FROM THE RECTOR: HOLY WEEK
The Prayer Book makes no reference to “forty days of Lent,” although many of our hymns do. The late Marion Hatchett (1927–2009) in his Commentary on the American Prayer Book (1980) referred to “forty days of Lent” at least once: “The Sundays in Lent are not included in the forty days of Lent, for all Sundays are feasts which commemorate the creation, the resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit” (page 46). But, if you look at the calendar more closely, you have to ask, how did Prof. Hatchett get to forty—and how do we?
Start counting with Ash Wednesday. Exclude the five Sundays of Lent. Include Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Forty Days. But since 1979, these are the titles of the seasons of our church year as they are listed in the Prayer Book: Advent Season, Christmas Season, Lenten Season, Holy Week, Easter Season, and The Season after Pentecost. I’ve finally noticed this: Holy Week is its own season. It begins with the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, and ends on the evening of Holy Saturday. With the Great Vigil of Easter, the Easter Season begins. (The Book of Common Prayer , 31–32).
With the advent of the English Reformation and the 1549 Prayer Book, though the term “Holy Week” was not used, the week becomes entirely about the crucifixion of Jesus—and this does not change for us American Anglicans until the adoption of the 1979 Prayer Book. From “The Sunday next before Easter” (Palm Sunday) through “Easter Even” (Holy Saturday), the passion narratives of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were read—and they were not shortened versions. Matthew took two days, Sunday and Monday. Mark was read on Tuesday, Luke on Wednesday and Thursday, John on Friday. On “Easter Even,” (again, during the day) the burial of Jesus was read from Matthew.
The 1928 Prayer Book added the traditional names to two of the days of what we call Holy Week: “The Sunday next before Easter, commonly called Palm Sunday” and “Thursday before Easter, commonly called Maundy Thursday.” The 1928 Prayer Book also provided the option of reading John’s account of the washing of feet on Maundy Thursday (John 13:1–15). The adoption of a three-year lectionary cycle in 1979 for the “Principal Feasts” and Sundays of the church year (BCP , 15–16), along with provisions for the Liturgy of the Palms, the Washing of Feet, and Good Friday reshaped Holy Week for Episcopalians in dramatic fashion. Matthew is heard on the Sunday of the Passion in Year A and Mark in Year B. We will hear Luke this year, since we are now in Year C. John is read every year on Good Friday. In John’s theology Christ is truly “reigning from the tree,” to quote from the glorious hymn “The royal banners forward go” (The Hymnal 1982, no. 162, v. 2.).
If you need to make a choice about which liturgies to attend, two Eucharists take priority over all the others, The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday and Easter Day. Add Maundy Thursday (one service at 6:00 PM) and Good Friday (12:30 PM or 6:00 PM). The regular services are offered on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. With the beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter on Easter Eve, the Easter Season begins.
I invite you all—those well acquainted with the Holy Week liturgies and those experiencing them for the very first time—to come and to let the rites speak to you—and they will most certainly speak. Our palms will fall onto the streets and sidewalks of Times Square—just as they fell on the road into Jerusalem. During the washing of feet, we will hear the sounds of pottery, water, and movement. On Good Friday, as the Veneration of the Cross begins we sing, “We venerate your cross, O Lord, and praise and glorify your holy Resurrection; for by virtue of your cross joy has come to the whole world.” The week does not look backward, but forward to the eternal life we share in this life and in the world to come. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Jonathan, Gong, Daniel, Carmen, Bryan, Dianna, Beulah, Donald, Norman, Cyrisse, Wendell, Norman, Michael, May, Alexandra, Kyle, Karen, Susan, Marilouise, Takeem, José, and Burton; and Horace, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; and all the benefactors and friends of this parish.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 14: 1918 Elma Dows Thaw; 1959 Hubert M. Todd.
THE WEEKDAYS OF LENT AND HOLY WEEK 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. GOOD FRIDAY is a day of fasting.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Looking for volunteers: If you are interested in helping with the decoration of the church during Holy Week, please contact Marie Rosseels . . . We are looking for donations for altar flowers for the Sundays of Eastertide . . . On the morning of Tuesday in Holy Week, Father Jay Smith and Father Matthew Jacobson will be attending the annual Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 186.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . On Maundy Thursday, the money offering is entirely for those in need. This year, once again, the offering will be used to support our Ministry to the Homeless and AIDS Walk 2019. We invite you to give generously . . . On the afternoon of Wednesday, April 10, we welcomed around seventy-five guests to our monthly Drop-in Day. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our many volunteers and the generous donations of clothing and toiletry articles, as well as cash donations, the day was a successful one. Our next Drop-in Day will take place on Wednesday, May 8, 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 in the former Gift Shop 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 or Brother Thomas, if you would like to make a donation to or volunteer for this ministry . . . We continue to receive donations of canned goods and other non-perishable 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.
