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Bless the Corners: New Melleray Abbey to the Michigan City Prison

Author: Courtney Morin

If you have been wondering what precisely Christian unity looks like, I can recommend two stops you might make on your life’s journey. The first would be to New Melleray Abbey—a Trappist monastery in Iowa; the second would be to the Michigan City Prison—a maximum security facility in Indiana. Allow me to explain……

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Perfect in Weakness

Author: Greg Demet

As Folk Choir alumni surely know, there is a tradition in the Folk Choir going back who-knows-how-long known as “tenor names.” Essentially, when new tenors join the choir, the older tenors assign them a new name. This name is generally taken from a song in the Folk Choir’s repertoire. I think it’s all kind of weird, but I’m a bass, so I’m biased.…

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My Choir Friend, Nick Munsen

Author: Andrew Skiff

At Notre Dame, everyone is smart and talented, so much so that the environment can be more than a little intimidating. As the story for many probably goes, I went from being the super-smart kid in high school to being an average student at Notre Dame. It is certainly a different way to go through life. For a while, I was not really sure how to handle this new environment; I felt intellectually intimidated by my super-smart classmates who tested into Calculus III,  got perfect ACT scores, and had semi-photographic memories. I didn’t feel very smart, which made me sad, because there is so much pressure to make a good impression. Nobody wants to be the student that makes other students ask “Why is that guy here? He’s stupid.” I felt like that guy, until halfway through my freshmen year.…

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Reflection for the Sixth Sunday of Easter - May 6, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

Reflection

 

As we approach the end of this academic year, John’s Gospel this weekend fittingly leaves us with words from Jesus’ farewell discourse.  Following upon his hope for the disciples that they remain committed in the faith as branches growing from the vine, Jesus turns to the foundational commandment to love others from a generous heart.  Whether our personal time in the choir is best measured in weeks, months, or years, we have all experienced the love that exists in this ensemble.  This love manifests itself in the way we sing together, eat together, socialize together, laugh together, and pray together.  We reach out to comfort those who are going through hard times, and we affirm the gifts present in one another that make a positive difference in our lives.  We support each other in academic endeavors, in spiritual and professional discernment, and in joyful praise of our God each Sunday morning from the basilica loft.  As we enter this final month, may we be able to say of one another, “I have called you friends,” and may we always hear Jesus say the same words to us in the depths of our hearts.  We are indeed friends of Christ, and trusting in his promise and example, we open ourselves to become true friends to one another.  May we continue to let Jesus’ love transform our lives, and may this love be the solid ground from which all our friendships blossom.

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Walking on the "Path of Mercy"

Author: Susie Li

“God of morning, God of sunlight,

Susie Li 2

Look on me with tenderness.

Help me see with eyes of mercy,

and respond with heart aflame.

May my hands embrace your likeness,

So your love transforms life,

As I walk the path of mercy,

May your mercy be my own.”

These are lyrics from “Path of Mercy,” my favorite Folk Choir song of all time. The gentle voice of the solo on verse one is like the Word of God, touching my heart with tenderness and love. Sometimes life in the Folk Choir feels like mere routine: Tuesday rehearsal, Thursday rehearsal, Sunday rehearsal and Sunday Mass. But is it really routine? To me, it is much more than that. Life in the Folk Choir is a journey. We are walking together on this invisible path of mercy.…

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Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Easter - April 29, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

Reflection

 

Our Gospel this weekend takes us back to John’s account of the Last Supper.  On his final night with the disciples, Jesus gives simple yet challenging words to sustain the faith of his followers: “Abide in me as I abide in you.”  Pope Francis says that this is the core of Christian life—to abide in Jesus, to unite ourselves so closely with him to receive his life and love, to never tire of seeking him and imitating his example.  When we fully abide in Jesus, we submit our desires to God’s own will and desire for us.  We make ourselves susceptible to receiving the grace of the Holy Spirit while also accepting correction and pardon for what we have done wrong.  Jesus tells his disciples that abiding in him means holding fast to his word and growing outward from his teaching, just as a branch is attached to a vine but extends forth when nourished well.  We grow outward as branches from Christ the true vine and our actions bear fruit when we pattern them after Jesus.  We practice works of mercy in welcoming the stranger, forgiving the sinner, comforting the sorrowful, and responding to the physical and spiritual hunger of our neighbors.  Sustained by prayer, the sacraments, Scripture, and the support of fellow Christians, may we branch out with zeal to bear fruit in the world, firmly connected to the vine which feeds us and the vine grower who trims us back in love to increase our yield.

