The lateness of this post is indicative of the amount of free time that has been available since we’ve been spending our past 36 hours shepherding our dear University of Notre Dame Folk Choir around the Diocese of Ferns. Please forgive me for brevity (if I’m capable of that), but I’m going to stick to giving you a simple play by play of the awesome ministry they’ve already done in the short time they’ve been here:

  • Thursday night, Fr. Sean gave us a lift up to Gorey (about 45 min north of Wexford town) to see the choir sing a concert of sacred music in the town church up there.
  • Friday morning, the bus took them straight to Scoil Mhuire, where the choir gave back to back presentations in the school’s hall to the younger half of the students followed by the older half.
  • Then, they moved on over to the main church at Clonard to sing for the entire student body of Kennedy Park in one big presentation.
  • We then took a nice break to enjoy lunch at Fr. Denis’ house and some free time during the afternoon at the House of Brigid, giving us to a chance to show the choir our home and even teach them how to make Brigid crosses of their own to be blessed and taken home.
  • Friday night, the choir provided the music for a celebration of St. Brigid. Fr. Denis even busted out his full monsignor regalia to preside over the service, which included a magnificent sacred space, complete with fire cauldron, incense bowl, greenery, fake animals, and a water fountain.
  • Kurt and I then shepherded a bunch of our folkheads down to a pub for some cultural immersion and a bit of taste-testing…
  • Saturday morning, the gang convened to head out to Bunclody Pastoral Center, where Steve Warner led 30+ guests, with the support of our own dear choir, in a workshop on the pastoral aspects of liturgical music and how to foster participation and enthusiasm in congregations – using a cantor, finding songs with simple, easily-learnable melodies, and using the voices at your disposal to switch between soloists, full choir, and using only men’s or women’s voices for parts of songs.
  • In the afternoon, the choir continued on to Our Lady’s Island, where Fr. Nolan and Mary Moloney welcomed us to the church and the amazing pilgrimage walk there. The choir made the journey around the peninsula, carrying prayer intentions with us as we reflected on the joyful mysteries.
  • That evening, the choir led the music for the parish’s vigil mass, where Fr. Nolan gave a beautiful Pentecost homily on the power of the Spirit in giving us access to the amazing breadth and depth of mystery and love that we can know in Jesus Christ. The parish then put on a nice dinner for everyone in their community hall.
  • Afterward, we headed back to Clonard to get everyone back to their host families and allow a truant blogger to get back to informing his friends and family what the House of Brigid is up to these days…