Dear Parishioners and Friends,
The first week of November was a truly remarkable moment in time for our parish, and the events of that week reinforced for me the joy and satisfaction I have come to experience as the pastor of this community of faith.
On Monday, October 31st, a group of parishioners gathered in the garden area between the church and friary to set up the memorial candles for those who died in the past year – about 130 in all. Kim Nardone coordinated the installation of the candles which would burn for the next seven days. The candles were especially impressive at night when their red glow became a silent witness to lives that will never be forgotten, and souls that now rest in peaceful eternity.
The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, the official title of All Souls Day, is an opportunity for us as a parish to come together to pray for our deceased brothers and sisters. The Mass of Remembrance in the evening has become a treasured tradition here, and it is a profoundly moving liturgy. With dozens of photos lining the sanctuary steps, we are able to put faces to names and glean something of their unique personalities. The music for the Mass was beautifully sung by our Gallery Choir under Gabriel Löfvall’s direction.
The concert in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams was a collaborative venture between St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church and the musicians at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Members of Chorus Angelicus also took part. On Friday, November 4th, an abridged version of the concert was given as part of an organ recital at the cathedral by Johann Vexo, one of the organists of Notre-Dame de Paris.
The full performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams at 150 on Saturday, November 5th was an incredible event which drew a sizeable audience eager to hear some of his best-known choral works. The huge sound of over 40 singers and two organs, plus the singing from the audience was an aural event we don’t often have the pleasure of experiencing. However, as exciting as the event was musically, it often felt more like a service of worship. I can’t thank Gabriel and our singers enough for their hard, dedicated work to prepare for the concert. I am also deeply grateful to Dr. Ezequiel Menendez, Organist and Director of Music at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, as well as Meredith Neumann, Choirmaster, and the Cathedral Schola Cantorum, for joining us in this historic event.
Fr. Bill and I will be in Florida this week attending meetings with our Province’s administrators. Until the pandemic hit, all the Guardians and Pastors of Holy Name Province would gather in St. Petersburg, FL for several days each November. This will be the first in-person gathering in several years. In the meantime, Fr. Mike will pinch hit for me in next week’s bulletin by writing about the recent activities of the Franciscan Center, including new members of the Board of Directors.
Blessings on your week ahead!
Fr. Tim Shreenan, O.F.M.