Friday, January 25, 2019

Ordinary Time

Today is the second of seven Sundays between the Christmas season and Lent.

You will notice a change in the musical setting of the sung parts of the mass. The refrain to the Gloria, for example, will no longer be from the hymn Angels We Have Heard on High. Instead we will return to “The Mass of Renewal” which can be found at numbers 862, 865, 866, 869, and 870.

I plan on introducing 3 new songs during this portion of ordinary time. 

The first is Tend The Ground (#616).  The composer of the words and music is Curtis Stephan. (Stephan is also the composer of the Mass of Renewal.)

Stephan was inspired to compose this song after reading Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si”.  “Laudato Si” is a quotation from St. Francis of Assisi praising God for the creation of the different creatures and aspects of the earth.  It translates as “Praised Be” or “Be Praised.”

One of the aspects of the Holy Father’s writings that struck me was his linking the care of the earth with the care of the poor and marginalized.  He exhorts all to see the care of both as our response to God’s gift of life. 

Here is the chorus of Tend the Ground:

We till the earth, we tend the ground,
Sowing hope and peace where none is found
In selfless love God’s life abounds.
We till the earth, we tend the ground.
Words and music by Curtis Stephan

The presentation scheduled for last week has been rescheduled to Sunday, February 17th at 3 p.m. in Walsh Hall.  Come learn more about how we at St. Mary’s can praise God by taking care of God’s creation.  E-mail to be on our social concerns e-mail list.

Blest to be in ministry with you here at St. Mary’s,


Friday, January 11, 2019

The Party is NOT Over

Today is the final Sunday of the Christmas season: The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. While the rest of the world may see Christmas as a distant memory, for Christians – The party is not over!

Be attentive for the signs of Christmas. Look around. The trees are still up and lit. The poinsettia’s are still lovely and abundant. The vestments are gold and the banners are white.

I continue to be inspired by the beauty of our church. This is a good time to thank those who decorated as well as the generation that built the church that we are blessed to have inherited.


Our gospel reading takes us to a later time in Jesus’s life. We no longer hear of the infant born in a stable or the boy discussing scripture in the temple. Jesus is baptized by John and will soon begin his ministry.

What about the music?

While my primary source has chosen to move away from Christmas music, I have decided to begin and end today’s liturgy with Christmas. We will also sing the Christmas Gloria (with the refrain from Angels We Have Heard on High) our seasonal psalm, and the Christmastime Alleluia (repeated after the proclamation of the gospel). It will also be the last time our intercessory prayers will be preceded by the chime.

Thank you to John LoPrieto for finding, restoring and bringing the chime to the choir loft. The next time we use it (lent?) I hope to find a few volunteers willing to play it. (You just need to follow a script and use a hammer:)

The hymns at gathering and offertory are more traditional of nature and speak of Jesus’s baptism and his future ministry. Our communion song is a contemporary composition by Matt Maher titled “Love has Come” (#484). Take a quick look at the text at some point.

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


It's not the perfect family - It's the Holy Family

Hold Onto Love

 Today the church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. 

 The deadline for what you are reading, however, was December 19th. 

Five shopping days until Christmas and I need an article about the Holy Family? There are unwrapped gifts in the trunk of my car. There is Advent and Christmas music all over my desk.       Help me, Lord!

An obscure thought comes to mind.  I try to get past it but it is blocking everything else out. I vaguely remember when it first came.  It was a time of personal and communal sadness and confusion.  Like many who serve, identify with and love the church I was reeling from daily news reports that were going from bad to worse to unfathomable.

The thought came as I was practicing a song: “Hold on to Love” (#486)

There is a place for the sadness, hold onto love.

There is a season of gladness, hold onto love

When pain and confusion seem endless, hold on to love.

We cultivate healing through kindness, hold onto love

This thought became the ray of hope that has carried me through the darkness of autumn through to this Christmas Season of light and joy.

It’s not the perfect Family.

It’s the HOLY family.

Why won't you be my neighbor?

  October 25th 2020 3oth Sunday in Ordinary Time   Thus says the LORD: You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien,  for you were once...