The Angelus

Volume 10, Number 37

From the Rector: Assumption

One of the most important feasts of our year at Saint Mary’s is August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  If you are new to Saint Mary’s I especially invite you to join us on Wednesday of this week for the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM.  The church will be full.  The music will be glorious.  The reception following Mass continues our celebration.

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Volume 10, Number 36

From the Rector: Our Story Continues

In 1867, two men, one layman, Henry Kingland, and one priest, Thomas McKee Brown, went to see the bishop of New York.  The city was growing.  What we call the Oxford Movement, a renewal of the catholic heritage of the protestant Church of England, was beginning to take root throughout what would come to be known as the Anglican Communion.  Mr. Kingland and the Rev. Mr. Brown, as our founder was known at that time, asked the bishop where a new parish “on a thoroughly Catholic basis” might be needed (The Story of St. Mary’s, New York, 1931, Newbury Frost Read, page 16).  With the bishop’s encouragement and blessing, Kingland and Brown began to look in the neighborhood of Longacre Square, now called Times Square.  There were three adjacent vacant lots owned by John Jacob Astor, Jr.

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Volume 10, Number 35

From the Rector: Father Beddingfield Accepts Call

All Souls’ Church, Washington, D.C. has called the Reverend John Floyd Beddingfield to be their rector.  Father has accepted the call.  The Bishop of Washington has given his permission.  I want to invite you to join me in thanking John for the great work he has done as a member and then as curate of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.  His last Sunday with us will be August 19 when he will be celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Masses.  A reception to honor him and his partner Erwin de Leon will follow the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass.  His first Sunday at All Souls’ will be September 9.  I could not be more happy for him – or more proud.

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Volume 10, Number 34

From the Rector: Belief and Ministry

A seminarian from Saint Stephen’s House, Oxford, arrived at Saint Mary’s this week for a five-week stay.  His name is Simon Morris.  He’s from the diocese of Rochester, England.  He will begin his final year at Saint Stephen’s in the fall and is to be ordained in spring 2008.  Saint Stephen’s House places their students in a parish during every summer so they can get some insight into what the future may hold for them as parish priests.  The American Church is not the same as the English Church, of course.  But we have much in common.  Simon is a delightful young man with a ready smile and a wonderful sense of humor and commitment.  I’m delighted he is with us and very honored that the vice-principal at Saint Stephen’s House asked if we would accept a student this summer.

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Volume 10, Number 33

From the Rector: The Importance of Christ

“Father, you have a real church,” one of our parish’s English clergy friends of Saint Mary’s said to me not so very long ago when he was visiting New York.  He was admiring more than the architecture and furnishings of Saint Mary’s – which are easy to “read” and to admire.  Saint Mary’s is a living and active witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Lives are being changed here and elsewhere because of the ministry of this parish.  But there are other legitimate ways of being and doing church.  Neither of us would ever say there weren’t lots of real churches around, Protestant, Orthodox or Roman.  We’re Anglicans; we just don’t think that way.

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Volume 10, Number 32

From the Rector: Last Year in Jerusalem

I arrived in Israel with friends on July 7, 2006 at Ben Gurion Airport.  It was a first visit to Israel for all six of us.  Our visit was a pilgrimage.  The focus of our journey was Jerusalem, the place Jesus loved above all others.  It is the city that is at the heart of God’s love for the world.  It is at the center of history in the unfolding of God’s kingdom.

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Volume 10, Number 31

From Father Mead: Peter, Paul and Independence Day

Friday, June 29 is the annual celebration of Saints Peter and Paul – at Saint Mary’s our primary celebration is a Sung Mass at 6:00 PM.  The two saints have shared this date since at least the third century when three different liturgies (one for Peter, one for Paul, and one for both Peter and Paul at the catacombs) were celebrated in different places around the city of Rome.  Both Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome under Nero (between 54-68 AD).  Though there are no hard and fast traditions indicating that they were martyred on the same day (or for that matter in the same year), the strange doubling of observances for both Peter and Paul has led some to conclude that they were.  I think it is an intriguing idea, even if it’s somewhat dubious.

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Volume 10, Number 30

From the Rector: Mary, John, Peter, Paul & Michael

June 24 is the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist.  June 29 is the Feast of Saint Peter & Saint Paul, Apostles.  August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  September 29 is the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels.  At Saint Mary’s these four major feast days are celebrated on Sunday when they fall on a Sunday.  There are other feast days which a parish might choose to celebrate on a Sunday.  (The rules for all of this can be found in the Prayer Book on page 16 in the section labeled “Sundays.”)

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Volume 10, Number 29

From the Rector: Forgiveness

On the bulletin board in my office I put up a card sent by the board of directors of the Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  It’s a drawing of the world and a figure of Jesus, arms outstretched, over the world, done by a young child named Katherine.  She wrote this above Jesus, “He would do something nobody would ever think of.”

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Volume 10, Number 28

From the Rector: The Body and Blood of Christ

In September 1867, a young priest, Thomas McKee Brown, was one of the first three associates of the American Congregation of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament.  Founded in England in 1862, the society was part of the catholic renewal movement beginning to take hold of Anglican Christians around the world.  The Eucharist was at the heart of Father Brown’s ministry as he began to plan with the Bishop of New York and a group of laymen the parish that would become the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.

