Monday, March 1, 2010

Back On the Bench - Sunday at St. James on Wabash

Happy Monday of the Second Week of Lent to one and all.

I was privileged yesterday to be the musician at my own parish, St. James, for the two Sunday Masses. Here's a link that will take you to yesterday's parish bulletin.

Since we moved into the parish hall for Masses about a year ago (the city's building department closed our church in order to study its structural integrity), the singing of the assembly has really improved. We are all closer to one another and the acoustics in the hall are quite fine. I took this photo from the "stage" of the hall yesterday, to give you a peek into our space for worship. Near the entrance (where the people are standing) is the baptism font; altar is obviously in the center; ambo is in the foreground just to the right. Celebrant and deacon sit in wooden chairs just to the right of the ambo. The choir is placed just to the left of the piano. This is one of those classic Catholic school halls that functioned as an auditorium, a gymnasium, and a meeting space. There is a full kitchen just behind those hanging green rubber mats on the far left wall.

The parish has hired a new music director, who will begin his ministry with us on Palm Sunday. In the meantime, my colleague (and supervisor) Mary Prete here at WLP and J. S. Paluch, and I will be leading the community's music for the balance of Lent and the Triduum. As I sat there playing and singing yesterday, I realized how much I miss doing this. I was a full-time director of liturgy and music in parishes in Florida and Illinois for fifteen years. When I earned the doctorate in 1999, and the editorial position opened here at WLP, I knew in my heart that it was time for a change. I do some substitution work now and again, but it was great to work with the choir (many of whom I am getting to know) yesterday. I am looking forward to our rehearsal on Thursday night.

This is "high season" for church musicians. Might I make a suggestion? This coming Sunday, make it a point after Mass to thank your parish musicians for all they do to lead you closer to the Lord through the ministry of music.

Tomorrow—for "New Translation Tuesday"—I will be offering some commentary on Bishop Arthur Serratelli's recent article in America magazine. If you haven't yet had a chance to read it, here's a link to the article.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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