FROM THE RECTOR: GEORGE BLACKMORE HANDY, 1918-2012
George Handy died on May 9, 2012 at the age of ninety-three. He was born on June 5, 1918. He had been a member of the parish since his confirmation on May 6, 1927. He always carried with him a picture taken in front of the church that day. George was in knickers. In the picture you can see the stairwells that used to be in front of the parish house for bringing coal into the building—which have long since removed. George will be mourned not only by the local and wider parish community, but by countless visitors who remember his welcome and his smile. George had served as an usher here for more than a generation. He had also served as a member of the board of trustees.
George and his wife, Helena Maria Martinuk Handy, who died on December 10, 2001, had lived in midtown all their lives. George and his three brothers all served in World War II. The Calvary Shrine in the rear of the church was built as an act of thanksgiving by the parish because no members of Saint Mary’s were killed while serving in World War II. That shrine always had special meaning for George and the men and women of the parish who had served and had known many who did not come home.
George and Helena were a modest and gracious couple. When they were younger, they loved to travel, which they were able to do as they had no children. But they had one another; and their joy and affection for each other was apparent to all who knew them.
The night before Helena died I sat with George in her room at the Cabrini Hospice on East 19th Street for a long time and learned many things about their lives. Helena’s room had an extraordinary view of midtown. George was old enough to remember the Chrysler Building and the Empire State going up. They were New Yorkers; they were from the city.
On Saturday, May 19, the Burial of the Dead will be celebrated for George. It will be an Easter liturgy. George had seen a great deal of change through the years at Saint Mary’s. He was not someone who longed for the past. He was quick to point out that he did not miss the cold-water flat of his childhood. The music will, in a sense be from the past; but music such as this belongs to the Church for all time—anthems by William Croft (1678-1727) and Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), the Mass ordinary by Palestrina (1525-1594). The Latin chants for the gospel acclamation and communion verse will be Eastertide texts. There will be flowers on the altar; the Marian veil will be on the high-altar tabernacle. But there will be one important concession to sentiment, that I’m sure you will agree should be made.
The night Helena died, George asked me if we could use the black vestments trimmed with silver for Helena’s burial. I said, “Yes, of course.” Then, he told me they had been worn for his father’s funeral in 1928 when he was ten years old. That solemn-mass set will be worn on Saturday.
As the service begins, George’s ashes will be in the church in front of the chancel steps. The Paschal Candle will burn near it. After the commendation, the choir will sing In paradisum as the urn is carried to the vault in the Lady Chapel. His ashes will be interred next to those of his wife. The chairs in the Lady Chapel will be removed. I will invite everyone to come to the chapel or into the altar area itself—much as we do at Holy Baptism. I want us to surround George when the last prayers are said. He rests in peace; he will, by God’s mercy, rise in glory. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Philip, Wayne, Michael, Henrietta, Pearl, Joseph, Jan, Andrew, Sean, James, Al, Gail, Helen, Joyce, Betty, Arpene, Sharon, Chandra, Dorothy, and Robert, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Matthew; and for the repose of the soul of George . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 20: 1892 Charles William Montague; 1963 Annie Louise Arnold; 1996 Walter Edgar Hartlove, priest.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, May 19, 10:00 AM, Celebration of the Burial of the Dead for George Handy . . . The Adult Forum will meet on Sunday, May 20, and on Sunday, May 27, which will be the final class of the academic year. The Adult Forum will resume in the fall . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on May 23 . . . Father Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, May 19. Father Stephen Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, May 26.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Congratulations to the Reverend Canon Carl Gerdau who was awarded an honorary doctorate by the General Theological Seminary on Wednesday, May 16, for his service to the Church . . . A correction: At the Annual Meeting of the Congregation on Sunday, May 6, two members of the parish were elected to represent the parish at Diocesan Convention in the fall, Brother William Jones, BSG, and Dale Reynolds. Wayne Mahlke and Marie Rosseels were elected to serve as alternates . . . Sunday, June 3, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM, Arch Room, Mission House, Second Floor, Baby Shower for Jananie Nair . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 254.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday is the chorale prelude on Vater Unser im himmelreich (“Our Father who art in heaven”) by Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637–1707). Buxtehude was one of the greatest composers of the mid–Baroque period, and such was his skill that the young Johann Sebastian Bach walked 250 miles from Arnstadt, in central Germany, to Lübeck, in the north, to hear him play. Music on Sunday is performed by a quartet of singers drawn from the main choir. The Mass setting is Missa “Qual Donna” by Orlande de Lassus (1532–1594). The Communion motet is a setting of Viri Galilaei, the introit for Ascension Day, by Dulos Couillart (fl. 1534). It was first published as part of a collection of motets in Paris by Pierre Attaignant (c.1494-1551/2) . . . On Sunday afternoon at 4:40 PM, the organ recital will be played by Jordan Abbasi, Greenwich, Connecticut. He will play works of J.S. Bach (1685–1750). James Kennerley
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, May 27: The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday . . . Monday, May 28, Memorial Day. The parish will observe its federal holiday schedule . . . Thursday, May 31, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass 12:10 PM & Mass 6:20 PM . . . Sunday, June 3, Trinity Sunday . . . Sunday, June 10, The Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Corpus Christi
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. The date of the Walk is fast approaching and we still have a ways to go to meet our goal. We invite all members and friends of the parish to support this ministry and to be generous. Every donation counts and helps us to meet our goal! 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.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We continue to collect non-perishable food items for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Please consider making a regular donation to the Food Pantry. Look for the basket in the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall. You may make a cash donation as well. If you would like more information about how the Food Pantry works or if you would like to volunteer, please speak to Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., or Father Smith . . . Father Smith resumes his Book Sale on Sunday. All proceeds are used to benefit the Food Pantry and others who are in need.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY CLASS . . . The class, which is reading the Letter to the Hebrews will meet on May 23 at 6:30 PM. This will be the final class of the 2011-2012 academic year, and the members of the class will share a potluck supper. All are invited to join us for this final class—and for the potluck! Jay Smith
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Illuminated: The Art of Sacred Books. April 6–September 3, 2012. At the Rubin Museum, 150 West 17th, New York City. “[This exhibition] explores the aesthetic and technological approaches used in creating and adorning sacred books from a variety of cultures [while] presenting Tibetan sacred books in a broad cross-cultural context. Among featured objects are several never before displayed illuminated Tibetan manuscript pages and complete books dating as early as the thirteenth century and written in gold and silver on dark blue and black paper of various sizes in the traditional Tibetan book format.”