I spent a couple of Christmases in Switzerland and was charmed by the observance of St. Stephen's Day (December 26). In England they keep Boxing Day on the same date. In America, what do we do? Hit the malls for post-Christmas sales? You may do what you like but at our little parish of St. Stephen the Martyr, we have an evening Mass followed by potluck supper. During the meal several people noted that, if you are a member of this parish and if you play your cards right,you will never have to cook. There is also a meal on somewhere.
I think that tomorrow's celebration of Lessons and Carols at St. Patrick Church is going to be wonderful. The choir sounds exceptionally good. During practice last Wednesday I took this photo which seems to indicateheavenly assistance. See you there!
We began our celebration of the Feast (in Mexico: Solemnity) of Our Lady of Guadalupe with Mañanitas at 5:00 in the morning. There were about 150 devoted souls present and 4 different bands (we only knew about 3 of them in advance). For me, this year's highlight was the Dance of the Old Men (viejitos), several young men dressed as old men, complete with papier-mache masks. Curiously, when they spoke to each other, it was not in Spanish, but in an Indian dialect. This is another sign of how much immigration is taking place -- it's not just people from border towns anymore. Many are coming from rather remote areas in search of work or a better life in the USA.
Almost every year for the the past eleven years (is it that long?) I have played the organ for the annual service of Lessons and Carols at Saint Patrick Church in downtown Columbus. This devout community of souls is under the care of the Dominican Fathers, who dedicate themselves fully to the spiritual welfare of their flock. For the past decade, the music life of the parish has been cared for by Kathleen Tully, who has quietly created one of the finest parish music programs that you will find anywhere. The choir, which has grown from 4 to 40 voices under her cheerful leadership, give their very best out of love for the Lord. It is a joy to make a joyful noice with them. This year's service of lessons and carols begins Sunday, December 14 (Gaudete Sunday) at 6pm. Due to illness of some choir members rehearsals were curtailed and some more ambitious pieces had to be postponed until next year. So, here is this year's lineup:
Prelude Excerpt from Horn-lokk Sigurd Berge (This is a piece for solo horn. The hornist is a parishioner and member of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.)
I. The Fall Reading: Genesis 3:8-19 The Race that Long in Darkness Pined William Billings
II. The Prophecy of Emmanuel Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14 Processional Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel Collegeville Hymnal 179 (Stand)
Opening Prayer Stand
III. The Rod of Jesse Reading: Isaiah 11:1-9 Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen Johannes Brahms (arr for string quartet)
IV. The Restoration Reading: Jeremiah 31:10-14 Hymn: O Come, Divine Messiah Collegeville Hymnal 173 (Stand) arr by Thomas Buffer. Organ and Brass Quartet
V. The Fulfillment of the Prophecies Reading: Matthew 1:18-25 (Stand) Pastorale Arcangelo Corelli Organ and strings
VI. The Annunciation Reading: Luke 1:26-28 (Stand) Ave Maria Franz Biebl double choir!
VII. The Nativity Reading: Luke 2:1-7 (Stand) Hymn: See Amid the Winter’s Snow Collegeville Hymnal 221 Verses 1-2: ALLVerse 3: Women OnlyVerse 4: Men onlyVerse 5: SoloVerse 6: ALL Organ, Brass, strings, whatever else we have sitting around
Choir: Riu, Riu, Chiu Traditional Spanish Carol
VIII. The New Creation Reading: Revelation 21:1-5
Hymn: Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending Organ and Brass
IX. The Incarnation Reading: John 1:1-14 (Stand) Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence Gustav Holst Organ, strings, brass, etc.
Closing Prayer and Blessing Stand
Recessional Hymn: Come, Thou Redeemer of the Earth Stand arr. Thomas Buffer Organ and Brass
This is the second night of the novena in preparation for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every evening families gather in the Church to pray the Rosary. Tonight they are praying the Luminous Mysteries. Mass will be celebrated at 6:30 pm followed by my adult education class. Tonight I will be leading them through the Annunciation scene in St. Luke's Gospel. I have learned some new Spanish words for the purpose. On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Friday, December 12, we will have a full church at 5 am for the celebration of Mañanitas. Mass will be celebrated at 6 am in Spanish and 8 am in English.