FROM THE RECTOR: SUMMER BEGINS
It certainly feels like summer now in New York City. The heat and humidity have arrived and will be with us most days until October. There are many visitors in Times Square—and everywhere really. There’s a lot of construction near the church on both 46th and 47th Streets. The city feels alive right now, not yet tired, lazy from the summer weather.
We don’t make many variations to the parish’s pattern of worship during the summer except on Sundays when Morning and Evening Prayer are read, not sung. The servers and musicians have a break for Sunday Evensong & Benediction—and a member of the clergy isn’t writing an Evensong sermon. Our regular schedule, with the parish choir singing at Sunday Solemn Mass, returns on the first Sunday in October and runs through whatever Sunday in the late spring is Corpus Christi.
In July, the Episcopal Church celebrates three Holy Days: Independence Day on July 4 (it has been a “Holy” Day only since 1928—the forerunner of the Episcopal Church was the established Church of England before the American Revolution), Saint Mary Magdalene on July 22, and Saint James the Apostle on July 25. Independence Day is a federal holiday, so only the noonday services are offered. Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint James the Apostle are observed with an evening Said Mass at 6:20 PM, in addition to the regular morning and noonday services.
The gospels for Sundays this summer are all from Saint Luke. This coming Sunday the gospel begins a new chapter, as it were. Jesus leaves Galilee and begins the journey to Jerusalem. Despite what Luke writes in his infancy narrative, it is Jerusalem that is the city of David, not Bethlehem. In the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, for the three to six-year old child, three cities are located on a map of the holy land. Bethlehem is described as the place where Jesus was born. Nazareth is the place he grew up. Jerusalem is described as the place Jesus loved more than any other. His Father’s house was there. It is where “he died and rose from the dead”—words which children hear in the very first presentation at age three. Over the years, that insight has changed the way I think about how Luke narrates Jesus’ teaching and miracles on his way to his passion.
Summer is also the time when most of the church staff take most of their vacation. Father Smith will be on vacation beginning Monday, July 1. He returns to the parish on Tuesday, July 30. I’m very glad he is able to get this block of time away. If you are here on Sunday, please wish him well for his much deserved holiday. It will pass all too quickly.
Before he leaves, I am going for two nights this weekend (Saturday night and Sunday night) to visit my father in southern Maine. He fell last week and suffered an “egg-shell” fracture in one of his hips. He doesn’t need surgery, and he seems to be responding really well to rest and rehabilitation.
Mother Mary Julia Jett will be away this month to attend the second part of the formation course for the three to six-year old child in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She will also be a staff member at a theological debate camp for high school students held at the University of the South. This summer Mary will be living in the fifth-floor apartment in the Parish House until late August, when she moves to Union Theological Seminary and begins her doctoral work. It will be wonderful to have her with us.
Father Jim Pace will be celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Sunday Masses on July 14 and July 21, for which I am most grateful. Father Pace is an associate dean at the New York University College of Nursing. Since moving to New York to teach at the school in January 2010 he has been associated with Saint Mary’s as an assisting priest. He makes a great contribution to our common life, for which I am most thankful. (You can read his online profile at NYU here.)
As I have for many years now, I spread out my vacation across the year. It’s a pattern that seems to work for me. I know I will be away at the beginning of September and in November—and at some other points, yet to be determined.
Saint Mary’s ministry continues daily. Yesterday I was across the street from the church as the funeral for John Lelong, André Lelong’s father, was ending. Father Smith and the altar servers were standing near the hearse as the flag-draped coffin was carried from the church. The incense was moving through the air. A few people stopped. I saw one man, like me, who uncovered his head and made the sign of the cross. The city was alive in every sense, alive now, and alive for the world to come. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR André, Penny, Terri, Malik, Babak, Tyler, Emma, Phyllis, Alexander, Gene, Joseph, Mary, Jim, Charles, Henrietta, Sean, Denise, Dolores, Doris, Casey, Eloise, Sharon, Linda, Christopher, Jane, Diana, Eileen, Arpene, José, Lura Grace, religious, Paulette, priest, Rowan, priest, John, bishop, Paul, bishop, and Thomas, bishop; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth and Daniel; and for the repose of the soul of John DeBose Lelong . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 30: 1875 William B. Pancoast; 1877 Pais Prentice; 1887 James Dorrington; 1913 Stephen Price Simpson; 1926 Beulah Field Wood; 1927 Margaret Crawford Bates; 1972 Ruth Moore Tripp.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . John DuBose Lelong, the father of parishioner André Lelong, died on Monday, June 24, after a long illness. A requiem Mass was celebrated here on Thursday, June 27. Please keep John, André, their family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers.
