FROM THE RECTOR: ON MY MIND
On October 1 I traveled to Tucson, Arizona, to attend the annual conference of the Society of Catholic Priests of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. It was my first visit to Tucson. The physical beauty of the hills and desert was one of many unexpected joys. The host parish this year was Saint Philip’s in the Hill Church. Father Robert Hendrickson, rector, and the parish community were very gracious hosts. The conference theme was “At the Border of Holiness.” As part of the conference we visited Saint Andrew’s Church, Nogales, Arizona, and then traveled to the wall. The Eucharist was celebrated across the street from the wall as all of us faced the wall.
The border between the United States and Mexico runs through the cities of Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. In origin the cities were one town called “Ambos Nogales,” that is, “Both (or The Two) Nogales.” Among the most important and familiar words of the gospel are those of Matthew 25:31–46, a passage Matthew Luz calls, “The Judgement of the World” (Matthew 21–28: A Commentary ): “I was foreigner, and you gave me hospitality” (Luz, page 263.). I know I need to know more and reflect more before gathering my thoughts for an article or sermon about what I saw and felt on the border.
While at the conference, I had a chance to read a couple more articles in a collection of essays, Studia Liturgica Diversa: Essays in Honor of Paul F. Bradshaw (2004). Father Bradshaw is professor emeritus of liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame, priest-vicar emeritus of Westminster Abbey, and an honorary canon of Saint James’ Cathedral, South Bend. The essays are by scholars written with other academics in mind—some articles are more accessible for me than others.
The essay by Robert F. Taft, Jr., S.J. (1932–2018), “The Order and Place of Lay Communion in the Late Antique and Byzantine East” (pages 129–49), contains these words in the text of the article, “Throughout the length and breadth of Early and Late-Antique Christendom, lay communicants and the minor clergy, like the clergy in major orders, used to receive the sacred species separately and in their hands. The people, standing, approached first the minister of the consecrated bread, then the minister of the cup. The consecrated bread was placed in each communicant’s right hand, then having kissed and consumed the Sacred Body, each one drank of the Precious Blood from the chalice. The evidence for all this throughout East and West is abundant and beyond cavil” (page 130–31). [I confess I needed to look up the meaning of the word “cavil”— and just now I did so: “a trivial and annoying objection”—Taft’s word, not mine.]
Four detailed footnotes are associated with this quotation. The following quotation is from the footnote attached to Taft’s first use of the word “standing” above: “Only in the West between the 11th and the 16th centuries did the custom of receiving communion kneeling gradually gain ascendency . . . present-day R.C. neo-conservatives who fling themselves onto their knees at Sunday communion, ever-ready to disturb others and flaunt their “traditionalism,” much to the amusement and/or chagrin of those who bear the burden of knowing what the tradition is” (page 130, n.13).
People are free in our Episcopal Church to make their own decisions about standing or kneeling—and that’s fine with me. I’ve gone from being a person who prefers to kneel to being a person who prefers to stand. I do try remember that the first Christians shared their Eucharists reclining on couches—they weren’t sitting at tables despite what we read in most translations of the Bible and see in the depictions of artists. I feel both challenged and hopeful when I hear the words we address to God that God has “made us worthy to stand before [God]” (The Book of Common Prayer , 368). May God keep us in eternal life. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Denis, George, Mary Hope, Francis, Melvin Jack, Ellie, Pat, Barbara, Ann, Gene, Marie, Rita, May, Willard, Alexandra, Marilouise, Takeem, Carmen, John, Michael, and William; for Horace, Gaylord, Louis, Edgar, priests, and James, bishop; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, remembering especially Edward; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish . . . GRANT THEM PEACE: October 20: 1901 Charles Barnum Jessup; 1918 William Albert Bonaventura Bourke, Marjorie Wilson Gray, William Arthur Biancho Walling; 1919 Vincent Andrew Schineller; 1930 Oscar Marstero Crego; 1936 Anita Linda Morley; 1949 Kate Sibley Shaw.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord’s crucifixion.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE between Daniel Louis Picard and MaryJane Boland of New York City. If any of you can show just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. —J.R.S.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, October 20, Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Sung Matins 8:30 AM; Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM; Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Adult Forum, 12:45 PM in the Lady Chapel. Note place and later time; Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Wednesday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Morning Prayer 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM; Clothing Ministry: Grab-and-Go, 2:00–3:00 PM, Narthex . . . Thursday, October 25, Mass with Healing Service 12:10 PM; . . . Friday, October 25, Centering Prayer Group, 6:30 PM in the Morning Room (next to the Sacristy and across the hall from the Smoke Room), in the Parish House, at 145 West Forty-sixth Street . . . Saturday, October 26, 2:00 PM, Marriage of MaryJane Boland and Daniel Louis Picard.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Adult Forum will meet this Sunday and on October 27 at 12:45 PM in the Lady Chapel. On Sunday, October 20, Brother Damien SSF and Brother Thomas SSF will lead the class in a discussion of the theological foundations of the call to serve the poor, the marginalized, and those in need . . . . . . At the noonday Mass on Monday, October 14, Father Jay Smith blessed an icon that had been written by resident iconographer, Zachary Roesemann. The icon has two panels. The upper panel is of the Annunciation and the lower is of the Transfiguration. Zach will be sending the icon soon to its new home in Burlington, Vermont . . .
