FROM THE RECTOR: EVENING GRACE
When I was in San Francisco in September I attended Daily Evening Prayer twice at Grace Cathedral. Quite frankly, I was very glad to see so many of the cathedral clergy in attendance both days. The service was different in some ways from what we do here, but I felt very much at home at Grace. It was Evening Prayer from the Prayer Book. I want to tell you about what I experienced.
First, Grace Cathedral is among the great church buildings in the United States. It’s on the high ridge of Nob Hill and faces Huntington Park. It’s large; it’s beautiful. Many people visit every day. Over the years I have attended Sunday services there and found a genuine welcome for visitors and for those who have never attended an Episcopal Church service before. The cathedral is very well maintained—and clean. It is clearly a place of prayer, clearly a place for all, and clearly a place which is loved by the larger community.
Daily Evening Prayer was held in the Chapel of the Nativity, where the Sacrament is reserved. If the notes I jotted down later are correct, there are four rows of five chairs—two rows on each side facing each other. The cathedral is quiet. It sits above the street and I imagine that even on warm days when the all of the doors are open it is usually a quiet place.
There was a service card with instructions—which made sense if you were familiar with the service. There were also simple, welcoming instructions so newcomers could participate pretty easily. My own sense was that I happened to be the only visitor in the congregation on the days I attended.
The officiant was vested in cassock, surplice and tippet—maybe a hood too (my notes are not that complete). They use the seven-week psalm cycle that’s laid out in the Daily Office Lectionary, not the 30-day cycle laid out in the text of the psalms. There was one lesson. After the lesson there was silence for reflection. They alternate from day to day between the Song of Mary and the Song of Simeon as a response to the Word of God. The service continued in the usual way with the Apostles’ Creed, the regular prayers of the service and prayers of intercession. It is an expression of our Episcopal tradition at its best.
Saint Mary’s has always been a parish where it has also been possible to maintain the Prayer Book tradition of daily congregational prayer. This is very much like Grace Cathedral—we use the same Prayer Book after all. But it was my impression that at Grace the Prayer Book was speaking with a slightly different accent, so to speak, because our own building and our own neighborhood shape our worship in particular ways.
All of our regularly scheduled services on Sundays and weekdays are normally celebrated at the high altar. For the smaller services we invite people to sit in the chancel, in the facing pews. The space is large but not too large for this to work. Being there means that visitors, whether they enter from the 46th Street or the 47th Street doors, can see the church at prayer. Sometimes people flee at the sight, but most of the time almost everybody is respectful. Many will sit quietly to observe; others will pick up a Prayer Book and participate.
By comparison with Grace, we have very little silence at our services. There are the customary verse pauses in the praying of the psalms. The only other pause happens as the reader returns from the lectern to his or her seat. It’s not long, but it is distinct and adds something helpful to the rhythm of prayer. We still have two lessons at both Morning and Evening Prayer. Intercessory prayer for us happens more at the daily Mass than at the daily office.
Another big difference that shapes our worship: the number of people who are walking through the church to get between blocks—and we welcome that too. So, it’s not regularly as quiet for most services here as I experienced during Evening Prayer at Grace Cathedral. (We also seem to be in a period when we have a number of people sleeping in the church—and I am happy for a person who needs to rest to do so as long as they don’t put their feet on the pews and don’t snore.)
When I got home from California I took a look at a book I first read many years ago, Daily Prayer in the Early Church (1981) by the Reverend Dr. Paul Bradshaw. I think it was the first book I read that began to drive home for me the variety of expressions of prayer within the wider Christian community from our earliest days. I’m looking at it again. In his concluding remarks Bradshaw urged his readers to pay attention to how monastic psalmody and scripture reading have basically overwhelmed the daily prayer of the early church which seems to have had a much greater emphasis on intercession. He raised the question of how we move forward from where we have come. That’s a conversation that I know is happening, a conversation that should always be happening for us as a community and as individuals: how do we continue to grow and change as we continue the journey of life? Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Dick, Sharon, Gloria, Peter, Sarah, James, Takeem, Charles, Christian, Barbara, Linda, Albert, Vincent, Babak, Tyler, Mary, Casey, Eloise, Arpene, and Paulette, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Alex, Elizabeth, Ben, and Daniel . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 6: 1880 Alden Welling Belknap; 1928 John Ross Grant; 1957 Marie Purnell.
