The Angelus

Volume 5, Number 52

Christ the King

I was making a short retreat at Saint Gregory’s Abbey when I met a priest who had been a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission in 1976.  The adoption of a new Prayer Book requires the action of two successive General Conventions.  The 1979 Prayer Book, the one we have today, had to be complete by a date and time certain during the 1976 General Convention.  The priest told me they stayed up through

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Volume 5, Number 51

An Annual Report of Sorts

The Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s will be meeting on Monday night, November 17.  For those new to the community, Saint Mary’s is one of a small number of Episcopal parishes in the United States not organized in the ordinary way.  It is a structure that has its strengths and weaknesses,

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Volume 5, Number 50

From Father Beddingfield: Wisdom and the Body

I’ve been thinking a lot about wisdom lately.  Any search for wisdom risks arriving at a point of frustration where we might agree with the writer of Ecclesiastes, “In much wisdom is much vexation, and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.”  Nevertheless, those of us involved in the current Wednesday night Christian formation series are plodding forward. 

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Volume 5, Number 49

November at Saint Mary’s

The first day of November is All Saints’ Day.   This year it occurs on a Saturday.  And as is our custom, the principal service for the feast will be Friday evening at 6:00 PM.  On the most sacred days, the Church still reckons time as Jesus did.  In the Hebrew calendar, the day begins at sunset.  All Saints’ is the day the Church remembers with thanksgiving those who have died in Christ, especially those whose names are no longer known to us, and asks for their intercession for us.

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Volume 5, Number 48

From Father Beddingfield:  A note about Confession

Increasingly, we have people from many different religious backgrounds who find Saint Mary’s.  For many, our building and what we do inside raise questions.  Very often, I find that the confessionals at Saint Mary’s (those wooden booths at the back of the church and down the side aisle) provoke some of the more interesting conversations.  People ask, “You don’t still use those, do you?” 

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Volume 5, Number 47

Saint Mary’s Matters

When I think about the future of our parish and its mission I cannot help but be aware of what a unique place of worship Saint Mary’s is.  I am aware, and many who read this newsletter may not be aware, that liturgical formation has virtually disappeared from the seminaries of the Episcopal Church.  I don’t expect this to change anytime soon.

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Volume 5, Number 46

More is Better

This past Sunday’s celebration of the Feast of Dedication was great.  A lot of things go into making such a day so powerful at Saint Mary’s.  It’s a day when it is so easy to see the hard and committed work of those who are here and of those who were here before us.

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 Volume 5, Number 45

The Dedication of the Church

As far as I can tell, the anniversary of the dedication of Saint Mary’s church building has never been celebrated on the actual anniversary.  The church was consecrated by the Right Reverend Henry Codman Potter, bishop of New York, on December 12, 1895.  Yet the first service had already been held, on December 8, 1895.  Beginning in 1896, December 8 was celebrated as the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church.

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Volume 5, Number 44

A Lovely Gift

The Reverend Gene Paradise is a longtime friend of Saint Mary’s.  He is presently associate for senior pastoral care at Saint Luke’s Church, Atlanta, after having retired as rector of Saint Michael’s Church in Waynesboro, Georgia and after serving the Church in many positions since ordination in 1983.  Father was a member of Saint Mary’s from 1963 through 1967.  He’s been here several times since I’ve been rector.

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Volume 5, Number 43


On Saturday, September 20, John Beddingfield is to be ordained priest at the Cathedral.  I met John shortly after I arrived in New York.  He invited me to dinner on Sunday night, February 28, 1999.  He told me something about himself, he spoke of his hope that he might be called to priesthood in this Church, and he asked me if I thought he might be a postulant for Holy Orders from Saint Mary’s.

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Volume 5, Number 42

Holy Cross Day 2003

For liturgical Christians in the United States and elsewhere, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, August 6, does not stand by itself.  August 6 is the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  The mystery of war and victory is with us on that day whether the preacher mentions it or not.  I cannot hear the gospel account of the Lord being transfigured by light without remembering how terrible and high the cost of peace in this world is.

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Volume 5, Number 41

Liturgical Things

I happened to be in Rome this spring on the weekend that a prominent group of Roman Catholics was gathering at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to celebrate a solemn Mass using the rite of the Roman Church on the eve of Vatican II. 

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Volume 5, Number 40

September 11, 2003

Earlier this year when plans were being made in the church office for the fall I had thought that there would be no special services at Saint Mary’s this year on September 11.  I expected us to do the regular Masses of the day with a commemoration of the departed during the Prayers of the People.  I now realize the pastoral need for us to do something more.

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Volume 5, Number 39

Assumption at Saint Mary’s

Shortly after 8:00 AM on Friday, August 15, electric power returned to Times Square.  A few minutes later two of our sextons, who had spent the night here – and would spend a second night here because transportation would still be a problem, opened the doors. 

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Volume 5, Number 38

Lectionary Learning

Saint Mary’s continues the celebration of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer (otherwise known as “The Daily Office” or, more simply, “The Offices” or “The Office”) in a fairly traditional parochial way.  Except on Saturday mornings (when the church doesn’t open until 10:00 AM), Morning and Evening Prayer are offered daily.  Along with the Daily Office, at Saint Mary’s there is a Daily celebration of the Eucharist.  A lot of Scripture is read, prayed and proclaimed every day here.

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Volume 5, Number 37

This week at Saint Mary’s

My office is in one of the galleries that overlooks the parish hall.  This morning there is the sound of construction in the third floor office above me and the sound of carpentry coming from the organ gallery next to my office.  The balustrade in the organ loft required rebuilding.  During his first summer at Saint Mary’s, Robert McCormick leaned over the rail and it leaned with him.  The internal wooden supports have been well used since 1895.

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Volume 5, Number 36

Parish Clergy

Several weeks ago I sat down with a committee to show them the letters of application and resumes I had received for the position of “Curate: Assistant for Liturgy and Education.”   I showed the committee how I had sorted through them, saying there were two people I wanted to interview.  Then I added a blank sheet of paper.  “This represents someone who hasn’t yet finished seminary.”

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Volume 5, Number 35

Looking Ahead

During my first summer in New York a friend remarked to me how important it was to work hard during the summer here because if one didn’t, the fall would be impossible.  I have certainly found this to be true.  It doesn’t seem to slow down except when one manages to get out of town.  Planning for the fall at Saint Mary’s is well under way and the calendar is filling up.

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Volume 5, Number 34

Faith of our Fathers

There are many wonderful ironies in life.  One of the great church hymn ironies is the use of the hymn “Faith of our fathers! living still” by Protestant Christians.  The text is by Frederick William Faber (1814-1863).  Ordained in the Church of England in 1837, he became a Roman Catholic in 1845.  This was one of his early hymns as a Roman Catholic.  The “faith” of which the hymn speaks is Roman Catholicism which still survived in England “in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword.”  The original verse three (always omitted from our Hymnal) reads:

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Volume 5, Number 33

Summer Transitions

Father Matthew Weiler leaves for vacation on Saturday, July 12.  He will return for one more week with us in August.  He will celebrate and preach the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Masses on August 10.  His last day with us will be Friday, August 15, the Feast of the Assumption.  Father will begin an S.T.M. program at the Yale Divinity School in September.

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