Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Place At Your Table

Here in Your presence, the greatest are least, the burdened find rest and the hungry can feast.

“A Place At Your Table” - Ben Walther

Over the last several years I’ve noticed that many experiences being segmented into a new classification.

One can now buy “premium seating” to concerts and sporting events. The airlines have extended this from the swanky airport lounge to premium seats offering extra legroom or the right to use the overhead compartments for your carry-on. There are even premium restaurants and lounge areas on cruise ships and exclusive floors in the poshest of hotels.

In today’s gospel Jesus teaches about invited guests and hosts.

The banquet scene found only in Luke provides the opportunity for these teachings of Jesus on humility and presents a setting to display Luke’s interest in Jesus’ attitude toward the rich and the poor.
U.S.C.B. Website

Personally, I don’t think Jesus minds my dropping a few extra bucks to sit in the front row of a Syracuse basketball game. After all, he’s right there with me rooting for The Orange. :)

Jesus is being critical of those who use their status, position and wealth to the exclusion of others.

Labor Day is a day to honor the work of all. Let us pray for just wages and safe working conditions for all, particularly the underemployed and the exploited.

I hope you will stay for our closing song as we sing about walking hand-in-hand and working side-by-side one another as a sign of Christian love.

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


Come say farewell to Fr. Simon this weekend and see how we at Saint Mary’s can partner with his parish in Pakistan to spread the gospel.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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 of the title) and liturgy. The liturgical documents go even further; stating that music is integral to the liturgy.

Now for a little quiz.....

What is the principle instrument at liturgy? Do you know? 

Do you remember? I gave the answer when Fr. Rich introduced me as director of music.

The principle instrument at liturgy is the voice of the faithful gathered. That would be you, and you are doing a great job! This is something to be celebrated. Thank you.

Thank you also to our cantors; Apryl, Gabrianna, Aaron, David and John for helping you embrace this important role. Let’s not forget our junior cantors; Alyanna, Bella and Makayla. Each of them did a wonderful job leading Sunday masses this summer. 

Thank you also to those groups that support our music; our adult choir, children’s choir, guitar group, treble choir.

Speaking of these groups.......

We really need some of you to step up and join us.

Our children’s choir is growing but if we don’t continue to get new members each year, membership will ultimately decline. The children’s choir is open to boys and girls grades 3 and up.

The treble choir experienced a growth spurt (both in numbers and abilities of its membership). This group is for grades 7 and up.

If you’re an adult who comes to the 10:30 consider joining our family choir which will join the treble choir and sing one time a month.

Mostly we need new members in our adult choir. We need to replace a few members that have left over the past few years. The adult choir rehearses on Sunday morning and (usually) sings at the 12 noon liturgy.

If you’re an instrumentalist, consider joining our guitar group or see me for special occasions.

Finally, if you like to sing, join us for the choir flash mob on Saturday, August 24th at the 5:30 mass. See the announcement in this bulletin.

Blest to be in ministry at St. Mary’s.


Thursday, August 8, 2019


“You also must be prepared, 
for at an hour you do not expect, 
the Son of Man will come.” 
Luke 12:40

One of my ongoing summer goals is to develop our parish music repertoire.

Today’s gathering hymn “Gather Your People” (#313) should be familiar to those who have been around the past few weeks. 

Let’s all look a little more closely at the verses. The first verse speaks to the action of gathering by calling on the Holy Spirit to draw us to “the table of life”. Here we encounter God in the bread and wine which become Christ’s Body and Blood. Take a moment consider the altar (a place of sacrificial death) as table (a place where a meal is shared).

Today we introduce a second seasonal psalm: “We Are God’s People” (#793). Please be reminded that the refrain and verses will not match the one listed with the readings.

I’ve moved last week’s communion song “A Place At Your Table (#350) to offertory. I hope you will remember it from the Easter season.

Our communion song is Tom Booth’s “Find Us Ready, Lord.” Both this song and the third verse of Gather Your People reflect today’s scripture which reminds is to be prepared for Christ’s return. Remember, the second coming might not conveniently occur right after the Advent season.

Today’s recessional hymn “Faith of Our Fathers” (#487) connects with the Letter from Paul to the Hebrews. While the title may be limiting we sing to honor the faith of our fathers and mothers. 
Let remember the Abrahams and Sarahs that built this faith community as well as the Isaacs, Jacobs, Rachel’s and Leah’s who continue their work today and on whose shoulders our future rests.

Blessed to be in ministry with them and you,


Friday, August 2, 2019

Dear God

Dear God,

You are a God of goodness and humor and for that I give thanks and praise. But what happened this morning; is this your idea of funny......?

I am sitting with my Monday morning coffee contemplating the content of this article. The answer comes easily: repertoire. This week’s music contains some songs that we have been singing over the past month as well as “A Place At Your Table” a song introduced towards the end of the Easter season.

Satisfied with my progress I decide to check social media while finishing my coffee. Facebook knows me so well. The first post two posts are about Syracuse Basketball. 

Then the trouble starts. I see a political post from one of my grammar school friends. I skim it and decide to let it go as Janie’s need need to vent. Three posts down I see a repost from Vinny. A little further down the same from Angie and Maria. My mind, fueled by caffeine goes into overdrive. After an hour of dictating, typing and cutting and pasting I have the first draft of my response.

In the first part I remind my misguided friends how the nuns demanded we do our own work and not just agree with “Anthony’s answer”. (Anthony was the smartest kid in the class. Agreeing with him yielded had a 99.67% success rate over 8 years). Good thing I held back my response. If I hadn’t I would have broken another important rule: to read the entire question before answering. It seems the original writer of the post suggested that people “voice these truths” by reposting them as their own feelings. (He or she also invited those who disagree to leave the country).

The second part of my response centers on the socio-economic frustrations of a generation who feel further away from the American Dream as they approach 60 than when they were children.  I wonder:  Is the American Dream a birthright?

Oh, I liiiike that. I can see my clever response tacked to the class-room bulletin board with “A+ Great Work!” written in Sr. Mary Theresa’s perfect script.  That’s not too vain?  Right?

Coming back to reality I decide to take a look at this week’s readings.

“Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and yet to another who has not yet labored over it, he must leave his property......Ecclesiastes 1:2

.......One last thing Lord. Is it a sin if I don’t laugh when your joke is on me?   Amen.

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


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