AST FRIDAY, I served as a Straw Subdeacon at a Solemn High Mass for the first time. It was a wonderful and prayerful experience! One of the servers informed us that a tragic attack happened in Paris during our prayerful Mass. I was shocked and very sad when I heard the news. It wasn’t the news I expected hear after a beautiful Mass. All I did was pray for those souls as I take off my vestments.
Fr. Michael Gossett, parochial vicar at my parish, quoted the second Lord of the Rings movie at Sunday Mass. He quoted King Theoden of Rohan and Aragon:
Theoden: What can men do against such reckless hate?
Aragorn: Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them.
These lines are from the conversation of the two characters as they face their enemies, who are attacking them not for their wealth nor land, but just wanting to destroy the world of men. We are facing a similar situation today. While most of us are not going to be the ones riding out to meet the enemies physically, we can all pray harder. That is what we do as followers of Christ.
We need to pray for the repose of the souls of those who were killed in the attack; for recovery and healing for those who are injured; for the families of the victims; for the leaders of the nations and those who are defending us physically from the enemies; for the conversion of our enemies and the grace of forgiveness; etc.
This is what the famous American conductor, Leonard Bernstein, said after the assassination of President Kennedy:
“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
That is what we, musicians, can do in response to violence and hate.
HERE WILL BE a Sung Requiem Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite this Saturday at 8am at the historical St. Peter Church in downtown Steubenville, OH. Fr. Timothy Huffman, the pastor of St. Peter, will be offering this Mass for Souls in purgatory, especially for those who lose their lives in the Paris attack. Yours truly will be directing a choir formed by students of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. The repertoire will include traditional Gregorian chants for the Requiem Mass, excerpts of the Missa Pro defunctis (1583) by Tomás Luis de Victoria and pieces by Palestrina and Fauré.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.