FROM THE RECTOR: SHADOWS OF ROME
In 1996, Paul Bradshaw published “The Liturgical Consequences of Apostolicae curae for Anglican Ordination Rites” (Anglican Theological Review 78 , 75–86). When I came to the diocese of New York, it was then the practice at our cathedral to ignore the placement of the Prayer Book rubric that says, “The new priest is now vested according to the order of priests.” Instead of following the prayer of consecration as ordered by the Prayer Book (page 534), the prayer itself was stopped after the bishop laid on hands and said, “Therefore, father, though Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to N.; fill him with grace and power, and make him a priest in your Church” (page 533). After vesting all of the ordinands, the bishop completed the prayer. The problem, of course, is that theologically for Anglicans, there is no “moment of consecration” in the celebration of our Sacraments (Baptism and Eucharist) or sacramental rites (Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, Unction of the Sick, and Ordination). This is an example of the long shadows, as it were, taken on by Anglicans after the 1896 papal encyclical Apostolicae Curae: On the Nullity of Anglican Orders.
Bradshaw wrote, “Most ancient ordination prayers do not ask that the person be made a bishop, priest, or deacon. On the contrary, the majority of rites presuppose that God has called the person to that ministry, that the person has already been made bishop, priest, or deacon through the process of election just completed, and that what is now happening in the prayer is that God is being asked to endue the new minister with the gifts and qualities requisite for the effective discharge of the office” (page 80). He also pointed to the irony of new twentieth-century Anglican rites that ignored the available evidence of ordination rites of the first centuries and the theology of Anglican rites (pages 79–81).
I have found myself thinking about Anglicans in the shadows, as it were, of Roman Catholicism for many years now. As I’ve begun working on the 2020 Parish Calendar (with much appreciated assistance from Brother Damien Joseph SSF), I think it’s fair to say that one sees the influence of Roman Catholic Church decisions even in Prayer Book Studies IX: The Calendar (1957). Though the Standing Liturgical Commission at that time was sensitive to the pull of larger Christian tradition it recommended that we not celebrate, for example, the Beheading of John the Baptist (August 29) “since there is no evidence that the Baptist’s martyrdom was due to his faith in Christ” (page 126). The commission also rejected the commemoration of Blessed Mary’s Conception (December 8) and Nativity (September 8): “The Commission believes that the mother of our Lord is best commemorated, as are other Christian saints, on the day of her death” (page 127). I wish they, and subsequent commissions, had followed through on this ancient principal. It’s worth noting that, in a great number of biographies in the different editions of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, the dates of death are routinely omitted.
A related issue: In 1957, Thomas Aquinas was proposed for commemoration, not on the anniversary of the date of his death, March 7, 1274, but on March 8. Perpetua and her Companions, Martyrs of Carthage, 202, were already commemorated on March 7 by Roman Catholics. The 1979 Prayer Book is the first American prayer book to include these optional commemorations, known as “lesser feasts and fasts,” in its Calendar of the Church year (pages 15–33). Aquinas ended up on January 28, the date in 1369, when “his remains were transferred to Toulouse” (Prayer Book Studies 19: The Church Year: The Calendar and the Proper of the Sundays and Other Holy Days throughout the Church Year (1970), 60). Another example: Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, was commemorated on the anniversary of his death, Easter Eve, April 4, 397. In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church moved his commemoration from April 4 to December 7, the date of his ordination as bishop. This year we remembered Ambrose’s life and ministry on April 4, along with the life and ministry of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was killed on April 4, 1968.
As I wrote in the introduction page of the 2019 Calendar, “To guide our work this year, we have increasingly relied on the belief—important in the early church—that the day on which a Christian dies is actually a dies natalis, a ‘birthday,’ the day on which the believer enters eternal life.” It’s not always possible to do this, but when possible, I think it keeps our focus in the right place: the resurrection of the dead to eternal life. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Sharon, Gary, Rita, Paige, Pat, John, Esther, Bryan, Dianna, Beulah, Cyrisse, Wendell, May, Willard, Alexandra, Karen, Carolyn, Ivy, Marilouise, Takeem, Carmen, Michael, and Randy; for Horace, Gaylord, Louis, Edgar, priests, and James, bishop; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the soul of Carol Renée Gates and Robert L. Derstein . . . GRANT THEM PEACE: August 25: 1892 Albert Gardner; 1921 Harriet Dobbin Hopkins; 1964 Anna Marguerite Della Rocca; 1971 Elvira Herg Oxx; 1983 Arthur Atkinson III; 1990 Eliphal B. Streeter.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Carol Renée Gates, the sister of John Derek Norvell, died suddenly last week. Please keep Carol, John, their family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers . . . We’ve received word that a long-time friend of Saint Mary’s, Robert L. Derstein, died on August 3, 2019, at home in Topeka, Kansas. He was a member of Grace Cathedral, Topeka, Kansas, where he served on the vestry and at the altar as a thurifer. Please pray for him, for his widow, Mary Anne, and for all who mourn.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord’s crucifixion.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Friday, August 23, the Centering Prayer Group will not meet . . . Saturday, August 24, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Sunday, August 25, The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Summer Worship Schedule: Morning Prayer 8:30 AM; Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM; Solemn Mass 11:00 AM; Evening Prayer 5:00 PM . . . Clothing Ministry: Grab and Go, 2:00–3:00 PM, Narthex . . . Friday, August 30, The Centering Prayer Group, 6:30 PM in the Atrium in the Parish House, Second Floor.
