Saturday, September 14, 2019

Children will listen, but.....

“Children Will Listen”  -  Stephen Sondheim
“Actions speak louder than words.”  – Ancient Proverb

A few weeks ago I led the children’s liturgy of the word at the 10:30 Mass. The children had wonderful ideas on how they could respond to Jesus’ command to “enter through the narrow gate.” (Luke 13:24)  

Two of the older children were particularly helpful. Peter and a young lady (whose name I don’t know L helped facilitate the experience for the younger children.  While this may have been unplanned, it seemed as if the three of us were a team! 

Later that morning I noticed the cover of the Archdiocesan magazine on the bookrack in the front of the church. The cover photo was of Catie Kunkel, Campus Minister at Ramapo College.

Catie spent four years at the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at Montclair State where I serve as Music Director. It is also where I found the wonderful singers who are such an important part of our music ministry here at St. Mary’s.  They are a part of a group you don’t hear much about:  young adults who moved closer to the church and her mission during their college years.

I reached out to Catie asking if she would share more about her story for these liturgical notes.  A link to her entire response is on the parish website.  Here is a portion of what she wrote:

When I came into college at Montclair State, I was a girl who was on the pursuit of happiness. I was looking for it in friendships, relationships, sports, grades, and other materialistic things. When I was invited to Mass by a friend of mine during the first weekend of college, I was a little reluctant to say "yes" since I had never been to Mass before. My parents are fallen away Catholics and the only time I had been to church was for funerals, so it didn't have the best connotation. I was brought to the Catholic community through an invitation, I stayed because of the joy and love I encountered.... Campus Ministry is incredibly crucial, powerful, and necessary in our Church today. On campus, we strive to prepare students for living a lifelong Catholic mission and I'm living and breathing proof that it works. I've dedicated my life to serving college students in the way that others served me when I was in college. I'm humbled that though I was on a pursuit for happiness, Jesus guided me to Him where I encountered true happiness. Now, I'm honored that I get to accompany college students on their journey to help them encounter Jesus and teach them how to share Him with others.

Here is the link to the entire e-mail

Blessed to be in ministry with Catie, Apryl, Gabrianna, Aaron, David, Michael and you at St. Mary’s,


Friday, September 6, 2019

Renew Me, Lord

From time to time I use this space to share my criteria for selecting music. This affords insight into this process while allowing me an opportunity to refine my vision.

The music we sing is selected based on:
  1. The scripture of the day (particularly as it resonates with this community)
  2. The particular solemnity or feast day
  3. The current liturgical season
  4. The part of the liturgy where the song is used
  5. A civic holiday or special event
Each of the above is listed in the order of its importance. Today’s musical choices, however, deviate from this norm.

Our prelude, the Ave Maria commemorates the birth of the Blessed Mother celebrated on 9/8.

Today’s gathering/processional is a result of my search for what I would call “The Song of September.” “Renew Me, O Lord” (#645) will be repeated each Sunday this month as it speaks to our return from summer rest to fall routine.

Our offertory and communion songs reflect both a yearning for God and the special care that God has for the poor; themes which occur in the Sunday scriptures over the next several weeks.

I’ve chosen “Hallelujah Is Our Song” (#171) as we go forth into a week where we remember 9/11 and grapple with the senseless gun violence that continues to plague our nation.

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

Children will listen, but.....

“Children Will Listen”  -  Stephen Sondheim “Actions speak louder than words.”   – Ancient Proverb A few weeks ago I led t...