My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Longing for Traditional Music



Dear Blog Visitors:

I continue to enjoy the welcoming environment at Spiritus Christi Church in Rochester. For example, I can now receive the Eucharist, minus any controversy over whether or not I should be permitted in the Communion line. Because of my ordination as a married priest, there was an ongoing debate in the Rochester Diocese as to whether or not I excommunicated myself via my ordination at the hands of a married archbishop. Not wishing to place Bishop Matthew Clark in an uncomfortable position, I elected to join Spiritus Christi.

I continue to pray that the Vatican will come to a realization that marriage should not be a scandal for a priest, but rather be celebrated as a response to God's will.

As much as I love the inclusivity at Spiritus Christi, there are times I find myself longing for the traditional music of the Roman Catholic Church. As you probably know, I was trained/educated in classical music prior to studying theology. As a student at the Eastman School of Music, in addition to studying conducting, voice, trumpet, piano and violin, I was also drawn to studies that brought me in contact with centuries of church-related music.

Whenever I travel, I make it a point to visit cathedrals, in the hope of experiencing traditional music. I don't mind an occasional folk/contemporary ensemble, as long as the musicians have appropriately rehearsed. However, my worship is always enhanced with the sounds of a good organ, cantor and choir.

When Fr. Frank Lioi was pastor of St. Anne Church in Rochester, he oversaw the construction of a glorious organ, and introduced well-attended concert series. It was a privilege for me to get to know Frank. (His brother, Phil, like myself, is a married priest.) My good friend, Sr. Joan Sobala, is now pastoral administrator at St. Anne, and I hope she will keep the tradition of concerts going at the parish.

I am occasionally criticized by traditionalists at their respective blogs. It is my hope they will at least appreciate the fact that they have a friend in me via my love for traditional church music.

In the picture above, I am seen conducting the Franklin High Concert Band in 1967. I look forward to gathering with my Franklin classmates next weekend, as we commemorate our 60th birthdays. It was at Franklin that my love for classical music found its full fruition.

Peace to all,
Ray

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