FROM THE RECTOR: SUNDAYS MATTER
The first draft of our service bulletins for the Feast of the Annunciation, this year celebrated on Monday, March 25, included a note from last year’s bulletin, when March 25 was the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday. When the Annunciation falls during Holy Week, as it did last year, the church calendar moves Annunciation to Monday of the Second Week of Easter. Last year that Monday was April 9. We caught the error: you will find a different note about the celebration of the feast day in this year’s bulletins.
Christian worship is rooted in the weekly fellowship meals of the first groups of women and men to believe in Jesus Christ. Over the course of time, Sundays would replace Saturdays as the day for the meals from which the Eucharist emerges. The first section of Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell Johnson’s The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity , “Sabbath and Sunday” (pages 3–13), reminds us of what we both know and don’t know about how all this happened—and how it happened at different times and in different places across the Christian world. For instance, in the Christian East, Saturday observance continued into the third century (pages 20–21). For us Episcopalians, as for most Christians today, it’s really Sunday worship that matters.
After Christmas emerges in the East and West in the fourth century (pages 123–30), a celebration of the annunciation follows. Though there are many theories about how the celebration develops, Bradshaw and Johnson conclude, “The precise origins of the 25 March feast, however, remain a mystery” (page 210). It’s worth noting that in different areas in the West, as December 25 emerges as the celebration of Jesus’ birth, the annunciation gospel would be read on the Sunday or during the week before Christmas (page 210). In our Lectionary in Year A, Matthew’s story of Jesus’ annunciation and birth is read (1:18–25). In Year B, the annunciation from Luke is read (1:26–38). In Year C (our current year), the story of the visitation is read (Luke 1:39–45)—there are no annunciation or birth narratives in Mark or John.
It was the practice at Nashotah House Seminary when I was a student that alleluia and Gloria in excelsis were used on the Annunciation. As is our custom at Saint Mary’s, we follow the contemporary practice of the Roman Catholic Church: on the feast of the Annuciation, during Lent, we omit alleluia and use Gloria in excelsis.
So Monday, March 25, is “an high day” for us. Daily Morning Prayer will be sung to simple plainsong at 8:30 AM. There will be a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM. Mr. Larry Long, organist and choirmaster, The Church of the Epiphany, New York City, will play a recital at 5:30 PM. Solemn Mass will be at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow. Father Jay Smith is celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass. I’m celebrant and homilist for the 12:10 service—by homily I mean a shorter sermon (and service) because most of our congregation will be coming from and returning to work.
Finally, the first Christians came together so that all who were hungry would be fed (1 Corinthians 11:20–22) and that believers would be made ready for the Lord’s return in glory (Bradshaw and Johnson, 13). From these weekly meals will emerge the Eucharist. Christians became a people who believe that God is going to bring us to glory in the life of the world to come. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Cyrisse, Wendell, Donald, Michael, Rita, Carmen, Daniel, Michelle, Robert, Cynthia, Brian, May, Alexandra, Kyle, Eloise, Karen, Susan, Marilouise, Takeem, and Abraham; for Horace, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; and for all the benefactors and friends of this parish.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 24: 1890 Frank Whitney Sanford; 1892 William Turrell; 1898 Helena O’Farrell; 1902 Grace Florence Smith; 1923 William Whitlock Richards; 1945 Kate Farrar Southmayd.
THE WEEKDAYS OF LENT and 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, March 24, The Third Sunday in Lent, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Adult Education 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Monday, March 25, The Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, March 27, Sung Mass 12:10 PM; The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on Wednesday, March 27, at 6:30 PM . . . Thursday, March 28, Mass with Healing Service 12:10 PM . . . Friday, March 22, Evening Prayer 6:00 PM, Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM; Centering Prayer Group, 6:30 PM in the Atrium in the Parish House, Second Floor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Michael Merenda was admitted to Mount Sinai hospital at the end of last week for treatment. He is now recuperating at home. Please keep him in your prayers . . . The conveners of the Saint Mary’s Centering Prayer Group are considering the possibility of holding a second session, in additional to their Friday meeting at 6:30 PM, on Sunday afternoons. If you are interested, or if you would like to know more about Centering Prayer, contact Blair Burroughs, Renée Pecquex, or Ingrid Sletten . . . It recently came to our attention that Time Out magazine published a list of New York’s “most beautiful churches” last September. Saint Mary’s was fourth in the list, which is available online. The article was illustrated with a nice photo of the nave, as well as photos of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Trinity Church Wall Street, and a number of other churches . . . The Times Square Alliance is looking for local stakeholders to complete a survey online about their “recent experiences in Times Square.” They say that “feedback is important to help [the Alliance] plan future programs and priorities for the Times Square area. The survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. All responses provided will be kept confidential.” Those completing the survey will be entered to win a pair of tickets to one of three Broadway shows . . . We are looking for donations for altar flowers on March 31, The Fourth Sunday of Lent and the Sundays of Eastertide . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 193; Saint Joseph 44.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The Mass setting on Sunday morning is the Communion Service, subtitled Missa Salve Regina, by the American composer Everett Titcomb (1884–1968). Titcomb was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and was nurtured in the climate of such Boston-area composers as Eugene Thayer, Dudley Buck, and Horatio Parker. In 1910, he became organist and choirmaster at Boston’s Church of Saint John the Evangelist, Bowdoin Street, a position he retained for fifty years. This parish, founded in 1883 and administered by the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (the Cowley Fathers), strongly espoused the values of the Oxford Movement expressed both in service to the urban poor and in recovery of a rich Catholic liturgical practice within Anglicanism. Titcomb was a major force in introducing plainsong and renaissance polyphony to twentieth-century Anglicans. The Schola Cantorum at Saint John’s in the 1930s and ’40s, under Titcomb’s direction, was notable for its singing of chant and polyphony at a time when such music was rarely heard. Titcomb’s own choral and organ compositions, many of which contain references to chant melodies, united elements of ancient expressions with the artistic palette of twentieth-century America in a parallel manner to what Healey Willan (1880–1968) was doing at Saint Mary Magdalene, Toronto. In addition to Titcomb’s service at Saint John the Evangelist, he taught chant and sacred music at New England Conservatory and Boston University. Titcomb’s compositions conservatively reflect the musical aesthetics of his time. His Communion Service, Missa Salve Regina, sets the words of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer Order for Holy Communion and was published in 1939.
