FROM BROTHER DAMIEN JOSEPH SSF: OUR FRANCISCAN LIFE
If you are a regular at weekday services at Saint Mary’s, you may have noticed that Brother Thomas and I are usually absent from the services on Thursdays. We do have a weekly “day off” (Saturday), but Thursday is our designated “Community Day.” You may recall that the Community of Saint John Baptist sisters had a similar day (on most Tuesdays), when they returned to their convent in Mendham, New Jersey, to be with their sisters. A weekly trip to our other houses on the west coast is obviously impractical, but keeping a connection with the particular practices and obligations observed by our brothers is no less important. Our Community Day is designed to help us meet three needs:
COMMUNITY PRAYER: At Saint Mary’s, the brothers share in the Eucharist and daily offices according to the tradition of the parish, using, of course, The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church. In our other houses worldwide, our daily cycle of prayer is not prayed from the BCP, but from our own book, The Daily Office SSF (2010). The prayer services are similar to the BCP, but also reflect our Franciscan life in certain prayers, readings from Franciscan sources, and other practices traditional in our houses. In houses that are not connected to a larger parish, the offices are usually an intimate and contemplative practice distinct from praying in a more public setting. We pray much more slowly than is the practice in most public services, in quiet voices, and with significant times of stillness and silence. Praying together with the same small group of people day by day enables us to learn to match each other’s pace and volume, and our offices really do become prayers in “one voice.” Praying the office publicly, in a large room with frequent guests, is its own privilege, but we seek to keep at least a weekly connection to our wider community’s prayer practices and the benefit we’ve found therein.
COMMUNITY OBLIGATIONS: Living in a community necessarily entails making commitments to one another, to the community, and to God. These commitments include our vows, our rule of life, and our order’s policies, as well as less formal agreements and conventions about how we live together. It is easy for some of these to get lost in the business of life, unless they are intentionally protected. We commit in our rule to setting some hours aside each week for study (theological or otherwise). We commit to regular devotional study of the Bible together. We commit to intentional communication around the health of our community, our relationships, and ourselves as individuals. Our Thursdays help protect the time for these practices. For example, each Thursday, after morning prayer together in the friary, we share in the practice of lectio divina, a contemplative method of Bible study, using the gospel lesson for the coming Sunday. Individually, we often spend part of our Thursday in reading, writing, and other personal study.
COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITIES: Each of us has particular roles and responsibilities within our house and our community, which often requires some time being set aside on a Thursday for work on these tasks and projects. For example, I serve as provincial secretary for the American Province, which includes duties in communication and recordkeeping. I also maintain the province’s website and social media accounts. Thomas is working on a provincial archive and history project. He has been especially busy lately in preparations for our centennial celebrations (September 14 here in New York, and October 5 in San Francisco).
We are so grateful for our welcome into the Saint Mary’s community and for how easy it is for us to feel and be connected here. We’re also grateful for our Thursdays to nurture the more challenging, but no less important connection to our community farther away. —Damien Joseph SSF
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Janice, Brady, Emilie, Joan, Ellie, Chris, Linda, Gene, Marie, Jon, Rita, Pat, John, Esther, Bryan, Dianna, Beulah, Cyrisse, Wendell, May, Willard, Alexandra, Karen, Carolyn, Ivy, Marilouise, Takeem, Carmen, Michael, and Dennis; for Horace, Kent, Gene, Gaylord, Louis, Edgar, priests, and James, bishop; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of George Ballard and Mia Hoffman . . . GRANT THEM PEACE: September 22: 1887 Samuel Mallan; 1895 Charles Emory Taintor; 1950.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord’s crucifixion.
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.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, September 22, The Fifteenth 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 . . . Wednesday, September 25, Sung Mass 12:10 PM; Clothing Ministry: Grab-and-Go, 2:00–4:00 PM, Mission House . . . Thursday, September 26, Mass with Healing Service 12:10 PM . . . Friday, September 27, Centering Prayer Group, 6:30 PM in the Atrium in the Parish House, Second Floor.
