FROM THE RECTOR: EASTER JOY
Palm Sunday was a very happy day at Saint Mary’s. The morning dawned cloudy and gray, but the sun came out before the 11:00 AM service. Brendon Hunter and I walked through the square about twenty minutes before that service to finalize the route for our procession. Sunshine seemed to have had a happy effect on everyone. Again, it was a happy day.
Monday morning we received the news that Rick Austill, an active member of our congregation, had died unexpectedly on Sunday evening. His funeral will be at Saint Mary’s on Saturday, May 4, at 10:00 AM. At the end of the service, his ashes will be interred in the Vault in the Lady Chapel. Dr. David Hurd and Rick, a musician and composer, had been in conversation about one of Rick’s Mass settings for Pentecost this year, and the choir will sing it on Pentecost, Sunday, June 9, at the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass. It will be a wonderful memorial to Rick on the last day of Easter Season.
I have been burying people since the summer of 1983. Just a few weeks after I was ordained, I officiated at three graveside burials of people I did not know. Even then, it was not easy. I never know when it’s going to be hard; the first few days of Holy Week were hard for me. I know they were very hard for those who were really close to Rick. Yet, the worship of Holy Week and Easter Day is one of our most powerful balms from Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22; The Hymnal 1982, no. 676). We are people who believe that Christ has died and that Christ is risen—and one really should not separate by many words “Christ has died” and “Christ has risen.” They are one event, the Paschal, or Easter, mystery.
There was a joyful baptism of Zuhui Jacob Gong at the Great Vigil of Easter. I love doing baptisms, but the events of this Holy Week have reminded me that the first baptism I performed was a great sadness for me. A newborn baby was dying. In the summer after my first year in seminary, I was doing the required Clinical Pastoral Education course at Loyola University Hospital, Maywood, Illinois—now Loyola University Medical Center. On the first night that I was on duty as the Protestant chaplain, I was called to the neonatal intensive care unit. The family was United Methodist. It was the couple’s first child, a boy, Thomas. At lunch I had overheard a conversation at the other end of the table about how you baptized in the neonatal unit—ask for sterile water, gauze, and dribble the water on the back of the child’s head. The mother was unable to come to the child’s side, but his father was there. They gave this son not only life and love, but also their faith. Twenty minutes later Thomas died. There was another Protestant death that same night, a man in his 60s. They sent me home early the next day. Jesus Christ is the true balm from Gilead.
You and I witness the Easter event every time God brings someone to the font. It was at Trinity Church, Michigan City, Indiana, that I wrote these words: “Easter is not the occasion for baptism; baptism is the Easter event, Jesus Christ dying and rising in the lives of those he is calling to faith.” We are people who have been reborn in Christ for the life of the world to come. This is Easter joy. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Vincent, Paul, Rita, David, Russell, Paige, Jonathan, Carmen, Bryan, Dianna, Beulah, Donald, Cyrisse, Wendell, May, Alexandra, Kyle, Karen, Susan, Marilouise, Takeem, José, Carmen, Emily, Michael, and Burton; and Horace, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the soul of Harm Bouckaert.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 28: 1891 Philo Shelter; 1900 George E. Wise; 1916 William Laverty; 1926 Eugenia Bethune Stein; 1936 Julia Loraine Gibord Habich; 1939 Christina Maresca.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Harm Bouckaert, a close friend of parishioner Marie Rosseels, died on Good Friday in Maastricht, the Netherlands. He was eighty-four years old. Mr. Bouckaert worked in banking here in New York for many years. In 1981, he founded and ran the Harm Bouckaert Gallery in Tribeca. He is survived by his friend, David, and many other friends and members of his family. Please keep him, and them, in your prayers.
THE FRIDAYS OF THE EASTER SEASON are not observed by acts of discipline and self-denial.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Monday, April 29, Saint Mark the Evangelist (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, May 1, SS Philip and James, Apostles, Sung Mass 12:10 PM; Mass 6:20 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on May 1, at 7:00 PM, after the Evening Mass . . . Thursday, May 2, Mass with Healing Service 12:10 PM . . . Friday, May 3, Centering Prayer Group, 6:30 PM in the Atrium in the Parish House, Second Floor . . . Saturday, May 4, 10:00 AM, Burial of the Dead for Rick Austill.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . At the Great Vigil of Easter, Saturday, April 20, Zihui Jacob Gong received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Holy Week at Saint Mary’s is a beautiful and holy time with many opportunities for worship, prayer, reflection, and service. What we do here during Holy Week cannot be achieved without the generous gifts of time and talent by the members and friends of the parish. We are enormously grateful to all those who did so much to make Holy Week a very good time to be at Saint Mary’s . . . Brother Damien Joseph SSF will be away from the parish from Monday, April 29, until Saturday, May 3. He will be attending a meeting of the Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas in Racine, Wisconsin . . . Brother Desmond Alban SSF will be visiting Saint Mary’s from the afternoon of Saturday, May 4, until Tuesday, May 7. Brother Desmond is the Minister Provincial for the Americas of the Society of Saint Francis . . . Attendance: Palm Sunday 251; Maundy Thursday 151; Good Friday 184; Easter Day 648.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2018–2019 . . . Our campaign and pledge drive begins in October. By December, we hope to have received the majority of our pledge cards. However, in some ways, the drive has become an all-year campaign as financial situations change and newcomers join the parish or decide to support the parish in a particular way. In October 2018, we mailed packets to 124 households that pledged last year and to 673 households that have expressed an interest in supporting the parish. We also, for the first time, sent a separate appeal to 157 households that have made donations in the past, but have not made a pledge. We have asked those donors to consider making a regular, periodic sustaining donation to Saint Mary’s. Once again this year, our goal for the campaign is $425,000. As of Wednesday, April 24, we have received $372,397 in pledges from 118 households, 88% of our goal. We very much hope to reach our goal this year. Please help us to do that. Our needs are urgent. Our mission is clear. We invite your support
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.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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 of cash, clothing, or toiletry articles, or to volunteer for this important 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.
