Lessons and Carols

Yesterday, in our wonderful Cathedral, we had our annual celebration of Lessons and Carols. Mr Tony DiCello, music director both here and at the seminary, does a wonderful job of assembling traditional hymnody, carols, and motets that really lift the heart in preparation for Christ’s coming at Christmas.

On a side note, I celebrated the 8:30 Mass yesterday morning here at the Cathedral. As it is the only Sunday Mass that I will celebrate during advent here, I had to wear the fancy set of purple vestments. I felt positively medieval wearing them, and would have felt right at home on the set of the next Harry Potter movie! I will try to post a pic of them soon. What is interesting is that you can tell they were designed before the Council because the back is much more ornate than the front, hmmm….

What a Week!

I returned last evening from a week spent at the feet of Fr. Benedict Groeschel at Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont, New York (just north of NYC). It was a great time of growth, prayer, and community as I got to know some wonderful priests from around the country. Fr. Benedict’s order is an inspiration to anyone in vocation work because they have grown so much over the twenty years since their foundation. (They now have over 100 members from their start of eight!) A synopsis of the retreat can be found in Father’s book, The Virtue Driven Life. It is as his other works, filled with insight and wisdom, balanced by the touch of pessimism of a native of Jersey City. (His words, not mine!)

I am glad to be home, though, and I am looking forward to a wonderful Advent and approach of Our Lord at Christmas.

Celebrations

Over the last two days, I have been part of two great celebrations. Last night, I had the privilege to officiate at the wedding of two friends of mine: Angela and Ryan. They are a young couple that I could see really love each other. The ceremony had some of the best music that I have heard at a wedding in a long time. It is uplifting as a priest to celebrate a wonderful event in their lives and to see their joy at coming together as one in Christ.

Today, as the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King, Regnum Christi celebrates their Patronal Feast. I have many friends from my two parish assignments who are part of the movement and are really on fire with the Spirit and a love for the Lord. The celebration was held here at our Cathedral and had about 250 gathered. The movement is lay driven and is about the faithful living their faith in a strong and dynamic way. There have been many fruits from the movement that I have seen, including numerous vocations to the priesthood and religious life. (I only hope for more vocations to the Diocesan priesthood!)

As Vocation Director for priests in the Archdiocese, I could only wish for more such movements that help the faithful live their call as Baptized Christian, because when the faithful take their call to holiness seriously, all vocations flourish.

God Bless!