Hymns are great expressions of faith in the Risen Lord

04-17-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

Growing up in Roslindale on my street there were 4 churches within a five minute walk of my home. Almost across the street was the United Methodist Church and just 4 houses up from us was Sacred Heart (Catholic) Church. On Easter Sunday, I could hear the bells from both. The Methodist Church played “Let the holy anthems rise” and the Catholic Sacred Heart played “Jesus Christ is risen today.” Both hymns are great expressions of faith in the Risen Lord. I must confess I have always liked the “Let the holy anthems rise” much better, though I like both. I think it is because of the melody of the hymn. At Mass a lot of our music which we sang was the atonal plain chant. The tonal flatness of chant may be soothing, but overtime it can make go everything flat. Regular music (polyphony) was for entrance and recessional hymns most of the time. Music is said to be able to express what is in one’s soul. Certainly the various tones and rhythms of modern music can accomplish this. Gregorian Chant which seems to come from Asian chanting can calm the heart and comfort the spirit, but it does not seem to make one come alive. Here at Saint Mary’s the blending of these two styles of music under the direction of our most talented and capable Music Director Terry Kerr allows all of us to have a stilled heart and an alive spirit.

I have been thinking about our music at Mass because I have missed Mass with all of you so much. I have missed the music which gives peace to our souls and lifts our hearts to God. We know our faith will carry us through this time and will bring us back together in our holy church and sanctuary. Our Catholic vision is that Mass is an essential element of our faith life. From this highest point of all of worship, we derive the grace, strength, courage and hope to live our life each day. This exile which we all endure will end and then we will gather again around our altar to sing praise to our God which gives our souls peace and makes us be truly alive.

The Masses and Service on Catholic TV this past Holy Week were impressive. I watched many of the Services of Holy Week from Rome with the Pope as Celebrant. They were deeply spiritual and moving. My faith was strengthened by the elegant simplicity of it all. The mark of Catholic Liturgy is that it is always elegant, but simple. Clutter and fussiness are not part of our Tradition; just they are simply accretions and misinterpretations. I also participated with Cardinal Sean with the Services at our Cathedral. I continue to recommend that you watch Cathoilctv.org for the best of spiritual Masses and Services at this time.

Our Saint Vincent de Paul is most appreciative of your generosity to them for their caring for the needy and frail. Folks have brought necessary items to the wooden side door of the church building at the top of the driveway and also have mailed in financial donations to the Rectory. I am personally most grateful to all who have thoughtfully sent financial support to our Parish via on-line giving (found at stmarysfranklin.org) or mailed in or dropped through the Rectory mail slot. Your kind caring for our Parish when there is so much to be worried about is impressive and I am most appreciative.

We are blessed to be able to invoke the intercessory power of Saint Rocco and also we are blessed that we are a parish dedicated to Mary, Mother of God. Through our prayer and their intercession, we ask the protection of all those who are ill and for all those who directly and indirectly care for the ill and all of us. We are blessed with living saints among us. They help us each day.