The last week has been a wonderful whirlwind for me. I spent most of Christmas week with my family in Massachusetts, celebrating my Dad's 80th birthday and a Christmas celebration filled with joy.
I attended Mass at a small New England Church, Saint Andrew, in Billerica, Massachusetts. This is one of the three worship sites that make up a merged parish.
We attended the 4:00 P.M. vigil Mass. We arrived about 45 minutes early and got a third row seat. By 3:45, there were scores of people standing in the side aisles. The assembly's sung and spoken prayer was strong, stronger than I had expected. During the young priest's proclamation of the Gospel (he was ordained just a year ago), children processed up the main aisle and created a tableau of the nativity scene. The cuteness of these children, especially the little "lambs" tugged at my heart. Simply a prayerful, simple celebration of the nativity.
I was back in Chicago on Saturday and, while checking out my favorite internet sites, I discovered the review by James Frazier of WLP's new One in Faith hymnal over on the PrayTell blog. I have been asked to review short books before. I can't imagine what a daunting task it is to be asked to review a large hardbound hymnal and its accompaniments. I thought the review was a good one. I appreciated the care in which Mr. Frazier commented on the various elements of the hymnal itself. As with any reviewer, Frazier uses the review itself as a jumping off point to make some comments about the state of Roman Catholic music in general; this is not uncommon, but has less to do with the hymnal itself. Our staff, who has worked so hard on this hymnal project, was delighted with Mr. Frazier's final comment:
A Mature Guide
Kudos to the WLP hymnal committee for providing the church with so worthy a “worship aid” as One in Faith. The book presents today’s congregations with a mature guide into a distant future.
On Sunday, I attended Mass at 11:15 at the beautiful Saint Clement church here in Chicago. Yes, I am still on my quest for a parish home, and 2015 will be the year during which I finally settle somewhere. Some photos of the interior:
Their "Advent-turned-into-Christmas" suspended wreath is absolutely stunning:
You can see it suspended above the font in the other photos.
Well, followers of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray, thank you for reading these musings throughout 2014. I am traveling less frequently in 2015, so I will be more dilgent about regularly posting here.
I hope that 2015 opens with a renewed effort at making peace in our hearts, in our families, and in our world.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.