About this blogger:
Renowned as composer, conductor, theorist, author, pedagogue, and organist, Aurelio Porfiri has served the Church on multiple continents at the highest levels. Born and raised in Italy, he currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and Composer in Residence for Santa Rosa de Lima School (Macao, China).
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“It introduces us to a still and serious world, deserted and rigid, without colour, without light, without motion; it does not gladden, does not distract; yet we cannot break away from it.”
— Schweitzer on the THEME from Bach's “Art of Fugue”

My Funeral
published 20 June 2014 by Aurelio Porfiri

348 Requiem AM DEAD. And now, here I am viewing my own funeral. The people in attendance are not aware that I am looking at them. My coffin is entering at the sound of irreverent songs.

“Hey, it’s me!” I want to shout. “Why are you showing such disrespect? Yes, I am a sinner but one who devoted his life to sacred liturgical music. Sing my compositions.” Oh… the priest is now explaining that unfortunately the choir was not available today because they have a retreat which is a polite way to say that the choir cannot manage to sing my music.

The Mass is going on… and now to my dismay they are reading the responsorial psalm! With all that I have written about that already forgotten … the responsorial psalm should be sung, should be sung, should be sung … but no one can hear me anymore. The Mass with its spoken psalm and tired songs is going on and on.

I can see people standing there out of a sense of obligation. Just my family is really mourning me, while the others are mourning the homily that is too long. Ahh… the homily… in the homily the priest that barely knew me is explaining to everyone how good I was. Well that’s what my family told him anyway. But, if you ask my family what do you expect them to tell you? That I was a scum? Why not just take three minutes to say: “he was a sinner and he fell many times but even when he was on the floor his eyes were still looking to Jesus and his hand was yearning for a saving hand” … isn’t that true?

Ok, the Mass is ending: no chant, no songs from my thousands of compositions, no Latin… I should suggest to my family not to pay the church. What’s happening now? Oh no… someone has to share the memories he has about me. OK, you will miss me and I was good, so good that in the whole time I was in need you were so kind as to never make a phone call. Please “friend”, make it short. OK, it is finished. My family has had the good taste to be silent; we don’t need words to share our love. Now I am going out and the people are clapping. Clapping?! Clapping because I passed away? Maybe it was a good performance? Maybe they are happy I am dead?

OK, OK… NOW YOU’VE CAUGHT ME: I am still alive. I’m just thinking about the many funerals I have seen and imagining my own funeral liturgy, glib and ineffective. I would like to make a proposal for priests: when planning a funeral liturgy, imagine that it’s your own funeral, and then understand more the need for a dignified and sacred service. Do you agree? Good! And no clapping, please…

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