FROM THE RECTOR: COLD, BUT NOT BLEAK
Some of the parish’s friends in the wider community may not realize how unusually cold it has been in the city this week. It’s not been easy to get around with the wind whipping around corners while the temperatures are in the teens. But I know I’ve had a spring in my step. One big reason: on Saturday morning, February 2, the Right Reverend Andrew M.L. Dietsche will become the sixteenth bishop of New York when our fifteenth bishop, the Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, passes him the crozier during the service of installation at the cathedral. It’s a big weekend for the diocese of New York.
Bishops matter in the church in so many ways. Bishop Sisk wrote in the current issue of The Episcopal New Yorker about his unique perspective as bishop of our diocese, “The parishes of this diocese are more diverse than any of you can imagine.” I’m sure that’s true. What he didn’t write was that his work as bishop required him to be in relationship not only with the great diversity of congregations, but to represent the diocese to a range of other religious, civic and institutional communities, local and abroad. A great deal has been demanded of him and he has given himself to this work in so many ways that I know of. And what little I do know makes me aware that there is so much more. We can be very thankful for his work and his stewardship as our bishop.
When Bishop Dietsche was elected to the episcopate, he had served on Bishop Sisk’s staff as canon for pastoral care since 2001. I can’t think of any better preparation for the challenges he will face in his work in the coming years. I would be surprised if there were a congregation in the diocese he has not visited at least once. I know many in our parish are looking forward to his first visitation. In the meantime, I hope many from Saint Mary’s can attend the service of installation on Saturday. It begins at 10:30 AM. You don’t need a ticket—our cathedral is really that large. I checked with the bishop’s office to be sure: Bishop Dietsche actually becomes bishop of New York during the service when the crozier is passed.
This year I will begin my fifteenth year of service as rector on Friday, February 1. As is our custom, when one of the greater festivals of the church year falls on a Saturday, our main celebration is on its eve. Friday is the Eve of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. The Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM begins with the Blessing of Candles and Procession. There is an organ recital at 5:30 PM and a reception following the service. Of course, there will also be a celebration of the Presentation on Saturday. Father Jim Pace will be celebrant and preacher for the 12:10 PM Blessing of Candles & Said Mass.
Daily I am thankful for the work to which I have been called here at Saint Mary’s. The work continues to demand professional and personal growth from me, as it should, and I think it’s fair to say the smile on my face, that comes from real joy in my heart, has only grown since I have been here. I thank you for your confidence and understanding fifteen years ago as I began to find my way. I thank you for your support as we continue to work together in this wonderful and holy parish. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Sharon, Margaret, Errol, Robert, Cheryl, Scott, Rick, Tiffany, Wendy, Stephen, Dolores, Helena, John, Richard, Donna, Judy, Philip, Barbara, Eileen, Linda, Arpene, Rebecca, deacon, Rowan, priest, and Paulette, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Matthew. . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 27: 1925 Helen Ladd Williams.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. Friday abstinence is not observed on Friday evening, February 1, as we begin the celebration of the Presentation.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Presentation will be celebrated at Solemn Mass on Friday, February 1, at 6:00 PM and at the 12:10 PM Mass on Saturday, February 2 . . . Church School for younger children meets this Sunday at 9:45 AM in the Atrium on the second floor of the Parish House . . . The Adult Forum continues on Sunday, January 27, at 10:00 AM, in the Mission House . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on January 30 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its close reading of the Lord’s Prayer . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, January 26. Father Jim Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, February 2.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins continues to improve. She expects to be back at the parish on Sunday, February 3 . . . Altar Flowers are needed for February 10. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Our annual Super Bowl Party will take place on Sunday, February 3, after Evensong & Benediction. If you would like to bring food or beverages to share, please contact Grace Bruni. Whether you are a football fan or not, this is a good party and a wonderful time for members and friends of the parish to spend some time together. All are welcome! . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 216.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Adult Forum continues on Sunday, January 27, at 10:00 AM, in the Mission House. This week we begin our three-part Faith and Work series. On Sunday, parishioners Chris Lee and Mary Robison will be presenting. Father Jay Smith will moderate the discussion . . . On Sunday, February 17, Father Peter Powell will resume his series on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans . . . On Wednesday, February 20, at 6:30 PM, Mother Mary Julia Jett will take over the leadership of the mid-week Bible Study Class. This class will begin a discussion of the Book of the Prophet Zechariah . . . The Sunday-morning Adult Forum takes place in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House. The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class is held, when possible, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Newcomers are always welcome at all of our adult-education classes. James Ross Smith
