As some of you may know, I am a New Englander by birth. I was born in the "whaling city," New Bedford, Massachusetts, and grew up in the Boston area, spending many summer days at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. Today's Boston Globe featured two stories, one about federal money being used to clean up New Bedford Harbor, and one about the citizens of Gloucester, who have signed a petition to have the famous "Gloucester Fisherman" statue become an image on quarters minted in the US in the coming years. The photo shown here is of that statue in Gloucester (courtesy of Keith Kalemba, one of our talented music editors here at WLP.)
As I read these stories about places close to my heart (and to my family in Massachusetts), I was reminded once again of the importance of my Baptism in my life. Last night I spoke with a large group of parents and teenagers at St. Anne's Church in Barrington, Illinois. I told the parents that they could do no better thing than to support and nourish the faith lives of their children. As I told the story of my own "pilgrimage" to St. Anthony's Church in New Bedford in order to visit the place and the font where I had been baptized, it occurred to me that the gift given to all of us in Baptism is one that needs to be nourished in order to thrive. The gift needs to be nourished by parents and other Christians. And perhaps most importantly, each of us needs to remain open, throughout our lives, to the fact that each day we need to live lives that echo the refrain the Church sings at Baptism: "You have put on Christ; in him you have ben baptized." Listen to a snippet of Chrysogonus Waddell's setting of this acclamation here.
In this Easter Octave, I am trying to live a life that echoes that acclamation. All around us, we are bombarded with messages that entice us to stray away from that life. It's not easy being a faith-filled Catholic today. The world tells us: "You gotta have this; you gotta have that; you gotta be number one; you gotta have the most toys." Our mantra, in the face of all of this—especially when we realize just how much God has done for us, and continues to do for us in the sacramental life—is the title of this blog: Gotta Sing Gotta Pray!
I hope Spring brings you much joy.