FROM THE RECTOR: ALL SOULS 2014
The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, commonly called All Souls’ Day, will be celebrated in the Episcopal Church this year on Monday, November 3. Christians have been celebrating the Eucharist at the time of burials and on anniversaries of the departed since the middle of the second century—and probably earlier than that. There will be a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM, at which I will preach, and Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM, at which the Reverend Dr. Mitties McD. DeChamplain will preach. It will be an honor for us to welcome her again to Saint Mary’s pulpit.
Requiem by Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) will be sung at the Solemn Mass. It is a beloved and powerful work. At the end of the liturgy, the clergy and the congregation process to the vault in the Lady Chapel where the ashes of the departed are interred. Prayer is offered and the assembly is dismissed. It is a moving and powerful reminder of the mortality of all humankind.
Our generation of Christians inherits the theological traditions of the early Church, which understood death as Easter, and of the Medieval Church, which understood death as judgment. Beginning with the First Prayer Book of King Edward VI (1549), the Anglican Church began a journey to return resurrection and life to the heart of our understanding of God’s love and mercy for humankind. With the 1979 Prayer Book, the American Church buries those who die with celebrations of Easter, celebrations not of fear, but of proclamations of God’s mercy and love.
The liturgies for the Burial of the Dead in the new Prayer Book conclude with this “Note”—which I quote in full. Marion Hatchett (1924–2009) comments, “This note explains the theology which underlies the burial rites of this edition of the Prayer Book” (Commentary on the American Prayer Book  500).
The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised.
The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn. (The Book of Common Prayer  507)
The words and music shaped by the theological world of Medieval Christianity are powerful indeed and speak to both our hopes and fears. But more powerful and true is the great proclamation of Easter. I don’t know how or when the celebration of All Souls’ in the Episcopal Church will become more clearly an Easter liturgy, but I hope it will. I look forward to new music being composed for the newer liturgical texts. And I hope by God’s great grace that Easter will take over from Good Friday in the deep heart of my soul.—Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Barbara, Jake, John, George, Francesca, Pat, Peggy, Cathy, Theodore, Patsy, Lisa, Mazdak, Babak, Pauline, Craig, McNeil, Takeem, Rick, Jack, Linda, Arpene, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; and for all the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matt . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 2: 1894 John Craig; 1902 Sarah Ward Searles; 1919 Duncan Elliot; 1925 Laura Taylor Carey; 1960 Mabel Amelia Hoover; 1970 John Arthur Schwartz; 1973 Doris F. White, Howard Montague Smith; 1976 Winona Claire Peterson; 1982 Robert William Kennedy; 1983 Marie Anne Andokian; 1987 Clasine Adriana Van de Geer.
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, November 2, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 AM. Clocks are turned back one hour . . . Monday, November 3, All Souls’ Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Parish Requiems: Tuesday, November 4, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Wednesday, November 5, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Thursday, November 6, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Saturday, November 8, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Wednesday, November 5, Bible Study Class: Saint Joseph’s Hall, 7:00 PM . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 1, by Father Jay Smith, and on Saturday, November 8, by Father Jim Pace.