Flowers are needed for Sunday, November 10 and 17. Please be in touch with Chris Howatt in the parish office if you would like to make a donation for one of these dates. Donations to support the work of the Flower Guild at Christmas are always welcome . . . Attendance at all Offices and Masses: Last Sunday 193.
GUILD FAIR ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20 . . . On Sunday, October 20, there will be a Guild Fair in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The members of many of the parish guilds will be available at Coffee Hour to discuss their work and ministry. We invite you to have a conversation with the parish’s volunteers in order to find out more about what’s involved in their ministry and to see if you might be interested in joining them in their work.
ALL SOULS’ DAY REMEMBRANCES . . . On the weekdays following All Souls’ Day, November 2, we will celebrate our annual Parish Requiem Masses. Each day there will be two Masses, one at 12:10 PM and the other at 6:20 PM. The departed will be remembered at each Mass during the Prayers of the People. The first names of the departed will be read according to the following schedule. Please note: the list of names is organized according to the last name of the person making the request, according to the following schedule: November 4 (A–E), November 5 (F–K), November 6 (L–N), November 7 (O–Q), November 8 (R–Z). This means, for example, that on Monday, November 4, names provided by Charles Abercrombie will be read. On Friday, November 8, names provided by Hagar Zenobia will be read. Our annual All Souls’ packets will be mailed this week. A form for the names of the departed will be included in the packet. The form may be mailed to the parish office or dropped in the collection basket at Mass.
A donation is traditional at All Souls’ and may be made by mail or by placing the donation in an envelope in the collection basket, with All Souls’ Day written in the memo line of the check. We are grateful for your generous support of the parish. The offering will be used for the conversation of candlesticks and candelabra so they can again be used on the high altar.
BIBLE STUDY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class met for the first time this season on October 9. The class, led by Father Jay Smith, is studying the forms of prayer in the Hebrew Bible. After an introduction to the topic, the class will study and read closely one or two biblical texts each week. The class meets next on October 23 at 7:00 PM (after the evening Mass), and on October 30 at 6:30 PM. The class takes place in Saint Benedict’s Study in the Parish House.
NEWS FROM THE FRIARY . . . Brother Damien SSF and Brother Thomas SSF will lead a Quiet Day at the Church of the Holy Trinity, East Eighty-eighth Street, on November 2, 2019. Contact Brother Damien Joseph for more information.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION: COMING UP NEXT . . . Father Peter Powell will be teaching the Adult Forum on Sunday mornings during the month of November. Father Powell writes, “On the four Sundays in November, we will be reading from the last twelve books of the Old Testament. All you need to participate is curiosity about the Bible. Why should this interest you? The issues each prophet addressed are relevant today as we work out how to be faithful in a divided society. These books, known as The Twelve or as the Minor Prophets, include Amos, Hosea, Jonah, and Habakkuk. We will examine them in their original setting and then move into how they speak to us today. We will begin with Hosea and Amos and then get as far into the others as we can. Amos and Hosea tell us about how to be faithful in a time in which conservative religion appears to be in control of our culture. The twelve prophets lived in a time when religion dominated, but faith was absent. Our time is much like that. I invite you to join me in November as we begin this important study of how God works in our world.” These classes will meet at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings in November, in Saint Benedict’s Study, in the Parish House, 145 West Forty-Sixth Street.
