About this blogger:
Dr. Alfred Calabrese is a conductor, educator, composer, scholar, and church musician. Having worked in academia for two decades, he felt called to enter full-time work in the Catholic Church, and since 2007 has directed the music at Saint Rita Catholic Church. He and his wife live in Dallas, TX. They have two grown children.
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“In the 17th century came the crushing blow which destroyed the beauty of all Breviary hymns. Pope Urban VIII (d. 1644) was a Humanist. In a fatal moment he saw that the hymns do not all conform to the rules of classical prosody.”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

Family and Work: both are full time jobs
published 8 October 2015 by Dr. Alfred Calabrese

224 JMO Joseph Laren AM VERY GRATEFUL to be one of the newest bloggers here at ccwatershed. I’ve been frequenting this website and taking advantage of its multiple resources for many years. I’ve enjoyed reading the articles submitted by the bloggers that have come before me, and I’ve learned a lot. (If one were to look hard enough, he might even find a psalm setting or two of mine over at the Chabanel Psalms side of things). One of the things I’ve figured out is that I’m probably the oldest member of the blogging “team.” Some of my colleagues here have written beautiful, funny, and interesting stories about juggling a young family and their work in the Church. I have a different perspective. My children are now grown, and since they are old enough to read, I’m not about to reveal any family secrets. What I can say to anyone who is feeling any sort of pressure, or questioning how they can continue to give 100% to work and 100% to the family, is that it all works out in the end. Having a supportive and understanding spouse is crucial. It also helps when she’s a really fine musician as well, which mine is. Praying to St. Joseph is another way I can cope when things get tough. We certainly have had our struggles, still do some days, and will more than likely have more. It doesn’t change, it’s just different. However, I can share some of the little and large joys one can look forward to with grown children. Disclaimer – not all of these happen all the time, or all at the same time!

They go to church.
They talk to me about important things.
They do good works.
They have compassion.
They make decisions based on a moral compass.
They think a lot about Jesus.
They’re better than I am.

The American dream (a great dream, by the way) says that I should leave my children better off than I am. I also want my children to be better than I am so that they’ll get to heaven. I’m pretty sure they are.

Society tends to see things as either one way or the other. An example of this is how our children end up. Children who are successful, happy, do well in school, and get great jobs, must have great parents. Some kids dress funny, drive their parents crazy, float around aimlessly, and do some stupid things. They must have bad parents. It’s just not that simple. Working in the Church, and especially leading choirs, brings us into contact with a hugely diverse group of people. The job requires us to be aware of their joys and sorrows, do a lot of listening and sometimes a little counseling. In most cases, we will never know their whole ‘story.’ But as leaders, we learn a lot about them, including what’s going on in their families. I know parents who are really struggling in their relationships with their teenage and grown children. When these parents stick with their kids no matter what, it doesn’t make them bad parents, it makes them saints. I really respect these people. Let’s pray for all parents. St. Joseph, ora pro nobis.