FROM THE RECTOR: TRINITY AND CORPUS CHRISTI
The High Middle Ages gave the Western Church two new feasts, Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi. The development of these feasts was part of larger theological and cultural shifts that took place during this period. From the fourth century onward, how Christians understand the Three Persons of the Trinity and how Christians understand the Eucharist reshape how Christians believed and prayed. We pray to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Corpus Christi was the fruit of a period when the consecrated Bread had become the object of intense devotion, instead of being experienced, for the most part, as spiritual food.
Trinity Sunday survived the Anglican Reformation. Corpus Christi would return with the Anglo-Catholic revival—the 1979 Prayer Book would make a provision for a devotional Mass “Of the Holy Eucharist” and notes that it is “Especially suitable for Thursdays” (page 252). But things are not so simple in Times Square.
Before the Second Vatican Council, many Anglo-Catholic parishes tended to follow the liturgical rules, and the calendar, of the preconciliar Roman Catholic Church. Saint Mary’s was no exception. As a result, this parish commemorated Corpus Christi not only on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, but also on the following Sunday, the Sunday within the “octave”—the eight days following. (Octaves are a subject for another newsletter—the only one that survives is Easter Week.)
When the Roman Church in the United States opted to celebrate Corpus Christi on Sunday, Saint Mary’s kept its celebration on Sunday and, like the Roman Catholics in America, dropped the Thursday celebration. There is one significant argument I can make for continuing this practice: it enables us to do a Eucharistic Procession in Times Square. Church processions are only possible, at least in our time, on Sunday mornings because of the crowds of people who use the square every evening of the week.
When our procession moves through Times Square, our brass players lead us in singing Amazing grace! I’m not sure even half of the people in the square have any idea what we are doing. But, because of the hymn—a hymn welcomed by most people—and the sight of us, they know there are Christians in Times Square. I believe that this witness makes sense for us who live and worship in this place.
On Trinity Sunday, in place of the customary postcommunion hymn, the choir sings a setting of Te deum laudamus. The congregation stands, and incense is offered. Mass then continues with the postcommunion prayer—God’s temple being filled with the smoke of fragrant incense.
For many of us, Trinity Sunday is associated with two of the great hymns of our Anglican tradition, I bind unto myself today and Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty. Of course, these will be sung at the Solemn Mass. What gives both feasts their great meaning is the relationship each of us has to the Persons of the Trinity. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Rick, Ivan, Susan, Brenda, Philip, Wayne, Michael, Henrietta, Jananie, Pearl, Joseph, Jan, Andrew, James, Gail, Helen, Joyce, Betty, Arpene, Sharon, Chandra, Randolph, and Dorothy; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Matthew; and for the repose of the soul of Arthur, priest, and Leonel, priest . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 3: 1881 Corrinne Eugenie Dacie Sawyer; 1923 Eliza Ann Sharrock; 1973 Leslie M. Belcher.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The Reverend Arthur Matthew Wolsoncroft III, died Monday, May 28, in Florida after a long illness. He was seventy-nine years old. Father Wolsoncroft was sponsored by Saint Mary’s for ordination. He was graduated from Nashotah House in 1987 and served as chaplain at Saint Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and as an assisting priest here at Saint Mary’s . . . The Reverend Canon Leonel Mitchell died on May 23, in South Bend, Indiana, where he had lived in retirement. He was eighty-one years old. Father Mitchell was a noted liturgical scholar of his generation and had taught at the General Theological Seminary, the University of Notre Dame, and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. His work is well-known to Episcopalians, even if they are unaware of it, since Father Mitchell drafted the Thanksgiving over the Water for Holy Baptism in the present Prayer Book.
THE GEORGE HANDY MEMORIAL FUND . . . A permanent fund to honor the memory of George Handy (1918-2012) has been established. A number of generous contributions have already been received from George’s many friends and admirers. Because of his ministry of welcoming visitors and his close association with the parish during his lifetime, the fund will be used for the conservation of the parish’s art and archives. Donations can be made to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, noting “George Handy Memorial Fund.”
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The final Sunday Evensong & Benediction of the current academic year is offered on Trinity Sunday. James Kennerley, organ, and Grace Bruni, violoncello, will play a recital at 4:40 PM . . . Father Jay Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, June 2. Father Jim Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, June 9.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Donations are needed for altar flowers for Sunday, June 17, and for all Sundays in July. If you would like to donate flowers on those dates, or for other Sundays this summer, or for the Feast of the Assumption, please contact the parish office . . . Sister Laura Katharine and Sister Deborah Francis will be at the convent on Friday, June 8, for the clothing of a novice . . . The Rector will be away from the parish beginning Tuesday, June 5. He returns to the parish office on Friday, June 8 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 268.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday is the chorale prelude on Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her (a German paraphrase of the Gloria in excelsis), BWV 711, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). The Asperges me is sung to a setting by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611). The Mass ordinary is sung to the setting Edinburgh Mass (2001) by contemporary British composer Gabriel Jackson (b. 1962). It was commissioned by Edinburgh Episcopal Cathedral, and was the first Mass setting to be written by the composer. Jackson was born in Bermuda, was a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral, and studied at the Royal College of Music in London. While the melodic material and musical textures are refreshingly unique, the Edinburgh Mass certainly seems to pay homage to the Messe en sol majeur (1937) by Francis Poulenc (1899–1963). This is the setting’s first performance at Saint Mary’s. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the five-part motet Tibi laus by Peter Philips (1560/61–1628). During the solemn censing, the choir sings the Te Deum to Anglican chant by Sir John Goss (1800-1880) after Martin Luther’s chorale Ein feste burg ist unser Gott (“A mighty fortress is our God”). James Kennerley
BABY SHOWER . . . There will be a baby shower for parishioner Jananie Nair, whose baby will be born in mid-August. Please join us after Coffee Hour on Sunday, June 3, in the Arch Room, on the second floor of the Mission House. Everyone is welcome. This is a great way to meet other Saint Marians, including Jananie. We welcome your contributions to the potluck and a gift for the baby. Jananie is registered at buybuybaby.com, but there are other options, too. Please contact MaryJane Boland or Grace Bruni to RSVP or for more information.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, June 10, The Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Corpus Christi . . . Sunday, June 24, The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist . . . Friday, June 29, Saint Peter & Saint Paul, Apostles.
HOSPITALITY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . If you would like to make a donation to help cover the costs of the reception on August 15, please contact the parish office. We are also happy to receive donations to support our hospitality efforts on Sunday morning!
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 to Father Smith . . . Panel Discussion: “Why Food Matters: A Conversation about Food, Faith & Farming.” Wednesday, June 13, 6:30 PM, at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Bishop Mark Sisk will host the discussion with brief talks from Fred Kirschenmann, organic farmer and President of Stone Barn Center in Westchester County; Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology and Rural Studies at Duke Divinity School; and Kristin Kimball, upstate farmer, former journalist and author of The Dirty Life. A question-and-answer session will follow the panel discussion. For further information please contact the Reverend Stephanie Johnson at email@example.com.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At the Museum of Biblical Art (Mobia), 1865 Broadway, New York, NY, “The Adoration of the Magi: A Masterpiece Reconstructed.” This exhibition features the work of Bartolo di Fredi (c. 1330–1410), a Sienese master of the Italian Renaissance. The exhibition is on view June 8–September 9, 2012 . . . 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.”