A New Priest and Musical Musings
Last weekend was a joyful celebration for our entire archdiocese as seven young men were ordained priests. The Lord has poured out His grace and mercy upon these new priests. We rejoice that the Archbishop has assigned Fr. Michael Willig to serve as the parochial vicar of the Petersburg Parishes. Fr. Willig and I overlapped in the seminary for one year and I know that he will be a wonderful priest in our parishes.
A short biography of Fr. Willig is in the May 2022 edition of the Catholic Telegraph. Here is a snippet of that article:
I’m from St. Antoninus Parish on the Westside of Cincinnati. I am the 6th of 8 children. I had an uncle, Fr. Jim Willig, who faithfully served as a priest of this Archdiocese until his death in 2001. Also, I have a brother who is a priest of the Archdiocese, Fr. Jacob Willig…
Being completely available to serve Christ as one of his priests. Serving the people of God by providing the sacraments and spreading the Gospel. I hope I may be an instrument in the hand of God to accomplish His work.
Praying the rosary has changed my life. It is certainly a favorite of mine. Growing up, my family would pray the rosary together every evening and that has had a major positive impact on my life. If I am offering a brief prayer during the day I like to pray the memorare. Also, I have several devotions. My top three are a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Joseph. I regularly ask for intercession from my patron saints as well (St. Michael, St. Anthony, and St. Anton Daniel).
On a different note, we had a meeting a couple weeks ago with music leaders, our cantors, choir members, and myself. People were given the opportunity to discuss what is going well, what isn’t going well, and ideas for moving forward. Below are some highlights of the meeting. This doesn’t cover everything that was discussed, but gives a snapshot.
One important positive item is the way we are praying the Mass. Someone mentioned that, until recently, they didn’t realize that the Mass was a prayer offered to God. We seem to be praying the Mass better as an entire parish. In conjunction with this, we are doing well at singing the Mass. This means singing the texts of the Mass, not additions to the Mass (like hymns). You’re doing well at singing the people’s parts of mass (“And with your spirit,” the Our Father, etc). We are also attempting to raise up a new generation of musicians – we have a couple of young people learning to play the organ.
People mentioned some frustrations surrounding the hymnody. Some of the word choice is a bit dated (“As thou with Satan didst contend, And didst the victory win”). The Pew Missal has a limited selection of hymns and the repertoire is lacking some important hymns. In addition, there seems to be a bit of confusion about the use the Communion Antiphon and the chant musical notation. There was also some internal issues concerning communication that we want to straighten out.
Finally, we made some commitments that you can anticipate. The first is surrounding catechesis and education. Look for some detailed explanation about the purpose of the Communion Antiphon and how to read the chant musical notation. We may even try to use the Communion Antiphon in a different way. In addition, we’ll be looking at ways to supplement the selection of hymns in the Pew Missal. The goal is to praise God well! Ultimately this is the goal of any new ideas or practices – praising our Triune God. May He be praised by all of our efforts.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson