Just a Thought…
Fifteen years ago my friend and predecessor Fr. Jack Wall planted the idea that amidst a host of city parades, parties, and turning a river green, wouldn’t it be great to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day through the creative expressions of song, story, and dance in a place such as Symphony Center? And so it happened! For 15 years, Old St. Pat’s, with the help of various composers, has created some of the most extraordinary concerts in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the gift of Irish heritage. 2011 was no different. This past Wednesday night, we filled the Symphony Center on Michigan Avenue with the brilliant sounds of voices and instruments that totally captured all who were able to join us.
I cannot begin to thank enough our Director of Music, Bill Fraher, for his tireless commitment to our music program and especially Siamsa na nGael. Along with Mary Evers (Old St. Pat’s member and writer), this year’s Siamsa concert was indeed one of the best in our fifteen-year history. A big thanks to Bill and Mary and to an incredible cadre of creative artists, composers, and arrangers for helping us celebrate the outstanding depth of Irish music and history. This year’s program, entitled Make Them Hear You, was a powerful array of stories and songs that reflected Irish courage, the fight for justice and multiple expressions of holy compassion, reflected through the life of Bernardo O’Higgins and his life in Chile, the San Patricios, and various life-giving and life-saving charities attributed to those Irish who brought their gifts around the globe.
Thank you in a deep and powerful way to the Concert Choir of Old St. Pat’s. I continue to marvel not only at the talent and energy of more than a hundred voices, but more importantly, the commitment of time and goodness to such a production over a long period of time. The women and men of our choir outdid themselves and so to them, a heartfelt thanks!
And none of this happens without the goodness of the Old St. Pat’s staff— those you may not see as they stay behind the scenes, but their force of creativity and hard work make the rest of us look way too good! To Sheila, Annette, JoAnn, Laura, Andy, Kate, Bridget, Joanne, Veronica, Tammy, Terry, Bob, Jeannine, Becky, Linda, Janette, Christy, Bern, Bea, Beth, Jaclyn, Keara, Tristin, Karla, Betty, Katie, Judi, Andrea, Anna, Barb, and Roger. We’re pretty darn lucky because of all these folks!
Finally, how lucky were we to have an award-winning actor such as Martin Sheen to be the narrator of our Siamsa concert? Putting aside any fame and notoriety, he is just a humble, passionate, and kind man. Not only was it an honor to meet him, but you should know of the high praise he offered to Old St. Pat’s and the spirit of our church. He loved every moment of it and even offered to come back again if we ask him. Our Lenten Speaker Series continues at 7 p.m. at Old St. Patrick’s Church on Wednesday, March 30, featuring Avis Clendenen, Ph.D. Avis focuses on our theme, Forgiveness Without Borders, by opening her heart and reflecting on the event from which all of her days are measured. Please join us for this poignant presentation.
See you Tuesday.
Fr. Tom Hurley