INTERFAITH EVENT . . . On Friday, June 7, 10:15 AM–2:00 PM, the Episcopal-Jewish Relations Committee of the Diocese of New York will be the guests for a private tour at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place in lower Manhattan. Schedule of the day: Gather at the museum at 10:15 AM, Tour 10:30 AM–12:00 PM, Lunch (optional), 12:00–2:00 PM. The cost of the tour is $14.50 ($10.50 for seniors). The cost of the lunch is $14.50. In order to register for this event, please visit the diocesan website. For more information about the museum and its work, please visit the museum website.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The musical setting of the Solemn Mass on the Second Sunday of Easter is Missa Paschalis by Orlando di Lasso (1532–1594). Lassus, as he was also known, was one of the most prolific and admired European composers of his time. Born at Mons in the Franco-Flemish province of Hainaut, Lassus was well traveled particularly in northern Italy, but was centered in Munich for much of his adult life. His compositions include about sixty authenticated Mass settings, most of which are elaborate parody works based upon motets—often his own— as well as French chansons, and Italian madrigals from such composers as Gombert, Willaert, Resta, Arcadelt, Rore, and Palestrina. Missa Paschalis (1576), however, is one of Lassus’ few Masses based upon chant. Only in the Kyrie (not sung this morning) is the cantus firmus plainly stated in long notes in soprano and tenor voices. Following the Kyrie, the chant elements are integrated into the polyphonic texture. The present performing edition derives from a 1579 collection of various composers’ works entitled Liber primus Missarum quinque vocum (“First Book of Masses for Five Voices”). Notable in this Mass setting are several passages where polyphony turns to chordal writing, giving particular emphasis to certain phrases of the text.
Jacob Handl (1550–1591), also known as Jacobus Gallus, is credited with over five hundred compositions, both sacred and secular, including twenty Masses and hundreds of motets. Handl was Slovenian by birth, but his compositions incorporate the influences of the leading Franco-Flemish and Venetian musical schools of his time. His motet Stetit Jesus from Opus musicum III (1587), sung during the administration of Communion at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, sings the post-resurrection appearance of our Lord reported in John 20:19–20. Handl’s motet captures the drama of the narrative.
The organ prelude and postlude on Sunday morning are both from the Orgelbüchlein (“Little Organ Book”) of J. S. Bach (1685–1750). This collection of forty-six organ pieces, mostly composed while Bach was in Weimar between 1708 and 1717, is a small fraction of the originally intended project which would have included 164 settings of chorales spanning the liturgical year. Nonetheless the Orgelbüchlein stands as an extraordinary body of shorter chorale preludes and a compendium of the compositional techniques pertinent to that genre in Bach’s day. In addition to serving as a practical collection of organ music for church services, the Orgelbüchlein has also been considered to be a treatise on composition, a faith statement of its composer, and a manual for instruction in organ-playing. Christ ist erstanden (“Christ is arisen”) is a three-stanza Easter chorale, found in The Hymnal 1982 at #184. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein setting, played for the prelude this morning, treats each stanza separately in three individual sections. A form of the chorale melody is featured in the uppermost voice in each section. Christ lag in Todesbanden appears in two melodic forms in The Hymnal 1982 at #185 and #186, the latter being Bach’s own harmonization from his Cantata No. 4. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein setting of this chorale, played for the postlude, presents the melody clearly in the uppermost voice supported by a three-voice contrapuntal accompaniment. —David Hurd
RICH SYMBOLS OF LIFE IN CHRIST . . . This past week there was a lively discussion on the diocesan clergy listserv about the seemliness of recycling last year’s paschal candle in the interests of frugality and good stewardship. The Reverend Janet Vincent, associate priest at the Church of Christ the King, Stone Ridge, added these comments to the conversation, “I think that all parishes should work within their means . . . [but] I do think that the paschal candle is [a] major symbol of Easter and the risen Christ. There is purposeful fanfare in blessing and lighting it from the new fire [at] the Great Vigil; and so it should represent the best that we have because it proclaims new life in Christ. We have a habit of minimizing our symbols—tiny bottles of chrism, small fonts, tasteless wafers for bread, etc. [Everyone] should do what is best for their communities, but I’d approach the question from the point of view of symbol. How do we best create and display this symbol of Christ?” At Saint Mary’s, our very tall paschal candle, new each year, stands in the chancel during the Great Fifty Days of Easter. It is lit during the hours in which the church is open.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Adult Forum will not meet 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’s 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 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 was heard on 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 Thursday, May 30 (Ascension Day), and Thursday, August 15 (Assumption). 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.