St Mary’s parish dates from 1848; its present structure was completed in 1905. Today it is one of ten Episcopalian parishes on Staten Island. This parish is dedicated to and named for Our Lady, the Blessed Mary, the woman chosen to be the Mother of God. A painting by the great Fra Angelico shows the Annunciation, the moment when the Incarnation was announced to her: that is, the news that God was taking human flesh within her womb. At the top of the picture is a quotation from the prophet Isaiah (vii14): Ecce virgo concipiet et pariet filium et vocabitis nomen eius Emmanuhel, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. At the bottom are words from St Luke’s account of the Annunciation (ii31), fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy: Ecce concipies in utero et paries filium et vocabis nomen eius IESUM, Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
In this parish we want to do what Our Lady did: to praise God, to make merry over His presence, and to bring forth Christ visibly into the world. We accept this destiny with joy: in Our Lady’s own words (Luke ii38), Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Ecce ancilla Domini!