|St. James Catholic Church, Lakewood, OH - January 2016 - shared on viewbug|
My grandfather was the organist at St. James Catholic Church in Lakewood, OH for many years. He had a men and boys' choir that was renowned locally. I wish I had asked him about his history. He played in the days when silent movies had live organ music accompanying the film. How many stories he could have shared if I'd only had the wisdom to ask about them. Young people, quiz your grandparents and parents while you still have them. They are the "wise men and women" of your time. Don't let their stories die with them.
Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa for keeping the faith and passing it on.
When I listened to the rendition of the Epiphany hymn below with a choir of men and boys I thought of my grandparents.
I hope you'll join me in praying for the repose of the souls of Marie and Raymond Schneider. I thank them and all my Catholic ancestors for passing on the faith to their children so they could pass it on to me. And so I offer this Epiphany hymn for you. May we always follow the star to the light of the world. "All wise men seek him!" And here's a different version of the hymn. Let us rejoice on this blessed feast day and thank the three wise men who represented all of us gentiles at the birth of our King.
When I first looked at the picture of the church, I thought it was St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Ah, my eyes.
Beautiful church, beautiful music, and wonderful memories for you. I can fully relate to your regret about your grandparents. I sorely wish I had asked more questions of mine. So many that can never be answered. Even sadder is what goes around comes around, with my descendents having the same lack of interest until it's too late for them.
My father sang tenor in the mens choir at St James during the 1960s. As a young boy I accompanied my dad up into the choir loft for Sunday masses. Too young to fully appreciate the majesty and grandeur of those moments, I spent much of the time there pondering the fantastic church architecture and soaking in the sounds of the men singing with the powerful pipe organ. I was so proud that my dad was part of that choir.
Later, when I was old enough, I was permitted to sing with the boys choir during Christmas and Easter even though I didn't attend St James School (our home parish was nearby OLA).
At Mr Schneiders wake, my dad and a couple other men spontaneously sang Adore Te. I realized then that I was witnessing the end of an age.
While growing up, our family sang many of those St James songs in the car while driving. Later, my dad took some of those songs to his new suburban church but without the men (and the boys choir) it was hardly the same. (What an understatement!)
Thinking back, I recall Mr Schneider at the organ with white hair and twinkling eyes (to a young boy, he reminded me of Santa Claus).
A few years ago, the local bishop tried to close St James due to declining attendance and the abundance of Roman Catholic churches in the area. But after determined pushback the church was reopened.
My younger sublings who never experienced a mass at St James with the mens choir or the combined choirs are not able to comprehend what a treasure has been lost. How blessed I was to have been able to experience Mr Schneider and the mens choir at St James.
Thank you so much for sharing this memory of my grandfather, RET. I sent the post with your comment to all my children and my siblings. What a precious addition this will be to our family history. It will definitely be saved.
I'm curious. Are you a regular reader or was your visit just a coincidence. Whatever occasioned it I'm so grateful it happened.
May God reward you. I'm offering my prayer time tonight for you and your family.
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