iSeminary: Cantoring Lucernarium

Author: Mr. Pat Reidy, C.S.C.


Today we have our second post from men in formation at Moreau Seminary. This one comes from Pat Reidy, C.S.C., who just professed his first vows back in July. He shares about one of the signature prayer services at Moreau, Lucernarium, which is a part of every Thursday community night at the seminary.

I’ve never been able to read music…or harmonize effectively…or really get beyond the sense that I sound like a strangled goose every time I open my mouth to sing.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, though I’ll admit that, when I entered Moreau, I never expected to cantor anything. Directors gave me “chorus” roles in high school musicals to ensure I would never be caught with a solo. The Notre Dame Glee Club told me “thanks, but no thanks.” Who could conclude from such a track record that Pat Reidy should cantor Lucernarium? 

The answer: Fr. Peter Rocca, C.S.C.


You see, Fr. Peter saw in me something that I couldn’t see: a powerful voice. Maybe off-rhythm and behind tempo, maybe not always pitch-perfect, but powerful in projection and richness – just what you need to fill the chapel’s unamplified vastness when it’s full of family and friends come to offer a solemn night prayer with us at the seminary. Does that affirmation make it any less nerve-wracking to belt out psalms and prayers before dozens of people, in the dark, with only a candle lighting each verse’s tiny words? Not in the slightest. “If only good intentions could make a joyful noise to the Lord,” I’ll think to myself, only to remember that, in our life of faith, discipleship is way more than mere intention.

Every member of the Holy Cross family has a similar story about that moment when a brother or sister in community pushed them to recognize gifts that they couldn’t see in themselves. The professor who thought he’d spend the rest of his life in mission work – until somebody pushed. The novice director who could only imagine working in Hispanic parishes – until somebody pushed. In fact, most seminarians will tell you that it was precisely when loved ones pushed that they finally decided to enter formation. My parents, siblings, and friends strengthened my intention; my rector gave me the push. And my heart has sung ever since.

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