So it is day four of our trip through Florida, and we headed up to the Panhandle, where it is a balmy 22 degrees. (When we left Winter Park in the morning, it was 62, so go figure!)
Pilgrimages of the Folk Choir are put together more than a year in advance, so of course we had no way of knowing what would transpire on January the sixth of 2014.
In the old liturgical calendar, January 6th was the Feast of the Epiphany. But in the new calendar, the one marked by Gods of the Sporting World, it meant final day of the BCS, the National Championship Football Game between Florida State and Auburn University.
And here we are, a few hours down the road from both of them, offering a concert of sacred music on what was supposed to be an average Monday night at the beginning of January.
For those who work at the University of Notre Dame, football is The Other Liturgy, so we're pretty familiar with navigating our way around this strange, national obsession. Saturdays are completely lost, whole seasons are defined by the thing. And yet it is craved by all Americans, and an intimate part of the identity of an academic institution, like it or not.
So I was keeping my expectations pretty low on a night when we'd be lucky if the janitor was going to show up for our concert!
Instead, we had a wonderful assembly of several hundred people, and a generous collection handed over to Catholic Relief Services for help in the Philippines. Oh me of little faith. Even in the demilitarized zone between these two football powers, people still had it in their hearts to show up for a concert of sacred music.
And then we got home, late that night, to find out that somehow the Seminoles had pulled it out in the last couple of minutes.
And all I could think was – I wish that had been us on that field!
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