Thursday, May 23, 2019

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”……….. ……..And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
  
Preamble to the Declaration of Independence 
of the United States of America


“To do a patriotic hymn or not”?

This is the question for church musicians on weekends such as this.

My answer is to include an appropriate song as the recessional or “song of sending”. My rationale: The priest or deacon proclaims “The mass is ended, go in peace.....” the song is the transition from one celebration to another.

The next, and possibly more important question; “What song to select”?

My process is to research and reflect on the holiday and select the song/hymn that best fits.

Memorial Day is a day we remember those who gave their lives in defense of the words and principles in The Declaration of Independence.

“Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” (#577) began as a hymn sung by northern soldiers during the civil war.   While the wars original catalyst may not have been the emancipation of the slaves, it did lead to an extension of what all men (and women) means in America.

Be sure to consider recent readings from the Book of Revelation as you sing Julia W. Howe’s text.

In gratitude to all who have served,

Bruce


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Note:  The bulk of this note was originally published 2 weeks ago when St. Mary’s celebrated the First Holy Communion of some of our second graders.  Today we celebrate with the rest of the class.

The words to today’s offertory song are both simple; “there is a place for the sadness,” and profound; “when prejudice poses as freedom.”  Each phrase ends with the song’s title “Hold On To Love.”   Here are a few verses that did not make the song:

When cars cut me off on the turnpike…….hold on to love.
When frustration makes me want to give up…….hold on…..
When rushing the family to be on time.hold on…….

Blessed to be at St. Mary’s

Bruce
*****

My First Holy Communion

A few weeks ago, I attended a mass at the Parish where grew up and spent eight years of grammar school. To say that memories came flooding in would be an understatement.

My trip down memory lane and preparations for this weekend's First Holy Communion celebrations at St. Mary's are the impetus for this article.

I received my First Holy Communion on October 25, 1969. This is easy to remember as my mom was in the hospital having my brother.

Most of my other memories are based on a picture.

I am sitting at a table at Famous Cafeteria with a big smile and an equally big piece of strawberry shortcake. Famous Cafeteria was one of the last of the automats. For those under 50, an automat is like a giant vending machine. The walls are made of individual glass compartments with food on a plate. When you put your money in the machine the door opens allowing you to take the food.  (See the pic above).

I do remember my third grade teacher; Mrs. Giacchi. Mrs. Giacchi was taken from her husband, children and us much too soon. My classmates and I share fond memories of her.

There’s not a lot more I remember about my communion. I had to use Google to figure out when St. Mary's (of Bensonhurst) burned down. With this information I was able to conjure a distant memory of walking down an aisle between sections of metal chairs in the school auditorium. A friend tells me the priest was "the tall guy who spoke quickly". I have no idea who he might have been.

Despite my fuzzy memory, October 25th, 1969 was an Important day in my life. It was the day I first received Jesus in the Eucharist.

It was an important step along a life's journey where Jesus continues to be with me. He's with me In my successes and failures. He's with me In my shining and my shameful moments.

Today as I receive Jesus I rejoice because being in communion with Jesus means I am in communion with the three other people in the picture that day; my dad, my Grandma Christine and my Grandpa Charlie.

I can think of few things greater than that.

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary's,

Bruce

PS
Congratulations to our first communicants! Now you can join our children's choir!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hallelujah is Our Song



“We Are an Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.”
                                      St. Augustine of Hippo

For Catholics, Easter is more than a single day.  It is a season spanning the six Sundays between Easter Sunday and Pentecost.

This is why the word “Alleluia” (which was neither said nor sung during lent) is found in so many of our hymns, songs and prayers.  One example is found in today’s processional hymn; “Jesus Is Risen” (#179).  A second is “Hallelujah Is Our Song” (#171) a wonderful contemporary composition by Sarah Hart based on the quote at the top of this article.



During May the church celebrates Mary, the mother of Jesus.  I’ve chosen the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria as prelude to honor the Blessed Mother as well as all Mother’s on this special day. 

I’ve also chosen Christopher Walker’s, “Like a Child Rests” (#454) as offertory song.  The text is based on psalm 131 which uses the image of a child resting in its’ mother’s arms to describe God’s love for us.  May we keep this in mind as we celebrate the love and nurture of mothers, grandmothers, teachers, religious sisters, nurses, doctors and all the women who have cared for us.

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s,
Bruce
PS
Congratulations to the Rosarians for a beautiful and well-attended May crowning last Sunday!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

My First Holy Communion





Last Saturday I attended a mass at the Parish where grew up and spent eight years of grammar school. To say that memories came flooding in would be an understatement.

My trip down memory lane and preparations for this weekend's First Holy Communion celebrations at St. Mary's are the impetus for this article.

I received my First Holy Communion on October 25, 1969. This is easy to remember as my mom was in the hospital having my brother.

Most of my other memories are based on a picture.

I am sitting at a table at Famous Cafeteria with a big smile and an equally big piece of strawberry shortcake. Famous Cafeteria was one of the last of the automats. For those under 50, an automat is like a giant vending machine. The walls are made of individual glass compartments with food on a plate. When you put your money in the machine the door opens allowing you to take the food.  (See the pic above).

I do remember my third grade teacher; Mrs. Giacchi. Mrs. Giacchi was taken from her husband, children and us much too soon. My classmates and I share fond memories of her.

There’s not a lot more I remember about my communion. I had to use Google to figure out when St. Mary's (of Bensonhurst) burned down. With this information I was able to conjure a distant memory of walking down an aisle between sections of metal chairs in the school auditorium. A friend tells me the priest was "the tall guy who spoke quickly". I have no idea who he might have been.

Despite my fuzzy memory, October 25th, 1969 was an Important day in my life. It was the day I first received Jesus in the Eucharist.

It was an important step along a life's journey where Jesus continues to be with me. He's with me In my successes and failures. He's with me In my shining and my shameful moments.

Today as I receive Jesus I rejoice because being in communion with Jesus means I am in communion with the three other people in the picture that day; my dad, my Grandma Christine and my Grandpa Charlie.

I can think of few things greater than that.

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary's,

Bruce

PS
Congratulations to our first communicants! Now you can join our children's choir!



Happy Sunday

It’s been over 6 years since I began writing Liturgical Notes. The main reason was to share the connection between music (the “notes” part ...