Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Meet Sister Mary Jordan

June 7, 2016

This Dominican sister of Mary Mother of the Eucharist will be coming our parish (along with Sister Stephanie Spor) to lead next week’s Vacation Bible Camp. In former days, she was a video blogger under the handle SheIsCatholic. Enjoy:

Remedial Kant

January 26, 2016

I produced this seminary skit in 2009. It’s not only funny, it’s (a little) educational, too.

Our philosophy teacher (of Spanish origins) had never heard the Mahna Mahna song before, so it took some clever editing to get her to “just say ‘phenomena.'”

A Christmas Lessons & Carols Program

December 23, 2014

1st Reading : The Christmas Proclamation
1st Song : “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
2nd Reading : The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem
2nd Song: “Away in a Manger”
3rd Reading : The Shepherds are Heralded by Angels
3rd Song: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
4th Reading : The Shepherds Come to the Manger
4th Song: “O Come All Ye Faithful”
5th Reading : The Shepherds Go Forth Rejoicing
5th Song: “Joy to the World”

Christmas Lessons & Carols Readings & Songs
Christmas Lessons & Carols Songs Only

 

 

Let Advent Be Advent — 2nd Sunday of Advent—Year A

December 5, 2010

John the Baptist was living quite differently compared to people in his day. What he wore was different, what he ate was different, and what came from his lips was also different. Yet, John shared something in common with us today. Like Christians in this season of Advent, John knew that the Christ, or Messiah, had already been born, years before in the past. Like us, what John was preparing for was the coming of Christ anew.

That’s the reason why in Advent, in this season of awaiting the Messiah’s arrival, John the Baptist is so prominently featured in our Sunday Gospel readings, like today’s. By looking at John we can learn how to prepare ourselves for Christ’s arrival. As I mentioned before, John was rather different from his neighbors in his day. Today I suggest that we in the Church need to be a bit more different from everybody else if we want to prepare better for Christ’s coming this year.

What did John do with all that time alone in the desert, when he wasn’t out preaching or baptizing? Surely, John was praying, asking for grace and contemplating the one who was coming. The desert is a quiet place, free of distractions, and conducive to prayer. The world can make this month before Christmas a very stressful time. This Advent, you must find a desert, a quiet place, free from distractions, where you can pray each day. Create a daily desert space for your own family as well and prayer together as one. You cannot prepare well for Christ’s coming without daily prayer and the peace it gives.

What did John eat in the desert? He ate locusts, or grasshoppers, and wild honey. The wild honey may sound pretty sweet, until you realize that it was guarded by wild bees. John ate simply. Our meals in Advent should be simple too. You know how it is at Easter, when you enjoy what you gave up for Lent again for the first time? You find yourself enjoying what you denied yourself more than ever before. Then just think of how much greater your Christmas feasting will be if you eat more simply in Advent. (Besides, if you fast or diet now, there will less pounds to lose next year.)

John dressed differently than other people in his day. He wore a garment made of camel’s hair and tied a leather belt around his waist. He dressed like the Old Testament prophet Elijah because he wanted people to know that these were special days. You can also dress in ways that witness to the world that these are special days. One way to do this is to dress liturgically. As you can see, the main color of Advent is purple. If you have purple outfits or ties, now is their season.

By the way, this Wednesday, December 8th, is a holy day of obligation and Christ is asking you to attend the worldwide feast in honor of His immaculately conceived mother. On such a day, intentionally wearing blue or white would honor her. Try dressing liturgically and you’ll find that it reminds you and others of what makes these days special.

What came from the lips of John was different, and despite the large crowds, whatever he spoke was not for himself but for Christ. This year, wish people “merry Christmas” instead of “seasons greetings,” and instead of “happy holidays,” say “happy holy days,” for by this you give witness to the true reason for the season.

John knew that he must decrease and that Christ must increase, for John himself was not the light but had come to give testimony to the light. In the world, the Christmas songs have already begun on the radio and the Christmas trees are all up and lit in the malls, but the day after Christmas their songs will stop and their decorations will be taken down. But as the world is packing Christ away for another year, the Church is just beginning its celebration. You know the “twelve days of Christmas?” On Christmas day, the twelve day begin, not end. Like Easter, the Church celebrates not just one day, but for weeks after.

This year, let Advent be Advent, and save Christmas for Christmas. Sing Advent songs for Advent, and (as much as possible) save Christmas carols for their time. I suggest leaving your Christmas lights, on your tree and on your house, unlit during Advent. Then, when you plug-in at last on Christmas Eve, you shall enjoy a joyful sign that the light of the world has come.

St. John the Baptist calls to you through the Scriptures. I encourage you here, before you. And I hope the Holy Spirit is now prompting you, in your hearts and minds, to keep Advent as Advent this year, and to prayerfully prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas more profoundly than you ever have before.