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How Can I Keep from Singing?

Author: Jamis Labadie

A friend of mine and fellow Folkhead, John Michael, recently gave me a beautiful image to ponder. He handed me a book by Joseph Ratzinger (a.k.a Pope Benedict XIV) opened to a page where heaven was described as a choir, singing eternal praise to God. As choir members ourselves, we agreed that this was a beautiful and fitting image of heaven! There is a joy that is felt in praising God with your whole being, and I find that it is easy to do this while singing God’s praises as a part of the congregation at mass. I have had my most joyful experiences in the choir loft praising God with the Folk Choir, but I took that blessing for granted my first semester at Notre Dame.…

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Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Easter - April 22, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

Reflection

 

The portrayal of Jesus as the “good shepherd” endures as one of the most popular images in the Gospels, despite the fact that many Christians today have no cultural connections to the practice of shepherding animals.  What is it about this particular image of Jesus that continues to capture our imagination and reinforce our faith?  The skilled shepherd never takes his gaze away from his flock and constantly attunes himself to potential threats in the environment.  The skilled shepherd rushes after the sheep that try to wander away, pulling them gently back into the fold.  The skilled shepherd identifies fertile pastures where the flock can graze and pure sources of water where they can refresh themselves.  The skilled shepherd corrals his flock into the sheep pin when they need rest, and he courageously positions himself at the gate to prevent predators from entering and any within his fold from getting out.  These daily tasks of the shepherd to look after the sheep are the same selfless actions Jesus takes with us, this Jesus who lays down his life for our protection and salvation.  Jesus’ heart opens up for our welfare and his voice steadily guides us to places of comfort and peace.  Jesus never leaves us to face the world on our own, and each member of his flock he intimately knows.  May we place our trust completely in Jesus, the good shepherd who accompanies our steps all days.

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"When the Road Makes Us Weary": Bound for Emmaus

Author: Elizabeth Boyle

The metaphor of the “journey” of life has been instilled within my siblings and me since we were young.  My dad would constantly remind me that “Life is a train ride.  Are you getting on it or are you driving it?”  Aside from my personal vision of the train of life, as a young Catholic I learned another story of journeying: the Road to Emmaus.  This story, recited in CCD courses (religion courses usually for students in public school without a religion class) and Catholic summer programs, is arguably one of the most popular passages in the Gospels.  As it says in Luke’s Gospel: two disciples were walking to Emmaus, discussing the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection when Jesus suddenly appeared to walk with the two, unbeknownst to them.  Jesus asked the disciples about the events of the past few days, and they explained to him what had happened.  As the weary travelers arrived at the village, they asked Jesus to join them for dinner.  At dinner, Jesus broke bread and gave it to his disciples, at which point his true identity was made clear to them.  The Gospel for this Third Sunday of Easter reflects on the events following

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Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter - April 15, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

Reflection

 

Once again this weekend, we encounter the disciples after Easter attempting to make sense of the resurrection.  As they gather to discuss reports of Jesus’ appearances, he comes among them peacefully only to have them react with fright.  “Why are you troubled?” he asks them.  “Why do questions arise in your hearts?”  Jesus asks the same questions to us when we struggle to make sense of events in our world.  We try to come up with logical explanations for the sin and suffering we witness, and we make honest attempts to articulate for others and for ourselves the importance of a life of faith.  Still, doubt and questioning enter our experience just as they did that of Jesus’ disciples.  To ease their troubled minds, Jesus offers his pierced hands and feet as evidence of his true presence among them.  In one of her Catholic Worker

