may 23

Saturday, May 23

Good afternoon, Good afternoon,

I am just in to my room, following two First Communion Masses.  The first reading of Each Mass was from the Acts of the Apostles where Aquila and Pricilla, escapees from the persecutions in Rome and recent converts of St. Paul met up with a man named Apollos.  Apollos, a learned Jew from Alexandria, knew of John’s Baptism but nothing of the Baptism offered by the Apostles.  Aquila and Pricilla encouraged him to proceed further in the Faith.

The key to the story is not Apollos but the husband and wife who endured the persecution of Rome upon Jews and ultimately Christians.  The experience of personal suffering enhanced their character strength to engage Apollos.  The same will happen in this generation that endures the pandemic.  The enhanced character strength that is part of us today should bring many blessings in our future experiences and expressions of the Faith.  We, both young and old in the parish, especially collegians, can do all things in Christ.

Now for a few updates.  Michael Galdo, parish music director of St. Francis De Sales Church, offered a key insight missing from my tome on Liturgical music.  It’s not all about the sound or the score of the music but the very audience… the kids.

 “Thanks for the dedication. 

You might look up Justine Bayard Ward – Catholic Music Educator prior in the first half of the 20th century.  She had a great impact on the development of Catholic music education with an effort to make liturgical music accessible to children.   Many of her efforts were aimed at helping all children learn to sing, and giving them the musical education so that they could participate in the liturgy.

In my time of teaching children to sing I can only recall 2 that I was convinced were “tone” deaf.  That’s probably out of 1000 or more.  I’m always disappointed when I hear someone tell me they can’t sing – often because in school the music teacher heard them once and told them to just mouth the words.  Unfortunately, as we get older learning to hear and sing becomes more difficult if it is not cultivated early on.


Speaking of Liturgical Music.  Several of the readers wrote in and said I forgot to mention Kumbaya in the listing of exotic music from the 60’s and 70’s,

    “Kumbaya” (“Come by Here”) is an African American spiritual of disputed origin, but known to be sung in the Gullah culture of the islands off South Carolina and Georgia, with ties to enslaved West Africans.  Some Eastern Africans like to claim it as originating with the Swahili language that has no certain meaning… go figure.  Anyway, it brings me to one of my favorite stories.

Many years ago I was asked to give a lecture in Chicago for the Confraternity of Catholic  Clergy.  There were two hundred priests from around the country who attended the conference.  The topic of my talk was on Vocations.  No surprise to that as it was part of my past life.

The priest who followed me was, and still is, a very close friend, Fr. Jerry Pokorsky, currently the pastor of St. Catherine of Sienna Parish, Great Falls, Virginia.  His topic was on one most exciting Church projects in a hundred years.  His was the project originally titled, “Credo,” and later expanded to “Adoremus.”  It was all about the proper translations of the Latin to English in the Sacramentary, Lectionary, and hymnals.  In a sense, Fr. Pokorsky, changed the Church for the better.  In the times that preceded his project liturgists were guided by conformists redesigning the translations for the benefit of political correctness.  Cardinal Hickey noted heretical issues with the poor translation that preceded Fr. Pokorsky’s work.  It is a great story.  More on that in a future parish letter.

Anyway, it is my opinion that a good many of the priests in attendance in Chicago were there for Fr. Pokorsky’s talk.  In fact one of the top liturgical translators in America was in the crowd.  His name was Monsignor Richard Shuler, from St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul, Minnesota.  He was involved in the Credo/Adoremus project.  He was an old friend of my family from my childhood and very kind to me in my priesthood.

The organizers of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy asked me to introduce Fr. Pokorsky before his presentation.  I stepped up to Monsignor Shuler and asked his permission if I could throw a little levity into the serious topic.  His eyebrow went up and he leaned into me enquiring, and I explained myself.  Like a little leprechaun he lit up with a great smile and nodded yes.  Game on!

In the introduction I provide all the niceties complimented with the proper bravado and strength of  character for the following speaker.  And that’s when I kicked in with the compliments that Fr. P. loved the Latin language so much, for so many years of his life, that he translated Kumbaya into Latin.  And I began to sing Kumbaya in Latin. “Kumbayus Dominus, Kumbayus,… Oh Dominus Kumbayus.”  I was so nervous I actually mistranslated the terms.  I should have said, “Oh Domine” (evocative), not Oh Dominus.  The place went absolutely crazy.  Monsignor was almost on the floor laughing.

Poor Father Pokorsky stood to give a very serious talk all the while foolish priests were smiling and chuckling, wondering how they were going to sing Kumbaya in Latin when they got home.

Reminder for Communion Services tomorrow. 

Rules of Engagement for the coming Communion Services.  (May 24th)

Communion after Mass.  Let’s do it all over again this Sunday.  I enclose my notes from the rush hour parish letter, last Saturday.

  1.  We are committed to the single families coming for First Communion Masses on the weekends at  8:30, 10:30, and now… 12:15 PM in the coming Sunday Masses.
  2. Masses will still be available by Vimeo,

You can reach the Vimeo connection on the parish website.  On the very first line under the photo of the Church look for “Liturgies, Sacraments, and Devotions…”click here.”  The system will take you to the church camera site.

  1. Forty-five minutes following the beginning of each Mass Communion sites will be opened in the front foyer of the church and the parish academic center for all parishioners who would like to receive Communion.  It is presumed they watched the Mass on Vimeo before coming for Communion.  The times for Communion sites will be:

9:15- 10 AM

11:15- Noon

1:00 -1:45 PM

  1. Procedure for receiving.  Keep 6’ distance and masks are preferred.  Enter the Door on the Right and go forward to the priest.  Upon receiving go right or left down the hallway in the academic center.

In the church, upon receiving turn right and exist by the Chapel door.  Or turn left and exit the door opposite those you entered.

We are assuming that Sunday May 31st, Pentecost, may find us in the Phase 1 of government restrictions… which means attendance is allowed up to 50% of available pews.  A good start.

The Confessionals won’t be completed by that time because the company that makes the doors is shut down for the pandemic.  That should be rectified soon enough and I don’t want to use the new Confessionals until we are back up to 100 %.

Please know, all parishioners over sixty, and/or have physical infirmities, are not obligated to come to Mass on Sunday.  They may want to consider a daily Mass where the numbers should be much smaller.

*****  And last, let everyone know our Confession Schedule is going back to Normal starting next week, after Sunday May 24th .   NO CONFESSIONS on Monday Night or Friday Night.  Confessions, in the Classrooms,  on Wednesday 27th, Friday morning at 10:30; Saturday morning 8:00- 8:30; afternoon 3:30-4:30.

Many thanks for the Knights of Columbus and all who were so generous to the food pantry and fund raising this past weekend.  May the angels watch over all of you for the wonderful example of generosity and sacrifice.  Well done.  Let pray for one another.


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