We’re in a Hurry — 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year C

July 18, 2010

The other day I was thinking about this homily when I heard the words of some modern poets on my radio. They said:

I’m in a hurry to get things done,
Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun.
All I really gotta do is live and die,
But, I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.

This goes to show that we still have a Martha problem today. The group Alabama said that they didn’t know why we get in a hurry, even though we’re not having fun, but I think I know the answer. The reason is that our loves and good desires are mixed with fears. If we would take that fear away, we would find peace.

Martha loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him well, but she had fears mixed in. She was the one who invited Him to the house and He probably had His apostles and other disciples with Him. She was busy serving them all, perhaps making the biggest meal she had ever made, and she was full of worries. “What if I’m a poor host and Jesus is disappointed with me? What if there’s not enough food for everyone to eat?”

We are often the same way. We fear that our lives are on the edge of disaster if our own plans and efforts should fail. We worry about bad things happening to ourselves and the people we love. We are anxiety about how Jesus feels about us.

Martha had a great desire to do good, but Martha’s fear tempted her to do harm. Her sister, Mary, was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to His words. (The Greek word for disciple actually means “one who sits at the feet of.”) Martha tries to take Jesus’ disciple away from Him.

Similiar thing can happen in our live on account of fear mixed with love. A husband and father can obsess about his work, out of a love for his family and a desire to provide, but his family can be left feeling like they come second in his life. A wife and mother can be so concerned that her loved ones will be safe and happy that she tries to control everything, making her family less happy because of it. Martha’s problem and ours is not that we work–work is a part of life–but in how we go about it.

Jesus says to Martha, and to us, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing.” What is this one thing we need? We need the peace of Christ. What is the peace of Christ? It is several things.

It is the awareness that God is near and guiding us. In the first reading, three heavenly visitors approach outside of Abraham’s tent. Now, the Holy Spirit dwells within our tents, Jesus is at our side, and we have a Father above. We are never left on our own.

With the peace of Christ we recognize that whatever may happen to us or those we love, it is for our good. As St. Paul observes in the second reading, even his sufferings are a cause for rejoicing for they advance the salvation of the whole Church with Christ.

With the peace of Christ we recognize that misery is not just around the corner, nor is happiness out of reach. Happiness is at head, in the knowledge that Jesus loves us, likes us, cares about us, and cares for us. Living in the peace of Christ means there is no reason for us to be unhappy.

Let us continue to do works of love for God, ourselves, and others, but let us do them always in the peace of Christ.

An Original Marian Hymn

June 3, 2010
Hail Mary, with God You Found Favor
by Father Victor Feltes
 

Set to the tune Rendez a Dieu, (audio, sheet music ) as in “Father, We Thank Thee who has Planted,” or “When John baptized by Jordan’s River.” For use with permission only.

Hail Mary, with God you found favor,
preserved from sin and filled with grace;
prepared as gate for our Creator,
and new Eve for our human race.
“Let it be done to me as you say,”
you told the angel God had sent;
becoming mother of our Savior,
and new ark of the covenant.
 
Hail Mary, mother of all Christians,
you stood by Christ the day He died.
Now you reign as our queen in heaven,
enthroned beside Him glorified.
Blessed are you among all women
and blessed is your fruit adored.
Pray for us Mary, now and always,
to ever love your Son, our Lord.

Approved for use in the Mass in the Diocese of La Crosse by (then) Bishop Jerome Listecki in August 2009.

God’s Favorite Instrument — Tuesday, 6th Week of Easter

May 11, 2010

What is God’s favorite musical instrument? Harps? Organs? Bongos? I believe it is the instrument He created Himself, the one which He loved so much that He gave one to each of us for free–the human voice.

God is pleased when we sing for Him. St. Augustine said, “The person who sings prays twice.” Some people say this is because singing adds melody to our words of prayer. But it could be that a person sings twice because singing enlists the heart to join in the prayer of the mind. Singing lifts up our hearts to the Lord.

In today’s first reading, the missionaries St. Paul and Silas get beaten and stripped. They are locked in prison with their ankles placed in stocks. Things are at their darkest and most difficult time, but the night finds them not only praying, but singing hymns. This lifts their spirits, shakes loose their bonds, and pours out grace on that place. Singing makes a difference.

Maybe you feel like coming to our weekly school Masses is like being led somewhere in shackles. But if you must be here either way, why not make the most of it? Singing at Mass (and I mean really singing) is liberating, and a gift to God. 

If God has blessed you with a beautiful voice, sing strongly, as if to say to God, “You gave me this gift, and I offer it back to you.” If He has not blessed you with a good voice, you should still sing boldly, as though to say, “You gave me this voice, and I’m going to let you have it.” Your voice is God’s favorite instrument. So at this Mass and at every Mass, let Him hear it.