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Volume 10, Number 27

From the Rector: The Trinity

When I ask the question, “What is the most important belief of Christians?” I give full marks for two answers: either, Jesus died and rose from the dead, or, God is the Holy Trinity, one God in Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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Volume 10, Number 26

From the Rector: The Day of Pentecost and Other Things

The Easter Season concludes as the sun sets on Pentecost.  After Solemn Evensong, the Easter candle will be extinguished along with the other candles in the chancel and it will be moved to the baptistery.  The ordinary time of the Church year will begin.  But before it’s all over we will have celebrated the conclusion of Eastertide in the best possible way.  The Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, XIV Bishop of New York, will be with us for the principal liturgy of the day at 11:00 AM to celebrate, preach and preside over the rites of Christian initiation.  In a real sense, the liturgy of the day will re-present us with the central mysteries of our faith.  Jesus Christ still rises and dies in the people he calls to faith.

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From the Rector: Experiencing Prayer

When I was in my last year in seminary, I taught a class on the Eucharist at the parish where I served on Sundays.  When I got to the Nicene Creed I made some remark about it not being an early or essential part of the Eucharistic rite.  (It came into the rite first in Spain in the eighth century to combat heresy about the Trinity.)  I remember pointing out that the main creedal proclamation of the Eucharist was the Great Thanksgiving, the Eucharistic Prayer.  An older woman, a gentle, life-long, faithful Episcopalian, objected.  “The Creed is our prayer.  The consecration is the priest’s prayer.  Why do you want to take it away from us?”  It was an exchange that spoke volumes and I have never forgotten it.

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Volume 9, Number 24

From the Rector: Ascension Day Notes

Ascension Day celebrates the Risen Lord going to heaven.  It is one of the seven principal feasts of the Church year in our present calendar.  It has not always been thus.  The earliest and continuing pattern of Christian worship is the celebration of Sunday with the Eucharist in the morning and Evening Prayer at night.

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Volume 9, Number 23

From Father Mead: Open Doors

It can be a challenge competing vocally with the Fire Department of New York or an ambulance going past the church during Mass.  When the weather is warm the 47th Street and 46th Street doors of the church are open.  This allows some fresh Midtown air into the church and it opens our wonderful acoustics to the joyful sound of honking, car alarms, and sirens.  The fresh air really is a plus and the normal sounds of the city act as a reminder that we are in Times Square.  More importantly, the open doors offer an enormous welcoming gesture to those walking by the church. 

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Volume 9, Number 22

From the Rector: Starting Points

One of the many remarkable things about the first disciples, something that is true in all four gospels, was how slow they were to understand what Jesus’ presence in their lives would mean.  Even after his resurrection, their faith was unsure.  When they began to live out of their faith in his resurrection they became convinced of his presence and his gift of life, and then they began to discover the direction their own lives were to take.  Like love, faith is discovered not when we begin a relationship but in its unfolding.  And worship, like love and faith, finds its meaning in our lives as it unfolds.

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Volume 9, Number 21

From Father Beddingfield: Welcome Home, Sisters

There are times at Saint Mary’s when it almost seems as if the building says, “Thank you.”  During Lent, when we walk the Stations of the Cross, the aisles seem happy to be used and the walls seem proud to host images for reflection and prayer.  When the monstrance is raised in Benediction from the High Altar, it’s as though the sanctuary itself wants to say, “This is why I was made, thank you.”  And currently, with two nuns living in the Mission House, I can almost hear the rooms relaxing and the stairways settling into familiar sounds, as Anglican religious life returns to Saint Mary’s.  Sister Deborah Francis and Sister Laura Katharine are here and the building is very happy.

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Volume 9, Number 20

From the Rector: Easter Communion

I heard something on Maundy Thursday I had never heard before.  I heard something Jesus and those present in the Upper Room heard, the sound of feet being washed, the pouring of water, the pottery, the quiet movement of people.  I’ve been participating in the washing of feet every year since 1980 with the exception of the two years I served as a curate in a parish where the rite was not observed.  Sometimes I missed that sound, I’m sure, because a choir was singing an anthem.  But that hasn’t been the case at Saint Mary’s.  There’s plenty of silence.  One of the graces of the Easter rites this year for me was to have this connection made between past and present.  In its own way, the sound of the water on this night, in this place, among the Body of Christ, became for me a sacramental sign of our union with Christ.

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Volume 9, Number 19

From the Rector: Death and Resurrection

Easter Day begins this year on Saturday, April 7, at sunset.  As the Prayer Book says, “In darkness fire is kindled . . .” Very quickly, fire begins to light the faces of all who are near.  Then the celebrant says to the assembly, “Dear friends in Christ: On this most holy night, in which our Lord Jesus passed over from death to life, the Church invites her members, dispersed throughout the world, to gather in vigil and prayer.  For this is the Passover of the Lord, in which, by hearing his Word and celebrating his Sacraments, we share in his victory over death.”

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Volume 9, Number 18

From the Rector: Holy Week and Easter

Christians sometimes speak and act as if the Church and the Sacraments were realities existing apart from and independent of the People of God.  They are not.  With special focus and intensity the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter invite us to know Christ and to be the Body of Christ.

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