Thursday greetings from a miserably cold and rainy Chicago.
Most mornings I travel to work with my carpooling colleagues. I take the train from downtown Chicago to Oak Park, then we travel through River Forest. River Forest is the town where Anne Smedinghoff grew up. She was the young woman killed this week in Afghanistan while delivering books to a school. A memorial service was held yesterday for Anne at the Catholic high school she attended, Bishop Fenwick High School.
We were amazed by what we saw as we drive through Rver Forest this morning. Thousands of white ribbons had been tied around most of the trees in the town. Took this photo from my back seat perch.
What a tragic loss for Anne's family and the community where she grew up.
On a completely unrelated note, I noticed on Facebook last night that one of my former childrens' choir members posted a photo of me. This was taken some time in the middle 1980's at the first parish at which I was music and liturgy director, Saint Mary Magdalene Parish in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Even though I had just completed eight years in the seminary in Boston (I was obviously not ordained), I always refer to my time at Saint Mary Magdalen as my "real schooling." This is where my passion for the potential for the RCIA was ignited and nurtured. This is where I learned the role of ritual music. This is where I learned how choral music can reach deeply into the hearts of the assembled worshippers. This is also where I learned many of my own limitations. I look back fondly on my time at Saint Mary Magdalene. And, franky, I can't believe I was ever this young!
Please watch the blog over the next several days as I share some exciting news about an upcoming trip designed to plan a future pilgrimage that I hope to be leading . . .
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.