Our diocese has a tradition. My parish hosts the Serra Club’s annual seminarian appreciation Mass and dinner on the evening of December 26th. It has been so, I am told, since our prior bishop instituted the practice while the clergy-in-training were home for Christmas break. This year, I asked my friend, who engaged me to play piano for the Mass, what’s up with the St Stephen observance. So I was told. If Christmas break is the answer, I wondered about John Neumann or even St John being a better choice. Ah well.
It was a nice celebration. Bishop Finn was with us, along with our retired bishop, seven priests, a group of seminarians, and about 150 Serrans, seminarian families and guests.
Here’s the musical line-up for the liturgy:
“Of The Father’s Love Begotten,” plainsong, English; Creation ordinary, Haugen-Haas Psalm 98 (they didn’t like my suggestion of Psalm 31 from By Flowing Waters), Celtic Alleluia, “Hark the Herald…” and “Joy to the World.”
The bishop knows my name. But I think it comes with the territory. My wife used to be surprised at that in our previous diocese, so I teased her and said he probably keeps dossiers on us wild untamable liturgists. On the drive out US-71, he probably asks his assistant, “Pull the files on that Todd; what’s he been writing on his blog lately?”
Honestly, most bishops I know are excellent with names. That’s probably it.
I’m sure of it.
Every time I hear Bishop Finn preach, he gets more animated. The second half of his homily was edging into passion. I think this is good. He has a very pleasant voice for speaking and singing. If he were to ask me, I’d suggest he learn how to inflect his voice more when speaking: take acting lessons to help things along. For all I know, he’s doing it already. I did discover that last year, he spent lunch hours learning Spanish. I have yet to hear him preside in Spanish, but I’m certain that will come soon, if it hasn’t already been so.
My musical friends from Serra snagged me for dinner, so we sat at table with one of the pre-theology students and his family. Nice people.