Monday, June 24, 2002

The "Party"

Last weekend, the parish had a "Goodbye, Jay" reception after each mass. It was really nice to see folks turn out, even if the lure was more the free food than the chance to pat me on the back.

Coolest part was a big piece of posterboard that was my "card" from the parish. 100+ signatures, most with comment. All nice, some deep and clearly heartfelt.

Also got a note (and a plate full of date bars) from the mom of one of my teen choir grads. In it, she quoted a neighbor as saying that, although she doesn't like to sing in church, she often couldn't help joining in, because the songs were so infectious and joyful.

If there's a common thread here, it's that I've helped the parish find its voice. I have two big concerns - (1) will they continue to sing for the next DM?, and (2) I seem to have developed a rep as "the fun organist". The latter concerns me because that was really not what I was trying to do - sounds too much like pandering.

I recall my first year there, after I had them singing all this upbeat stuff, I pulled way back for Advent, and we jumped in using chant-based acclamations and low-key hymns. A number of folks complained bitterly - "We want to sing those fun songs again...". I explained the liturgical cycle, the ebb & flow, some of them got it, I think. But the struggle began way back then to be more than just, "the party guy". I know some of the pullback I got from Fr. was along the same lines - as I got more liturgical in my orientation, he wanted to know "what happened to that guy I hired?" Sigh...

Ann, the new DM, camped out with me at the bench all day yesterday. I think she's up to the task, I just hope the parish gives her a chance. I'll do my best to support her from the pews.

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