MY BEAUTIFUL WIFE and I were blessed with a new arrival in the family this past week with our son, Sean Paul. His older siblings have been waiting to meet him with great anticipation. Watching their pure joy over having a little brother is like a foretaste of heaven for me. I’m not sure I deserve such blessings in life, but it is appropriate that I give great thanks to God every moment I breathe.
I am mindful of this because many struggle raising children through chronic illness, disability, or other challenges. Others have suffered unimaginable loss of an innocent child through illness or tragedy. Having family and close friends who know such suffering first hand, I am humbled by the awesome power of God and his gift of redemption through suffering. As such, children grant us enormous perspective in life. They remind us constantly of not only what is important, but who is most important — namely, God and family. Children return us to our core.
Y CHILDREN HAVE ALSO BEEN a great source of musical inspiration. They each have their own special songs that I sing to them at bedtime every night. Some have been adapted into liturgical or concert works. All are different in approach, reflecting their uniqueness.
For Sean Paul, I have recently completed a new mass setting dedicated to him. Look for this new mass setting to be released on Sunday, April 27th! It is chant inspired in style composed for SATB Choir and Organ using the 2010 Translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition.
FOR OUR FIRST CHILD, our daughter, I composed a hymn based on the story found in both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel about the disciples arguing over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus then shows them a little child:
Matthew 18: 1-5: At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.”
• Here is the choral score and live recording (2007) performed by Youth Pro Musica and the St. Cecilia Choir, Boston, with Peter Krasinski, organ.
FOR MY OLDEST SON, I composed a piece featuring my wife on clarinet. This is a live recording of the premiere at St. Paul Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of Saint Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square.