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 . . . Sunday, October 6, Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, with full choir, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM. Church School for young children resumes at 9:45 AM. The Adult Forum resumes at 1:00 PM (note that the class meets at a later time on this day) . . . October 9, 6:30 PM, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class, Arch Room, Mission House, 2nd Floor (N.B., Saint Joseph’s Hall is in use that evening and we will be meeting in the Mission House) . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, October 5, by Mother Mary Julia Jett, and on Saturday, October 12, by Father Jim Pace.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch had surgery at Saint Luke’s Hospital on Wednesday, September 25. Two days later he experienced a setback and remains in the hospital. Please keep him in your prayers . . . We missed an important anniversary last week! Mother Mary Julia Jett was ordained to the priesthood here at Saint Mary’s one year ago, on October 3, 2012. Congratulations, Mother Jett! Please keep her in your prayers . . . The 2013-14 Choral Music and Liturgical Recitals list has been posted on the parish web page . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sunday, October 27 and for Sundays in November after All Saints’ Day. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 194.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Christian education for young children, begins its 2013-2014 season on Sunday, October 6, at 9:45 AM, in the Atrium on the second floor of the Parish House. For more information, please speak to Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins. If you know families with children that might be interested in a vibrant and effective church-school curriculum, please tell them about the Catechesis and invite them to Saint Mary’s . . . On Sunday, October 6, at 1:00 PM, in the Adult Forum, Dennis Raverty will give a lecture-tour on the history of the art and architecture of Saint Mary’s. The class begins in Saint Joseph’s Hall and moves into the church and chapels. Dennis is professor of art history at New Jersey City University in Jersey City . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on October 9, at 6:30 PM, on the second floor of the Mission House. The class, which is led by Father Jay Smith, is reading the Acts of the Apostles this year. All are welcome. No prior experience is necessary. On Wednesday, we will be discussing Acts 2:42ff, the well-known passage that describes the life of the early Christian community, “They met constantly to hear the apostles teach, and to share the common life, to break bread, and to pray . . . All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common . . .” Please note, the class will not meet on October 16 or November 6, when Father Smith will be out of town . . . In the Adult Forum, three Sundays in October: October 13, 20, & 27, at 10:00 AM, The Poetry and Hymnody of Syriac Christianity, led by Mother Mary Julia Jett.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . On Sunday, we welcome the choir of Saint Mary’s back from their summer break. The choir, comprised of many of the finest singers in New York City, sings at Solemn Mass from October to Corpus Christi (this year, June 22, 2014), and for major feasts during the week . . . The Mass setting at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is the Missa Dixit Maria by Hans Johann Leo Hassler (1564–1812). Hassler was the most distinguished of the three musician sons of Isaac Hassler, organist at Nuremberg and town musician. In the sermon delivered at Isaac’s funeral, it was said that he had “carefully brought up and trained his son Hans Leo in the fear of God, in the free arts, and especially in the praiseworthy art of music.” Though there were many eminent musicians at the time in Nuremberg, it does not appear that Hans Leo had any other teacher there but his father. He became a competent organist at a very early age, and the Nuremberg senate may have paid for Hans Leo to travel to Venice in 1584 for further study. Hassler was actually the first notable German composer to go to Italy to study alongside Giovanni Gabrieli under the latter’s uncle, Andrea Gabrieli, organist of the great basilica of San Marco. Though his actual stay in Venice was short, he quickly and fully assimilated the Venetian influence in music, as the warmth and suavity of harmony of his compositions reveal. In 1599 Hassler published eight Masses dedicated to his patron Octavian Fugger. In 1601 his Lustgarten neuer Teutsoher Gesäng appeared, which contained German songs and eleven instrumental intradas. It is in this work we find the tune “Mein g’müt ist mir verwirret,” which was first adapted to the sacred words “Herzlich thut mir verlangen,” and by change of rhythm has since become the familiar Passion chorale “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden.” In 1604 he married and retired, and near this time acquired tuberculosis, which would ultimately prove fatal. Having some time previously been ennobled by the Emperor Rudolph, he now received the appointment of Hof-Dienerund Kammer-Organist to the Imperial court at Prague. It’s worth noting that upon Hassler’s death in 1612, both Michael Praetorius and Heinrich Schütz were appointed in his place. Nuremberg honored its greatest musician by a memorial epitaph in not one, but two, of its churches. At the ministration of Holy Communion on Sunday, we hear one of the best known motets of the great Austrian composer, Anton Bruckner (1824–1896). Locus iste a Deo factus est, was written to be sung for the dedication of a church. Mark Peterson
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Friday, October 18, Saint Luke the Evangelist, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Thursday, October 31, Eve of All Saints’ Day, Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Friday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Sung Mass 12:10 PM & Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Saturday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Sung Mass & Blessing of the Vault 11:00 AM . . . Sunday, November 3, 2:00 AM Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Parish Requiems: At the Parish Requiem Masses, the prayers will be offered for the departed by the last name of the person making the request, according to the following schedule: Monday, November 4 (A-G); Tuesday, November 5 (H-M); Wednesday, November 6 (N-R); Friday, November 8 (S-Z).
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Friday, October 18, 8:30 PM, Organ Recital, Graham Blyth, recitalist, in a program of César Franck . . . Saturday, October 19, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, conductor & music director. Program: Bohuslav Martinu, Memorial to Lidice; Franz Joseph Haydn, Cello Concerto in D Major; Vincent d’Indy, Symphony No. 2. Admission is free. A $10.00 donation at the door is suggested and welcomed. For more information, please visit the NYRO website.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are already gratefully accepting donations of warm clothing, as well as new, unopened packets of underwear and socks, especially white cotton socks. We send some items of clothing to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Other items are kept here for distribution to those in need . . . The Book Sale continues this week. All donations are used to help those in need.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . The Congregation of Saint Saviour at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, is pleased to announce that Dr. Robert Bruce Mullin, Society for the Promotion of Religion and Learning Professor of History and World Mission and Professor of Modern Anglican Studies at General Theological Seminary, will be teaching a three-session course on "The History of the Anglican and the Episcopal Church" on Wednesday evenings, October 23, 30 and November 6, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM in the second floor Conference Room of Cathedral House. Registration for the course is $35; scholarships are available. To enroll, please contact Christian DeRuiter. Prof. Mullin will also be here at Saint Mary’s in February and March 2014, speaking about the early history of the Episcopal Church in our Sunday-morning Adult Forum.