It's hard to believe that two years have passed since the introduction of the Roman Missal. (I don't know if this necessarily qualifies for "time flies when you're having fun...) At that time, all of us were in transition mode, figuring out how to respond to prayers without sounding like an idiot ("And also with you... your... spirit....ahem....uhhh") and maybe, with a little dumb luck, finally getting the Nicene Creed right from start to finish.
Well, that was then. And now, two years down the road, I'm tracking carefully what mass settings are being used where. It's important when the Folk Choir is on the road, because both for this weekend's Epiphany liturgies at Sts. Peter and Paul/Winter Park and next weekend's Baptism of The Lord masses at the Cathedral of St. Jude in St. Petersburg, we want to be mindful of what these communities are already singing, so that we can join them in prayer without meddling with their own musical and parochial landscape.
So, what to my wondering eyes (and ears) should appear, in preparing for these weekend liturgies? The parishes we're visiting are already using the Mass for Our Lady and the Mass of Charity and Love! And I happen to know a certain Folk Choir that knows these mass parts cold! Praise the Lord and pass the potatoes! One less batch of music to have to teach while we're on the road!
But that's only a part of the profound moments experienced by me and my colleague, Karen Kirner, when we were with these extraordinary people this weekend. Because it's one thing to write a mass setting and see it on the page, or know it in your head. It's another thing, completely, when you hear hundreds upon hundreds of people singing the Glory to God at the top of their lungs. (see the pic below... that's our Gloria up on the screen!) And that's what we experienced this weekend.
That kind of participation falls not into the category of happenstance. It is prepared for year by year, season by season. It was built up by wonderful musicians like Bill Brislin, who gave so many years of his creative life to building up the assembly song of the Orlando diocese. And now, at Sts. Peter and Paul, that mantle has been passed on to Paul Kusler, who, with grace and competency, has taken up where Bill and his colleagues left off.
We walked into this wonderful parish as strangers. But when everyone opened their mouths in prayer, we found out that we were completely united by song, even though we had never met. It was a remarkable thing, something never to be taken for granted.
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