Thursday, August 13, 2015

Paulist Center and St. Cecilia: A Marvelous Few Days in Boston

Thursday greetings from Springfield, Massachusetts, where the day is dry, sunny, and warm. I am here to help support three of WLP's finest: John Angotti, Bro. Mickey McGrath, and Mary Birmingham at the New England Convocation for Catechetical Leadership, which begins today.

On Tuesday evening I led the WLP Sing the Seasons Choral Reading Session in Boston at the Paulist Center. Over sixty marvelous musicians (and excellent sight-readers!) came and brought our music to life in a wonderful space with great acoustics. Here are a few photos I took of the Christ figure that is suspended in the space.

We were so pleased to have Richard Clark in attendance. He is the long-time music director at St. Cecilia in Boston. We recently published Richard's Communion Antiphons for Advent. Richard was able to lead us through a few of the antiphons. Be sure to listen to the sound clips of several of these antiphons on that same page.

Yesterday, Richard gave me the grand tour of Saint Cecilia's. The two pipe organs serve the singing assembly there so well. Richard's playing was superb and I so enjoyed being there; a place that when I visited there over thirty years ago was pretty dark and dingy. The renovation/restoration is quite stunning. It is now a bright and warm place. Here are some photos I took.

And a video of Richard Clark at the organ in the loft.

If you are ever in Boston and looking for a place downtown to go to Sunday Mass, be sure to check out Saint Cecilia's.

Looking forward to spending time here with the New England catechetical folks and our WLP folks as well.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Frederick (Fritz) Bauerschmidt said...

My son is beginning his first year at the New England Conservatory in a couple of weeks and I'm very excited that a parish like St. Cecelia's is close by.

Liam said...

Deacon Fritz

The 8AM Sunday Mass generally has no singing (Easter Sunday is an exception) but does have organ preludes, interludes and postludes. The 9:30AM is the major parish Mass (I normally attend it, except on first Sundays of the month, when baptisms are typically schedule, in which case I prefer the 8AM, as the pastor is, well, itchy with rubrics and I've gotten tired of wondering what I am going to be assenting to each month...) and has a wonderful schola under the direction of Richard Clark. The music is a mix. Richard's personal preferences are more classically liturgical than the pastor's, but they work things out.... The 11:15 Mass also has a different choir, and tends to be the preferred Mass for many former members of the Jesuit Urban Center than closed 8 years ago.

Denise Morency Gannon said...

I've written several feature articles on St. Cecilia's for Ministry and Liturgy Magazine, one of my area cornerstones for worship when I'm not ministering in a parish. One of my former students from Stonehill was studying at BU and became interested in Catholicism during his years as a member of my choir at Stonehill and then later when I introduced him to St. Cecilia's, where he was initiated and later married his wife. Interestingly enough, they found the Paulist Center and worship there still, even thought they continue to worship at St. Cecilia's on occasion.

My youngest child, now 25, began to worship at St. Cecilia's and joined their choir when she studied in Boston. Richard invited her to lead song several times in the parish and really just enjoyed being part of a wonderful community of people directed by an excellent musician. She introduced her fiance, a non-Catholic to the parish. He fell in love with the parish, which welcomes everyone without judgment. He was initiated at St. Cecilia's several years ago and they will be married in that church on Sunday, October 11 at the 11:15 am Sunday morning Mass, at my suggestion. This is one of the few parishes that I know who jumped at the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of marriage in the presence of the community. The Mass of the day will be celebrated with its collects, readings and usual music program. Two witnesses and a group of guests will join the community at Sunday worship. In my mind, this way an untapped jewel that we've yet to uncover for the 'nones,' the 'dones,' the 'sometimes' and regular church goers. Sacraments are meant to be celebrated in the presence of the community at public prayer. Why not a wedding? Thanks to St. Cecilia and the pastoral staff for a day we all look forward to in the near future. Stay tuned...