by Dennis Dalman – firstname.lastname@example.org
A “Music for the Masses” concert will take place at St. Francis Xavier Church at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, in conjunction with the parish’s fish fry.
The fish fry in the school cafeteria will take place from 4-7 p.m., and the concert will begin right after that in the church.
Besides being entertainment, the concert is a free-will offering fundraiser to improve and extend the St. Cloud Catholic Diocese’s recording and broadcasting Masses for homebound people.
Already, people throughout the diocese, including many St. Joseph residents, have expressed interest in the concert since it will benefit parishioners far and wide, especially those who are elderly, physically disabled or shut-ins for other reasons.
Organizers of the concert are hoping a free-will offering can raise enough for a “Pay It Forward for Lent.” One of the organizers is Kelly Marcum, who saw an advertisement about the “Pay It Forward For Lent” program in the St. Cloud Catholic Visitor. The ad said $100 would be given as seed money if an organization submits an essay on why money is needed for a “Pay It Forward” good cause.
Marcum got to thinking, and an idea popped up in her mind. She is a member of the 20-member St. Francis Xavier Worship Ensemble,” which sings at Mass during the 10:30 a.m. Sunday service. Why not put on a concert?, Marcum asked herself. The other members, when they heard of the idea, were boundlessly enthusiastic, and they started the planning process. Soon others, also enthused, became involved.
The Worship Ensemble choir has sung during recorded Masses, and Marcum knows how crucial recorded Masses are for so many people. In fact, some fellow parishioners have told Marcum how their elderly parents, who are not physically disabled, are afraid to leave the house on Sundays for Mass because they are afraid of slipping, falling and injuring themselves. The only way they can participate in a Mass, at least vicariously, is through television.
Churches throughout the entire St. Cloud Diocese take turns recording Mass. Every Tuesday, priests come from churches to the Pastoral Center right across from Cathedral High School in St. Cloud. There, they say Mass while it is recorded. Two liturgies are recorded prior to their respective air dates and are then later broadcast on local-channel TV stations throughout the diocese. The large St. Cloud Catholic Diocese extends as far south as Elk River, north to the Menagha area and west to Brown’s Valley.
Marcum said the Mass-recording equipment is badly in need of upgrades, and some of it needs to be new as it is beyond repair.
“There are probably thousands of people – at least – who depend upon TV Masses,” Marcum said. “They are even shown in nursing homes.”
The St. Cloud Diocesan TC Mass is even broadcast to houses and nursing homes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Marcum also noted that as the population continues to age, with more baby boomers now over 60, there will be even more need for televised Masses.
Besides Lenten music as sung by the Worship Ensemble, the “Music for the Masses” concert will be performed by an ensemble of vocalists, guitarists, bassists, percussionists, keyboardists and other instrumentalists. Musicians from other parishes are welcome to bring their instruments and voices to add to the entertainment.
Anyone who cannot come to the concert can, if they wish, send a contribution check written out to St. Francis Xavier Church (put “TV Mass” in the memo area) and send it to the church at 219 2nd St. N., Sartell, MN 56377.
For more information, call the church at 320-252-1363.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.