Thank You Speech - Ms. Giordano has written a variety of professional and other speeches. This was a tribute to a church choir after a concert. It also marked a rite of passage during this time of transition in the church community. Ms. Giordano's spiritual reflections have been used in worship services, retreats, prayer groups, and for individual prayer and reflection.
Dear Chris & Members of the Folk Group,
There are rare moments in life when we experience the gift of grace. Friday evening at the folk group concert was such a moment of grace for me, and I wish to thank you all for making that experience possible.
There is tremendous power in these prayers set to music, particularly when sung by those whose faith sings not just from the lungs but from the heart. Chris, Bob, and Mark spoke eloquently to the place that these songs have in our individual and communal lives, so there is no need to elaborate here. Those of you who dedicate your time and talents week after week to this ministry must receive some measure of these gifts and, hopefully, can appreciate what I am trying to say.
Like many members of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, my introduction to the community came through music. I had heard about the folk group in the “downstairs church,” and came one Sunday to see and hear for myself. My arrival in the basement of the old church felt like coming home – the church I grew up in was also in the basement, and the warm welcome I received kept me coming back.
When we moved into our current worship space, again, my first experiences revolved around music: First, the music of the combined choirs on the occasion of the dedication of the new building, then the comfort of singing with a small group around the piano late in the afternoon when the party began to die down. For me, this eased the transition to the new space and the changes that occurred during that time. Music (and those who sang it) were the same even in the midst of many other changes.
Over the years, many things have changed in my life and in the life of our community. I’ve married, given birth and buried some beloved dead. I’ve had the privilege to minister at some of these same sacramental occasions for others in our community, and to be ministered to. And sometimes, I have been transported far from the bounds of earth through the music at one of our liturgical celebrations. “Create in Me” is a psalm that comes to mind when I think of the sound of heaven in this context. Throughout all of these years, the sounds of our sung prayer have sustained me – through joy and sorrow, childbirth and loss, routine and change. Words and phrases from songs such as those you sang at last week’s concert come unbidden, but welcome at these times.
The past few years have seen lots of changes in my personal life and in the life of our community. For me, some of these changes have been difficult. I haven’t been able to sing with the folk group, and I’ve felt empty sometimes sitting in the pews on Sunday. I’ve continued to search for spiritual nourishment both within and outside of Blessed Sacrament, but it’s been a while since I’ve felt at home.
On Friday night, I received a priceless gift – fullness of heart. I was taken back to the days when we dedicated our worship space with prayer and song. You gave voice to thoughts and feelings I have had, and you created a time and space for remembrance, as well as celebration. I had an opportunity to relive those sacramental moments in my own life (big and small) and those of the community to which I belong through the songs that you sang. Many of the songs you prayed on Friday were also sung at weddings, baptisms, funerals, memorial services, and regular Sunday Masses that hold a special place in my heart. In the music of the evening, I was once again graced with the certainty of faith, and life in all its fullness.
Indeed, someone out here still hears the singing!
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