Happy Friday to one and all.
For friends and colleagues in the Northeast, I hope that you are weathering this latest snowstorm. Our mantra here in the Midwest (where it is 18 degrees here now) is "Enough with winter, let Spring begin!"
Last night, I gave a talk at St. Anne parish in Barrington, Illinois, focused on the Catholic devotional life. I am actually giving this talk four times this week as part of St. Anne's Generations of Faith religious formation process. The parish has approximately 1300 people who attend the sessions over the period of one week. There are six sets of sessions scheduled throughout the year. I can't say enough about how I believe this is a great direction for any parish. A dedication to life-long faith formation through programs such as Generations of Faith can really help a parish embrace solid principles of catechesis and conversion. Kudos to the many, many people at St. Anne's who make this opportunity possible for so many parishioners. Here's a photo of the interior of this stunning church:
My presentation was made in the context of Vespers. We celebrated a lucernarium, or "service of light" at the beginning of Vespers. We sang Psalm 141 as the incense rose from the incense pot. I was able to spend time "breaking open" the ritual experience with the people. I love doing this kind of liturgical/mystagogical catechesis. This kind of reflection is simply not a part of the faith journey of most Catholics. It takes a bit of prodding to tease out the theology, but once the folks got used to the method, they were able to articulate the theology clearly.
As part of my presentation, I spoke about the cult of the saints in our devotional treasury. I brought my relic of St. Mary Magdalen along with me and placed it in a prominent location in the church. I was fascinated by the peoples' fascination with the relic. It prompted many questions. Most of the people knew what a relic was, but had very limited experience with relics.
I so enjoy doing these kinds of sessions. They help me keep my feet on the ground; they help me stay connected with life in the pews.
I am playing the two Masses at my parish, Saint James, on Sunday. A colleague here at WLP and I are are filling in for Lent and the Triduum until our new music director — yes, we did hire a brilliant young musician — comes on board after Easter.
I hope your weekend is a good one and that your celebration of the Second Sunday of Lent brings you closer to God's beloved Son.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.