St. Luke's Ministry of Music | Spring Pilgrimage to the Holy Land | Bulletin
Meet the Ministries of St. Luke's
A series of stories and photos to highlight the generous spirit and compassionate energy alive in the community of St. Luke's.
Meet St. Luke's Music Ministry
St. Luke’s music ministry is integrally woven throughout the
sacramental, liturgical, and spiritual life of our parish.
Music and song help celebrate, praise, and thank Our Lord in a special way. Not only during Sunday Mass but in all our most important celebrations of faith, music is a sacred form of worship. When we sing praises, our hearts, minds, and bodies are lifted in a way with which no spoken word can compete. Music has the ability to cultivate, strengthen, and deepen the spiritual experience of those gathered for worship, bringing us closer to God.
The fact that
is mentioned, and in fact called for, repeatedly throughout the bible is not surprising. The Psalms are songs of love and praise!
The Catholic Church has proclaimed not only the importance but the absolute essential presence of song in our worship. Music adds beauty and solemnity to our celebrations, binds us together, and fills us with a sense of wonder and joy. We are all called not to simply listen, but to sing God’s praises, especially when we are joined with our brothers and sisters at the liturgy.
Ellen Linn, Music Director
Ellen came to St. Luke’s in 2001 with a rich background of musical experience and training. An accomplished and talented musician herself, she can sing and play almost any instrument. Even as a small child, Ellen wanted to play piano. When she finally started lessons, she took to it like a fish to water, playing whenever she had the chance.
At 17, Ellen took music classes and sang at Cambridge University Musical Society in England. She spent four years studying piano at the Boston Conservatory, while also working as organist for several area churches including in her home town of Sudbury. When her husband’s job brought their growing family to the West Coast for ten years, Ellen kept very busy raising a family, continuing her studies, and playing music in churches and at Temple. She built a choir where there’d been none, reinvigorating a parish’s music ministry. She earned a BA degree in Music at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Returning to Massachusetts, she played in a Worcester church until 2001, when she accepted the position here at St. Luke’s.
Based on her experience, love of music, and philosophy, Ellen was hired, she was told, to get the congregation to sing. Ellen shared one of her favorite quotes attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas, “People who sing pray twice.”
‘We are all invited,’ she says, ‘to celebrate fully in the Mass. The choir is not the performer, and the congregation is not the audience. God is our audience.’
With this in mind, she set out to make the music more accessible to the people. Observing, for example, that parents at the children’s Mass were reluctant to hold a heavy hymnal with two hands since they may need at least one free hand to attend to their children, she introduced song sheets.
She brought a selection of family-friendly and familiar music to the mass, so children and adults alike could participate fully in the musical liturgy. Ellen introduced a wider repertoire of music to our parish with updated song books. She also felt it important to bring the music selections back in line with the lectionary so that the music at each Mass is based on the Scripture, season, and date.
For 17 years, Ellen has helped families at St. Luke's plan music for weddings and funerals, guiding them with her special brand of patience, kindness, and sensitivity. More important than making recommendations, Ellen has built ongoing relationships with families during some of their most difficult, emotional, or joyous moments. We are truly blessed to have Ellen here at St. Luke’s. She has brought beauty, relevance, reverence, and fun to our musical liturgy.
The various choirs at St. Luke's perform wonderful music under Ellen's direction, truly enriching our celebrations. We had the pleasure of visiting some of their rehearsals recently, and have shared below some short videos of songs they performed. We hope you enjoy them.
Teens and adults
interested in singing contemporary
Accompaniment includes piano and guitars.
Contemporary Folk Trio
Affectionately called "The Girls" by Fr. George, Mary (Connors) Whamond-Fortier, Sarah Connors, and Pattie Romer bring power, incredibly tight harmonies, and emotion to every song they sing. Very gifted singers, they all grew up in Westborough and have been singing together for almost 40 years.
Music and church were important parts of Sarah and Mary’s lives growing up. The sisters were surrounded by music, spending Sunday afternoons at their grandmother’s house where their aunt played the piano as the family sang along.
Pattie grew up in a large Catholic family, and similarly music and church were key elements in her family. Pattie and Mary began Kindergarten together here in Westborough and as soon as they were all old enough, they joined the choir at St. Luke's under the direction of Don Thatcher. Says Mary, ‘Mr. Thatcher taught us so much about music and liturgy. He helped us learn about choosing songs appropriate not only for the church season, but for the different parts of the mass. He was always there when we practiced and gave us helpful tips for harmonizing, or changing the key of the song to better fit our vocal range. He trusted and empowered us to begin making song choices on our own. He did a wonderful job balancing his guidance with trusting us to be independent as young musicians.'
Mary adds that, 'when parishioners share how much our music has touched their lives, whether comforting music during grief, or joyous music in times of celebration, it keeps us going. We feel their appreciation and it fuels our love and enthusiasm for singing.'
"Meet the Ministries of St. Luke's"
will be a regular feature of the St. Luke's Newsletters.
In the Footsteps of Jesus
Fr. Joe Rice is leading a 10-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, March 10 – 19, 2019
Have you ever considered a pilgrimage to the Holy Land? Next March Fr. Joe will be leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and invites all of the St. Luke's community to join him on this extraordinary journey of faith. Say “YES” to this invitation to the most invaluable gift that you can ever give yourself - a pilgrimage to The Holy Land.
Flyers with details, itinerary, and registration forms are available in the church.
For more information, contact Fr. Joe.
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Sent by St. Luke's Parish News on Friday, July 27 at 6:17PM