FROM THE RECTOR: ESSENTIALLY ONE
The ordination of our new bishop coadjutor, the Right Reverend Andrew M.L. Dietsche, at the cathedral last Saturday was the best service of the kind I have ever attended. Of course, we are privileged as a diocesan community to have such a great cathedral building. The presiding bishop of the Church presided and preached. There were many, many things to admire about the liturgy, the effort and the love that went into the service.
I’m still thinking about aspects of the liturgy, in particular, how different languages were used during the service. The litany was really well done—a cantor led and chanted most of it in English, but intervening petitions were read in eight different languages, including American Sign Language, used among us, while a very soft single note chant tied the reading in different languages with the chanting of the cantor. I thought it was brilliant.
At Saint Mary’s, we are used to listening to the scriptures—and not reading along from bulletins or bulletin inserts. At the ordination, the Old Testament Lesson was read in French and printed in the bulletin in English and Spanish. The New Testament Lesson was read in English and printed in French and Spanish. When the congregation—the vast majority of which I presume were English speakers—realized there was no text to follow, suddenly the very full cathedral was still. I don’t know how many thousands were listening together to the Word of God, but we were. The silence, led by the Word read well, was profound and unifying.
Curiously, I was very aware during the singing of hymns how individualistic the congregation seemed. A lot of people read prayers and sang hymns without regard to those around them. It always seems very odd to me when people are singing so loudly that they can’t stay in rhythm with the organ accompaniment.
Presiders at services in our building need to be heard when they are presiding for many different reasons. That said, I tell new colleagues that if they want to know how fast a congregation at Saint Mary’s reads or chants to listen at Solemn Mass to the confession of sin (which is spoken) and the Lord’s Prayer (which is sung). Some members of the community may go faster or slower, but those moments at Solemn Mass will tell you how this congregation as a community reads and sings in its church home.
Perhaps because Saint Mary’s regularly, daily, has visitors at worship, the parish clergy are keenly aware of pace. One could easily read our familiar liturgy at a pace that, I fear, would leave non-Episcopalians and non-native English speakers as bystanders. But there is, I think, a more important reason why the way in which we worship matters in this regard: I think the more we experience moments of unity, the more it enables us to live as members of One Body, Christ’s body. The rule of thumb I learned about chanting and reading as a new seminarian at Nashotah House was that one should read and sing loudly enough so that the persons next to you could hear you, but not so loudly that you couldn’t hear them. For me, among the things that distinguishes Prayer Book worship is its call to this kind unity of the Body through worship.
I think it is correct to say that in the very first years after Jesus rose, and before those who believed in him spoke of the Eucharist as something we would recognize as “rite,” believers felt bound together by faith. They fed on the life-giving Jesus, and they expected him to return in glory. They knew that he had risen and had come to his disciples in the evening for meals. “Have you anything here to eat?”, Jesus asked on the day of resurrection (Luke 24:41). Those first believers saw each other in new ways, sister and brother, members of one body, the children of God. I think the way we pray in common can invite us more deeply into being in right relationship with God and with each other. We were made to come together to be essentially members of One Body. It can transform human life when we glimpse the heavenly unity of all the Body’s different, unique members in our worship here below. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Tatiana, Leroy, Demetrio, Helen, Joyce, Susan, Kean, Gene, Victoria, Vincent, Wayne, Debbie, Theresa, Mary, Lee, Julie, Betty, Gerald, Aston, Amy, Jim, Barbara, Odin, Chandra, Sharon, Arpene, Ann, Ruth, Dorothy, Richard, Linda, Gert, and Rick; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew, Mark, and Rob . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 18: 1891 James Woodruff Romeyn; 1893 Justine Augusta Sutton; 1895 Emma Josephine Bailey; 1915 Carolus Augustine Boniface Nousis; 1931 Augusta Cross Eschert; 1953 Amanda Middleton; 1965 Marie Louise Barreaux; 1970 Isabel Wiedebein; 1998 Gertrude S. Butler.
