Happy Monday of the Second Week of Easter to all. I spent the weekend in Kansas City and Saint Joseph, Missouri, presenting two WLP choral reading sessions to the fine singers in the diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph. The first session took place at the diocesan cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which has recently undergone a wonderful renovation, pictured here (second photo). The second took place at St. Francis Xavier parish in St. Joseph. This diocese has obviously had good musical leadership over the years, given the fact that all who attended the choral reading sessions were terrific sight readers. What a blessing for me, the "stranger in their midst." We were able to sing through twenty-five pieces of music and all were impressed by the breadth of choral music we publish here at WLP. YOu can always contact Sister Joan Thomas here at WLP to request a WLP choral reading session in your area. It was a heart-warming weekend. I was able to spend time with Sr. Claudette Schiratti, who directs music for the diocese. She took me to the World War One Memorial Museum, which was a great experience, worth a visit to Kansas City. We also spent time at Visitation Parish, one of the finest new churches I've seen in North America. It is pictured here (first photo).
While walking into St. Francis Xavier Church in St. Joseph for the Noon Mass yesterday, the crowd from the previous Mass was leaving the Church. One man walked out of church with his family, looked at another parishioner and said, "Boy, my spirits have just been lifted!" What a great testament to the liturgical life of that parish. Spirits can only be lifted if we enter the liturgy with our whole being, with spirits high and spirits low. I firmly believe that God wants to work a miracle of transformation within each of us every single time we celebrate Mass. When I bring pain and disappointment to Mass with me, I know that God has something in store for me as those feelings are brought into contact with the death and resurrection of Christ. When I bring joy and gladness to Mass with me, I know that God punctuates those sentiments as my fellow parishioners lift their voices in joy with me. The liturgy has so much power; God has so much to offer us in our celebrations. We just need to do the "liturgical bunny hop" each week at Mass: "You put your whole self in!"
Listen to this snippet of "Gathered As One," a gathering song that really says it all. This music of Paul Tate and Deanna Light, two of WLP's most cherished composers, invites us all to join our many voices together in the celebration of the Mass.
I hope that this Second Week of Easter finds you still basking in the Resurrection of Christ. Gotta Sing! Gotta Pray!