FROM THE RECTOR: A NEW EASTER DAY
The new lectionary has revised the order in which we will hear the four accounts of the resurrection. So, I took a look at the old lectionary, our new lectionary, the official Revised Common Lectionary on which our new lectionary is based, and the present lectionary of the Roman Church on whose 1969 lectionary all of these lectionaries were based. The most surprising discovery: we were never “required” to hear John’s account of the resurrection on Easter Eve or Easter Day—and we still aren’t. That said, John is now always an option on Easter morning and we will have it at all Easter morning Masses this year.
On Saturday night at the Great Vigil of Easter we will hear Mark’s account with its startling conclusion, “And [Mary Mag'dalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome] went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). (I note that since 1998 the Roman Church has omitted this verse and, with respect, I can’t imagine why they do this. It really changes how one hears the passage.)
The Right Reverend Charles E. Jenkins, X Bishop of Louisiana, will be with us during the Easter Triduum. He will preach and confirm at the Easter Vigil and will preach at Solemn Paschal Evensong on Easter Day. He will hear confessions following the 12:30 PM Good Friday Liturgy. I served very happily for three years as Bishop Jenkins’ curate in Baton Rouge where he was rector of Saint Luke’s Church—from which he would be elected bishop of Louisiana in 1998. Bishop Jenkins’ ministry in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, particularly to the poorest people in New Orleans, was simply extraordinary. It is a privilege to welcome him again to the parish. He’s got Mark’s gospel for the Vigil and the great lessons we hear every year at Evensong on Easter Day, Jesus’ appearance to his disciples on the evening of that first day from John and, during Benediction, Jesus meeting two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Easter Day Evensong is one of the great services of the year. The full choir sings. It’s simply glorious in every way.
I’ve got John, so to speak, Thursday night, Friday, and Easter morning. One addition to John’s passion on Good Friday in our new lectionary is really excellent. It’s a short addition, and entirely worth hearing, John’s account of Jesus’ burial. It’s entirely different, as John often is, from the accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke, where Jesus is buried quickly before sunset with no ceremony at all. Previously, John’s account was only heard if your parish celebrated Evening Prayer on Good Friday:
After this Joseph of Arimathe'a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body. Nicode'mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds' weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42)
This newsletter is going out on the morning of Maundy Thursday. I feel so privileged to be a part of a parish community where the great rites of the Church are celebrated with such commitment, integrity and, I think it is fair to say, simplicity. Saint Paul spoke of the richness and diversity of the members of Christ’s Body in his Letter to the Romans and his First Letter to the Corinthians. It is the breadth of the wider community of this parish that makes it all possible. You and I can have every reason to hope for new graces for this world and for our lives as Christ continues to work to bring all people to know him and enjoy him forever. Thank you. Happy Easter. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Vera, Patrick, James, Victoria, Tatiana, Kenneth, Gayle, Kean, Helen, Joyce, Susan, Mary, Lee, Wayne, Betty, Gerald, Amy, Gloria, Jim, Barbara, Odin, Chandra, Sharon, Arpene, Ann, Ruth, Dorothy, Richard, and James, religious; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Gene, Matthew, Mark, and Rob . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 8: 1903 William Scolley Whitwell; 1917 Wilhelmina Schober Gecheidle; 1964 Grieg Taber, priest and rector; 1971 Carl Francis C. Hugger; 1996 Donald L. Garfield, priest and rector.