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The setting of the Mass ordinary for Solemn Mass on Sunday is Missa Salve by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611). The Spanish Victoria, one of the great musicians of the late Renaissance, lived and worked for many years in Rome, though he is recognized as Spain’s finest composer of that period. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1575 by the last surviving English Roman Catholic bishop. This setting for double choir is among Victoria’s parody masses on his own settings of the Marian antiphons (this week’s mass is on his eight–voice Salve Regina). At the Ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Surge, illuminare, Jerusalem (“Arise, shine, Jerusalem”) by William Byrd (c. 1540–1623). The Sunday organ recital at 4:40 PM is played by Alejandro D. Consolacion, a graduate student at Westminster Choir College . . . On the Eve of the Presentation, I will play the organ recital at 5:30 PM with music of Herbert Howells. During the lighting of the candles, the choir will sing a setting of the Song of Simeon that I composed for Saint Mary’s. Tonight is its first performance. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis (1977) by Scottish composer James MacMillan (b. 1959). The choir will also sing the motet Maria das Jungfräuelein with the original German text (it is often heard today sung to a nineteenth-century English paraphrase by Troutbeck) by Johannes Eccard (1553–1611). James Kennerley
THE VISUAL ARTS PROJECT (VAP) . . . As I write, a new exhibition is being hung in Saint Joseph’s Hall: the work of Beatriz Elorza Herra, who is both an architect and a painter. Beatriz trained as an architect in her native Spain. At present, she is a student at the Art Students League here in New York. She has exhibited her work extensively, both in Europe and in the United States. One notable element of her work is her use of color and composition to create a certain tension but also, paradoxically, a sense of harmony in her paintings. We will be sad to see Erick Sanchez’s work go, but we are extremely pleased to be able to show Beatriz’s paintings to the members and friends of the parish. We think that you will enjoy looking at them, and living with them for a while! Thank you to both Beatriz and Erick for showing their work here at Saint Mary’s. José Vidal
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, January 26, 8:00 PM, Miller Theatre presents New York Polyphony, “Tallis & Byrd: Masses for Uncertain Times.” Tickets may be purchased online or by phone at (212) 854-7799 . . . Saturday, February 9, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, music director & James Kennerley, organ soloist. Music by Hovhaness, Jongen and Busoni. Admission is free.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Donations to aid in the post-Hurricane Sandy relief effort within the Diocese of New York continue to be handled by Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York . . . For information about how to volunteer for post-hurricane relief efforts in Brooklyn and Staten Island, please visit the website of the Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen . . . 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 . . . The Book Sale continues on Sunday. All proceeds benefit those in need. Thank you to all those who have donated books for the sale. Your generosity is most appreciated.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At the Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway, at 61st Street, More Precious than Fine Gold: The English Bible in the Gilded Age: “The spirit of renewal that permeated the visual arts during the Gilded Age and is embodied in Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work was also manifest in the interconnected fields of Bible translation and Bible publication. The exhibition explores its impact on the text itself of the English Bible and on the design, printing and illustration of the volumes that made it accessible to the public. The 20 volumes on display in this exhibition include mainstream versions, such as the English Revised New Testament of 1881 and the American Standard Version of 1901, and innovative or unusual ones, such as Ballentine’s ‘Modern American Bible’ or Julia Smith’s Bible, the first woman to translate the entire text of the Scriptures. Also on display are Bibles illustrated by famous artists such as Gustave Doré and James Tissot and limited editions produced by private presses such as William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, the Doves Press, and the Essex House.” Closed Monday. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM; Thursday 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.