Music that lifts the soul

Happy Easter!

The beautiful liturgies of Holy Week and Easter have provided an opportunity to listen to some of the greatest and most joyous hymns ever composed and to reflect on the way these hymns can lift the soul. What a blessing it is that we have talented musicians to perform it so well. There have been several experiences that have made me reflect on the importance of music in the life of the Church and in my own life.

On Palm Sunday our family attended the 9:00 a.m. Mass at St. Agnes. The Mass is a moving experience to read the account first of the entrance into Jerusalem and then the Passion narrative. The children's choir did a beautiful job as always and it is wonderful to hear the young voices sing some of our most precious hymns. But the musical show stopper is the post-communion meditation sung by Michael Vaughan, a tremendous cantor. I learned after Mass from Father Jack Graham that some former parishioners travel back from Maryland to Arlington for the Palm Sunday Mass because of the beautiful music and Michael's solo that adds so much to the beginning of Holy Week. For them, and for all of us present, it is truly music that lifts the soul.

On Wednesday of Holy Week, Father Jonathan Gaspar joined Father Matt Williams and me for The Good Catholic Life radio program to discuss the Easter Vigil liturgy. Father Jonathan serves as the Director of Divine Liturgy at the archdiocese and also as a priest secretary to Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley. Like Michael Vaughan, God has blessed Father Jonathan with a tremendous voice and part of the broadcast involved Father Jonathan chanting the Exultet, the Church's Easter Proclamation. The lyrics and melody of the Exultet have moved me since I first heard it in my early twenties and it is one of my favorite parts of the Easter liturgies. Father Jonathan discussed on the program how both the Exultet's lyrics and the melody were both enhanced as part of the New Roman Missal. To listen to Father Jonathan's explanations and hear him chanting the Exultet, please visit www.TheGoodCatholicLife.com, click on "complete index of shows" and scroll down to show #272.

On Saturday, our family returned to St. Agnes for the Easter Vigil. A violinist and a trumpeter joined the outstanding choir to sing the hymns and psalms. A moment that stood out for me was the singing of the litany of the saints where we begged their help and assistance on the candidate for reception into full communion into the Catholic Church and on all of us. I have never heard the litany be so moving as it was that night. Later, hearing the choir sing one of my favorite church hymns, "O God Beyond All Praising," I started to share with my children how privileged we were to be present together at this Easter Vigil and to hear such wonderful music. I prayed to myself that they would always appreciate its beauty and never take it for granted.

This past Monday, Eric Genuis was my guest on The Good Catholic Life program. Eric is a composer, virtuoso pianist and performer whose music is classical in form with a modern feel. Recognizing that his musical talent was a gift from God, Eric promised God that he would always say yes to any invitation to share the beauty of uplifting music. Over the past 3 decades, Eric has played in schools, churches, concert halls, prisons, homes and stadium arenas.

The discussion with Eric about the impact of music on our culture was fascinating and enlightening. Eric described how much of popular contemporary music moves people toward emotions and behaviors that do anything but lift the soul. It is the equivalent of junk food for the ears. Some of the more popular acts are constructed by the music companies to become entertainment icons who have a "star quality" in the eyes of young children. For many popular acts today, it isn't about the music as much as the image.

A great part of our conversation was hearing Eric's advice on how to talk to your children about the music they listen to and how to expose them to other types of music that will be uplifting and entertaining for them. Another interesting section was hearing Eric describe how prisoners, who are confined to a depressing ugly aesthetic environment, react when they become exposed to Eric's beautiful music. To listen, please visit www.TheGoodCatholicLife.com, click on "complete index of shows" and scroll down to show #274.

Eric will be performing 2 concerts in the Boston area next week. On April 16 at 7:00 p.m., Eric will be at St. William Parish in Tewksbury. The following night, April 17 at 7:00 p.m., Eric will be performing at St. Mary Parish in Waltham. There is no charge, but a free will offering will be taken up at both concerts. Eric encourages families to come together, as the experience of hearing this type of beautiful music can allow some great conversations on the ride home. For more information on the concerts, please visit www.CatholicQuest.org or www.EricGenuis.com.

What type of music do you listen to? How does it lift your soul?

Scot Landry is Secretary for Catholic Media at the Archdiocese of Boston and host of The Good Catholic Life radio program each weekday at 4 p.m. on 1060AM WQOM.

World
Cardinal beatifies 22-year-old Romanian as 'martyr to chastity'

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A 22-year-old Romanian peasant has taken a step closer to sainthood as a "martyr to chastity," six decades after she was murdered ...

Nation
Maryland attorney general will review church records on child sex abuse

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- In a Sept. 24 letter to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori informed priests and deacons that the ...

Nation
People helping people is what attracted actor to 'God Friended Me'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Television audiences may recall seeing actor Joe Morton as Eli Rowan Pope, the father of professional Washington fixer Olivia Pope, ...

Nation
Pa. bishops support creating fund to compensate survivors of sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The bishops of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses are supporting creation of an independent fund to compensate survivors ...

Nation
CRS sells fair trade coffee, supporting Mexican farmers and land

Baltimore, Md., Sep 24, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Catholic Relief Services is now offering fair trade coffee beans that will benefit local farming communities ...

World
The Jesuit who survived the KGB

Vilnius, Lithuania, Sep 24, 2018 CNA.- When Pope Francis visited a former KGB building in Vilnius, Lithuania Sept. 23, Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius ...

World
Next step toward artificial reproduction violates human fundamentals, ethicist warns

Washington D.C., Sep 25, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Artificial human reproduction appears to be on the horizon with Japanese scientists’ claim to ...

World
Update: Scandals create outrage, but there is time for conversion, pope says

TALLINN, Estonia (CNS) -- In what is probably the least religious country in Europe, Pope Francis said he is surprised by how many people hold firm to ...

Nation
Catholic leaders oppose administration's plan to limit green cards

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic leaders are speaking out against a Trump administration proposed rule announced Sept. 22 that would deny green cards to legal ...

Nation
Head of Georgetown Prep urges renewed commitment to being 'men for others'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a letter to the school community, the president of an all-boys Jesuit high school in suburban Washington emphasized the schools' ...

Nation
Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

World
Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Nation
Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

World
Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

World
God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

World
Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

World
Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Nation
Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

Nation
N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Nation
Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Nation
Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Nation
Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

Nation
#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Nation
Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Nation
Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...