Happy Anniversary to Me… and You…

I wish to share with you several significant anniversaries I observed this month of June.

July, 1974 in Berkeley, CA.

From mid-June through August 1st of 1974, what was to become the St. Louis Jesuits met in Berkeley, CA to work on music together. Dufford, Foley, Manion, moi, and Schutte spent that time composing, sharing our compositions, and recording them to a two-track Teac we had use of.

First, happy anniversary to my beard. I began growing it in May or June that year. Forty-five years later, I don’t know what I would look like without it! And I don’t want to find out, either!

Second, the day after Foley composed, “Come to the Water” and shared it with us (and knocked my socks off!) I decided to pray with that passage. No plans of composing. I noticed the next section – “Seek the Lord while he may be found…” And fifteen minutes later, I had composed my first song for the liturgy. I was so new at it, I had to ask John to help me put it on paper, since I’d never done that before. Forty-five years ago.

Third, June 8th was my fortieth anniversary of ordination in Omaha at Holy Name parish (because it had air-conditioning!). The brightest memory that still remains is the moment after John Foley, SJ vested me with the stole and chasuble. “This fits” is what I said. I realized in that moment an existential fittingness to it all.

I am grateful to God for this amazing call to serve as a priest as a member of the Society of Jesus, lo, these many years. I’m grateful to so many friends and family members whose love and support have seen me through until this day. You have shared with me divine grace.

I’m so grateful also for the call to serve the church as a composer of liturgical music. And for serving with Dufford, Foley, Manion, & Schutte as well as the many other fine composers who attend the Liturgical Composers Forum every year.

[FYI: I will go to Portland, OR in mid-August to record eight new songs and re-record “Exult You Just Ones.” Inquiring minds will want to know!]

God be praised in the highest heavens and on the earth and in the depths of the sea! –roc,sj

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