The Angelus

Volume 4, Number 53

Christus Vincit

“Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, for there is no help in them,” (Psalm 146:3), says the Psalmist.  This Sunday the Church concludes its year with the celebration of the kingship of Jesus Christ, he who conquers, reigns and rules all from “before time and for ever.”  We believe in him.  He is our Savior.  He is the Lord. 

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Volume 4, Number 52

Our Parish Vocation

As far as I know, no biography of our founder, the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, has ever been written.  Considering the greatness of his vision for Christian life and mission, it is interesting that no one has ever studied his work.  I suspect that by now his papers have long disappeared.  We do have a record of his funeral and tributes that were written at the time by those who knew him well.

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Volume 4, Number 51

So Very Proud

There may have been another parish in the Episcopal Church that celebrated three Solemn Masses, one on each of the three great days which occurred last weekend; but I do not know of it.  Two great parishes in Washington, D.C., Saint Paul’s Parish, K Street, and the Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes, shared Solemn Masses on All Saints’ and All Souls’.  I suspect a handful of other parishes where the liturgical tradition has a primary role in shaping the common life of the local congregation will have done something similar.

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Volume 4, Number 50

By Signs and Words

“Poetry in Motion” is an advertising series in the subway sponsored by Barnes & Noble, Inc.  For several weeks now there has been a famous quotation from the end of T.S. Eliot’s The Four Quartets on many trains I have ridden.  I wonder if the person who decided to put it up realized it was a statement of Christian belief:

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Volume 4, Number 49

PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Sarah, Julia, Grover, Annie, Paul, Robert, Eileen, Gloria, Jerri, Myra, Tessie, Margaret, Marion, Olga, Rick and Charles, priest.  Pray for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Ned, David and John.  Your prayers are also asked for the repose of the soul of Mildred . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 31: 1964 Earl Brandt Bird; 1990: David Hessing; November 1: 1997 Mark Hamilton; November 2: 1957 Elsinore Janmott; 1958: C. Y. Wong; 1960: Mabel Amelia Hoover; 1970: John Arthur Schwartz; 1973: Howard Montague Smith; Doris White; 1976: Winona Claire Peterson; 1982: Robert William Kennedy; 1983: Marie Anne Andokian; 1987: Clasine A. Van De Geer.

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Volume 4, Number 48

Passion for Saint Mary’s

My correspondence with the wider community of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin began on Monday, December 7, 1998.  The Board of Trustees had elected me rector on Saturday, December 5.  The letter came from a retired bishop who lived in Arizona.  It was short, full of kind and supportive words.  He had mailed it on Saturday the fifth. 

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Volume 4, Number 47

Joining the Mystery

The Christian community assembles for the Eucharist so that an epiphany of the Lord’s death and resurrection may take place.  Our individual intentions are not always so clearly focused.  Many Christian communities on any day can have many ulterior motives for assembling.  But following the Lord’s commands, his plan for the salvation of the world and the traditions of the Church, Christians assemble to make the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ present in the world today.

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Volume 4, Number 46

Daily Adoring

One of the hymns most of us look forward to singing every year is “Only-begotten, Word of God eternal.”  The basic text has been in The Hymnal since 1940.  The last two verses were composed by the translator of this ninth century office hymn for the feast of the dedication of the church.  The translator and composer was Maxwell Julius Blacker (1822-1888), a priest of the Church of England. 

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Volume 4, Number 45


The first time I served as subdeacon I was a senior at Nashotah House.  Following English university practice (recall that the universities were Church institutions until the late nineteenth century), the fall term was called the “Michaelmas Term.” 

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Volume 4, Number 43

Evil Is Not Greater Than Life

A sermon preached by the Rector on Tuesday, September 10, at Solemn Evensong offered for the employees of Citibank, N.A. who were killed on September 11, 2001.

There is something profoundly unnatural and evil in the death of any human being by violence.  There are no words that can begin to express the enormity of the evil done to those who were killed on September 11 and the enormity of the evil done to their families,

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Volume 4, Number 42

From John Beddingfield: Requiem aeternam

Some years ago, while I was away at school, my grandmother died.  I had been fortunate in knowing all of my grandparents, but she had lived longest, and had watched me grow up.  When she died, I felt what I now recognize as typical aspects of grief.  I felt helpless in being so far away, I felt guilty for not having seen her more recently or been there when she died.  I was a little angry; I was sad. 