AIDS WALK 2019 . . . On Sunday, May 19, Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk Team will once again walk to support those living with—or at risk of contracting—HIV/AIDS. This year, Saint Mary’s Team hopes to be even more successful than last year, when we raised $61,153 and ranked number 6 among all teams.
Team leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell recently met with Kelsey Louie, the CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) to hear more about what our funds help to pay for and learned some exciting news about the organization. Two takeaways from their meeting: GMHC has moved to a new space, more centrally located on West Thirty-eighth Street and better suited to serve the 15,000 clients it sees a year; and GMHC has announced a strategic partnership with a leading HIV research and education nonprofit, ACRIA, which will broaden GMHC’s scope to include not only service, but also research and policy.
We invite you to join our Team and raise money with us—or simply to make a donation to Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk Team. You can join or donate to our Team online. You may also donate by mailing us a check, paid to the order of AIDS Walk New York I (not paid to the order of Saint Mary’s), to the Finance Office at 145 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036, or place your check in one of the shrine boxes in the church or in the collection basket. If you have questions, please contact Father Jay Smith or co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell. We are very grateful to all those who have supported the Team in past years, and we look forward to this year’s campaign.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The Palm Sunday liturgy begins with music expressing the festivity and excitement of the occasion. The antiphon Hosanna to the Son of David traditionally introduces the liturgy. This antiphon has received many splendid choral settings over the centuries. On Sunday morning, as the ministers enter, it will be sung repeatedly by all. As palms are distributed throughout the church, another traditional antiphon is interspersed with the singing of a portion of Psalm 24. Then follows the procession during which the hymn All glory laud and honor is sung. As the congregation reenters the church, Ride on! ride on in majesty is sung. The first of these hymns dates from the tenth century and comes to us in a classic translation by John Mason Neale (1818–1866). The musical setting of this translated medieval text is a standard seventeenth-century German chorale. The second processional hymn is of nineteenth-century origin. It is paired with music by the Canadian composer Graham George (1912–1993), first published in The Hymnal 1940, which brilliantly illuminates the words. This second processional hymn’s final stanza properly foreshadows the change in tone as the liturgy shifts away from shouts of exultation and angels toward the singing of the Passion and reflection on the death of Jesus.
The setting of the Mass on Sunday, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei, are from Missa in die Tribulationis by NcNeil Robinson (1943–2015). Robinson was an internationally celebrated organist, composer, improvisateur, and teacher. He headed the organ department at the Manhattan School of Music for many years as well as serving religious institutions. In 1965, while still a student at The Juilliard School, he began long and well-remembered associations both with the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and with Park Avenue Synagogue. While he remained organist at Park Avenue Synagogue until retiring in 2012, he left Saint Mary’s in 1982 and subsequently served at Park Avenue Christian Church and at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church until failing health necessitated his retirement. Robinson’s reputation as a remarkable organist, improviser and composer became established during his years at Saint Mary’s. He composed Missa in die Tribulationis in 1980 for use on Palm Sunday at Saint Mary’s. Robinson skillfully used chromaticism, dissonance, and contrasts in textures, dynamics and rhythmic elements in crafting a modern setting tailored for the singular complexity of Palm Sunday and its liturgy.
The motet sung during ministration of Communion on Sunday is Christus factus est by Anton Bruckner (1824–1896). Bruckner was born in Ansfelden, now a suburb of Linz, and was the eldest of eleven children. He took to the organ at an early age, his father having been his first music teacher. In 1837, he became a choirboy at the Augustinian monastery in Sankt Florian. He later returned to Sankt Florian as teacher and organist for several years before assuming teaching positions in Vienna beginning in 1868. Known especially today for his massive symphonies and large-scale choral works, Bruckner’s shorter works include four well-known settings of Graduals for unaccompanied choir: Os justi, Locus iste, Christus factus est, and Virga Jesse. Christus factus est, Philippians 2:8–9, finds its traditional liturgical usage as the Gradual for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. Bruckner’s setting captures the power of the Philippians scripture in the dramatic context of Holy Week reflection. —David Hurd
THE BOOK OF GOSPELS . . . Most Sundays at Solemn Mass, the gospel is chanted from the Book of Gospels published by Church Publishing. The ordinary chant is easy to mark in the printed text. However, since before I became rector, Saint Mary’s has used another tone on the greater festivals. Then, the text and chant are printed out, and the pages are clipped into one of two gospel book covers that we have. The covers are also used when we want to have more text, or a more accurate text (the words provided by an editor for the beginning of some passages are not accurate in the book), using the ordinary tone. One cover needs to be replaced—it’s falling apart; one is in need of conservation—and research before we do anything with it.
