Choose Joy this Advent!

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By Jeremy Kiolbassa, Director of Music & Liturgy

“The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” As we sing Psalm 126 at this weekends Masses, I can’t help but think of all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us here at St. Ben’s. Our school children will spend the Advent season reflecting on the true meaning of Joy, and how to “choose joy” in their daily lives. For me, I find great joy in helping our community pray and celebrate well together through music and liturgy. Here are a few specific things that I hope will also bring you some joy during this busy season.


Last week we premiered our new advent processional “Now Come in Splendid Glory Bright”. I commissioned this piece several months ago from my friend, Luke Rosen. Luke had this to say…

When presented with the task of writing this piece, I first turned to Alan Hommerding to see if he had any Advent texts dealing with “rejoicing” that were in need of music. He had just been looking at this one, and made a few modifications to fit the requirements. I have been teaching an independent study jazz course, and a lot of the chord structures from the course have appeared in this piece. I have a love of Middle Eastern scales as well, which rounds out the atmosphere for the piece.
— Luke D. Rosen

“Now Come in Splendid Glory Bright” is dedicated to the people of St. Benedict Parish and was commissioned by the St. Benedict Parish Music Ministry


I wrote about the reason we have changed the arrangement of the altar candles a few weeks back in  “What’s with all the Candles on the altar? “ In short, the candles represent the Light of Christ, and therefore we should let that light shine as brightly as possible. Now, thanks to the generosity of a parishioner and craftsmen, we have the opportunity to beautify our sanctuary even further. He has offered to create six new custom floor-standing candlesticks that match our beautiful altar and ambo. These new candlesticks will be handmade from the same type of wood as the altar (solid red oak), and will even have matching carved pillar capitals. He has generously offered to create these ‘at-cost’, meaning the only thing we’d be charged for are the materials needed. This is an incredible opportunity to ad a beautiful element to our church that will last for generations. We need to raise about $3,000 to cover the cost of materials. That might seem like a lot, but keep in mind that this will cover the cost of all the special fittings and carved elements. To make a donation, click here or stop by the rectory, or simply include an envelope in the weekly collection labeled “candlesticks”. Thank you for your generosity!


I am excited to invite you to our sixth annual Christmas Concert on Friday, December 14th at 7pm. This year, the choir and orchestra will present John Rutter’s Mass of the Children as our featured work. Mass of the Children, published in 2003, is unlike anything we’ve undertaken before. We will enlist the musical forces of a 70+ voice children’s choir, 60+ adult chorus, and full symphonic orchestra. This work, as well as a new concert format, will make for a truly spectacular event!

The quality of music at Mass can have a profound impact on our experience. Mediocre music can leave us feeling uninspired, or worse, disconnect us from our experience. Good music can lift us up, connecting us to something greater than ourselves. My vision for St. Ben’s has always been that we should be a home for good music, inspiring music, transcendent music. This concert doesn’t just allow us to create good music for one night; the funds we raise literally fund our program for the entire year. I invite you to not only attend the concert, but consider making a sustained gift to our music ministry. With your help, we can take our music and worship to new heights!

Tickets are now available online. You can also set up your sustained gift via Give Central in just a few short minutes.


Last, but certainly not least, I just wanted to extend a warm THANK YOU to you, the St. Benedict community, for supporting our musical and liturgical life each week. You are what makes St. Ben’s such a joyful and vibrant place, and you are the reason we can go above and beyond each and every week. Thank you, and may God bless you with joy this Advent season!