If you tuned into Sunday’s last live-stream Mass, the Recessional Hymn we sang yesterday was one that we used on Ash Wednesday this past year.  The song is called “Greater will be the future.”  When our music director Bruce and I were selecting music for Ash Wednesday and Lent, I had critiqued that so much Church music for that season can sound depressing or dour.  In one sense, I get it.  Lent is a time to focus on our constant need for conversion as we hear the words “repent and believe in the Gospel.”  That’s a call for serious soul-searching and changing of our lives.  But that doesn’t have to be depressing.  In fact, it’s a tremendous gift and opportunity that God is inviting us to experience.  We don’t have to remain defeatist, discouraged about our mistakes, allowing negative thoughts about ourselves inhibit us from being all God created us for and is calling us to be.  At least that’s been my vision for Ash Wednesday and Lent and the words of that song really spoke to that hope for me:

            We stand in faith declaring aloud the majesty of God, His mighty power.

            Together we witness to all that He’s done and all that he’s promised to bring

            Together we lift up our voices as one, together we sing:


            Greater will be tomorrow than today, the future of this place.

            Greater will be His glory,

            Come, discover now in faith your destiny awaits.

            Greater will be the future of this place.

In light of Sunday’s Gospel reading where Jesus boldly and directly told us “Fear No One” and then twice more to “not be afraid” (Matt 10: 26-33) that hymn came back to mind as we were preparing for our last live-streamed Mass.  In another post, I had explained that for Catholics, “live-stream Mass” is not an acceptable alternative to attending in person.  We believe that in the Sacraments we encounter in our day and age, in the most personal and intimate ways Jesus Christ… in the Mass we are given His real and present body and blood (under the appearances of bread and wine) So with Masses, finally, resuming with public participation – it’s time for us to go back to Mass.  The song’s upbeat tone and message seemed particularly needed.

Because even though Public Masses are starting up again, the widespread fear and anxiety has remained.  Some of it from continued fears over the Coronavirus.  Some of it from the months of quarantine and just reactions to all that we’ve experienced.  Some of it from new anxieties and tensions… and of course, all of our collective questions and worries about the future.  What will tomorrow, next week, next month, next semester look like?

I know personally I’ve struggled with those thoughts and anxieties.  As a perfectionist, as a planner, as someone who on top of having A.D.D. I can be a little O.C.D. as well (attention deficit disrder/obsessive compulsive disorder … perhaps I’m revealing too much?) I’ve learned how to deal with those things by trying to put together a frame work, some long term and short term goals – lists of priorities…  Not having clarity on any of those things has most definitely left me feeling more anxious and frustrated than usual.  Having to respond to staff “I don’t know and I don’t know when I’ll know” is incredibly uncomfortable.  Brainstorming multiple scenarios of contingency plans is unsettling.

With our live-streaming of daily Mass ending though, there felt like a “finality” to the Spring 2020 semester.  And as I was driving home yesterday to see my entire family together for the first time in over 3 and a half months, I kept thinking about all that has happened.  Not just all the craziness – but the good things that we were able to accomplish here.  Within days of the pandemic paralyzing things across the world, our missionaries creatively conceived and launched “Quarantine Catholic” here as a way to continue our weekly “Newman Nights.”  Almost seamlessly, Bible studies, RCIA meetings, Eboard, counseling appointments shifted online – along with our daily Masses and Holy Hours.   We even were able to salvage our annual Coffee House which is a highlight of the year where you all demonstrate your gifts and talents by moving that to a zoom call with over 50 people joining in for over 2 hours on a Friday night.  Even a massive emergency project to the front retaining wall of Newman II was able to be accomplished.

When I thought of all those things, it helped renew my hope.  While things are unsettled and uncertain yet; as people of faith, we need to constantly be reminded of God’s presence and activity in our lives.  Jesus has told us to “not be afraid” because He remains with us.  And where we don’t always see a way, imagine a possibility, God is constantly making a way and showing us how in Him, nothing is impossible.

We stand in faith believing our God

            He makes all things new in light and love.

            Together we gather to lift up our hearts

            Glory and honor and praise to the giver of life

            and the giver of love, the giver of every new day


            Greater will be tomorrow than today, the future of this place.

            Greater will be His glory,

            Come, discover now in faith your destiny awaits.

            Greater will be the future than today

            Greater will be the promise He has made

            Greater will be the future, the future of this place!


My hope is for Newman to reconvene soon to discuss what we know and what we’re trying to plan for the upcoming Academic Year…  We are excited to welcome two new missionaries, Nick Antonacci and Luci Toscano who will join our two returning FOCUS missionaries Megan and Catherine this Fall (well actually, they’ll be arriving in July!) The University is finalizing some initial details for the new year (you’ve probably already heard the change to the Academic Calendar with the Fall commencing on August 24th) so things are starting to come together.  Once we have a few more details confirmed, we’ll plan a Zoom Newman Night so that we can discuss everything together.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this video that has some photos that gives a glimpse from this past semester, with our own music ministry singing “Greater will be the future” on Ash Wednesday.   Know you remain in my daily prayers and we’re still here if you need anything in the meantime.  I look forward to us gathering together again as Red Hawk Catholic very soon.