46TH STREET FAÇADE RESTORATION . . . During our weekly meeting on Thursday, August 22, with the team from Jan Hird Pokorny Associates and Milan Restoration, we received word that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection had signed off on the materials abatement (asbestos removal) report. That is the last approval needed, as far as we know, before the Department of Buildings can issue a permit for the work to begin. —S.G.
FRIARS’ CENTENNIAL . . . In the early 1900s, a prayer group at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, began praying for the establishment of Franciscan Religious Life in the Episcopal Church. The prayer focus seems to have spread to various other places, and in 1919, Father Claude Crookston began the Order of St. Francis, inviting Episcopal men to live together in community under traditional Franciscan vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Their first house was founded in Merrill, Wisconsin. Crookston took a religious name, as is common, and became Father Joseph, OSF. In 1967, the Order of St. Francis merged with the English Society of St. Francis to become the SSF Province of the Americas, whose Brothers Thomas and Damien live and work here at St. Mary’s today.
On Saturday, September 14, 2019, Holy Cross Day, the brothers will mark their 100th Anniversary with a celebration “where it all began” at St. Luke in the Fields. Beginning at 11:00 AM, the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated by the Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, bishop of Hawaii and bishop protector for SSF in this province. The preacher will be the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. In addition to marking the centennial, the Mass will include the first profession in vows by Brother Thomas and the clothing as novices of two new brothers who live at San Damiano Friary in San Francisco. Your prayers and presence are sincerely welcomed.
Historical displays and items made by the Brothers will be available. A luncheon and lecture by Franciscan Sister and scholar Ilia Delio will follow. We’re sorry to say that tickets for the lunch are no longer available, but all are welcome to celebrate the rest of the event with the brothers. Please contact Brother Thomas SSF with any questions. —Damien Joseph SSF
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We are very grateful to parish volunteer Clint Best, who took care of things in the office while Chris Howatt was away on vacation. We always think that it’s going to be quiet during the summer, but it never quite works out that way, and we were very happy that Clint was able to hold down the fort for us. We are also grateful to Stephen Rumpf, who played the Sung Mass on Wednesday while Dr. Hurd was away . . . Office Manager Chris Howatt returns to the office on Monday, August 26 . . . A Friendly Reminder: In order to prevent cash-flow problems, we ask all those who have made a financial pledge for 2019 to try to stay up to date with their pledge payments during the summer months. We are grateful to all those who continue to support the parish so generously . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays: September 1, 8, and 22; October 20, and 27, and, especially, Friday, November 1, All Saints’ Day. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Chris Howatt in the parish office . . . The Rector will be on vacation from Thursday, August 29, through Saturday, September 7 . . . Attendance at the Masses and Offices of the day: Last Sunday 141.
SAINT MARY’S AIDS WALK TEAM SAYS THANK YOU . . . Our team wishes to report our extraordinary success in the 2019 AIDS Walk and to thank all the friends and parishioners who supported us. Our team ranked Number 4 of all the teams walking, and we raised a total of $62,757 of the more than $4 million raised overall. We’d like to share some facts and figures: 16 people were on our team; 257 people supported us—parishioners and friends of the team; our donors live in 23 states and 2 countries; and 9 of our walkers raised more than $1,000 each. This was a Saint Mary’s event, and we couldn’t do it without you. We will walk again on May 17, 2020. —MaryJane Boland & Clark Mitchell
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class begins on October 9 at 6:30 PM. This fall we will be reading a number of prayer texts in the Hebrew Bible. There will be ample time for discussion, reflection, and prayer. The class is led by Father Jay Smith.