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"I Will Never Desert You": Playing the Part of Peter

Author: Patrick Shields

On Palm Sunday, the reading of the gospel takes a turn for the dramatic with the reading of the Passion narrative. The priest takes on the role of Jesus, the readers become the various other speaking roles, and the choir transforms into an angry crowd, as the narrator tells the story of Jesus’ passion and death, from the entrance into Jerusalem to his crucifixion and laying in the tomb. Being told to yell, “Crucify him!” in the middle of mass is certainly an odd experience, but I’ve come to realize that it is also powerful and humbling to be immersed in the story of the Gospel in such a way. Last year, on the weekend of Palm Sunday, I had a very different but similarly immersive experience when I took on the role of the apostle Peter in a Passion Play.…

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Reflection for the Second Sunday of Easter - April 8, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

Reflection

 

In this octave of Easter, we read through the resurrection appearances of Christ to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb, to the travelers on the way to Emmaus, and to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius.  We witness the mix of sadness, terror, and doubt that are changed into joy, exhilaration, and faith when Jesus’ followers finally recognize the friend who stands in their midst, the friend they once thought dead but who is now raised in glory.  This weekend, we hear John’s account of Jesus entering through locked doors to find his disciples huddled in fear.  Yet the first word he speaks is not one of rebuke—rather Jesus calmly says, “Peace.”  A week later he finds the disciples in the same place and extends the same gentle greeting, this time inviting the previously absent Thomas to touch his wounds, cast aside unbelief, and trust that he has kept the promise of his resurrection.  For us today, Christ’s victory over darkness and sin by the resurrection gains him entrance even into the locked spaces of our hearts.  His word continues to be that of peace, inviting us to hope in the cross and believe in the transforming graces it offers.  The Holy Cross constitutions state that there is “no failure the Lord’s love cannot reverse” and “no routine he cannot transfigure” as “resurrection for us is a daily event.”  May we be true Easter people who walk always in the light of this resurrection.

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Out of Darkness, Easter Joy: Reflecting on Holy Week with the Folk Choir

Author: Maria Vigil

“The soundtrack to my soul.” This is how members of the Folk Choir often describe the music we sing. Every year, I find this to be especially appropriate as we prepare for Holy Week—the music that fills our rehearsal room and choir loft becomes ever more wrenching, piercing the hearts and souls of both singers and congregants.  Because this year’s Easter comes early in the spring, the academic time surrounding this particular Holy Week is one of transition, during which students of all ages are solidifying plans for the coming summer, seniors are making final decisions about their next steps, and clubs and student organizations on campus are changing leadership roles. Yet in the midst of it all, we draw ever nearer to the remembrance of our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, an event that is central to our lives as Christians.…

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I Hear the Music Ringing: Remembering My Time with the Folk Choir

Author: Liam Maher

             Four years ago this May, I anxiously walked into the Coleman Morse Center, following “Mr. Warner” (who quickly told me to call him “Steve”) and his guitar. Though a violinist by trade, I was here auditioning with my voice. It was time for my first ever choral audition, and to say I was terrified would have been an understatement. After stumbling through some hymns and botching a few sight-reading exercises (especially that darn third in “Song of Ruth”!), Steve and I sat down to talk.…

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Reflection for Palm Sunday - March 25, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

 

Reflection

 

On Sunday, Christians throughout the world enter into the holiest week of the year as we recall Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem.  The crowds shout “Hosanna” in praise of God who keeps his promises.  They lay down their garments onto the street, hailing Jesus with palm branches as he passes by.  The palm branch stands as a powerful symbol even today, signaling the victory of the martyrs in defense of the faith as well as the reign of peace that follows the end of conflict.  Our world still cries out for Christ’s peace as we witness bitter discord between nations, religious groups, political parties, and even members of the same family.  How often believers forget that Jesus walks before us everyday—he longs for us to take up a palm branch and join him to usher the peace of God’s kingdom into our workplaces, schools, and homes.  This campaign for peace, however, does not end with Jesus’ ride through Jerusalem, but it extends to the Last Supper with his disciples, his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his crucifixion on Calvary.  Our walk with Jesus is a walk toward the cross and with the cross, yet even the cross fails to issue the final word. Holy Week ultimately brings us to the site of an empty tomb and the hope of our resurrection on the last day.  By grace, may we strive to go where Jesus has already gone to “rest and reign with him in heaven.”

