About 2 ½ years ago, I was asked to help out with the music ministry over at St. Alfred parish in Taylor, MI. At the time, the community had recently started having a mass in Spanish.
To tell the truth, I was very happy and most willing to be involved. There is something about a liturgy in the Spanish language. I mean, English is my first language. For me, this isn’t about a vernacular issue. There’s something very real, very different about the mass celebrated in Spanish and about Latino culture in general. . . but that, my friends, may very well be another blog entry. . . Really, I’d like to use this blog entry to say a few words about my friends at la parroquia de San Alfredo.
First of all, a heartfelt thank you must be given to our pastor, Fr. Jim Kean. Fr. Jim went out on a limb starting this Spanish mass. I know there are those who weren’t too happy that he went forward with it. But something must of moved Fr. Jim to proceed anyway. Somehow, he had a vision of what would be and moved decidedly toward it. Thanks, Fr. Jim. We are all the better for it!
Slowly but surely the mass and the ministries thereof have progressed. We went from 1 or 2 Lectors. . who often doubled as Eucharistic Ministers. . . to a full liturgical ministry team. We went from no altar servers at all to a full crew week after week! We have a couple of gentlemen who serve as sacristans, helping to prepare before and straighten up afterwards.
Folks who attend this mass in Spanish are active in the parish evangelization commission, catechesis, and other areas of parish life. Octavio helped set up the big Christmas tree near the church entrance. . . among a myriad of other things that he’s done around the parish!. . . .Quinceañera celebrations are coming up. And we have had many baptisms at this Spanish mass as well.
And music has progressed, slowly but surely, too. Rosa was the one who initially invited me to participate in the music ministry. Rosa is a friend. . . and a distant relative. . . someone married someone somewhere along the line and we never did quite figure out how, exactly, our two families are related. . . .anyhow, Rosa first invited me to participate in the music. Rosa, Ron (her husband) on conga drums, a couple of her sisters, her brother Albert on guitar and a few friends banded together to create a choir. . . . and then, me, with a few parish volunteers in between. . .
This past Sunday, a couple of new gentlemen stepped forward to sing. . And one young man came to mass with his guitar! We recently combined all of our musical efforts for the parish mission during the Lenten season and I must say making music at St. Alfred really felt great! . . .Oh, and I would be amiss not to mention my wee girlfriend (Tere’s baby) . . I often encourage her to sing during Fr. Jim’s homilies!
Even more, the ministries have really taken on a life of their own due, in great measure, to Janet Diaz. She is ever present and really, one fine pastoral person. Thanks, Janet! You know, you really do make a difference for the better.
Now. . .I’ve said all of that to say this: St. Alfred just celebrated an anniversary. This past Sunday we celebrated 3 years of mass in Spanish! Although I was not present at the first mass, during those first 6 months or so, I understand that there were about 30 in attendance at the beginning. Today we number close to 300! My how we have grown!
I am ever grateful that Rosa invited me to participate a couple of years ago. Thanks Rosa, I really am grateful. And I really have come to appreciate the community of San Alfredo.
And after mass this past Sunday, Samuel thanked me for the songs I chose for mass, for my ministry of music. It’s a simple thing, really, but it gave me a good feeling.
I mean, it’s one thing to appreciate and be grateful for a parish community. But it’s really quite another feeling when the community is grateful and appreciates you back.
San Alfredo, abogado de esta comuunidad;
Ruega por nosotross.
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About the photo:
This picture is of the altar area
at St. Alfred parish in Taylor, MI - Easter 2008.