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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 a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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"Upon the road, René was always occupied with God. His words and the discourses he held were all expressive of submission to the commands of Divine Providence, and showed a willing acceptance of the death which God was sending him. He gave himself to God as a sacrifice, to be reduced to ashes by the fires of the Iroquois, which that good Father's hand would kindle. He sought the means to bless Him in all things and everywhere. Covered with wounds as he himself was, Goupil dressed the wounds of other persons, of the enemies who had received some blows in the fight as well as those of the prisoners. He opened the vein for a sick Iroquois. And he did it all with as much charity as if he had done it to persons who were his best friends."
— St. Isaac Jogues (writing in 1643)

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Paul McCartney Likes Choir Music
published 4 September 2016 by Fr. David Friel

HIS IS A TIME for new beginnings in many facets of life. Among those things that start fresh in September, of course, is choir season.

Before you leap into practicing for fall Masses and—yes—for Advent and Christmas concerts, perhaps you are looking for something that will inspire you and your fellow singers to take up your art with renewed fervor.

I recently found such inspiration from an unlikely source. It appears that Sir Paul McCartney, the great Beatles singer-songwriter-guitarist, has a soft spot for choir music.

In his own words:

“I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity—to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.” — Sir Paul McCartney

Choir singing is so human (in the best sense) for many reasons. For certain, the teamwork involved is extraordinary, and the unity achieved by a good choir can be very rewarding, for both listeners and singers.

I love McCartney’s phrase about people “devoting themselves to a piece of music.” As a singer or choir director, do you do that? Have you experienced the thrill of really devoting your time and energy to making a piece of music come alive?

As choir seasons around the globe begin, I wish each of you many blessings. May your music enrich the prayer of your fellow worshippers, and may be a source of nourishment for your own soul!

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands! Sing to the Lord; bless His name; announce His salvation, day after day! For great is the Lord and highly to be praised; awesome is He, beyond all gods. (Psalm 96)