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Volume 4, Number 41

From Father Smith: Spending Time with Cyril

Since I joined the staff last summer many people have asked, “What exactly do you do when you are not here at Saint Mary’s?”  As many of you know, I am working on my doctoral dissertation and once the dissertation is finished, read, and approved by a committee of readers, I will be able-- at last-- to attend the Yale graduation, wear a doctor’s hood, and write the letters “Ph.D.” after my name.  The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (not the Divinity School) will grant the degree upon the recommendation of the Department of Religious Studies.  That is not just a bureaucratic detail.  My field of study used to be called “patristics,” the study of the writings of the Church Fathers, who lived and wrote in the post-New Testament period up to about AD 600.

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Volume 4, Number 40

From Father Weiler: Joy in Christ

Joy is that delight in life that runs deeper than pain or pleasure; biblically it is not tied solely to external circumstances.  Rather, joy is a gift of God, and it can be experienced even in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances.  Joy is a quality of life, not simply a fleeting emotion, but a consistent mark of both the individual believer and the believing community.  It is grounded in God as God, and flows from him.  Psychologically, one cannot experience joy while being preoccupied with one’s own security, pleasure, or self-interest.  Indeed joy flows outward towards others. It is simply too good to keep to one’s self.

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Volume 4, Number 39

A Mother’s Hope

My mother is never more happy than on those rare occasions when her three children are together.  This doesn’t happen very often.  My mother and stepfather live in Maryland.  My sister and her family live in Virginia.  My brother lives in Sweden.  But when we are together the particular bonds we share are so very apparent.  The love and relationship I feel with my sister and brother even when we are apart have become a model to me of the relationship all Christians are born into, through Baptism.

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 New York City’s reservoirs are at just over eighty percent of capacity.  The city is not in immediate danger of running out of water but adjustments must be made.  Sidewalks cannot be washed every morning.  Car rental agencies do not wash cars as frequently.  Restaurants do not automatically pour water for customers.  There are signs everywhere urging people to conserve water.  These are small inconveniences, even the dirty sidewalks.  What I really do miss are our beautiful fountains.

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Volume 4, Number 37

Prayers of the Assembly

The Prayer Book begins with a title page, a page with our Church’s certificate stating that it is The Book of Common Prayer.  (We use a certificate because the Church has never copyrighted her book in the United States.)  Then, there is a Table of Contents (widely overlooked), and two historic documents: the text of the Ratification of The Book of Common Prayer from the first American book and the Preface from that same book, adopted in 1789.  Next is found the really new and important restatement of the work of the Church today: “Concerning the Service of the Church.”

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Volume 4, Number 36


I’ve been jogging on the bridle path and around the Central Park reservoir a lot this summer.  For the first time since the summer of 1998, my knees and feet seem to be cooperating with my desire to jog.  I’m sure the gentle tracks of the bridle path and the reservoir are helping.  It takes me about 50 minutes to do a little more than 4 miles outside.

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Volume 4, Number 35

Always the Leader

The weekday guests were from the University of the South.  Observing the Calvary Shrine, with candles blazing before it, the visitor remarked, “That’s very catholic.”  Your rector responded – with a smile, “We think of it as very Episcopalian.”  The person’s eyes had the “new data” look in them.  I love it when someone suggests to me that the world is a bigger place than I had imagined it to be; I love it when I as a Christian can suggest to another that the world is bigger than he or she thought it was.  I hope our guest realized that the Episcopal Church is something larger than what she thought when she arrived.

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Volume 4, Number 34

Men in Black

Last Sunday Father Weiler, Father Smith and I went to lunch after the Solemn Mass.  I think this is the first time the three of us have tried to do this on a Sunday.  We went last week because it was the opportunity for the three of us to talk about plans for the fall and winter.  Father Smith had just gotten back from vacation.  Father Weiler leaves on Monday, July 15.  Carpe diem.

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Volume 4, Number 33

Community Spirituality

At the heart of this parish community is the massive and beautiful high altar.  Daily, members of this parish community and others gather near it to pray.  There are a very, very few occasions during the course of the year when perhaps one member of the clergy alone is present.  This is the exception instead of the rule.  Normally the parish clergy pray the Offices together with the assembly.  The Eucharist, of course,

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