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Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent - March 11, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

Reflection

 

This weekend in the middle of the Lenten season we celebrate Laetare Sunday.  Our liturgy invites us to rejoice even as we gather in the midst of a time of self-denial, penance, and conversion.  Our observances of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not meant to make us morose or sorrowful, but rather they purify us from within and instill in us renewed hope for the coming celebration of Easter.  As Christians, we do not abandon joy, for the foundation of our faith is the resurrection of Christ—the one who reigns forever has initiated us into his body through his dying and rising so that we might become more like him.  Even in Lent our worship resounds with joy because God’s promises have already been fulfilled in the gift of his Son.  Every Sunday for us is a “little Easter.”  This weekend’s Gospel affirms our cause for joy as John recalls God’s unbounded compassion and immeasurable mercy for his people.  God sends Christ into this world out of love so that we may experience redemption that leads to eternal life.  Our God does not create in order to condemn us, but rather he creates to bring us to himself through his Son.  Once lifted high on the cross to die, Jesus’ cross becomes the instrument of his glorification, the saving sign by which we exalt his name above all others.  May we allow Jesus to guide us along the way of the cross this Lent to the joys of his resurrection.

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Reflection for the Third Sunday of Lent - March 4th, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

Reflection

 

Filled with lament over exhaustion, separation from family and friends, and the onslaught of false testimony, we hear the psalmist cry out, “Because zeal for your house has consumed me, I am scorned by those who scorn you.”  In today’s world, we need look no farther than our own local communities to see the effects of those who still scorn the Lord and the grace of his truth.  We witness gun violence, political disunity, and the pain exerted by those who judge and exclude others out of fear and a false sense of superiority.  How do we respond?  Do we allow the Spirit to energize us toward awakening change?  Does injustice stir our consciences?  Does zeal surface within us?  In the Gospel this weekend, we meet Jesus in the temple area, visibly angered by moneychangers and merchants who have turned the holy sanctuary into a commercial plaza.  He scatters coins, overturns tables, and forms a whip to chase out both people and animals.  Jesus personally bears the wreckage of those who disregard truth and virtue, and zeal rouses him to act decisively and immediately.  Pope Francis has commented that true faith must be marked by such a daring desire to change the world with the heart of Christ.  The pope leaves Christians with these questions: “Do we have a great vision and impulse?  Are we audacious?  Does our dream soar high? Does our zeal consume us?”

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Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent - February 25, 2018

Author: Geoffrey T. Mooney

Second Sunday of Lent – February 25, 2018

 

Reflection

 

Throughout the Scriptures, people climb mountains in order to communicate with God and experience divine revelation.  Moses receives the law on Mount Sinai, and later Elijah climbs to the same summit where he encounters God in the sound of sheer silence.  The act of ascending a high mountain was often associated with drawing near to God’s presence in the heavens, and at the peak God’s voice would be heard as he descended to meet human beings.  In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus leads three of his closest friends up Mount Tabor where he is transfigured in brilliant light, surrounded by Moses and Elijah.  Overcome by amazement and terror, the disciples find themselves lost in a cloud from which a voice rings out a pointed command, “Listen to him.”  As we journey through this holy season, Jesus’ Transfiguration calls us to contemplation, to move beyond excess and distractions into that most interior space of our hearts where God dwells.  Here his grace goes about the work of transforming our wayward desire and transfiguring our weakness to be recast as selfless love and strength in the light of his Son.  What mountains are we climbing this Lent in order to carve out stillness and silence to allow God to descend into our lives?  What do we leave behind and how will we choose to return?  May we hear God’s voice today, beckoning us to listen to Jesus.…

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