Monday greetings on this Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
The cross has been at the center of our scriptures both yesterday and today.
On Saturday, I was at Saint Thomas More parish in Elgin here in Illinois, giving a day long retreat to over 100 liturgical ministers and we did lots of talking about the cross in our lives. This group of dedicated ministers spent over six hours together on a beautifully sunny Saturday, sharing their faith and rededicating themselves to their ministries.
Yesterday, at Old Saint Patrick's in Chicago, the song we sang during the preparation of the gifts was Tony Alonso's We Should Glory in the Cross.
This community had not sung it before and they caught on to its great melody quite easily. Afterward, I spoke with the music director, telling her how appropriate it was for the day. She told me that the parish does not have a setting of this Holy Thursday entrance antiphon and rather than have it be a new piece this year at Holy Thursday, she decided to use it this week to get the community familiar with it. Gee, maybe that music director should write a book about creating a plan for parish music participation. Oh, wait, she already did!
These two days provided times for me to think about the crosses I have shared with Christ in my own life. I remember learning, mostly through my experiences at the RCIA institutes sponsored by the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, so much about the cross; as a sign of pain and suffering, and as a sign of victory. I shared some of my own experiences of the cross on Saturday with those ministers and yesterday gave me the opportunity, through the scriptures, preaching, and music, to know that my own Christian journey is one that I do not to alone. That brought me comfort and hope.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.