Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Of Christmas Concerts and Pauline Cooperators

Staten Island Advance photo. Read all about it here!
Sad. I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. If I could, that would mean I could sing and clap, dance and act. And that would mean I could have jumped up and joined my Pauline sisters on stage at our Choir’s Benefit Dinner Concert in Staten Island last Thursday. Or at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland the following night. Princeton or Piscataway, NJ? How about Philadelphia? Or Brooklyn, NY or Marshfield, MA?

Not that they needed my help. They wowed the crowd plenty all by themselves. Even more, in both word and song, they reminded us of the true meaning of Advent and Christmas. Even as we, the audience—600 in Staten Island and 450 in Cleveland—sang along or pondered the lyrics or enjoyed the teamwork that pulled such a spectacular together, the Spirit of God too danced within us, bringing God’s Son to birth in our hearts and lives, planting seeds of the kingdom to come.

We heard the result: “I come to this concert every year, and it says something to me each time.” “It always starts the season for me.” “It reminds me of what’s important.” In Cleveland, several friends and donors we visited afterward were disappointed that they somehow missed the promo announcements. They know several Daughters and remember the mission that the sisters carried out in the diocese for thirty years, following a twenty-year mission in Youngstown. Now we’re in the process of reconnecting personally with people there through these concerts, as well as through school book fairs, parish displays, donor visits, and, possibly, media literacy workshops.

Some of this will be carried out by the Pauline Cooperators, who will formally begin their 18-month formation process in the new year. Many of these men and women start out as volunteers, but their association with the Pauline Family goes deeper than their work with us. As they gradually discern the Pauline charism within themselves, they resolve to live an intensely Christian life in the spirit of the Apostle Paul and commit themselves to evangelize, or share the Good News, in their contacts, undertakings, and liturgical or private prayer, in whatever way the Spirit leads them. Most do this through some form of media, even in simple, unassuming ways, such as giving an inspirational or educational book, CD, or DVD as a Christmas gift, or connecting the parish ministry they’re involved in with the Pauline Family.

One of the things I admired about the Cleveland group is the unity they express in the variety of their interests, ethnic origins, ages, and professions, which testifies to the universality of the Church, regardless of which parish they come from. It was a little hard to leave, but they give me reason to look toward the future in hope.

So it seems as if I missed my chance at multi-entertaining audiences this year. But I enjoyed being part of the Church’s story there in my own way, even if for just a few days.

There again, I could aim for one of the concerts at our Boston convent this weekend….

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