STEWARDSHIP 2015 . . . The 2015 Stewardship Campaign is well underway. Pledge packets were mailed on October 15. As of Tuesday, October 28, we have received pledges from 42 households. $153,108.00, 36% of our $425,000.00 goal has been pledged to date. A few other statistics are encouraging: 9 households are pledging for the first time, or are pledging after some time away; 17 households have increased their pledge this year; 14 households have been able to maintain their pledges at the same level as in 2014; and only 2 households have had to reduce their pledge thus far this year. The month of November is a crucial time for the pledge campaign. We need to maintain the momentum of the campaign’s first two weeks. Commitment Sunday is November 23, and we hope to receive the majority of pledges by that date. We urge all members and friends to return their pledge cards as soon as possible, either by mail or by placing your pledge card in the collection basket at Mass on Sunday morning. You may also call the finance office to discuss your pledge. The staff will be happy to fill out a pledge card for you. If you have already returned your pledge card, we thank you. If you have not done so yet, we ask you seriously and prayerfully to consider how you can support the mission of the parish. Our needs are many; many of you have expressed a desire to maintain and even expand our presence and ministry in Times Square. That can only happen if all of our members and friends support that ministry. If you have questions about stewardship, please ask to speak to a member of the Stewardship Committee.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Barbara Klett had surgery this week and is recuperating at Lenox Hill Hospital. John Knight has been at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn this week and is expected to be there for several more days. George Taitt was at the New York University Hospital this week. He was released on Thursday and has gone home where he continues to recuperate. Please keep Barbara, John, and George in your prayers . . . Father John Andrew, former rector of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, died on Friday, October 17. His funeral will take place on Wednesday, November 5, at 5:30 PM, at Saint Thomas . . . The Annual All Souls’ Day Appeal was mailed last week. Please return the enclosed prayer-request forms as soon as possible. Additional forms and donation envelopes may be found on the ushers’ table near the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church. You may place the forms in the collection baskets at Mass. Names may also be sent to the parish office by e-mail . . . Flowers are needed for November 9, 16, 23 . . . Father Gerth will be away from Saint Mary’s from Saturday, November 8, until Thursday, November 13. He will be traveling on a mission trip to Haiti. He will return to New York in time to attend the diocesan convention in Tarrytown on November 14 and 15 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 180.
FLOWER DONATION NEWS . . . Saint Mary’s is blessed by a group of dedicated volunteers who take turns going to the flower market to buy flowers and then arrange them. They do a wonderful, spectacular job. For many years we have asked a donation of $200 for the flowers we use on ordinary Sundays. You will not be surprised to learn that inflation, however, has hit flower prices. We want our flowers to be right for our very large altar. Beginning January 1, 2015, we ask that $225 be given for flowers for the altar. It may be true that, as our government tells us, there is little or no inflation overall, yet you and I pay more for many things than we did just a few years ago. Add flowers to the list. S.G.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION & SPIRITUALITY . . . Sunday, November 2, 10:00 AM, Mission House, Second Floor: “The Gospel of John,” led by Father Pete Powell . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on November 5 at 7:00 PM, after the evening Mass (note the later start time). The class, which is led by Father Jay Smith, is normally held in Saint Joseph’s Hall, 145 West Forty-sixth Street. This week we will be reading Isaiah 3–4 . . . Saturday, December 6, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Advent Quiet Day, led by Father John Beddingfield, rector, All Souls Memorial Church, Washington, D.C. Father Beddingfield was a curate here at Saint Mary’s until he went to Washington. He has a deep interest in Franciscan spirituality, and that will be a central focus of the Quiet Day. Coffee, beverages, and lunch will be provided. Please R.S.V.P. so that we can make plans for lunch. All are welcome.—Jay Smith