LITURGICAL NOTES FOR THE EASTER TRIDUUM . . . On Maundy Thursday all are invited to participate in the washing of feet as they are able during the 6:00 PM liturgy. Members of the congregation sit to have their feet washed and then wash the feet of the next person. Socks and shoes are removed at one’s seat; one puts them on after returning to one’s seat . . . The Maundy Thursday money offering is entirely for the poor and those in need. This year, the offering will be used to support the AIDS Walk 2012 and the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. . . The Watch before the Blessed Sacrament is kept through the night in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy. Sexton Al Hernandez will be on duty all night. After 9:00 PM, please enter the church through the easternmost doorway of the main entrance on West Forty-sixth Street . . . On Good Friday the liturgy is celebrated twice, at 12:30 PM and 6:00 PM. Confessions will be heard by Bishop Jenkins and Father Pace following the 12:30 PM service and by Father Gerth and Father Smith following the 6:00 PM service . . . The Great Vigil of Easter begins at 7:00 PM. Hand bells may be brought to ring. A reception follows the service in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . On Easter Day hymns are sung at the otherwise said Masses at 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM. Jordan Abbasi, a student of James Kennerley’s, will play a prelude, a postlude, and the hymns at the said Masses. James Kennerley is playing a recital at 4:30 PM. Solemn Paschal Evensong & Benediction is at 5:00 PM . . . Neither the Church School nor the Adult Forum meets on Easter Day . . . Friday abstinence is not observed during the Easter Season . . . The parish clergy do no sit for confessions on Saturday, April 7, or on Saturday in Easter Week, April 14.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thank you to all who worked so hard here at the parish to prepare for Palm Sunday and to all who have gathered to make things ready for the rest of Holy Week . . . Scott Bistayi, who serves as head verger at Saint Bartholomew’s Church, New York City, has been with us at the Sung Mass on Wednesdays in recent weeks, practicing the ministry of thurifer with our own acolytes. It has been a pleasure to have him with us and we are pleased that he is returning to Saint Bart’s, taking this knowledge with him; it is something else that has connected us to our good friends at Saint Bart’s . . . Attendance: Palm Sunday 317.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . On Good Friday, during the Veneration of the Cross, the choir sings a familiar setting of the Reproaches by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611), the Spanish priest and composer of the late Renaissance. Victoria’s setting of the moving text is at once simple and beautifully haunting. The Gradual, Christus factus est, is sung to a setting composed for this service by James Kennerley (b. 1984). At the Great Vigil of Easter, the setting of the Mass ordinary is Messe solennelle (1951) by Jean Langlais (1907–1991). At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Surrexit a mortuis, opus 23, no. 3, by Charles–Marie Widor (1844–1937). The work is composed for the same forces as the Langlais Mass setting, and dates from 1876 . . . On Easter morning the setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa Regina coeli laetare by the Portuguese composer Manuel Cardoso (1566–1650). Another little–known Portuguese composer, Filipe de Magalhães (c. 1571–1652), composed the setting of Vidi aquam, sung during the sprinkling of holy water. The motet at Communion is a six–part setting of Regina coeli by Cristóbal de Morales (c. 1500–1553) . . . At Solemn Evensong and Benediction, I will play the organ recital at 5:30 P.M. The introit “Hail, gladdening light”, is sung to a setting by Charles Wood (1866–1926). The evening canticles are Evening Service in D by George Dyson (1883–1964). At Benediction, the O Salutaris is sung to the second setting, in F major, by Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934). While Elgar did compose a setting of the Tantum ergo hymn, the setting sung today was composed by James Kennerley (b. 1984), in the style of Elgar, as a pairing for the O Salutaris. Today is the first performance. James Kennerley
AIDS WALK 2012 . . . The Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk team is in action again, our seventh year in a row, walking in the 27th AIDS Walk New York on Sunday, May 20. Our team will raise money, and most of us will walk on Saturday, May 19, in order to be in church the following day. We are small but successful: in 2011, there were only 10 of us, we raised over $16,000, and we ranked 32 among 3,641 teams in the Walk! We need your help to do even better this year. Join our team or contribute to our team by clicking here. To join, click on “Join our Team.” To contribute, in the Team Members box next to our picture, click on “General Team Donation” (if you prefer to write a check made out to AWNY, you can give it to Father Smith or to MaryJane Boland). Team members raise money from their friends and colleagues. Ask questions of our team by e-mailing the team leader MaryJane Boland or speak to her or Father Smith on Sunday.
SUNDAY ADULT FORUM IN LENT & EASTERTIDE . . . On Sunday, April 22, Dr. Dennis Raverty, art historian and good friend of Saint Mary’s, will lead a class entitled “Rembrandt and the Jews of Amsterdam” . . . On Sunday, April 29, Father Jim Pace, assisting priest here at the parish, will lead a class on the Rosary. He will discuss the history and practice of this devotion and will look at both the Anglican and Roman Catholic rosaries and will discuss the differences between the two . . . In May, Father Jay Smith will continue his series, “What Do Episcopalians Believe?”
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, April 21, 8:00 PM, Miller Theatre Early Music Series, Treasures of the Renaissance, with Stile Antico.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . December 7, 2011–May 14, 2012, Transition to Christianity: Art of Late Antiquity, Third to Seventh Century AD, at the Onassis Cultural Center, Olympic Tower, 645 Fifth Avenue, entrances on 51st and 52nd Streets, between Madison and Fifth Avenues . . . February 3–May 20, 2012–Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière, at the Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway at 61st Street. This exhibition presents the liturgical work of Hildreth Meière (1892–1961), who was one of the best known and most prolific Art Deco muralists of the twentieth century. Recognized during her lifetime for both her liturgical and secular work, Meière completed over 100 commissions from 1922 to 1961. Though Meière is little known today, her commissions are very well recognized and include several New York City attractions like the Red Banking Room at One Wall Street, the lobby of the Walker Lispenard Building, the 50th Street façade of Radio City Music Hall, and religious art and decoration at the Church of Saint Bartholomew and Temple Emanu-El.