House of Brigid 2009-10

House of Brigid 2009-10

07 February 2010

From Ashes to the Living Font: A Pilgrimage through Lent

Yesterday, the three of us presented our final workshop for this year on music for Lent. Around 55 people attended the event, including Mary Prete of World Library Publications and her husband Peter, who flew in from Chicago to find out more about life in the House of Brigid.
We presented a total of 12 pieces to the participants: All Will Be Well (S. Warner), From Ashes to the Living Font (text: A. Hommerding, tune St. Flavian), Kyrie from Mass of Redemption (S. Janco), Psalm 51: Have Mercy on Me O Lord (S. Warner), Psalm 16: Harbor of My Heart (S. Warner), Where Charity and Love Prevail (M. Hill), Psalm 146: Whenever You Serve Me (S. Janco), Tree of Life (A. Thompson), Draw Near (S. Janco), I Received the Living God (Anon., arr. E. Coman), There's a Wideness in God's Mercy (Tune: In Babilone), and What Wondrous Love is This (Tune: Wondrous Love). While some of the pieces were specific exclusively to the Lenten season, we included several that would also be appropriate at various points throughout the Easter Triduum, as well as throughout the rest of the liturgical year.
I spoke at length about incorporating intentional silence into the liturgy during Lent, which is not only an odd thing to speak about at a workshop on music, but it's also a concept that often makes congregations uncomfortable; however, during a season of penitential introspection and conversion, silence can provide an apt moment for reflection that may not be possible or even welcome during any other time of the liturgical year. Silence provides a chance to let the liturgy breathe--to allow the congregation a moment to focus and listen intently and pray more intentionally. I also spoke about the use of alternate texts with traditional hymnody, presenting several texts that worked with one tune so that choirs and congregations could get more mileage from their music, so to speak.
I was so proud to see Chris and Martha take on more substantial portions in their presentations for this session: Chris spoke at length about the importance of singing the Kyrie during Lent, and Martha presented the three pieces we chose to highlight as appropriate selections for the Preparation Rite (Where Charity and Love Prevail, Whenever You Serve Me, and Tree of Life), speaking once again about helpful cantoring techniques. Both of them had wonderful insights and demonstrated just how much they've grown in their understanding of music ministry in the past five months. Not only that, but the participants themselves showed an increased enthusiasm for cultivating congregational participation at their parishes, and several directors told me afterward that they had successfully introduced all of the music from the Advent workshop to their parishes. It was once again an incredibly gratifying experience: the feedback from the evaluations was positive overall, and it was humbling to read how many people were moved and inspired not just by the music presented, but also by the fact that it was being presented by young people who were unafraid to witness to their faith. Following the workshop, the wonderful volunteers of Clonard Church once again laid out a meal for the participants, and between 20 and 25 of them were able to join our Vigil Choir to sing for the 7pm Mass.
All in all, it was once again a successful event, and we are so blessed to be working in a place where people are so welcoming to our presence and our thoughts on music ministry. We had a wonderful visit from Mary Prete throughout the week as well, and had a great time showing her and her husband some of our favorite aspects of living and working in Wexford. We are grateful to the staff of World Library Publications for providing the music for yesterday's session, and for their continuous support of our work here. We hope that we will continue to provide new resources for the music ministers of the Diocese of Ferns, and we pray that our workshops next year will be as successful as these have been.

1 comment:

  1. So glad it went well! I knew you guys would minister well. Still, thanks to God for the success of the event. Can't wait to see a couple of you this week! Travel safely!
    Fr. Dan Parrish, C.S.C.