We would like to invite you this Saturday to a special Mass in the “Extraordinary Form” for the Feast of St. Mark on the occasion of the Third Hispanic Heritage Pilgrimage sponsored by the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny.
The Mass: Saturday is the feast of St Mark. That calls to mind Venice, the Republic of St Mark. It recalls Alexandria, Egypt and the Christians of the East who face persecution and martyrdom at this very time. And, given the recent tragic events in that part of the world as well as those of 1915 so recently commemorated, we think of the alliance in 1571 between Spain and the Italian States – above all Venice – that confronted the peril emanating at that time from the power of the Ottoman Empire. This is the form of the Catholic Mass that would have been celebrated for the Christian forces.
The Church: Our Lady of Esperanza is indeed a special place: the second Spanish – language parish in New York, it was founded with the support of wealthy benefactors, Catholic and Protestant, before the First World War. Archer Milton Huntington, the founder of the Museum of the Hispanic Society next door, was one of these benefactors. He realized that a presentation of Spanish civilization would be radically incomplete without making room for the Faith that largely inspired it. This jewel-like church features numerous valuable artworks – paintings, statues, carved reliefs and a precious sanctuary lamp donated by the King of Spain – all dating from the era of the church’s foundation.
The Music: Performed by an expanded schola, the music will include compositions of the age of Lepanto by Italian and Spanish composers. The music will take advantage of the 3 balconies found in the Church of Our Lady of Esperanza to reproduce the polychoral effects composers like Giovanni Gabrieli achieved in the special layout of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, with its two choir lofts facing each other. Such polychoral effects were also employed by contemporary Spanish composers like Victoria. Saturday will be a rare opportunity to hear these compositions in a setting similar to that for which they were written.
The Museum: Located next to the church of Our Lady of Esperanza, the Museum of the Hispanic society has one of the most extraordinary collections of the art of the Iberian Peninsula in the world – including representative works of the main Spanish painters as well as unique medieval exhibits. Before the mass, there will be an opportunity to visit the museum (the doors open at 10:00AM.). After the mass, the Hispanic Society has graciously agreed to provide a guided introduction to their collection at 2:00 PM (note changed time!).
We look forward to meeting you this Saturday at 12 noon for this special occasion!
For directions to the Hispanic Society ( and the Church of Our Lady of Esperanza) see HERE.