Since September of 2009 we have seen an incredible growth and interest in the music ministry of this cathedral parish. In a matter of months we witnessed the growth of the Cathedral Choir, established a regular music/liturgical education program (not just a choir) for children, had an incredible experience with a day camp last August called “Summer Sounds” for children and youth, started a choir of exceptional skill called the Missae Cantorei, and began the observance of Eucharistic Adoration with music on the First Friday of each month followed by a Concert of Gratitude that focuses on prayer. In addition, I am happy to say that the liturgies for the parish have become more centered in prayer and we have increased our education and experience with chanting as prayer; both in participation and listening with meditation. These things came about because of you, not me. I planted the seed, watered the idea, nurtured the organization and you have grown into something that can be self sustaining for years to come with dedicated, educated and talented leadership.
Programs that have yet to begin are music for youth and a contemporary music ministry that will focus on the finest aspects of that style for the liturgy. It is my sincere desire to see a music program at the cathedral that nurtures and encourages people of all ages. Music is a primary part of spiritual expression, meditation and education. This is why Gregorian Chant, the sound and experience of musical prayer, has lasted for so many centuries and continues to draw people to the faith today.
During these brief months I’ve also learned things about myself and my own spiritual needs at this stage in my life. The most important thing is that the support of a community of family and friends is necessary for my continued happiness outside of my work environment. Many times during the past year I have felt the need to be closer to my physical home. My sister and her family live in Tennessee, my own family ties are in Huntington, West Virginia. I have very close friends in Charlotte, North Carolina. So when I experienced times of great spiritual and emotional need, that support was so far away.
Therefore I have decided that I have planted seeds for this cathedral parish and it is time for you to take up that work and continue forward. You will need to stay together and not divide. That is crucial at this moment. God will provide the next person to take up the work begun with the careful guidance of the ministers of Holy Family Cathedral in conjunction with your input and commitment to the ministry.
As for me, I have been offered, and have agreed to accept the position of Director of Music Ministries at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is on the banks of the Ohio River and feels like home as I grew up on the banks of the same river. It is just a 2.5 hour drive to my hometown and 3 hours to my sister in Nashville. At my new position I will be blessed with a very large school that has music and drama professionals on staff. The support staff of the parish also employs a person on the committees of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. The National Convention is being held in Louisville this July and I will be a participant. The children of the school just performed the family version of the musical “Grease.” This is a dynamic parish and is well suited for my skills and desires for ministry. I ask for your continued support and prayers as well as your understanding. I am not leaving Holy Family Cathedral because of you. In fact, I will greatly miss you and miss the community where I was so warmly accepted into the Catholic faith. Please know that I make this move with significant sadness for my loss here.
PS: Fr. Francis will meet with me and the Cathedral Choir on Thursday, April 14, just after the rehearsal. Anyone interested in attending that meeting is encouraged to come but please understand it will be at the end of rehearsal and a bit late. At that time we will discuss our concerns for the future of the music program and what steps should be taken to keep the program together.