Whew! Christmas is over, and it seems like Lent is just around the corner. These are joyous times for me as a music director: it is joyous indeed to be in the thick of the liturgical year.
This Lent I have decided to unveil a new setting of the Mass Ordinary that I wrote for this parish a year ago (see my “compositions” page for PDFs of the music). We will be singing it for the season of Lent, without the Gloria, of course, which makes the task of teaching and learning it much more doable, instead of doing it all at once. Please join me (ALL are invited!) and the adult choir and cantors at 1pm on Saturday, January 27th for a workshop on congregational singing: I will present and teach this Mass setting to all who wish to attend. I hope and pray that you will find it enjoyable and meaningful to sing. It is one of the chief joys of my life as a musician to be able to share my compositions with my brothers and sisters in Christ and to be able to sing them together for the worship of the Almighty.
I have named this Mass setting Mass in Honor of Saint John of the Cross, which has a personal story behind it. I wrote this Mass setting while I was going through RCIA. During the period of my conversion to the Catholic faith (which took about seven years), I went through a period of spiritual darkness and depression, during which I discovered the poetry of Saint John of the Cross. His poetry speaks powerfully of the spiritual gloom and trials he experienced. His poetry was instrumental in drawing me to the Church. During RCIA, I learned that his feast day is on my birthday: December the 14th! This made my connection to him even stronger, and I dedicated the music to his memory. The music of this Mass setting is a response to my spiritual darkness in the context of converting to the faith and learning about the life of a true saint. I pray that the music I have written will assist the liturgy at our parish in a way that will reach the hearts of many, enriching them in the worship of the One who surrendered His Life to the darkness…and the darkness has not overcome it!