Nora O’Sullivan

The Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist is a special place; a place of reflection, comfort, inspiration and community. I have found St. John’s to be always welcoming, no matter where we are on our journey. There are so many elements to the experience of being at St. John’s that help connect us with God– words, music, physical space, companionship, ritual, and participation, to name a few. I would like to reflect on some of these elements, and share what it means to me to participate in the music ministry at St. John’s.

As you may know, I serve as one of the cantors and singers with the choir, most often at the 9:30 Mass on Sundays. What a blessing it is to be a part of such a hardworking and sincere group led by the incredibly talented Sebastian Modarelli, who has an inspired vision for our ministry here at St. John’s where dozens of musicians give of their time and talent on a regular basis for the glory of God. It is a joy and inspiration to work with each and every one of them.

By participating in the music ministry at St. John’s, I have developed a deep appreciation for the Mass, the sacrament of Holy Communion, and God’s purpose of a regular communal worship. While there are numerous ways that we can find God in our lives, whether by readings, inspirational recordings or meditation, nothing takes the place of a gathering of people where our collective spirit is offered up to God. And music, I believe, helps that spirit take wing.

God has given me a gift that I am very fortunate to share. Whether as a solo, part of the choir, or out in the congregation, singing for me is a form of prayer. To be able to pray in this way together at Mass, a funeral, a wedding, or another service, we all are enveloped by God’s beautiful creation of music, inspiring, comforting, and working through us. While many of you have mentioned over the years how much the music at Mass enhances your worship experience, I am equally touched, often amazed, and extremely grateful for the privilege to participate in and contribute to that enhancement for so many others. If, in some way, I am a conduit for God’s Word to touch your life, then there is no greater blessing in the world!

I know that my contribution to our parish may be more visible than what others provide, but it is no more important or impactful. God has given us all roles to play and talents to successfully fulfill those roles. I believe that it is through thesharing of these talents and gifts that life develops greater meaning and satisfaction. The author Tom Patterson, cited in the book More or Less, summarizes it well: “When you discover and use your gifts for the good of those you love and have chosen to serve, your life takes on beauty.  It inspires others. It points toward the Creator.”

Thank you for allowing me the privilege to participate with you and serve as a cantor here at St. John’s. My life is beautified immeasurably by it. I wish you all a meaningful and musical Advent and Christmas Season!