the search as the board did when it began to look for a new rector on the retirement of my predecessor. This included looking at the history of the parish and the position, along with seeking input from the members of our local and national congregations and others. The committee met for the first time on Sunday, June 8. I’m excited about the opportunity for the wider parish community to think about what’s next for music at Saint Mary’s. S.G.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was one of the last connections, if not the very last, between 19th century romanticism and modern composition. Born to an aristocratic family in Semyonovo, Russia, his maternal grandfather Arkady had served as an army general. Rachmaninoff’s early training as a pianist was at the hands of his mother, Lubov, who, aware of her son’s immense talent, hired St. Petersburg musician, Anna Ornatskaya for Sergei’s personal instruction. At twelve, Sergei was sent to the conservatory in Moscow, where he began studies with Nikolai Zverev. Rachmaninoff was awarded the Moscow Conservatory’s Great Gold Medal, only the third person to receive that honor. Rachmaninoff enjoyed artistic and financial success for a ten-year period before his countrymen revolted against the tsarist government and their worsening position in the First World War. He served as conductor of the Bolshoi Theater from 1904-6, afterwards devoting his time to composition in Italy and Germany. Rachmaninoff had a vicarious relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church, but composed two major religious works, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (1910) and the All-Night Vigil - or Great Vigil (1915). It is a portion of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom that we hear at the ministration of Holy Communion today. Rachmaninoff’s first performance tour of the United States came in 1909, and he relocated to New York in 1918. His composing output declined while here in the United States, but Rachmaninoff quickly established himself as one of the twentieth century’s great virtuosi. He toured continuously until his death and made numerous recordings as pianist and conductor that can still be heard today. Rachmaninoff became a US citizen in 1943, just a few days before his death. Mark Peterson
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.
OUTREACH . . . 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 to Sister Deborah Francis.