January 16, 2024 // Bishop

Notre Dame Choir Takes Center Stage at Fort Wayne Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne welcomed special guests on Sunday, January 14, as the University of Notre Dame’s distinguished folk choir performed during Mass on the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time as part of its 2024 winter tour.

Founded in the 1970s, the folk choir, consisting of 65 students from various academic backgrounds, brings a rich tapestry of musical offerings derived from diverse cultural traditions, with a distinct focus on contemporary music. Their commitment to artistic excellence and spiritual expression is evident in their performances.

“These young people love their faith and are seeking a profound connection with it in their own lives,” J.J. Wright, a Notre Dame alum and Director of the folk choir, told Today’s Catholic. “It’s been such a treat to get to see them when they’re given the agency to explore the Scripture and what it means to them. They find a way to connect [with it] and find new ideas that are better than what I can come up with.”

Photos by Katie Murray
Bishop Rhoades and J.J. Wright, PhD – Notre Dame Folk Choir Director.

Louisa Nagy, a second-year undergraduate student in the psychology and theology programs at Notre Dame, expressed her passion for being a member of the choir. “I enjoy singing for Mass on Sundays,” Nagy said. “I find it a beautiful and peaceful way to participate in the liturgy. I feel blessed to be able to sing in the Basilica [of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus] every week.”

Beginning in early January, members of the choir took their talents beyond the confines of the university, as they performed several concerts across Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, concluding the tour at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time.

In his homily during the Mass, Bishop Rhoades focused on the liturgical calendar and the gift the Church gives to the faithful in Ordinary Time. He said: “The idea of Ordinary Time doesn’t sound very exciting, but I invite you to think about the beauty of this season of Ordinary Time. Pope Benedict XVI once said that ‘its beauty lies in the fact that it invites us to live our ordinary life as a journey of holiness, that is, of faith and friendship with Jesus.’ I think that’s a great way to think of the liturgical season of Ordinary Time.”

Bishop Rhoades discussed the two of the day’s readings – from First Samuel and the first chapter of John’s Gospel – in the context of the liturgical season, urging those at the cathedral to be like Samuel and the disciples, who recognized the calling of the Lord and were committed to doing His will.

“My brothers and sisters, this is how we should live this season of Ordinary Time, by following Jesus’ invitation to ‘come and see,’ to grow in our friendship with Him,” Bishop Rhoades said. “The two disciples saw where Jesus was staying and stayed with Him that day. The restlessness of our hearts is only calmed when we come and see. The purest joy lies in our relationship with Jesus whom we encounter, follow, and stay with.  This is the life of Christian discipleship. Friendship with our Teacher and Lord guarantees peace and serenity to our souls even in the dark moments and in the most arduous trials. ‘Come and see,’ Jesus says to us. When we do, we find truth and peace and life. Ordinary Time teaches us to live each day as a journey to the Lord and with the Lord, discovering anew His love for us, and penetrating deeper and deeper into His mystery. This life in Christ which we can think of as ordinary is really extraordinary when we think about the boredom and mediocrity, indeed restlessness, of life apart from Him.”

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