FRIDAY ABSTINENCE . . . 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 . . . Thursday, July 4: Independence Day: The church will be open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The noonday services will be offered. The parish office will be closed . . . .Confessions will be heard on Saturday, June 29, by Father Jay Smith, and on Saturday, July 6, by Father Stephen Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . If you would like to sponsor the reception on August 15, please contact Father Smith or Aaron Koch . . . We encourage our members and friends who have made a pledge for 2013 to try, if at all possible, to keep up with their pledge payments during the summer months. We are grateful to all who continue to support the parish so generously . . . The New York Philharmonic’s Concerts in Central Park will take place this year on Saturday, July 13, and Monday, July 15. As in past years, a number of Saint Marians are planning to attend. For more information, you may contact parishioner Grace Bruni . . . Father Gerth will be away this weekend. He returns to the parish on Monday, July 1 . . . Father Smith will be on vacation from Monday, July 1. He returns to the parish on Tuesday, July 30 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 202; Nativity of Saint John the Baptist 68.
CHAPEL CLEANING COMMITTEE . . . Ordinary cleaning is not an easy thing in a church home like ours. Most of our church’s fixtures and furnishings are old and require special care. Over the years, I have had to stop staff and volunteers from cleaning things because they didn’t know what they were doing—one well-meaning person once started to clean a section of the Daingerfield murals in the Lady Chapel. (I stopped it!) That said, a small committee is forming to dust and clean things that can be cleaned by people who work with care. Adam Morrow, a new member of the parish, is heading up this committee. If you are interested in joining them, please email Adam: firstname.lastname@example.org. S.G.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The cantor at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is Mark Risinger, bass. Two pieces by British organists complement the Solemn Mass, beginning with Sydney Watson 1903–1991. He was the organist of New College, Oxford; musical director at Winchester College and Eton College; and subsequently took up a post as music lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford in 1955, simultaneously serving as organist of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, holding both posts until 1970. Watson’s Pastorale, heard as the prelude, is a lovely idyll, a programmatic work that might well have been inspired by the gorgeous meadows of Christ Church. Long identified with that “other” center of English learning, Sir David Willcocks is linked to King’s College, Cambridge, where he directed the famed chapel choir and served as music director for nearly thirty years. Willcocks subsequently held positions at the Royal College of Music, while also serving as conductor of the London Bach Choir. His Fantasy on the hymn tune, Westminster Abbey was a commission to celebrate the marriage of friends of the composer at the Cathedral Church of Saint Mark in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Willcocks continues to compose and to accept invitations to guest conduct various ensembles around the world. During the ministration of Communion, Mark Risinger will sing “The Call” from the Five Mystical Songs of Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958). This beautiful work utilizes one of the poems of the great priest-poet, George Herbert (1593–1633). Mark Peterson
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Electronic versions of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger’s Guide to Free Food and Assistance are available here . . . We continue to gather non-perishable food items for Saint Clement’s Pantry. Please contact Sister Deborah Francis for more information about the Pantry’s work . . . The “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk” will take place on Sunday, October 20, in Central Park. For more information about how to participate, please visit the Walk’s website.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, July 22, Saint Mary Magdalene, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Thursday, July 25, Saint James the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Tuesday, August 6, Transfiguration, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, August 15, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Morning Prayer 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM. Father John Beddingfield will preach at the Solemn Mass.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Adelynrood is a retreat and conference center in Newbury, MA, owned and operated by The Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross. The center offers retreats during the summer months for both women and men, facilitated by retreat leaders such as the Rev. Barbara Crafton and the Rev. Martin L. Smith. There is more information at the center’s website . . .