I lost John to COVID this past year.
A dear lifelong friend, mentor, and colleague. John was my choir director at my home parish, then my music professor at FDU, and then my first organ teacher. John was the reason I became a church organist, a vocation that remains a vital part of my life.
When I was working fulltime, I would often walk from my office to St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue for their lunchtime Eucharist services and, with joy, hear their famous choir of men and boys. In later years, I occasionally met John there with his family who could accompany him across the Hudson.
We especially loved the Ash Wednesday service and the lunch we enjoyed afterwards. The Miserere mei, Deus (Latin for "Have mercy on me, O God") by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri was always the jewel in the choral crown that day.
Recently John’s daughter-in-law sent me a link to a documentary that she and her husband, John’s son, watched about the making of this ethereal Psalm 51 setting. Hearing the Miserere during this Covid-filled Lent has been a balm for my soul. The music is truly sacramental, an outward and audible sign of the sure and certain hope that God’s grace will continue to nurture my life, connecting me with the love of dear ones like John and his family.
May it bring you hope and peace.