I told you I'd give you an update on our Concert for the Missions from last week. This is the first time we've actually held the concert on a Friday night, and save for a few disgruntled guests from Southern California who approached me at Sunday mass, I really think the Friday evening slot is a keeper! Although we went head-to-head with the Notre Dame Glee Club and another big "guy group" (ever heard of "Straight No Chaser?"), the church was full of people eager to hear the Folk Choir.
The focal point of the concert was our continued efforts to celebrate Ireland and help raise consciousness about the faith plight of that country at present. To that end, here are a few words that I shared with the assembly:
"Notre Dame is a singular University, for many reasons. Here is one: where some schools may choose as a figurehead some Greek warrior, or a bird, or an animal, we have chosen a culture as our namesake – the Irish culture. We call ourselves the Irish of Notre Dame. And often I wonder: is our commitment to that culture only found with a mascot, on a football field on a Saturday afternoon?
Ireland needs our help, help to rebuild her church. It is a difficult thing to admit, but they do need it. We have seen it. And we can do something about it. For the past three years, graduating members of the Folk Choir having been working at a new initiative; they have created a lay volunteer community called the House of Brigid, in the Diocese of Wexford, Ireland. Even after three years, their efforts have been legion: they’ve helped bring young children back to the church through sacramental preparation; they’ve formed new choirs in their host parish; they’ve extended their reach far beyond the confines of Wexford, to their entire diocese, teaching new songs and preparing other leaders in liturgical formation; they’ve been sought after for liturgical work as far away as Dublin and Country Galway. And just this year, they were chosen as leaders for World Youth Day in Madrid, chosen to lead their Irish diocese’s young people to meet the Holy Father."
Thanks to all of you who came out for the concert! And to those of you who pray for us, as we make our song heard both here and abroad.