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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Latest Statistics Amongst American Catholics


Dear Blog Visitors:

A number of friends have asked me if I have given up my efforts at reforming the Roman Catholic Church. This question arose out of the fact that my blog postings in recent months, in addition to my Facebook and Google+ postings, have focused on other areas of interest.

It continues to be my hope that a few reform initiatives will find success in Roman Catholicism. However, as I grow older, I find that I achieve great joy by engaging in my ministries quietly, in addition to filling time with some of my life-long passions, such as classical music, photography, movies, plays, free-lance writing, etc.

I have not lost interest in reforming the Catholic Church. However, I have come to realize that the next generation needs to pick up the ball and decide what kind of church it wants. I will say, however, that I am encouraged by the latest statistics concerning American Catholics. The Vatican, at some point in the near future, will need to deal with declining Mass attendance, in addition to dealing proactively with the priesthood shortage. According to the latest statistics, 86% of American Catholics support the inclusion of married priests. Correspondingly, the Vatican will need to decide if mandatory celibacy makes sense in today's climate. My hope is that reality will take hold and that the next generation will finally persuade the powers-that-be that optional celibacy is the way to go.

I continue to thoroughly enjoy my life of active retirement, which has allowed me to wear many hats. One of these hats is that of a married priest, whereby I avail myself as an officiant for weddings, baptisms and funerals. While the work of church of church reform has taken a back seat recently, I still take a keen interest in the future direction of Roman Catholicism.

Peace to all,
Ray

Sunday, October 02, 2011

A Salute to Amy Beach


Dear Blog Visitors:

If you have followed my occasional commentaries related to classical music, you are aware that I was very sad when Christopher Seaman announced he was stepping down as music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. However, I was delighted when it was announced he would be named conductor laureate of the RPO, which means he will return to guest-conduct the orchestra once per year.

I attended the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's season-opener last night, with its new maestro, Arild Remmereit, at the podium. The combination of the concert and pre-concert chat gave the audience added confidence that the RPO is in good hands with Remmereit.

I applaud Maestro Remmereit for his decision to feature women composers as part of this season's repertoire. He explained this as a risky decision, for this has never been done in the RPO's long history. If last night's concert was any indication, Remmereit's decision has strong approval from Rochester's concert-attending community.

Last night's featured woman composer was Amy Beach (1867-1944). While she received much notoriety as a musical genious during her lifetime, as both a concert pianist and composer, her works seemed to fade into obscurity following her death. Sadly, this was the case for many women in the classical music field, especially in the area of composition. It is the hope of Arid Remmereit that by programming her Symphony #2 as part of last night's concert, audiences will aid the effort toward restoring Amy Beach's reputation as a first-class composer. The audience's response to the symphony was a well-deserved standing ovation.

I have included below a photo of the late Amy Beach. May she rest in peace, knowing that Maestro Arild Remmereit has resurrected her Symphony #2 and that last night's audience gave it an overwhelming vote of approval.


Peace to all,
Ray

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