For the second week in a row, I met my parents at church for 8:30 Mass. It’s great to have them back out and about after working through all the health stuff of the summer. I’m hoping that I will be able to meet them for church most weeks through the fall, until the cold and snow make it too difficult for them to get out that early in the morning.
Today was the first time this season that Genesis Choir sang. This was the choir with which my daughter sang during her last two years at home. Last June, I wrote about the impending end of her singing and ringing handbells at church near home; today was the first time I heard the choir without her in the front row.
The sound is different. The vast majority of the choir is 30+ years older than my daughter and her younger voice helped to smooth out some of the vibrato of the older soprano voices. Besides her voice, I know they miss her energy, caring, and helpfulness.
For prelude, the choir sang “Servant Song” by Richard Gillard. This hymn is inextricably tied in my mind to the last weekend my daughters and I particiated in liturgies at the parish we lost in 2005. That June Saturday, we provided music for the diocesan ordination at the cathedral in Syracuse. My older daughter cantored, my younger daughter rang handbells, and I helped with the conducting duties. On Sunday, the choirs combined to sing for the first Mass of one of the newly ordained priests, who was from our parish. “Servant Song” was one of the requested pieces that weekend and holds a lot of personal meaning for me.
The circumstances that led to our leaving our parish home were very painful, so difficult that it still hurts nine years later. For the first several years in our new parish, I would cry every time I heard “Servant Song.” I couldn’t sing it at all. Eventually, I got to the point where I could make it through singing it part way, although the line, “I will weep when you are weeping” would always make me choke up. In the last couple of years, I’ve actually been able to get through the whole hymn dry-eyed.
This morning, with an empty seat in the front row of sopranos where my daughter used to sit, I admit that I did brush away a few tears.