Tag Archives: church

Dublin cathedrals

Dublin has two Church of Ireland cathedrals, just a few blocks from each other.

While I don’t understand this, and haven’t done my research, I did visit both cathedrals today.

St. Patrick’s is the more impressive and ornate.  Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (a favorite composer) is commemorated there, since he spent the first and formative years of his life in the cathedral.

Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) was Dean of St. Patrick’s in the 1700s. He was quite the reformer, and found himself blocked from what would have been a powerful cross-Channel career, thanks to his honest preaching and inspired passions.  He is buried at St. Patrick’s; I paid homage today.

I attended Evening Prayer at Christ Church Cathedral, seated in the Quire as the only parishioner.  The responses to all the collect and petitions, the second-half verse of each psalm — all me.  What a delight and joy this Evening Prayer was!


The Feast of John the Baptist

Da Vinci’s rendition of the Baptizer.

Today is the feast of St. John the Baptist.  The Feast of the Incarnation of Christ (Christmas!) is but six months away.

Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



And so Advent arrives.  The Christian year is complete, and the cycle of story and parable, song and prayer, starts over again.

I welcomed Advent this evening after dark by singing an Advent I Vigil Mass at the Church of Saint Michael and Saint George in Clayton.  Then I dined with colleagues from the choir, stuffing myself in chips and salsa before the chimichanga arrived.

I shall abed early tonight, as the day has been a long one.

Oswald Chambers has been on my mind this week.  Read on:

We have all had times on the mount, when we have seen things from God’s standpoint and have wanted to stay there; but God will never allow us to stay there. The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have power to rise only, something is wrong. It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up. We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount. We feel we could talk like angels and live like angels, if only we could stay on the mount. The times of exaltation are exceptional, they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware lest our spiritual selfishness wants to make them the only time.

Mystic sweet communion

We opened the service today with the great and wonderful hymn “The Church’s one foundation.”

The last verse, as it reads in the Episcopal hymnal (since many versions of this poetry exist), is:

Yet she on earth hath union
With the God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with thee.

This verse always makes me cry.  I recall singing it in 1998 on one of the Sundays of Easter.  My mother had just died the previous month, and that last verse caught me unaware, then grabbed hold of me so much I had to leave the service for a few minutes.

Today, I knew what to expect, so I just took off my glasses after the closing chord, wiped my eyes, and went on with the service.

‘Tis a good thing to love, and to lose, and to long.

Here’s a thrilling rendition, with altered words —

Solemn Profession

I sang this morning with Schola from The Church of Saint Michael and Saint George at a powerful Mass that celebrated the Solemn Profession of Life Vows by Br. Dunstan at the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis.

Br. Dunstan is a friend of our choirmaster, and a big fan of the music at our parish.

He chose the music for today: the Kyrie and Agnus Dei from William Byrd’s glorious ‘Mass for Four Voices,’ the hymns EVENTIDE and LAUDA ANIMA (two tear-inducing hymns for me), a Robert Parsons Ave Maria, and the Byrd Ave verum corpus, a perennial favorite.  Rob composed a couple of things as well.

This was glorious music!

The most powerful part of the service, of course, is the profession of vows, followed by the candidate’s prostration before the altar.  Br. Dunstan was covered with a funeral pall as we prayed for him.  The symbolism, of dying to this life and rising in newness, was almost more than I could bear.

I am so blessed to have been a part of this service today, and to in some small way join with Br. Dunstan in the closest thing he’ll have to a wedding.

The Abbey Church bells were pealing in joy after the service:

And here’s my ‘in a tie at 7.40 a.m.’ shot from this morning:

Another choral work

I sat down this afternoon to write a set of Preces and Responses, hoping that several Episcopal choirs will pick them up this season.  An hour later, I had written and made first revisions to the work.  And a few minutes ago I made another pass, kicked out two measures and started over on them, and revised a few other spots.

Et voilá, another choral work, my second in two weeks.

I finished the editing and typesetting today of “Donne’s Hymn,” the new work for chorus that I wrote last week for Webster University’s Concert Choir.

Typesetting will wait until next week.  I’ve found that if I let works breathe their new life for a few days before throwing them on the computer, they decide to change a bit on that final pass before committing them to ink.

If I stay on it, I can be creative.  This is very satisfying indeed!