FROM THE RECTOR: LITURGICAL NOTES AND THOUGHTS
The General Convention has approved the use of the original 1979 Prayer Book lectionary by parishes and institutions who have their bishop’s permission to use it. Bishop Sisk has given his permission, effective immediately, for the use of the 1979 lectionary in our diocese. We will return to the original lectionary beginning this Sunday, July 22.
My reason for the return is very straightforward: the 1979 lectionary was developed for use with the Eucharistic Rite of the new Prayer Book; the new Episcopal edition of the Revised Common Lectionary was not—and it shows in many ways. The 1979 lectionary is not perfect by any means, but it was shaped by and for Episcopal Church worship. We have the opportunity to use it and I think we should. Thank you, Bishop Sisk.
The General Convention also authorized continued “trial use” of Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints. In my opinion, that’s an unfortunate decision. That volume reflects a real diminution in theological thinking and standards from the church’s previous work in this area. If there is a good side to this decision for Saint Mary’s, it has motivated me to work with my colleagues, including Deacon Mary Jett, to develop a statement of theological principles for deciding what lesser feasts will be observed here.
We will be looking at the guidelines the church used to produce Holy Women, Holy Men and those that produced the different editions its predecessor, Lesser Feasts and Fasts. In addition, it will be a good excuse for me to look again at The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity (2011) by Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell Johnson—an important survey and analysis of current scholarship on the veneration of martyrs and Mary.
Other things: when I read it in the newspaper I simply didn’t believe the Episcopal Church had authorized “A Burial Office for a Beloved Animal.” It turns out we did. It makes me cringe to wonder what will end up in the next edition of The Book of Occasional Services. Maybe that volume will include the prayers authorized in 2006 for “transitions” in human life, prayers for occasions like “Moving from a Crib to a Bed” and “Learning to Ride a Bike”—seriously, I’m not making this up. You can now even buy a copy of Changes: Prayers and Services Honoring Rites of Passages from Church Publishing—their webpage actually says the volume is “long awaited.” Really? Again, I’m not making this up.
I don’t think we Episcopalians need to look any further than the Book of Common Prayer and our regular Sunday worship for help in shaping our own prayers. I think the Church would be better off if our Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music turned away from proposing liturgical rites and began again to be a source of serious liturgical study. When study was the agenda for the then Standing Liturgical Commission in the 1950s and 1960s, we produced what many observers consider by far the best of the revised liturgies of its time, the 1979 Prayer Book.
I don’t think we need the General Convention to develop rites for every eventuality in our lives. I certainly can remember crying when the family dogs in my childhood died. I have been present to try to help comfort people who have lost pets that were dear to them. We don’t need a burial office to bury an animal. When a child learns to ride a bike without training wheels, she or he needs an ice cream cone, not a liturgy. When I sit with my mother who has Alzheimer’s and who can manage little more than what I think is a smile of recognition and a kiss when I see her, the only prayer I want to say with her is the one I know she has known as long as she has been alive, the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t need anyone to tell me that. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Mary, Robert, Nicholas, Linda, Casey, Angeline, George, Ben, Anna, Jeanne, Wayne, Barbara, Joseph, Jan, James, Helen, Arpene, Joyce, Betty, Sharon, Chandra, Dorothy, and James, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Matthew, and for the repose of the soul of Carlos . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 22: 1872 Rosamund Adair; 1890 Henry Genler Ward; 1891 Irene Bieral; 1895 William Ratcliffe; 1910 Elizabeth Marion Morehouse; 1925 Amelia Lloyd; 1929 Maude Amarilla James; 1960 Mary Waters.
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 . . . Monday, July 23: Saint Mary Magdalene. In addition to the regular 12:10 PM celebration, Mass will also be celebrated at 6:20 PM following Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, July 25: Saint James the Apostle. In addition to the regular 12:10 celebration, Mass will also be celebrated at 6:20 PM following Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM . . . Father Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, July 21, Father Gerth on Saturday, July 28.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Donations are needed for altar flowers for the following Sundays: July 29 and August 5 and 19. If you would like to donate flowers on one of those dates, please contact the parish office . . . Father Jay Smith is on vacation and away from the parish. He returns to the office on Monday, August 6. Sister Deborah Francis is away on vacation. She returns on Friday, August 10 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 177.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass is Chorale by William Mathias (1934–1992). Born in Wales, he was a child prodigy, playing the piano at three and composing at five. He later studied under Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His music encompasses a variety of styles and influences, but it is his choral music that is best known (his anthem Let the people praise thee, O God was performed to over one billion people at the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana). Mark Risinger, bass, is cantor for the Mass. He and I will sing the communion motet, Beatus homo from Bicinia, Sive Cantionis by Orlande de Lassus (c. 1532–1594). This collection of twelve duets was published in 1609 in Antwerp by Pierre Phalèse the Elder (c. 1510–1575) under his alias Petrus Phalesius. As a centerpiece to the motet, I will improvise a verset in the style of Lassus. James Kennerley
WILLIAM REED HUNTINGTON, PRIEST, 1909 . . . The sixth rector of Grace Church, New York City, was a true leader of the Church in many areas, ecumenically, liturgically, and in the revival of the order of deaconesses—which functioned in the Church until the ordination of women to all orders was approved in 1976. He is the author of a prayer for Monday in Holy Week, which is also used every Friday at Morning Prayer and is printed below. He died on July 27, 1909. His life and witness is commemorated in the Calendar of the Episcopal Church—and is observed here at Saint Mary’s!
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy, but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer  168)
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Major Feasts in August: Monday, August 6, The Transfiguration of Our Lord; Wednesday, August 15, The Assumption of Mary; Friday, August 24, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle.
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 contact Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., or Father Jay Smith . . . We recently updated and printed a new edition of our brochure, “Resources and Assistance for Those in Need.” (Thank you, Deacon Mary Jett, for revising and re-designing the brochure!) Look for copies on the ushers’ table and in the sacristy.