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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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The soul is distracted from that which is sung by a chant that is employed for the purpose of giving pleasure. But if the singer chant for the sake of devotion, he pays more attention to what he says, both because he lingers more thereon, and because, as Augustine remarks (Confess. x, 33), “each affection of our spirit, according to its variety, has its own appropriate measure in the voice, and singing, by some hidden correspondence wherewith it is stirred.” The same applies to the hearers, for even if some of them understand not what is sung, yet they understand why it is sung, namely, for God's glory: and this is enough to arouse their devotion.
— St. Thomas Aquinas

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Feeling the Absence
published 29 March 2013 by Fr. David Friel

LL THROUGHOUT THE DAY TODAY, my mind and heart have been preoccupied with a sense of absence. Even upon waking, there seemed to be something monumental missing. I realized during the course of this morning what was the cause of this uncomfortable sense: no Mass today.

Every day of my priesthood, I have exercised my sacred duty to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass—except for Good Friday. This is the only day of the year when no Mass is celebrated.

Our Mother, the Church, calls us each year to go beyond the sense of absence on this day so as to enter into contemplation of the very first Mass (and the only true Mass), which is the sacrifice of Christ on Mount Calvary. On Holy Thursday, we memorialize the institution of the Mass, and the next day we refrain from offering the Mass so that we can focus on its incredible reality.

I’m grateful to have felt the absence, because it assures me that the Lord has placed a longing in my heart for the Mass. This is a wonderful gift for a priest to receive.