FASTING AND ABSTINENCE IN LENT . . . The ordinary weekdays of Lent are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. Fridays in Lent are observed traditionally by abstinence from flesh meats. The Feast of Saint Joseph, Monday, March 19, is not a weekday of Lent.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . . On Sunday, March 18, at 10:00 AM, Father Peter Powell continues his Lenten series on Genesis 1-11 . . . Monday, March 19, The Feast of Saint Joseph: Mass will be offered at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on Wednesday, March 21 . . . The Stations of the Cross are offered every Friday in Lent at 6:30 PM, following Evening Prayer . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, March 17. Father Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, March 24.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Saturday, March 17, 8:00 PM, Miller Theatre Early Music Series, Tenebrae, with Le Poème Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre, conductor . . . Confirmation and the other rites of Christian initiation will be celebrated at the Easter Vigil. For more information, please speak with one of the parish clergy . . . Sponsors are needed for the receptions on Annunciation, Monday, March 26; Easter Eve, Saturday, April 7; and Ascension Day, Thursday, May 17. Please speak to Father Jay Smith or contact the parish office . . . . . . Father Smith will be away from the parish from Monday, March 12, until Tuesday, March 20. He returns to the office on Wednesday, March 21 . . .The Feast of the Annunciation will be observed this year on Monday, March 26. The Right Reverend R. William Franklin, bishop of Western New York, will be celebrant and preacher for the 6:00 PM Solemn Mass . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 227.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The setting of the Mass ordinary this Sunday is Communion Service in D, Opus 45 by Kenneth Leighton (1929–1988). Leighton was born in Wakefield, England, and his unique musical language (including lyrical melodies combined with chromaticism, and later in his career, use of serial techniques) earned him great respect as a composer. He is best remembered, perhaps, for his contributions to liturgical music, including numerous masses. The motet, a setting of the words God so loved the world was composed by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901) as part of his Lenten cantata The Crucifixion. James Kennerley
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We have committed ourselves to donating six pieces of luggage this year to the New York Foundling Hospital’s “Cases for Kids” initiative. Children in foster care often find themselves “on the move,” moving from foster care back home, suddenly entering foster care, packing and prepping for NYFH’s summer camp or joining a sibling at a new foster home. NYFH is looking for donations of “rolling luggage”; the recommended size is at least 30” x 14”. If you would like to make a donation to this initiative, please speak to Father Smith . . . The diocese of New York, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Japanese Ministry (MJM), is raising funds and awareness to assist the people of Japan, especially in the critically-affected diocese of Tohoku. In particular, the diocese is seeking to assist with the rebuilding of the Sei Ai Kindergarten, connected with All Saints’ Church, in the city of Aizu-Wakamatsu in Fukushima, Japan. Checks can be made payable to "Episcopal Diocese of New York" with the notation "Japan Disaster Relief Fund" in the memo line. Donations should be sent to The Episcopal Diocese of New York, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025, Attn: Controller. Donations can also be made online. For more information please contact the MJM office at 914-723-6118 or email@example.com or visit the MJM website. Jay Smith
SUNDAY ADULT FORUM IN LENT & EASTERTIDE . . . On Sundays during Lent, Father Peter Powell is leading a five-part series on Genesis 1-11. Father Powell tells us what to expect during class this coming Sunday: “The Flood Story captivates the imagination. Bill Cosby used it in a skit. Movies have been made depicting it as fact and fantasy. The New York Times recently described a behavior as antediluvian. The more important question however is what if anything it says about who God is and how God cares for his creation, including us. The study of Gen 1-11 this week turns to this story and while we will look at the way the story is put together we will also discuss what it tells us about how God continues to relate to us! Also, please remember: the most important aspect of Bible study is to do it. It is more important to start than to worry about starting in the right place. Therefore, even if you missed the first two weeks of the Gen 1-11 series you are invited to join us this week. Newcomers are always welcome to join the class” . . . The Adult Forum will not meet on Palm Sunday, April 1; on Easter Day, April 8; or on the Second Sunday of Easter, April 15.
SAINT MARY’S WOMEN’S GROUP . . . You are invited to join the Group on Tuesday, March 20, as they celebrate International Women’s Month at General Theological Seminary. Members of the Group will gather at 5:30 PM to tour the new Christoph Keller, Jr. Library (where parishioner Mary Robison is reference librarian), then join the seminary community for the Eucharist at 6:00 PM. After Mass, the Group will have dinner together at a nearby restaurant. All the women of the parish are cordially invited to come to this event. You are invited to bring your partner, spouse, or significant other, if he or she is interested, for this month’s activities. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP or if you have questions. You may also contact the parish office to RSVP. (We ask that you RSVP at least twenty-four hours in advance so that we'll have a head count for campus security; and please try to arrive on time so that the tour can begin on time. Thank you!)
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Tuesday, March 20, 8:00 PM, Between Heaven and Earth: Sacred and Secular Baroque Music from Germany and Italy, with Musica Nuova, Amanda Keil, mezzo-soprano; James Kennerley, tenor; Kris Kwapis, cornetto; Kelly Savage, harpsichord; Elizabeth Weinfeld, viola da gamba; Dorothy Olsson, dance and choreography. You may visit the Musica Nuova website for information and to purchase tickets . . . Saturday, March 31, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, music director. Music by Mozart and Shostakovich. Admission is free . . . Saturday, April 21, 8:00 PM, Miller Theatre Early Music Series, Treasures of the Renaissance, with Stile Antico.