Last fall, Jeanne Sloane, formerly of Christie’s Silver Department, generously looked through our sacristy safe to give us some advice about our “family silver.” Though she didn’t have her jeweler’s loope with her, she found the hallmark for the silver trim on the cover needing conservation. That said, we will be using this cover (with great care) until the end of May.
When I asked Jeanne whom she would recommend for a new cover, she immediately said, Judith Ivry—a bookbinder. As a rector I’ve had the privilege of working with some extraordinary artists and artisans. Judith is certainly an accomplished artist and artisan. I brought both covers to her. The decorative metal on the cover we are replacing will be reused. A beautiful dark red goat leather will be the basic cover. It should last for many years. Ascension Day is May 30. If it’s ready by then, that evening’s Solemn Mass will be its debut. —S.G.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . On Sunday, Father Peter Powell concludes his series 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 Adult Forum will not meet on April 21, Easter Day, nor on Sunday, April 28 . . . The class meets next on Sunday, May 5, at 10:00 AM, when Mary Robison will discuss her work in the parish archive. Mary writes, “Father Taber, rector of Saint Mary’s between 1939 and 1964, writes in the April 1950 edition of Ave, the parish magazine, ‘Just inside the church door at the foot of the south aisle there has been erected our Calvary Shrine, which is a thank offering for the sacrifices of the men and women of Saint Mary’s in World War II. It is a call to us all willingly to offer up our daily sacrifice in union with the Great Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.’ We’ll talk about the shrine, and its symbolism, while focusing on the sacrifices made by two parishioners during the war. The first is Constance Rivington Winant (1899–1983), the wife of John Gilbert Winant, U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, 1941–1946. Mrs. Winant’s gifts to the parish are memorialized in the chapels. The second is the Rev. Dr. Clifford E. Barry Nobes, parish missionary, interred in a concentration camp in the Philippines during the war.” Mary is a librarian and archivist. She serves the parish as usher, reader, and secretary of the Board of Trustees . . .On May 12 and 19, Father Matthew Jacobson will lead the Adult Forum in a series that takes us back to sixteenth-century Europe and the controversies between Protestants and Roman Catholics concerning the Eucharist. Father Jacobson writes, “In these last two sessions of the academic year, we will look at a series of sermons preached by Carlo Borromeo (1538–1584) on and around the feast of Corpus Christi in 1583. Borromeo was the archbishop of Milan and an important figure in the Catholic Reformation, also known as the Counter Reformation. We will read Borromeo’s sermons with an eye to their historical context, considering Borromeo central role in the Catholic Renewal. We will also look at some of the writings of Borromeo’s contemporary, Richard Hooker (1554–1600), to give us an Anglican perspective on the Eucharist. The class will include time for discussion and reflection on the Eucharist ahead of our own celebration of Corpus Christi in late June . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class, led by Father Jay Smith will not meet on April 17 or 24. The class resumes on May 1, at 7:00 PM, following the evening Mass, when the class will continue its reading of the Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke, which will be heard this coming Sunday, Palm Sunday. On May 1, the class will begin its reading at Luke 23:26, as Jesus is led away to be crucified.
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.
AT THE MUSEUMS . . . Beginning May 24, 2019, at the New-York Historical Society, Seventy-seventh Street and Central Park West, Stonewall 50 at New-York Historical Society. From the museum’s website, “[We will] commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and the dawn of the gay liberation movement with two new exhibitions and a special installation. Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife Before and After Stonewall explores the history of LGBTQ bars, clubs, and nightlife in New York City during the second half of the twentieth century. The exhibition highlights the ways in which nightlife—though subjected to policing, unfavorable public policies, and Mafia control—has been critical to finding identity, building community, developing political awareness, and fostering genres of creative expression that have influenced popular culture worldwide.
Curated by the Lesbian Herstory Archives Graphic Committee, By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives examines lesbian lives both pre- and post-Stonewall, highlighting institution-building, organization, and networking within the LGBTQ movement with a focus on the contributions of lesbians and queer women.
A special graphic installation, Say It Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride, uses imagery from five decades of New York City Pride marches to animate a timeline of significant moments in national and New York LGBTQ history, illustrating the ways in which the fight for equal rights for LGBTQ citizens is constant and ongoing.