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Orlande de Lassus (1532–1594) was a Franco-Flemish composer of considerable importance. He was endowed with an uncommonly beautiful voice, and it is alleged that he was kidnapped three times so that he could sing in choirs outside his village. In 1553 Lassus was choirmaster at the cathedral of Saint John Lateran in Rome, where he remained for a year. He then returned to his homeland and settled briefly in Antwerp. After 1556, his career was centered in Munich at the court chapel of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria, as maestro di cappella from 1563, with duties that included some travel in Germany, Flanders, France, and Italy. His accomplishments brought him formal recognition from Emperor Maximilian II 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. Nearly sixty Masses of undoubted attribution survive complete, including the Missa “Douce Mémoire” that we hear at Solemn Mass on Sunday. At the ministration of Holy Communion we will hear a motet by English composer, George Oldroyd (1887–1956). The text of the motet is by the fourteenth-century English hermit and mystic, Richard Rolle. Oldroyd was a long-time organist at St. Michael’s Church, Croydon, London, and was a major advocate of Anglo-Catholic worship in England. It is one of his liturgical preludes that we hear on Sunday . . . On Sunday afternoon, at 4:40 PM, the organ recital will be played by John Cantrell, choirmaster and organist at Saint Michael’s Church, New York City. John’s program includes works by Paul Hindemith (1895–1963) and Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637–1707) . . . Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) provides the setting for the Requiem Mass that we hear on All Souls’ Day, Monday, November 3. Fauré’s Messe de Requiem, Op. 48, was written between 1885 and 1886, following the death of his father, and just shortly before the death of his mother. It was first performed at the Church of the Madeleine in Paris in 1888, where Fauré was the organist and choirmaster, and was performed again at Fauré’s own funeral in 1924. It did not reach England until 1936 despite the effort of the composer’s friend Edward Elgar to arrange a performance of the work at the Three Choirs Festival. Unlike other Requiems of the time, Fauré’s score does not underline the terrors of judgment but concentrates instead on the idea of eternal rest. His pupil Nadia Boulanger, who conducted the first English performance of the work, wrote, “no external effect detracts from its sober and somewhat severe expression of grief: no disquiet or agitation disturbs its profound meditation, no doubt tarnishes its unassailable faith and peaceful expectation.” The Choir of Saint Mary’s is accompanied in this great work by organist James Wetzel.—Mark Peterson
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, November 15, 8:00 PM, New York Polyphony: Celebrations from the Mediterranean, music by Guerrero, Victoria, Morales, and Palestrina. This concert is part of the Miller Theater at Columbia University’s Early Music Series. Tickets may be purchased online . . . Monday, November 17, 8:00 PM, Saint Joseph’s Hall, Saint Cecilia Chamber Music Series, Lucia Stavros, harp. Along with colleagues, Ms. Stavros will play a program of works for solo harp and ensemble pieces with flute and viola. Admission is free. A donation to support the parish’s music program may be made . . . Saturday, December 13, 8:00 PM, The Tallis Scholars: Sacred Muses, music by William Byrd, Edmund Turges, and Josquin des Prez. This concert is part of the Miller Theater at Columbia University’s Early Music Series. Tickets may be purchased online.
OUTREACH . . . Mother Yamily Bass-Choate is the vicar of the Church of San Andres in Yonkers, NY. She is a good friend of Saint Mary’s. Every year her parish’s Food Pantry holds a Thanksgiving Turkey Drive to help purchase turkeys for the many families who depend on the Pantry’s assistance each week. Last year San Andres was able to provide over 200 turkeys to the hard-working families of the Yonkers community with the help of parishes like Saint Mary’s. Once again this year, the parish will be making a donation to San Andres for this outreach effort. If you would like to make a donation yourself, please send a check to: San Andres Episcopal Church, 22 Post Street, Yonkers, NY 10705. $20.00 purchases a turkey for a single household . . . The spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia and in other parts of West Africa has been rapid in recent months, and, according to recent news reports, the numbers of those affected continues to mount. We have received requests from Liberian clergy working in our diocese to publicize ways that New York Episcopalians can help. You may visit the website of the Liberian Episcopal Community USA (LECUSA) to obtain more information.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Tuesday, November 4, Election Day . . . Friday, November 14 & Saturday, November 15, Diocesan Convention, Westchester Marriott, Tarrytown, NY . . . November 23, The Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King and Commitment Sunday, Sermon by the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf . . . Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day . . . November 30, First Sunday of Advent . . . Sunday, December 7, 6:00 PM, Legacy Society Reception, following Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM . . . Monday, December 8, The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At the Bay Street Theater, corner of Bay and Main Streets, Sag Harbor, NY, November 5–29, To Kill A Mockingbird, based on the novel by Harper Lee, and newly adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel. Saint Mary’s parishioner Cooki Winborn plays the role of Calpurnia. Tickets may be purchased online . . . Monday, November 10, 7:00 PM, The Peccadillo Theatre at Saint Clement’s, 423 W. Forty-Sixth Street, The-Plays-You-Should-Know-But-Probably-Don’t Reading Series: Clash by Night by Clifford Odets. Tickets may be purchased online.