Dear Friends in Christ,
I’d like to write to you about another aspect of the life of faith and one which is often overlooked at that. Of course we all know that the ministry of the Church flows from having been fed at the Table of the Lord. Our faith teaches us that our participation in Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives.
Everything we do as a community of followers of Jesus proceeds from and is shaped by our sharing in the Memorial of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. From that sharing comes our service to the poor, our outreach to the sick and dying, our energetic defense of life in all stages, as well as our commitment to Catholic education and our vital ministry of presence in the midst of our larger community. It is in this vein of thought that I’d like to talk to about the St. Peter’s Music Series.
I suppose it is possible some people think of our music series as merely an outcropping of the music ministry here and, in a way, I suppose that may be partially correct. However, I had a history professor in college who taught me a lot about the critical role which the Church played in the preservation of Western culture and society. You may not be aware of this, but the Church, especially in monastic communities and in the principal cities of Western Europe, was the only bulwark standing against the chaos of the Dark Ages and the collapse of Western civilization. Among the things saved by the Church was our cultural heritage, including our music.
From that time forward, the Church’s active ministry has included the preservation of culture and of music and the arts. Many of the greatest works of classical music over the period of the last six or seven centuries were only made possible by the support and patronage of the Church. In addition, the writings and thought of Pope Saint Pius X, venerable Pope Pius XII, Pope Saint John Paul II, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, have done much to point the way toward music and the arts (when properly used) serving as a deeply authentic expression of human worth and dignity.
At its core, this is the vital purpose of the St. Peter’s Music Series. In an era when support for music and the arts is becoming more and more the purview of the private sector, that central purpose is more important than ever. For the last 12 years we’ve sought to fill an ever expanding gap in the preservation of music and the arts in our community. The coming year is no different.
All of our programming is made available to the greater Mansfield and North Central Ohio community at little or no cost to the community. This year we have instituted a program whereby Saint Peter’s students wishing to attend the concerts need only present their student ID and they will be admitted to any program absolutely free of charge. We continue to provide low cost or free tickets to anyone in the community for whom purchasing a ticket would be impossible without creating a financial hardship.
This year’s program begins with an amazing performance by the Renaissance orchestra Apollo’s Fire. Each concert in the coming season will be extraordinarily dynamic. But none of this comes without a cost. Each of us is undoubtedly facing some level of demand on our resources and our resources don’t stretch as far as they used to. So I know the effort to support the Music Series won’t be easily achieved. I only ask that each of us recognize the importance of this ministry and do what we can through prayer and financial support to keep it going.
As our Pastor, Fr. Hite, has often said, “A community without the arts is a community in decline.” He’s absolutely right. Please look for the Music Series flyer in your mail or Sunday bulletin in the next couple of weeks. Your support is vital and will help secure our ministry of presence in the community for years to come. Thank you!
Director of Music and Liturgy
St. Peter’s Catholic Church
104 West First Street
Mansfield, Ohio 44902