My weekend in Milwaukee was wonderful. Kudos to the Archdiocese for successfully bringing together over five hundred people from southeast Wisconsin for their liturgical congress. Fr. Ricky Manalo was the keynoter and did a wonderful presentation on liturgy and culture. I gave a workshop in the morning that was repeated in the afternoon, "RCIA: What Happens after the Easter Vigil." Here are two photos I took from the loft of the chapel at the Archdiocesan Center during morning prayer. The morning hymn was Lucien Deiss' classic All the Earth. It was simply glorious.
I ended up spending the entire weekend in Milwaukee, as a snowstorm whirled its way through the Midwest. Yesterday morning I went to the Cathedral of Saint John for Sunday Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. I have been to Mass several times there and have given talks at the cathedral on a number of occasions. The liturgy there is noble, simple, and beautiful. Michael Batcho, the music director, has done a wonderful job building an excellent music program. The renovation of this cathedral was not without controversy right after the turn of the century. I find the renovated space a place that helps me focus as a worshipping Catholic. Here are a few photos I took of the altar and of the sculpture above the altar. The winter sunlight streaming in was just beautiful.
The celebrant preached and presided well, with simplicity and care. The readers proclaimed God's word with conviction. At the end of each reading, a cantor sang "The word of the Lord" and the congregation responded "Thanks be to God" with full voice. The psalmist rendered the text beautifully and with great strength. The choir was superb. The organ playing supported our singing so well. The Mass began with the blessing of candles at the rear of the cathedral. The choir, with lighted candles in hand, was part of the procession after the blessing.
It was great to sing Richard Proulx's Gloria Simplex. This was the setting of the new translation I took with me all around the country for those years leading up to the implementation. Take a listen.
Being a baptism font "geek," I must say that the font in this cathedral is stunning.
So I was a happy and fulfilled Catholic over the weekend in Milwaukee. I will be flying to Seattle on Thursday to give some presentations to musicians and RCIA ministers, which will lead to the celebration of the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens at Seattle's cathedral on Saturday afternoon. This is also a recently renovated glorious space. I will be sure to take lots of photos there for your enjoyment.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.