"The set was simple: the facade of the house of Combernon in France: a couple of doors for entrances and exits, and some shovels and picks lined up in front — ready for manual labor. Not only drama, but also talks, discussions, and music unfolded against this silent presence, this house, which served as a visual theme uniting many diverse expressions of humanity."
Read the rest at ilsussidiario.net: A French House in New York City
There is a lot of talk in Communion and Liberation about following, and I am a literal person. So just past the midpoint of an extraordinary weekend at the New York Encounter, January 14–17, I told my friend Matt that I would follow him. It was Sunday morning and time for Mass in the Hammerstein Ballroom of the Manhattan Center, which was built as an opera house by Oscar Hammerstein in 1906 and still looks it. We were staying at the New Yorker Hotel, around the corner on 8th Avenue, and even being in Matt’s company that morning was itself the result of following. . . .
One of the high points of the New York Encounter was the concert featuring subway acts. The video below is not from the New York Encounter but it does show one of the groups performing a song we heard then.
Lots of dancing in front of the stage, and a wide variety of sounds.
Yesterday, at the New York Encounter, the Mass was accompanied by the Gospel Choir of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Harlem. Perhaps I was expecting something more rowdy than the reverent, moving music we were treated to. The songs were all about trust in God and asking his help in conducting our life. The words were simple, the music easy to pick up, the singing heartfelt, and some of the church members were scattered throughout the auditorium to worship with and encourage the rest of us. The clapping was restrained and purposeful. It was about praise.
Yesterday's post from Msgr. Charles Pope describes the African American contribution to liturgy in a very comprehensive way. I so appreciated this article after the liturgical experience of yesterday and am grateful to the choir for so generously sharing their faith with us. In his second point, he described the particular character of this music:
One of the glories of musical repertoire of the African American Parishes is that it is almost exclusively focused on God and what He is doing. We have remarked here before how much modern Catholic music is far too focused on us, who we are, and what we are doing. Not so in the gospel music tradition where God is invariably the theme. In an anthropocentric time, this is a refreshing stream from which to draw. You may have whatever feelings you have about the style of Gospel music, but the bottom line is that it is about God. One song says, God is a good God, he is great God, he can do anything but fail. Another says, God and God alone! Another songs says, God never fails! And on and on. Even when we mention ourselves it is only to remember God: We’ve come this far by faith, Leaning on the Lord, trusting in his holy word, He’s never failed me yet!
Following is a video of one of the songs from yesterday's Mass, "I Can Go to God in Prayer":