ABOUT THE MUSIC ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20 . . . The setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is the Mass for Four Voices of William Byrd (c. 1540–1623). Byrd composed settings of the Latin Mass for three, four, and five voices. The Mass for Four Voices dates from about 1592 and was probably the first of the three to be composed. The whole business of Latin Masses in post-Reformation England needed to be a somewhat clandestine matter to protect those involved from the possibility of arrest. This being the case, Byrd’s part books were undated and without title page or preface, nor was the printer (Thomas East) identified. Fortunately, Byrd’s settings survived the period in which their performance—if not their very existence—was illegal. Now they are rightly regarded as one of the great treasures of Western music. Although composed with the Continental Tridentine liturgy in mind, Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices was also influenced by the pre-Reformation Mean Mass of John Taverner (c. 1490–1545), particularly in the opening of the Sanctus. The older Taverner setting had already served as a model for settings by such English masters as Christopher Tye (c. 1505–c.1573), John Sheppard (c. 1515–1558) and Thomas Tallis (c. 1505–1585). Byrd’s four-voice Agnus Dei ends with a particularly expressive Dona nobis pacem.
The Communion motet on Sunday is a setting of the fourteenth-century Eucharistic hymn Ave verum corpus. The text is attributed to Pope Innocent VI (d. 1362). It is a meditation on the presence of Christ in the sacrament and the relationship between suffering and redemption. It has been sung consistently for centuries in various Eucharistic contexts and set to music by the leading composers of sacred music. Sunday’s setting of this text is by David Hurd, organist and music director at Saint Mary’s since 2016. It was originally composed in 1996 for the men of the choir of All Saints Church, Manhattan, and first sung on Maundy Thursday of that year. Although the harmonic vocabulary is quite different from it, the present setting was structured after William Byrd’s iconic and well-known setting of this same text. Sunday’s performance is the first in which this motet was transposed four steps higher than the original key in order to be sung by a choir of mixed voices.
The organ voluntaries on Sunday are by the early eighteenth-century composer Jean Adam Guilain. Guilain’s dates are not known, his national origin is in question, and his real name was probably something more like Wilhelm Freinsberg. Nonetheless, he acquired a fine reputation in Paris as an organist, harpsichordist, and teacher and, in 1706, he published his Pièces d’orgue pour le Magnificat. This collection contained a suite of seven pieces for each of the first four church modes. While many organ historians consider the French organ culture to have been in a state of decline in Guilain’s time, Guilain’s special contribution was to blend enlivening Italian elements into the highly stylized traditional French genre. Typical of organ suites of that time in France, the movements are designated by the organ stops (registration) which the player was intended to draw. The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday comprises the first three movements of Guilain’s Suite on Tone II: a Prélude for the principal chorus of the organ (Plein jeu), a Tierce en taille featuring a colorful melody played in the tenor register on a cornet combination of stops, and a Duo in two voices played on specified contrasting sounds. The postlude on Sunday is the Suite’s sixth movement, Dialogue, which calls for the Grand jeu, the organ’s powerful reed stops and cornet combinations. —David Hurd
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Our next Drop-in Day will take place Wednesday, November 20, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, in the Mission House basement. On those Wednesdays when a Drop-in Day does not take place, we continue to offer our Grab-and-Go days—from 2:00 to 3:00 PM—in the former Gift Shop, just off the church Narthex. On those days, basic, even emergency, items can normally be provided—socks, underwear, toiletry articles, and, in the winter months, cold-weather clothing. Please contact Brother Damien if you would like to donate cash, clothing, or toiletry articles, or to volunteer for this important ministry. We have a particular need at the moment for cooler weather clothing: gently used jackets, coats and sweatshirts of varying weights, jeans, slacks and sweatpants. We always need new socks and underwear in various sizes. Our number of guests continues to grow, and we are always grateful for your financial contributions to this project. We can also use a few more volunteers for our once per month drop-in days. We invite you to come see the difference we're making, or talk to us at our table in Saint Joseph’s Hall at the Guild Fair on Sunday, October 20. . . We continue to receive donations of canned goods and other nonperishable food items for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Donations may be placed in the basket next to the Ushers’ Table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church.