FROM BROTHER DAMIEN SSF: CHAPTER IN ARIZONA
Last week, Brother Thomas and I joined the other brothers of the Society of Saint Francis in the Province of the Americas for our annual Chapter in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Chapter" is the decision-making body of the community, or it is a meeting of that body.
Many historic religious houses have a room called "the chapter room," where they gather for meetings of the community, though whether the room was named for the body or the body for the room is anyone's guess. Readers of this newsletter may remember that Saint Mary's resident iconographer, Zachary Roesemann recently wrote an icon that now hangs in the chapter room of the Order of the Holy Cross's monastery in West Park, NY. So, chapter rooms are places where chapters meet. (An interesting linguistic parallel is the word "vestry." In the Episcopal Church, vestries take part in the governance of most, though not all, parishes. Such vestries presumably take their name from the room in which these governing bodies often met.) At any rate, the Chapter of the Society of Saint Francis meets three times a year, twice by phone or video conference, and once in person. The latter is our main annual meeting.
In our province, all professed brothers are voting members of Chapter. Novice brothers also attend and participate in discussions. In order to make most decisions, we seek the consensus of all the brothers, rather than by majority rule.
We were joined in Scottsdale by our minister general, Brother Christopher John SSF, from Australia; the minister provincial of the sisters of the Community of Saint Francis (CSF) in San Francisco; a sister of the Sisterhood of Saint John the Divine in Canada (SSJD), and our bishop protector, the Rt. Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick, Bishop of Hawaii. The input of others outside our immediate community provides a valuable check and perspective on our decision-making process.
On the first day, we were also joined by Fr. Dan Horan OFM. Dan is a Roman Catholic friar, priest, writer, and speaker, who teaches at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Dan brought us brilliant reflections on the centrality of the Incarnation in Franciscan thought, and how Franciscan views of redemption and creation inform the way we live and minister. His work is inspiring and challenging, and you won't regret learning more about him at his website.
Some years at Chapter, we consider weighty matters that have a deep impact on our way of life. Other years, much of the business is routine. We hear about the activities of various houses and brothers, discuss new and expanding ministries, and set goals and budgets for the year. Every year, we take the time to catch up on one another's lives and ministries, and renew our brotherly connections. For me, it has many of the best features of a family gathering: we relive good memories, retell favorite jokes and stories, and share joys and challenges we've been facing.
While much of our business this year was routine, here's one piece of particularly good news. Our own Brother Thomas requested to be elected to First Profession, that is, to conclude his "probationary" period as a novice and to formally take the three-fold vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. You won't be surprised to know that our answer was yes! We'll share details with you soon about when and where he'll make the public profession of his vows. We expect it will be here in New York City, so friends here at St. Mary's can share in the joyful occasion. We rejoice in this next step for him as a much-loved friend and brother in our community. Peace and all good! -- Damien Joseph, SSF
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR . . . Ruben, Emil, Philippe, Grady, Barbara, Francis, Paul, Rita, Bryan, Dianna, Beulah, Donald, Cyrisse, Wendell, May, Willard, Alexandra, Kyle, Karen, Susan, Carolyn, Ivy, David, Marilouise, Takeem, Carmen, Emily, and Robert; and Horace, Rick, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; and all the benefactors and friends of this parish.
THE FRIDAYS OF THE EASTER SEASON are not observed by acts of discipline and self-denial.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, May 26, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Sung Matins 8:30 AM; Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM; Solemn Mass 11:00 AM; Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Monday, May 27, Memorial Day, Federal Holiday Schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. Only the noonday services are offered, and the parish offices are closed. Only the noonday twelve-step groups meet in the Mission House. . . Wednesday, May 29, Sung Mass 12:10 PM . . . Wednesday, May 29, Eve of Ascension Day, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 30, Ascension Day, 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 . . . Friday, May 31, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM. The evening Mass is not a Sung Mass . . . Friday, May 31, Centering Prayer Group, 6:30 PM in the Atrium in the Parish House, Second Floor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Emil Bretzger was hospitalized this week for treatment. He hopes to be able to go home shortly. Philippe Corbé, who worships with us most Sundays, is to be married on Saturday, June 1, in Texas. Please keep Emil and Philippe in your prayers . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following dates: June 9 (Pentecost), August 15 (Assumption), and all of the Sundays in August . . . Father Stephen Gerth is away from the parish, on vacation, between Thursday, May 23, and Tuesday, May 28. He returns to the office on Wednesday, May 29 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 186.
SAINT MARY'S AIDS WALK TEAM SAYS THANK YOU . . . Saint Mary's AIDS Walk team is sixteen people strong, and every one of us is deeply grateful for the support from our parish and friends. As of this writing, we have raised more than $58,000 and will go over $60,000 before the time period for fund raising is over. Though the Walk took place last Sunday, you are still able to support the Team by making a donation by visiting the Team website. We will provide a full report of how we did and how we did it this summer once all the numbers are in. The report always makes for interesting reading. The Team receives support from around the country and around the world, and we couldn't do it without you. --MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell.
