At Our Lady Star of the Sea, a beautiful Catholic church in Bremerton, Fr. Derrek Lappe addressed the about-to-bebaptized group of Catechumens in front of the 200+ member congregation. They must respond “we do” to a series of questions before being fully welcomed into the church. First question: “Do you reject Satan and all of his works?” The group of a dozen or so quietly mumbled a shy reply, “We do.” Fr. Lappe paused for a moment, clearly not impressed with their unenthusiastic answer. “You know, we’re just getting started, and this has to be a pretty clear answer,” he chuckled. The rest of the church let out a good laugh.
During Holy Week, I sang for all of the major services— excluding Easter Sunday—in Bremerton, and what a blessing it was to sing such powerful music with an incredibly talented group of musicians. Mary Johnson, music director at OLSS, is ambitious and demanding with the small resident choir. In the period of a week we sang no less than fifteen different pieces of complicated Renaissance polyphony—some of it 6-part—and dozens of intricate Gregorian chants. I loved the way Mary planned the services, and how the music we sang fit so perfectly with the liturgy and mood.
Along with just being a lot of fun the experience of being a visiting musician gave me some new perspective on liturgical planning. I was exposed to so much music that I had never heard before, and given access to some resources that I’ve been eagerly looking for. Granted the music at a conservative Catholic church isn’t always going to work in a setting such as ours, it was still enlightening to see all of the possibilities that exist. I definitely look forward to making use of some of this inspiration at Welcome Table.
Now that you’ve heard me describe my time in Bremerton, I would like to invite all of you to join me at OLSS for Vespers. The same choir that sang during Holy Week sings at these evening services on the first Friday of each month. The experience is meditative and the music never fails to inspire and move me. The service begins at 7PM. For more information, visit www.starofthesea.net.