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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“Oh, the happy choir director who is hired to start work on a brand new choir, or who walks into his first rehearsal a total stranger to the existing group—what a fortunate man he is! The new choir director who is a former member of the choir, or a member of the congregation, or the nephew of the alto soloist, or a former altar boy, or otherwise well acquainted with the choir, is in for a few headaches.”
— Paul Hume (1956)

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Easter Monday
published 1 April 2013 by Fr. David Friel

ASTER MONDAY is a good day not to bug your pastor (unless, of course, someone is in need of the Sacraments). After the rush of Lent & Triduum liturgies, Easter Monday is an unofficial though widely embraced opportunity for clergy types to decompress and recharge. It is a necessary day of rest for many priests, who like to spend the day quietly or even alone.

I did just that thing today by driving up to the Delaware Water Gap, a gorgeous National Recreation Area in the Pocono mountain region of northeastern Pennsylvania. My goal was to climb Mt. Minsi, which I did under the mantle of very pleasant weather (high 50’s, partly cloudy). Why? Because leisure is essential to our souls. In the words of one of my favorite philosophers: “Work is the means of life; leisure the end. Without the end, work is meaningless —a means to a means to a means . . . and so on forever” (Roger Scruton).

A great deal of my childhood was spent out in the woods, leisurely hiking and camping. My hike today reminded me of how deeply formative those times were on my body, mind, and spirit. In a real sense, although I first met God in my parish church, I came to know Him in the woods of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and Virginia and New Mexico. God speaks in so many ways, not least through the marvelous beauty of His creation.

When I reached the summit, I took my breviary out of my pack to pray Sext (Midday Prayer). Here is what I prayed:

O LORD, our God, how majestic is Your name through all the earth!
Your majesty is praised above the heavens.
From the mouths of children and of babes, You have found praise to foil Your enemy,
to silence the foe and the rebel.
When I see the heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars which You arranged,
what is man that You should keep him in mind,
the son of man that You care for him?
Yet, You have made him little lower than the angels;
with glory and honor You crowned him,
gave him power over the works of Your hands.
You put all things under his feet.
All of them, sheep and oxen, yes, even the savage beasts,
birds of the air, and fish of the sea that make their way through the waters.
O LORD, our God, how majestic is Your name through all the earth!

Today, I give glory to God not only for His triumphant Resurrection, but also for His kind hands, which have fashioned a world that reveals His majesty and permits true leisure. May God be praised!