Hello, SJ Parishioners!
I cannot believe that it has been about three months since we worshiped together in the same place at the same time. That said, I am very much looking forward to praying with you very soon with the re-opening of St. Juliana!
In order to help keep everyone healthy during these times, some practices regarding music will be changing. These changes are temporary and may be updated or modified unexpectedly depending on Archdiocesan, government, and medical guidelines.
First, you will see that there are no hymnals in the bookshelves nor the pews. For the time being, IF USED, any worship aid or bulletin must be single-use, and should be taken with you as you leave the church.
Secondly, Archdiocesan guidelines state that for now, there will be NO CONGREGATIONAL SINGING. Certain parts of the mass will be recited as opposed to being sung. The idea is that when we sing, we expel more air than usual and increase the potential of circulating contaminants. At the same rate, we also breathe in more deeply when singing. Now, there may be vocal music at any given mass, but – again for now – these songs will serve as meditative pieces. I may actually use unfamiliar songs at this time, so be listening to and pray the words being sung. We can add to our hymn repertoire by passive learning!
Thirdly, in order to maintain a safe distance from other ministers is it likely that all music will be coming from the balcony as opposed to coming from the sanctuary. Along these lines, there will be no choirs nor ensembles of any kind until it is deemed safe in terms of health.
I know that some of these changes will be very different and things may be downright difficult for you. On behalf of the parish, I thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we take steps toward the re-opening of St. Juliana. Please keep in mind that the changes you will notice in the weeks to come are just temporary, and are intended to keep everyone healthy.
On a personal level, I have spent all of my energy as a liturgical musician ENCOURAGING congregations to sing robustly in prayer and praise. To ask you, as a community, NOT TO SING is also a new and uncomfortable experience for me and for the many musicians here at St. Juliana, who have wholeheartedly dedicated themselves to leading sung prayer. Even though we are not able to sing together at this time, it is MY hope that you find the music to be a form of prayer in and of itself. And who knows – you may find yourself humming along to a familiar tune. Better yet, you may even find yourself singing our songs in your cars or on your walk home from Mass!
I can honestly say that I am eager to witness the day we are once again able to sing together. What an incredible sound that will be as we raise the rafters with our voices in praise to God!
Walking with you on our journey together,