46TH STREET FAÇADE RESTORATION . . . As we go to press, we are optimistic that the required work permit from the New York City Department of Buildings for the restoration of the façade will be available on Tuesday, September 24. In the meantime, Milan Restoration is scraping and preparing to paint the wood-framed 46th Street windows of the Mission House and the Parish House. Last week, we discovered the original paint color for these windows in the church basement in the vaults under the sidewalks. Samples will be taken so that we can use the original color when repainting. We expect that the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission will very happy with the discovery. —S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Pat Rheinhold is recovering from surgery. Please keep her and Eloise Hoffman in your prayers . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish on vacation between Sunday, September 8, and Sunday, September 29. He will also be in Boston between Monday, September 30, and Wednesday, October 2, attending a Leadership in Ministry Conference. He then returns to the parish on Thursday, October 3 . . . Attendance at the Masses and Offices of the day: Holy Cross Day 51; Last Sunday 149.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The cantor for Sunday’s Solemn Mass is soprano Elaine Lachica, a regular member of the Choir of Saint Mary’s. During the Communion she will sing Tune the soft melodious lute, number 27 from the oratorio Jephtha by George Frideric Handel (1685–1759). This is the aria which closes Act 2 scene 1 of the oratorio and is sung by Iphis, the daughter of Jephtha. The libretto for Handel’s Jephtha is by the Reverend Thomas Morell (1703–1784), a classics scholar, and is based upon the biblical story of Jephtha (Judges, chapter 11) and Jephthes sive votum (1554) by the Scottish historian George Buchanan (1506–1582). Handel’s Jephtha, his final masterwork, was composed while he was in precarious health and his eyesight was failing. It rides the fine line at the juncture between oratorio and opera, and not by accident. Since staged performances of musical works based on biblical material were forbidden in England in Handel’s time, Jephtha was first performed at Covent Garden Theater on 26 February 1752, conducted by the composer, but in concert form without scenery or costumes. Fully staged operatic performances of Handel’s Jephtha, however, have occurred in more recent time.
The organ voluntaries today represent two generations of nineteenth-century French organ composers. The prelude is the second of three movements from the second Organ Sonata of Alexandre Guilmant (1837–1911). Guilmant became organist of St. Sulpice, Paris, in 1863, Notre Dame in 1868, and La Trinité in 1871 where he remained for thirty years. He was a founder of the Schola Cantorum and succeeded Widor as professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory in 1896. Having studied with Lemmens, his students included such legendary musicians as Joseph Bonnet, Nadia Boulanger, and Marcel Dupré. He was a prolific composer having written more organ music between 1861 and 1911 than Franck, Saint-Saëns, Widor and Vierne together. While his compositions were the vogue of his time, they were less frequently played after his death. In recent years, however, the renewed interest in romantic organ repertoire has stimulated a fresh look at the works of Guilmant. Eight multi-movement Sonatas, composed between 1874 and 1906, figure prominently among Guilmant’s organ compositions. The second movement of his second Sonata is gentle, lyric and succinct.
The postlude is by the slightly earlier Abraham Louis Niedermeyer (1802–1861). While Niedermeyer was born in Nyon, Switzerland, and studied in Vienna, Rome and Naples, he settled in Paris at age 21 and lived out his career there. He was a friend and collaborator with Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) in several opera productions. Rossini was the far more successful opera composer, but Niedermeyer made significant contributions to church music as a composer and educator. In 1853 he reorganized and re-opened the École Choron, named for the French opera director and musicologist Alexandre-Etienne Choron who had died in 1834. This school was eventually renamed École Niedermeyer and was known as a school for the study and practice of church music. Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) is one of its many distinguished former students. Niedermeyer’s Prelude in A minor utilizes a recurring pattern played on the pedals which, in turn, punctuates each change of the harmony played by the hands. —David Hurd
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Our next Drop-in Day will take place this coming Wednesday, October 16, 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 particular need at the moment for cooler weather clothing: gently used jackets, coats and sweatshirts of varying weights, jeans, slacks and sweatpants. We always need new socks and underwear in various sizes. Our number of guests continues to grow, and we are always grateful for your financial contributions to this project. We can also use a few more volunteers for our once per month drop in days—Come see the difference we’re making! . . . 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 . . . Sunday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels . . . Thursday, October 3, Eve of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, Transitus Service 6:30 PM, Lady Chapel . . . Friday, October 4, Saint Francis of Assisi, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Sunday, October 6, The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Beginning of the 2019–2020 Choir Season: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 and 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass with Choir 11:00 AM, Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Morgan Library and Museum, 225 Madison Avenue at Thirty-sixth Street, through September 22, 2019, Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor. From the museum website, “The satirical scenes of the celebrated English artist William Hogarth (1697–1764) are iconic representations of eighteenth-century urban life at a time of great socio-economic disparity. An academic outsider and an activist, Hogarth was driven to innovate, creating new genres and modes of expression in his painting, printmaking, and drawing in his effort to elevate the status of British art. This exhibition will investigate the ways the artist used humor, satire, and political commentary to engage a broad audience and agitate for legislation and political goals. The exhibition features the Morgan’s exceptional cache of six sheets preparatory for two of Hogarth’s most revered print series, both issued in February 1751: Beer Street and Gin Lane and The Four Stages of Cruelty. The story of Hogarth’s images reveals an artist who addressed the ills and injustices of life in a modern metropolis, exploring the connections between violence, crime, alcohol abuse, and cruelty to animals in ways that would amuse, occasionally shock, and edify his audience.