Uncovering Talents

From time to time, I take advantage of these lines to explain some part of our parish music ministry or some of my philosophy in the way I direct it. On those occasions, I suppose the words are in a kind of isolation from the Gospel or other Scriptures, for the particular Sunday feast. This occasion is a departure from that phenomenon, as the Gospel offers me the distinct opportunity to speak to the music ministry, while remaining in faithful concert with the Scripture.

This week, we hear proclaimed again the parable of the talents. I’ll sum up, as a refresher (just in case).

A master was to travel, so, in preparation, left three of his servants in charge of varying portions of his wealth. To one was entrusted five “talents;” he doubled the wealth in his charge through trade. To one was entrusted two talents, who made use of the master’s wealth in an equally profitable way. The third servant received but one measure, and in fear he buried it, according to the parable, literally in the ground.

What is the greatest failure on the part of this third servant? Certainly he failed to invest it in the safest manner, but even failed to trade unsuccessfully so as to merely maintain the money. I might suggest that the greatest failure was the attempt to simply protect his master’s wealth in the most simple-minded way. However, I think there might be an even greater shame.

The master’s wealth was hidden, which does keep it safe from robbers, but also denies the master a measure of respect or glory from simply having it. In a way, this servant denies the master the esteem of his peers or of other onlookers.

Rather than continuing in this vein, and REALLY heaping on the guilt, I’d just like to take this chance to shill a bit.

Over the past month, I have heard a number of folks who are interested in being a part of the music ministry at the Mass of their choice, and yet do not join, inquire as to the commitment or “try it on for size.”

Our singers are all volunteers of varying levels of skill, many untrained, many raising kids even in the midst of the choir. They sing for love of the Lord, for love of the song and for love of the singing itself.

The music we make is the humble song of our parish, offered up as a sacrifice of praise to our heavenly Father.

I’d like to encourage anyone who has considered singing with the choir or joining the music ministry to put that thought to action.

We rehearse each Wednesday, at 7 p.m. until about 8:30 p.m. (save for a few weeks or intervening holy days). In addition, we prepare in the music room 30 minutes prior to each Mass — regardless of which Mass you’d prefer to attend. In total, the commitment is from an hour-and-a-half to three hours total each week. Even if you’re unable to make those regular rehearsals, please contact me to see what possibilities there may be.

I should mention that this invitation is not to the exclusion of instrumentalists, but often this commitment is more demanding, and requires a greater level of preparation, skill, competence and confidence.

Our music ministry is in need of every talent, from singers to drummers, to guitarists, to violinists or other orchestral or wind instruments. Please give serious consideration to participating in the leadership of our parish’s sung prayer. Even better, please see me after Mass or contact me at 651-905-4323 or at ddunst@stpetersmendota.org.

David Dunst

Music Director


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