All of our students have been staying with host families these past five days, and during that time, we've been able to hear the stories and take in the radical changes in landscape that have affected the Irish church over the past two generations. Even today, as I was having coffee with a fellow Irish musician, she commented to me upon the gathering you see above. "Steve," she said, "even ten years ago we would've had double the number of people in the cathedral that you saw last night. The drop-off has been that radical in participation in our church."
The picture above is from the Diocesan Send-Off for the International Eucharistic Congress, to be held in Dublin the second week in June, after we leave. We were honored to lend our voices and support to a diocese that has hosted us so cordially throughout the years, and Bishop Denis Brennan, ever eloquent, gave a magnificent reflection on just what this gathering means at this point in the history of Irish Catholicism. It is a time of profound challenge.
What we see when we sing from a loft is far more than stained glass. We are walking, not just as a journeying choir, but as people who have made the Irish our companions on the way.
Tomorrow, our travels take on an even more interesting twist, as we head deep into the West of Ireland, into Connemara and the Gaeltacht.
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