Lent is underway! It’s hard to believe it’s already March. During the season of Lent, our Schola singers will be practicing every week. Pray that our rehearsals go well and that we are able to authentically and faithfully prepare the music for the worship of our Lord.
I mentioned this in a Flocknote to the music ministry, but I will mention it here as well: during the season of Lent, there is no instrumental music other than to support singing. This is appropriate to the penitential season of Lent because of the barrenness of the road our Lord travelled toward and during his Passion, and our participation in that road by the grace of God. There is a time to fast, and a time to feast – now is the time for fasting. This is also demonstrated in the removal of the closing song and replacing it with spoken prayer.
The scholas will be singing for the entire Triduum as is our custom. Mark down Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on your calendars: it is always such a blessed time of prayer and worship.
The Art Walk over at our school went very well: congratulations to all! As music teacher I want to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank all those students who presented piano pieces to the delight of all. The best thing I noticed was the spirit of encouragement and building each other up that I saw from the students. They were clapping for each other, hugging each other, and demonstrating an atmosphere of brotherly love and building one another up in their efforts to demonstrate what they have learned. It warmed my heart.
This Lent I have been meditating on these verses from Romans chapter 5:
“We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
May the joy of Holy Lent fill our hearts, enflame them with love, and establish in us the character which produces hope, for hope does not disappoint us.
Advent greetings! Over at the school the children are continuing to work hard, especially on their Advent songs for the upcoming Advent program on December 19th at 6pm. It is a joy to have the opportunity to teach at a school where faith is such a central party of the everyday routine. The children light up when I talk to them about faith and the salvation God has worked for us! It gives so much meaning to what we do. What a privilege to work in a Catholic school!
All are invited to join the adult and children’s combined choir for the 4:30pm Christmas Eve Mass. Please email or call/text me if you want to join! Rehearsal schedule will be sent out soon.
The men’s and women’s scholas are joining together for a combined choir Mass at 8am on December 16th! Their voices are really blending together well! God has blessed our community so much. I am grateful to be a part of it!
If you have ever been or are interested in being a cantor at Sacred Heart please let me know! I’m always looking to train new people and get them involved in the ministry here.
This past Saturday, March 3rd, we were overjoyed to welcome the Most Pure Heart of Mary Schola Cantorum from Topeka, Kansas to our church, under the direction of Dr. Lucas Tappan and assisted by Mr. Charlie Wulke. The Schola is truly astonishing in their dedication: practicing four days a week at 7am, they have achieved a true cathedral choir sound that reminded me of my visit to the boy choirs in London and Oxford. The Schola joined the Sacred Heart Children’s Choir for a lovely Mass that included the following selections:
Introit Antiphon, Lumen Christi Missal – Adam Bartlett
Kyrie from Mass IX, cum iubilo, plainchant
Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Acclamation, Lumen Christi Missal
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, traditional
Sanctus from Mass IX, cumb iubilo, plainchant
Memorial Acclamation, Agnus Dei, Mass in Honor of St. John of the Cross, yours truly
Agnus Dei, Josef Rheinberger, Missa Puerorum, Op. 62
God So Loved the World, John Stainer, Crucifixion
The choirs at Sacred Heart are now eagerly preparing for the Triduum!
Soli Deo Gloria!
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!
- This past Sunday morning the adult choir and children’s choir joined together to sing for Mass at 9:30am. Their hard work and service is much appreciated and well-received by the Sacred Heart community. Also, this past month saw the first Requiem Children’s Choir Mass at Sacred Heart for the funeral liturgy of Ignacio Tabares. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders of Sacred Heart School greatly blessed the Tabares family with the grace of their voices and their respect for the sacred nature of the occasion.
- The adult choir is doing well, and is looking for new members! Our rehearsals are on Thursday evenings at 7pm in the church choir loft. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the choir, please have them contact me at 620.794.5232. Please consider contributing your time to this important ministry that blesses our church community each week.
- There are other ways to get involved musically at Sacred Heart. Please join us for our rehearsal on Saturday, November 18th at Noon in the church choir loft to rehearse music for the special Advent Choir Mass on Saturday, December 2nd with the ESU Chamber Choir! Please put this date on your calendars: you won’t want to miss this special Mass.
- All the children of Sacred Heart School are working very hard on their music for the annual school Advent program. Please come on Wednesday, December 13th at 6pm to hear their angelic voices in a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
- Also, be aware that the Adult and Children’s choirs are always open to receiving singers who wish to sing for special occasions like Christmas Eve and Holy Week.
May God continue to bless our parish.
In nomine Domini,