The Adult Forum begins on Sunday, October 6. The first series of classes, to take place on the four Sundays in October, will focus on the problems of homelessness and inadequate shelter in the United States, especially in New York City. The classes will be led by Father Jim Pace, Brother Damien Joseph SSF, and Brother Thomas Steffensen SSF. On October 6, Father Pace will moderate a presentation that will attempt to provide an overview of the issue. Father Pace will be joined that day by John Sheehan, LMSW, director of ecumenical outreach services, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. On October 13, Father Pace and the friars will moderate a discussion of the issue of resources and services available to those in need in New York City—and the problems associated with accessing those resources and services. They will be joined by a special guest, a physician with broad experience in this area. On October 20, Brother Damien Joseph SSF will give a presentation that focuses on theology—the call to go forth and to serve. He will draw on a number of sources, including the Bible, Franciscan theology and spirituality, as well as liberation theology. On October 27, the friars will lead a “visioning” session in which the class will discuss “what we do” and “what we might do in the future.” Note well: these classes will meet at 12:45 PM in the Lady Chapel, not at the customary 10:00 AM hour.
On November 3, 10, 17, and 24, and on December 1 and 8, Father Peter Powell returns to Saint Mary’s to teach a series on the so-called “minor prophets” of the Old Testament. Father Powell writes, “During this academic year, 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 those texts 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. Join me in November as we begin this important study into how God works in our world.”
December 15, Class topic and presenter to be announced. December 22–January 5, Christmas Break.
On January 12, 19, and 26, Father Jim Pace will teach a series of classes on healing ministry and on end-of-life issues. Details will follow later this fall.
HOSPITALITY MINISTRY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We hope to receive donations to help pay for the holy-day receptions on Friday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, and Monday, January 6, the Epiphany. 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.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The musical setting of the ordinary of the Mass on Sunday is New Plainsong by David Hurd, organist and music director at Saint Mary’s. New Plainsong was composed in 1978 at the request of the Standing Commission on Church Music to be a simple monophonic setting for Rite II, stylistically parallel to what John Merbecke’s setting of 1550 was for the language of the older rite.
The cantor on Sunday is soprano Ruth Cunningham. During the administration of Communion Ms. Cunningham will sing O virtus Sapientie, a solo chant by Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1197). Hildegard was a German Benedictine abbess who distinguished herself as a writer, philosopher, theologian, pharmacist, and as a composer of music at the dawn of the age of music notation as we now know it. Hildegarde’s music has largely been rediscovered, performed and recorded only in the past few decades. Apart from their intrinsic sonic beauty, particularly when sung by a musician of Ms. Cunningham’s caliber, Hildegard’s vocal compositions provide a significant link between the anonymous repertoire of liturgical chant and the developments which would proceed from the new and more precise system for music notation using parallel lines and spaces which was just taking hold in her day.
Sunday’s organ voluntaries continue a series, begun two weeks ago, of the eight “Little” Preludes and Fugues traditionally attributed to J. S. Bach. These pieces are now widely believed to have been composed by one of his pupils, very likely Johann Tobias Krebs (1690–1762), or his son Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713–1780). Of these eight preludes and fugues, four are in major keys of C, F, G, and B-flat, and the remaining four are in their relative minors of A, D, E, and G. The standard ordering of these eight pieces begins with BWV 553 in C Major and progresses up the scale to BWV 560 in B-flat. This morning’s prelude will be BWV 556 in F Major, and the postlude will be BWV 554 in the relative minor key of D. BWV 556, for the prelude, may be the least likely of the eight Preludes and Fugues to have been composed by Sebastian Bach. The prelude especially is stylistically much more suggestive of post-baroque classical composition. Its accompanying fugue has a similar harmonic and textural simplicity as it continues in the bright spirit of F Major. BWV 554, numbered second in the collection and played for the postlude, has an A-B-A-shaped prelude, as did BWV 556. The fugue is modest in length and follows logically after the prelude. —David Hurd
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE BAPTIZED OR CONFIRMED? . . . The Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche, the bishop of New York, will be the celebrant and preacher for our patronal feast, the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on Monday, December 9, at 6:00 PM. If you have been thinking about baptism, confirmation, or about being received into the Episcopal Church, we would be glad to help. If you would like to be baptized, confirmed, or received on December 9, please speak to Father Gerth or Father Smith or call the Parish Office.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Our next Drop-in Day will take place this coming Wednesday, September 18, 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 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 special need at the moment for women’s underwear in a variety of sizes, boxer shorts and briefs for men in a variety of sizes, white and black socks for men, disposable razors, and sneakers in a variety of sizes . . . 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.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Monday, September 2, Labor Day, Federal Holiday Schedule, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM. The church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. The parish offices are closed . . . Monday, September 9, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (transferred), Morning Prayer 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM, and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Friday, September 13, Eve of Holy Cross Day, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Saturday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Saturday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM and Mass 12:10 PM . . . Sunday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels.