FROM THE RECTOR: WELCOME, BISHOP DIETSCHE!
The Right Reverend Andrew M.L. Dietsche will be with us on Friday evening, December 7, for the Eve of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our patronal feast. As is our custom, the Solemn Mass will be at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow in Saint Joseph’s Hall. It will be the eve of the 142nd anniversary of the opening of the first church at 228 West 45th Street in 1870 and the 117th anniversary of the opening of our present church home. Bishop Dietsche will become bishop of New York on February 2, 2013. Friday night will be his first celebration at Saint Mary’s. I hope many in the parish community will be able to be with us.
At the diocesan convention on November 17, Bishop Dietsche spoke movingly about his life and about the common life of this diocese, which he knows so well having served as Bishop Mark Sisk’s canon for pastoral care since 2001. There was a special gleam in his eye when he spoke of his consecration as bishop and when he told us that he and his wife Margaret Dietsche had become grandparents in August.
Bishop Dietsche also spoke frankly and clearly about the present state of the Episcopal Church and the diocese of New York. I appreciated his candor very much. He also drew on the history of the church and his own family to remind us to have hope in the work we believe God calls us to do in our time.
He spoke of his great-great-great-great grandfather Anthony Crease who in 1813 was a member of Christ Church, Alexandria—then in the District of Columbia, which returned to Virginia in 1846. He and his new rector, the Reverend William Meade, were two of only 18 people who attended the annual meeting of the diocese of Virginia—which at that time included what became the state of West Virginia during the Civil War.
Meade recorded in his diary that he thought it would be the last meeting of the diocese. Unlike the church in New York, the colonial endowments of Virginia had been seized by the state after the revolution. There were few churches, few clergy, few laypersons, very little money. In 1829, Meade would become assistant bishop of that diocese and in 1842 the third bishop of Virginia. By the time of his death, the diocese of Virginia had grown dramatically. It had founded the Virginia Theological Seminary and was arguably the strongest diocese in the church.
I invite you to read Bishop Dietsche’s entire address on the website of the diocese. I want to quote these words of our new bishop:
It is so easy to give up on the church. Lost, lost, lost! But it has always been a bad bet. There is a truth which we preach and proclaim but which is hard to remember when things aren’t going very well. In any case it seems to be a truth by which we are often afraid to live or afraid to trust, and that is that within the church, even in decline, there is a great power which is not of us but of another and which is continually arcing toward resurrection.
The preface of The Book of Common Prayer has been reprinted without change since the first American book was adopted in 1789. Its concluding paragraph speaks to the vision which inspired this church in those first decades even though it seemed to many that it would not survive. I think it’s easy to see the spirit that gave the first generation of Episcopalians faith in the future:
And now, this important work being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped the whole will be received and examined by every true member of our Church, and every sincere Christian, with a meek, candid, and charitable frame of mind; without prejudice or prepossessions; seriously considering what Christianity is, and what the truths of the Gospel are; and earnestly beseeching Almighty God to accompany with his blessing every endeavour for promulgating them to mankind in the clearest, plainest, most affecting and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.
Prayer Book worship remains the heart of how we express our belief in God and God’s call to us to serve others in his name. I believe God uses our worship to lead us to show forth in our lives what we profess by our faith (from the collect for the Second Sunday of Easter, The Book of Common Prayer  224). The patronal feast is always special at Saint Mary’s—and never more than now. Stephen Gerth
2013 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . As of November 27, we have reached 57% of our goal of $450,000.00. We still have a ways to go. One statistic is worth sharing: only 42% of those who pledged last year have returned pledge cards so far for 2013. If you have not yet received a pledge packet, but would like to receive one, please contact the parish office, Father Jay Smith or MaryJane Boland. We are very grateful to all those who have made a pledge this year and to all those who continue to support Saint Mary’s so generously.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Barbara, Cheryl, Eugene, Eileen, Joaquin, Dennis, Roland, Wendy, Stephen, Tiffany, Henrietta, Richard, Linda, Arpene, Carl, priest, Robert, priest, Paulette, priest, and Rowan, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Matthew; and for the repose of the soul of Alexander Soos . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 2: 1888 Zebulon Homan Brower; 1916 Ruby F. Flynn; 1919 Annie Pauline Lindsey.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THE PATRONAL FEAST . . . On Friday evening, December 7, James Kennerley, organist and music director, will play a recital at 5:30 PM. Solemn Pontifical Mass is at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow in Saint Joseph’s Hall. On Saturday, December 8, the Conception of Mary is observed at the 12:10 PM Mass, for which the rector will be celebrant and preacher.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, December 2, 10:00 AM, Mother Mary Julia Jett begins her three-part series on the Ritualist Movement in England and America . . . Wednesday, December 5, 6:30 PM, Bible Study Class: The Lord’s Prayer, led by Father Jay Smith . . . Father Jay Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, December 1.Father Stephen Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, December 8.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Worlds AIDS Day Service, Sunday, December 2, Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, 3:00 PM . . . As we go to press, Canon Carl Gerdau is at New York-Presbyterian Hospital for treatment. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Flowers are needed for December 16, the Third Sunday of Advent; and for January 6 and 20. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch . . . Sister Deborah Francis is on vacation. She returns to the parish on Saturday, December 1 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 245.
ADVENT QUIET DAY . . . Father Jim Pace will lead a Quiet Day here at the parish on Saturday, December 15, 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM. The theme of the Quiet Day is "You Will Find a Child: Exploring The Infancy Narratives". Father Pace has planned three meditations–Overview: Making Ready for the Dawn; The Canticles; and Hear, Share, Interpret. Coffee and tea—and lunch—will be provided. If you’d like to attend, please contact Father Jay Smith so he can make plans for lunch. All are welcome.
CONGRATULATIONS, GENTLEMEN! . . . New Yorker music critic, Alex Ross, has named New York Polyphony's CD endBeginning to his end-of-year, “List of 10 Notable Albums of 2012.” The members of New York Polyphony are part of the Saint Mary's family: they have sung here; some are members here; some have gotten married here; they rehearse here; they are incredibly talented; it is always a joy to listen to them; and we like them very much. Congratulations, Chris, Craig, Geoff, and Steven!
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday is the Dialogue from the Troisième livre d’orgue (1696) by Louis Marchand (1669–1732). The Mass setting is Missa Redde mihi laetitiam by Pierre Hugard (1726–1761). Hugard was a French organist and composer active in Paris as the director of the children’s choir Nôtre-Dame in the mid-eighteenth century. Little is known about his life, but his music is very much in the French Classical style, whose more famous exponents include Charpentier, Couperin, and Rameau. Hugard’s setting represents an attractive combination of late-Renaissance-style counterpoint, the occasional fugue, and the elegantly lilting rhythms typical of French Baroque music. The title quotes the fourteenth verse of Psalm 51: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. Perhaps it is this forward-looking optimism that informs the work’s sense of energy and excitement. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Rorate coeli desuper by William Byrd (1543–1623) . . . On Sunday afternoon at 4:40 PM, Edward Landin, the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, will play the organ recital . . . The setting of the Mass ordinary at the Solemn Mass on December 7, the Eve of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Missa Alma Redemptoris mater by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611), published in 1600. Spanish by birth, Victoria, one of the greatest composers of the late Renaissance, lived and worked for many years in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1575 by the last surviving English Roman Catholic bishop. The Mass setting is an example of a parody Mass, in which the music is based on ideas or melodies borrowed (or “parodied”) from existing works of a sacred or secular nature. Victoria wrote fifteen such Masses. This Mass, for two choirs, each consisting of four voice parts, is based on his own motet, Alma Redemptoris mater, published in 1581. At the ministration of Communion, the choir will sing the motet Beata Dei Genitrix Maria for six voice parts by Francisco Guerrero (1528–1599), one of the greatest Spanish composers of the sixteenth century. Unlike the more famous Victoria, the vast majority of Guerrero’s career was spent in Spain, much of it as maestro de capilla of Seville Cathedral. Rachel Begley will accompany the choir on December 7. Rachel is a dulcian player and an early-music specialist. The dulcian is an early ancestor of the modern bassoon which flourished between 1550 and 1700. It was particularly popular in Spain, where it endured into the early twentieth century, and was certainly used to accompany church choirs. On Friday, Rachel will play the bass dulcian, performing the basso continuo part in both the Mass and the motet. James Kennerley
ADULT EDUCATION ON SUNDAYS . . . On Sunday, December 2, 9 & 16, at 10:00 AM, Mother Mary Julia Jett leads a series on the history and theology of the so-called Ritualist Movement in England and America during the mid- to late-nineteenth century. The class will examine, and look beyond, the details of ritual, decoration, and aesthetics, attempting to explore, among other things, how the movement was connected to the Oxford Movement; the controversies, riots, and arrests associated with so-called Ritualist practices; what the strengths and weaknesses of the movement were; what the movement can tell us about our own worship; and the connections the “Ritualists” made between the sacraments and social justice. The class is designed to raise and answer questions about the history and identity of this parish, which has, since its founding, been committed to Catholic renewal within the Anglican Communion.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Because of the generosity of several donors, we recently made a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) to aid with post-Hurricane Sandy relief. We are glad to receive such donations and promise to make sure that they are used for the purposes of hurricane relief; or, if you prefer, donations can be made directly. One can make donations to ERD online. The Diocese of Long Island is also accepting donations online to aid in the relief effort. Donations to aid in the relief effort within the Diocese of New York are being handled by Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York . . . We continue to gather warm clothing—socks, coats of all sizes, sweaters, and sweatshirts—and blankets for distribution to the homeless in our neighborhood. Some of those items, as well as non-perishable food items, will be sent to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Please contact Sister Deborah Francis for more information about the Pantry’s work.
THEATER AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Puppet Shakespeare, a partner of our resident theater company, the American Globe Theatre, will be performing Puppet Romeo and Juliet, January 9-20, 2013, here at Saint Mary’s. The company has this to say about its upcoming show, “PR&J is a ridiculous romp featuring kung fu, kazoos and hot, hot puppet love.” Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for kids (under 18)/students/seniors/anyone who brings a puppet! To make reservations visit the company website. The company charges securely online via PayPal; tickets may also be purchased at the door, using either cash or credit card.