51 years

51 years

                                Photo by Dupont Media World

Sunday, May 19, 2024, was Pentecost Sunday. The photo shows me after the 8:30 Mass at Saint Zepherin Church in Wayland, MA.  I’m wearing a stole that was handcrafted by Peg Purcell nearly 30 years ago.  Peg offered to make me a stole and asked what color or design I might like.  I told her I’d love to have a Pentecost stole with the tongues of fire mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.

Peg block stitched each of the flames on the stole and while she created each one she prayed for an individual in her life who had passed over to the Lord. While stitching the blue flame on my left, she prayed for my mother.

It was a blessing and a joy to wear this stole on Sunday and to pray for Peg who went home to God many years ago.

This Pentecost Sunday was also the 51st anniversary of my ordination but rather than thinking back to 1973, I spent more time remembering the joy of celebrating my 50th last year! Unexpectedly, I went out for coffee after the 8:30 mass with 3 friends  whose lives have been part of mine for some 30 years – a delightful way to observe my 51st.

But wait – there’s more!

Returning to the rectory, I checked my email and came across a reminder of a concert by the Westford Chorus, an event I learned about several months ago but had failed to put on my calendar. I am so grateful for my emailer’s reminder.  What a wonderful way to spend my anniversary: a whole program by my favorite contemporary composer, John Rutter!  Regular readers here know how often I turn to his music in these posts.  The concert’s first half was a collection of classic Rutter pieces, including one of his Christmas carols! After the intermission the Chorus presented Rutter’s Requiem – a lush, stunning piece that grabs hold of your soul and brings you through death to life to everlasting peace.  The Chorus acquitted themselves very well indeed – under the able direction of my friend and longtime colleague, Jim Barkovic.  What a blessing and a joyful way to mark my anniversary.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

I don’t have a recording to today’s performance, but these two pieces will give a taste of Rutter to any who may not be familiar with his work.

If two videos don’t appear below, click here!

For the beauty of the earthFor the glory of the skiesFor the love which from our birthOver and around us liesOver and around us lies
‘Lord of all, to Thee we raiseThis our joyful hymn of praise
For the beauty of each hourOf the day and of the nightHill and vale and tree and flow’rSun and Moon and stars of lightSun and Moon and stars of light
‘Lord of all, to Thee we raiseThis our joyful hymn of praise
For the joy of human love (For the joy of love)Brother, sister, parent, child (Brother, sister, parent, child)Friends on earth (Friends on earth) and friends above (And friends above)For all gentle thoughts and mild (For all gentle thoughts and mild)For all gentle thoughts and mild
‘Lord of all, to Thee we raiseThis our joyful hymn (Our joyful hymn) of praise (Of praise)
For each perfect gift of ThineTo our race so freely givenGraces human (Given) and divine (Human and divine)Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’nFlow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n
‘Lord of all, to Thee we raiseThis our joyful hymn (Our joyful hymn) of praise(This our joyful hymn) Our hymn of praise

The Lord is my shepherd:

therefore can I lack nothing.

He shall feed me in a green pasture:

and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.


He shall convert my soul:

and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness,

for his Name’s sake.


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil:

for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them

that trouble me:

thou hast anointed my head with oil,

and my cup shall be full.


But thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the

Lord for ever.




Praying to the Virgin Mary