Browsing Reflections on the last year

by Cynthia Dallas, Director of Music Ministry

As a professional musician, my calendar revolved around playing with the Naples Philharmonic, directing choirs and children’s theare, and being on-call with a dozen and a half churches in the two-county area.  Suddenly, a pandemic is gripping the globe.  Without warning, I had no work, and more frighteningly, no income.  Fear of the unknown set in as a first response.


But then the graces started to pour in.  First, my husband began working remotely at home.  It was like the early years of our marriage, when we were fortunate to share more of our working day together.  We said our daily Rosary, attended TV Mass each day, and really dove into spiritual reading.  We discovered great Catholic online resources.  Suddenly, we were talking to God on an intimate level that was the deepest of our lives, and He was answering our conversations with the gift of real peace.  “Jesus, I trust in Thee” never rang truer.  As a result, the restrictions of the pandemic gave us the gift of the Best Lent Ever.


Now I am greatly blessed to be at work again, in a new position that I am lucky to have.  Yet, I yearn to have the same sort of deep Lenten experience that I had last year- and realize that, as a Liturgical Musician, I can find that in our worship.  We see it in the reduced decorations in the church, reminding us to strip away everything except our attention to the Lord.  We are told to Fast, and in our music, we are fasting from the Gloria and Alleluias, as we wait to reintroduce those joyful hymns at the celebration of Easter.  We are instructed to pare down instrumental music back, to give us the opportunity to anticipate its return.  We are called to austerity, simplicity, and plainness.  Toward that end, we will sing the English Chant Mass for the Lenten Eucharistic Acclamations.  This is the most pure and pared back setting the Church has gifted us.  It is simply the prayers of the Mass that incidentally happen to have melody.  We sing them as we would say them… real sung prayer.


The church’s guidelines will help accentuate the season of fasting and praying, surrounding us with an environment – both in sight and in sound- that takes distractions and trappings away and leads our eyes, hearts and minds to the Lord.


I look forward to joining you in the next Best Lent Ever!