LIFE IN TIMES SQUARE . . . This week Father Gerth and Father Smith met with Dr. Hurd and members of the sacristy team to discuss the complexities of the liturgies on the feast of Corpus Christi, which falls this year on Sunday, June 23. As many of our readers know, at the end of the Solemn Mass on Corpus Christi, we process to Times Square with the Blessed Sacrament. The logistics of the procession can be a bit tricky, so we asked parish administrator, Chris Howatt, to contact our very helpful, friends at the Times Square Alliance to find out if anything was taking place in the Square on June 23 that might complicate things for the procession. This is what Chris found out: "Just spoke with Tom Harris over at Times Square Alliance. The Revlon run is not happening at any time this spring. However, Tom did say that on June 23 Karl Wallenda may be walking between 1 and 2 Times Square on a tightrope. But he said not to worry, we will still be able to process." Life is uniquely interesting in Times Square.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Holy Apostles Mass, sung at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, was composed by David Hurd, organist and music director at Saint Mary's, while he was director of music at the Church of the Holy Apostles, Chelsea, Manhattan. It was first sung at Holy Apostles Church on All Saints' Day 2003. Commissioned by parishioners Mary Anne and John Grammer, Holy Apostles Mass is a setting of the Rite II Eucharistic texts originally scored for congregation, choir, organ, strings, flute, oboe, and horn. From the time it was introduced at the parish, Holy Apostles Mass was sung regularly in rotation with several other settings by the congregation and choir, sometimes with full or partial orchestration, or with organ alone. The original choral parts recently were revised and enhanced, as had been intended from the beginning, and the new version was premiered by the choirs of All Saints' Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas, in April 2018. Today at Saint Mary's the revised Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus, and Agnus Dei will be sung by the choir with organ accompaniment.
The name Healey Willan (1880-1968) is well known to Episcopalians because of his Missa de Santa Maria Magdalena, composed in 1928, which appeared in The Hymnal 1940 and was retained in The Hymnal 1982. This setting has been widely used throughout the Episcopal Church and by other denominations for decades. Willan's career and reputation, however, went far beyond composing this beloved congregational Mass setting. He composed more than eight hundred works including operas, symphonies and other music for orchestra and band, chamber music, and music for piano and organ, in addition to a great quantity of choral church music. His liturgical music included fourteen choral Masses, motets for many occasions, canticles, and hymn settings. Willan, who is said to have described himself as "English by birth; Canadian by adoption; Irish by extraction; Scotch by absorption," was a champion of historic liturgical chant and the aesthetic of Renaissance church music. He incorporated these influences and mingled them with an appreciation of the rich harmonic palette of the late nineteenth-century masters. Through his compositions and choral direction he significantly set the standard for North American Anglo-Catholic church music in his time. In 1956, Willan became the first non-English church musician to be awarded the Lambeth doctorate, Mus.D., Cantuar. Rise up, my love, my fair one, Willan's setting of Song of Songs 2:10-12, is the fifth of ten liturgical motets which he composed between 1928 and 1937. Scored in four parts with occasional divisi, this motet is modest in length and rich in expression.
The organ voluntaries on Sunday morning are the opening and closing sections of the Toccata in C of J. S. Bach (1685-1750), commonly referred to as Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue. Baroque keyboard toccatas were typically multi-sectional pieces. With Bach's Toccata in C, the form is so enlarged that the principal sections effectively become stand-alone movements. The opening sections, which comprise today's prelude, include a single-voice flourish on the keyboard, a pedal solo, and a fully-developed concerto-style movement. The final section, played for the postlude, is a spirited fugue with an extended and playful theme in gigue rhythm. --David Hurd
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class led by Father Jay Smith held its final session of the season on May 22. The class will gather for its annual end-of-year dinner on Wednesday, June 5. On Sunday, May 19, the Adult Forum also met for the final time this season. All classes will resume in October. We are very grateful to all the talented teachers who so generously gave of their time this year in order to make our adult-education program a great success: Brother Damien Joseph SSF, Brother Thomas SSF, Father Peter Powell, Zachary Roesemann, John Basil, Father Borja Vilallonga, Mary Robison, and Father Matthew Jacobson.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Our next Drop-in Day will take place on Wednesday, June 19, 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.
COMING UP . . . Sunday, June 9, The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday . . . Sunday, June 16, Trinity Sunday . . . Sunday, June 23, The Body and Blood of Christ: Corpus Christi . . . Monday, June 24, The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist . . . Friday, June 28, Eve of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles.
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.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Metropolitan Museum, Fifth Avenue and Eighty-second Street, Camp: Notes on Fashion, through September 8. Through more than 250 objects dating from the seventeenth century to the present, The Costume Institute's spring 2019 exhibition explores the origins of camp's exuberant aesthetic. Susan Sontag's 1964 essay, "Notes on Camp," provides the framework for the exhibition, which examines how the elements of irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration are expressed in fashion.