Henry Purcell (1659–1695) is the composer of today’s Communion motet, Remember not, Lord, our offenses. Purcell, more than any other composer of his time, defined English Baroque musical style in a variety of vocal and instrumental genres that included works for theater, court and church. He was born in London, and his family home was virtually in the shadow of Westminster Abbey, where he became organist in 1679. Standing on the foundation of such composers as Thomas Tallis (c. 1505–1585), William Byrd (c. 1543–1623) and Orlando Gibbons (c. 1583–1625), copies of whose anthems he made at an early age, Purcell forged a musical language of rich harmony and vivid textual expression. Sunday’s motet is Purcell’s five-voice setting of the collect following the Trinitarian invocation which begins the Great Litany. This choral prayer, composed in the early 1680s, presents its Prayer Book text mostly syllabically, colored expressively by Purcell’s characteristic use of chromatic harmony. —David Hurd
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . On Sunday, Father Peter Powell continues his series, begun in November 2018, on the Elijah/Elisha cycle in 1 Kings 16:23–2 Kings 13:25 in the Sunday Adult Forum at 10:00 AM through Palm Sunday. You are welcome to join us . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class, led by Father Jay Smith, will meet on March 27, when the class will continue its reading of the Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke, which is heard at Mass this year on Palm Sunday.
HOSPITALITY MINISTRY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We hope to receive donations to help pay for the holy-day receptions on April 20 (Easter Eve) and Thursday, May 30 (Ascension Day). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office. The total cost of each reception is around $500.00. We appreciate all donations in support of this important ministry. Any and all donations are always used to make up the deficit each year we normally experience in the hospitality budget. When making a donation, please make a note that it is for the Hospitality Ministry, and we thank you.
OUTREACH THIS WEEK: GRAB-AND-GO On Wednesday from 2:00–4:00 PM, our former gift shop space is open to provide basic items like socks, underwear, blankets, and hygiene essentials without the frills and socializing. This opportunity is intended primarily to provide for immediate needs of our neighbors living part or all of their day without shelter . . . DONATIONS NEEDED: Our clothing program, like many others, has the highest demand for men’s clothing of larger sizes, while we receive the most donations of women’s clothing. This is one reason why your financial gifts to this work are so important: they allow us to buy items that are in highest demand and lowest supply. As always, clothing donations can be dropped off at the church any time the building is open. Financial contributions can be made any time by mail, in person, or on-line. For more information or volunteer opportunities, contact me. —Damien Joseph SSF
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Frick Collection, 1 East Seventieth Street, Moroni: The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture, through June 2, 2019. This is the first major exhibition in the United States to focus on the portraiture of Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520/24–1579/80). A painter of portraits and religious subjects, Moroni is celebrated as an essential figure in the northern Italian tradition of naturalistic painting that includes Leonardo da Vinci, the Carracci, and Caravaggio. This exhibition, shown exclusively at the Frick Collection, brings to light the innovation of the artist, whose role in a larger history of European portraiture has yet to be fully explored. His famous Tailor (National Gallery, London), for example, anticipates by decades the “narrative” portraits of Rembrandt, and his Pace Rivola Spini (Accademia Carrara, Bergamo), arguably the first independent full-length portrait of a standing woman produced in Italy, prefigures the many women that Van Dyck would paint in this format in the following century. The Frick presents about twenty of the artist’s most arresting portraits together with a selection of complementary objects — jewelry, textiles, armor, and other luxury items— that evoke the material world of the artist and his sitters and reveal his inventiveness in translating it into paint. Assembled from international private and public collections such as the National Gallery (London), the Accademia Carrara (Bergamo), and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna), the paintings and objects bring to life a Renaissance society at the crossroads of the Venetian Republic and Spanish-ruled Milan.