13th Sunday of the Year

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today is the 29th anniversary of the ordination to the diaconate of the Reverend Mr. George Tierney. Deacon George has served faithfully in the ministries of Word, sacrament and charity these three decades minus one – both at St. Mary Magdalene, Simpsonville and at St. Mary’s, and we are deeply grateful for his generosity and witness to the Lord Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve. Congratulations, Deacon George, on your 29 years of ministry, and we look forward to celebrating with you next year the 30th anniversary of your ordination.

Today is also the end of five years of service to our parish by Robert Lee, our extraordinary organist. Robert is moving to Louisville, Kentucky as organist at a large Episcopal church, and we wish him Godspeed in this transition. The celebration of liturgical prayer is a unique art form that requires years of practice to do well, and even then both the clergy and the musicians must have an instinct for how to blend the pieces of ritual and music if the whole is to be more than the sum of the parts. In more than twenty years of priestly ministry, I have never worked with an organist in a more satisfying collaboration than with Robert, and I shall greatly miss his expert hand (and foot!) at the organ. Thank you, Robert, for the gift of music which you have shared with us these five years.

Please join the Community of St. Anselm for Evensong this afternoon at 5 pm. This celebration of the evening sacrifice of praise from the Anglican patrimony is a beautiful way to pray, and all are invited. Fittingly enough for an Anglican musician, this afternoon’s Evensong will be the last liturgy accompanied here by Robert Lee.

Last week I mentioned that four sons of St. Mary’s have been ordained to the priesthood in the past decade and then acknowledged that Father Dwight Longenecker and Father Jon Chalmers (both married former Anglican priests) had also been ordained here. Father Chalmers pointed out to me that, although he is a priest of the Ordinariate rather than our diocese, he was nonetheless received into full communion with the Catholic Church and confirmed at this parish – thus making him a true son of St. Mary’s no less than the other four. So, at Father Chalmers’ insistence, we’ll gladly raise our tally to five.

Our three candidates for the permanent diaconate (Nestor Acosta, Joe Sanfilippo, and Tom Whalen) are scheduled to be ordained next February on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. But even before then, the Community of St. Anselm will celebrate the diaconal ordinations of their two candidates (Dr. Clark Brittain and Evan Simington) in October, and it will be our honor once again to host that ordination Mass. I am told that there is a shortage of vocations to the ordained ministry in the Catholic Church, but there is no evidence of that at St. Mary’s.

Father Newman