Christmas Column 2020 – Frank
E Pluribus Unum! I first heard this motto of the United States as a child watching the Wizard of Oz. It was the scene where after “liquidating” the wicked witch, Dorothy and the gang discover the true identity of the Wizard. I first experienced the meaning of ‘”out of many one”, this past spring as the choir prepared a gift to the parish.
After our voices were silenced for our beloved Holy Week and Easter, and at the gracious invitation of composer, friend, and parishioner Dan Schutte, the choir embarked upon a “pandemic” adventure. We decided to try and put together a virtual video recording of Dan’s song, “These Alone Are Enough”. To accomplish this, we all had to record ourselves singing alone and then send it to Dan so he could take all our solo recordings and blend them together to sound like one choir. Recording yourself singing alone is an arduous task! It is not like singing alone in the shower. We all sound good in the shower. Take away the shower effect and see how you sound? It was a task we all labored over but persevered anyway.
Throughout this entire experience I believe we were all given a gift. The gift of resilience. The flexibility to bend but not break. As the song Hosea tells us, “Trees do bend though straight and tall. So, must we to others call”. Resilience is impossible in Ministry without knowing and experiencing the unconditional love of a God who tells us we are never alone. We were all able to participate in this gift to the parish because as a choir we sing and pray about this God every time we gather.
I see this experience as a metaphor for what we have all experienced in this year of COVID-19. We all have been resilient. We all have given a little something extra, a little more than is needed to merely survive. Some of us find it more challenging than others, but we all are doing whatever it takes to live a resilient life in 2020.
Our choir will not be singing this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, our voices will not be silent. In this video we offer our voices in song and prayer as a gift to our Parish of St. Anthony. We sincerely thank our friend Dan Schutte for the many hours it took to put this video together.
In 1818, Josef Mohr the pastor of St. Nicholas church in Austria after a Christmas Eve program chose the longer way home that took him up over a hill overlooking the village. Reveling in the silence of the wintry night, he remembered a poem he had written, “Silent Night Holy Night”. In the silence of our Christmas Masses this year Silent Night will have new meaning for me, and so will… E Pluribus Unum.
Please go to the Parish website and follow the link to “unwrap” our Christmas gift”.