The Angelus

Volume 3, Number 5

Merry Christmas

One of my good friends always says of the Christmas Eve service, "It goes so fast."  She's right.  More than any other liturgy of the church year, it seems to me that the Midnight Mass goes so very quickly.  Perhaps it isn't entirely our fondness for and familiarity with this liturgy that makes it seem short to me.  We have been living for months in a world surrounded by shoppers and entertainments, a world in which we all participate to some degree.  When we

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Volume 3, Number 4

Of the Father's Love

The earliest of our Christmas hymns in The Hymnal 1982 is "Of the Father's love begotten."  It is ascribed to Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-410?).  In early Christian hymns there is a theological directness and simplicity that is helpful and spiritually powerful.  Think of, for example, the Good Friday hymns "Sing, my tongue,

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Volume 3, Number 3

Grace Lacurto, 1899 - 2000

Grace LaCurto, the oldest member of Saint Mary's, died on Tuesday, December 5, in Greenwich, Connecticut.  She was born on January 16, 1899.  She was confirmed at Saint Mary's on December 18, 1947 and had been an active member of the parish until she could no longer manage the commute from Connecticut every Sunday.  Older members and friends of the parish will remember that for years she presided over the pouring of coffee after the Solemn Mass on Sundays. 

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Volume 3, Number 2


Our community life at Saint Mary's is full of wonderful events and celebrations that sustain us and keep us in our journey in faith.  As a Christian community most of these events tend to be centered in worship and the fellowship that surrounds worship.  We are people gathered at the Table and we feel at home at the Table as at no other place.

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Volume 3, Number 1


Because of the production schedule for this weekly newsletter I can't write today to tell you all about the parish's patronal feast.  I am expecting it to be a special evening in so many ways.  Every day of our lives has its uniqueness.  The greater festivals of the church year amplify that uniqueness, especially in a church like Saint Mary's.

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Volume 2, Number 53

Christ the King

The Solemnity of Christ the King is not an ancient Christian feast.  The celebration was introduced by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and was appointed for the Sunday before All Saints' Day.  On the surface it seems like a good idea.  Certainly Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  It is not a bad thing to be reminded of this.  Pope Pius XI called for hearts to be consecrated anew to the Christ on this day.  Again, not a bad idea at any time.

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Volume 2, Number 52

Honest and Correct

Last week our middler seminarian Jennifer Reddall was working on a paper for one of her classes, the title: "Leadership, Power Dynamics, and Systemic Realities."  She asked about Saint Mary's.  I responded to some specific questions about the structure of our parish community and the role of the rector within the structure.  In addition, my response included the following paragraph:

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Volume 2, Number 51


On Michaelmas, September 29, I had a small role at the installation of the new rector of the Church of the Transfiguration, the Reverend Charles Miller.  Next to me in choir was the Reverend Frederick Robinson, rector of the Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota, Florida.  Charles, Fred and I were at Nashotah House at the same time.  Charles was in the class one year ahead of me and we ended up living in the same house in the cloister for a year.  Fred served as a curate for the Reverend Charles Jenkins in Arlington, Texas.

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Volume 2, Number 50

Saint Mary's Matters

There was a good congregation for All Saints' last night.  It was a lovely evening in so many ways.  Robert Church played a wonderful recital before Mass (and finished with Alain's Litanies as a postlude!).  The Mass, well, it was Saint Mary's on All Saints'.  Has All Saints' Day ever not been observed with Solemn Mass in this building?  The fact of our worship and the character of our worship matters for us and for others.

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Volume 2, Number 49

Our Response

At the last meeting of the Board of Trustees I observed that the parish was really well organized for running a $200,000.00 a year deficit in the operating budget.  There is a deep emotional commitment to the common life at Saint Mary's among us who are here now.  But those of us who are here, however, are not paying our way and we are spending the capital that sustains this historic plant at an alarming rate.

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Volume 2, Number 48

Saint Mary's Stewardship 2001

In the pulpit last Sunday I suggested to the 11:00 AM congregation that the question for us is not the question the rich young man asked of Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"  The question for us is how healthy we want this part of the Body of Christ to be.  I reminded the congregation that the Body of Christ never exists primarily for itself, but to worship the Father and to serve others.  Saint Mary's certainly was not founded for itself.  And I believe that many, many people in our city will come to find Saint Mary's to be a place for Good News and new life in Christ.  I also believe that this will only happen if we are worthy of being this kind of place, a place where our hearts, our lives and our best love is given to Christ.

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Volume 2, Number 47

Music Search Committee

"Nothing is simple in New York," I have been told more times than I can count.  Certainly that has proved true for me as I have worked on music leadership for the parish.  At every step of the way there have been things to learn.  Progress is being made and I want to report to you about the process that has evolved to assist me in hiring the next music director for Saint Mary's.

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Volume 2, Number 46

On Dedication

Many of you know that I am a student of Family Systems Theory.  The basic idea is that one's family of origin has a lot to do with who we are and the way we deal with people.  Congregations are a lot like families.  The person who applied this theory to family systems theory was the late Edwin Friedman, a rabbi and a therapist who trained with Murray Bowen

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The first service in the unfinished first church of this parish was held on December 8, 1870.  This church was never consecrated during the twenty-five years it served as the home for our parish community.  The first service in the present building of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin was held on December 8, 1895.  It was consecrated four days later, December 12, 1895 by the Bishop of New York, the Right Reverend Henry C. Potter.

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Volume 2, Number 44

Being There

Monday was my day for visiting some of our homebound parishioners in New Jersey.  Unlike the last time, there was no rain!  In fact, it could not have been a more perfect day.  Marion Freise was in wonderful form, celebrating her 89th birthday.  She always tells me stories about Saint Mary’s and I always learn something new.  This time she told me about Father Taber. 

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Volume 2, Number 43

Change for Growth

Beginning Sunday, October 1, the 10:00 AM Sunday Mass will be celebrated at the high altar instead of the Lady Chapel.  It will be a simple sung Mass.  It must start at the stroke of 10:00 AM.  It must finish no later than 10:45 AM.  Fathers Shin and Breidenthal and I will be in the sanctuary for this Mass every Sunday.  The three of us will take turns as celebrant and preacher.  This will be a Rite II service.  Some of the readers of this newsletter will already know of this change from the new issue of AVE.  They will also know the reason: Parish Growth.

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Volume 2, Number 42

From Father Shin: Pilgrimage to the Land of Morning Calm

Still high from the smells and bells of the Assumption Mass and barely having said our good-byes, Amelia Rochester-Nagy and I left the church in a frenzy, got into a limo, and went straight to John F. Kennedy airport.  The limo ride was just long enough to calm us down, for we were about to take a “trip of our lives.”  We were headed to Seoul, Korea. 

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Charles Gaylord Mason, 1915 - 2000

“Full of life and energy and with a great sense of humor” is how anyone who knew Gaylord Mason would have described him.  He was born October 4, 1915 and was confirmed at Saint Mark’s Church in Green Island, New York.  He transferred to Saint Mary’s on February 5, 1985 and remained a faithful member of the parish.  He lived a few blocks away from the parish and belonged to the Actors’ Fund during his younger years. 

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Volume 2, Number 40

Of Parks, Priorities and Prayer

Monday I made myself go out for lunch.  It was a beautiful day, a perfect day weatherwise.  I went to Stella’s Delicatessen on West 44th Street, just off Sixth Avenue.  It’s a good deli.  Freshly roasted turkey on a roll, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise.  Bottled water (Maine).  Headed to Bryant Park.  Crowded.  Very crowded.  Found a chair and proceeded to enjoy my sandwich, my water and watching the park be so alive on such a beautiful day.

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Volume 2, Number 39


This newsletter is written primarily for members of the local parish community.  I think that others who read it can get a good sense of the life of the parish from it.  What will be hard for me to do in this article is to begin to convey adequately the grace of the solemn liturgy on the Feast of the Assumption.  Many special occasions have been celebrated in this church, yet I suspect Tuesday’s celebration was as glorious as any there have ever been

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