Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Christmas Letter to Family and Friends

Dear Family and Friends,

Welcome to my blogsite, where you’ll find occasional ruminations from my uniquely focused mind. 2013 was an incredible year! I now write a monthly column for Ministry and Liturgy magazine. I’m also in the beginning stages of writing the sequel to my book, Keep the Fire Burning: The Folk Mass Revolution.

Travel was a highlight of 2013. I do a lot of workshops around the country to promote my music and writing. This year I did events in Buffalo, NY; Wichita, KS; Carlisle, PA; Richmond, VA; Sacramento, CA; and Glendale, CA. But the most memorable trips were to Ghana, Africa in June, and to Turkey and Rome in October. Here are links to my series of blogs on each trip:

A music ministry journey with fellow spiritandsong composers, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services and OCP

A joyful faith pilgrimage where my friend, Fr. Paul Wicker served as chaplain and I served as musician

Other highlights of the year included:

Pope Francis
This year the Catholic church rejoiced in a new pope who has quickly charmed the world with his simplicity and dedication to serving the poor and forgotten. He reminds me so much of Pope John XXIII, who also inspired hope and optimism back in the 1960s. I had the privilege of attending a General Audience with Pope Francis when I was at the Vatican in October. Truly one of the highlights of my life!

A terrific spring musical put on by the junior high teens in my parish school, Holy Trinity in Beaverton

Music Ministry: Holy Trinity and St. Mary Magdalene
This year I find myself involved in music ministry at TWO parishes. Holy Trinity is my home parish and I began there in 2005. We have several great music groups. Here is a photo of our 9:30 Choir that rehearses on Wednesday nights.

At Holy Trinity I'm also part of an informal band called the B-Side, made up of fellow folk music enthusiasts. We do parish events and occasional Portland gigs in support of my book on the Folk Mass.

My "second" parish is St. Mary Magdalene in Portland. The pastor is Fr. Mike Biewend, an old college friend who has been trying to snag me to do music at his parish for many years. I help out at Saturday Vigil Mass and at the weekly school Mass on Thursdays, so it doesn’t really clash with my Sunday ministry at Holy Trinity.

Portland Filipino Catholic Community Choir
Another great joy is my involvement with the choir of the Filipino Catholic Community of Portland and SW Washington. We sing at special liturgies throughout the year, including the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz and the Simbang Gabi Christmas Novena. The music is lively and Spirit-filled, and I have a deeper appreciation of my cultural roots through my friendships in this vibrant community.

Mom’s 80th Birthday
My family celebrated together with mom in Los Angeles in June.

Seattle Canedos
My brother Keith settled in Seattle back in the late 1970s. His oldest daughter Micaela is now doing graduate studies at the renowned Loyola Marymount School of Film and TV in Los Angeles. Youngest daughter Kelsey is in 10th grade of high school in the Seattle area. I try to visit them during the summer and for sure during Thanksgiving.

My own Landmark Birthday
Took time out in July to celebrate with friends in San Francisco, my favorite city in the world!

Through all these adventures I am grateful especially for the love and friendship that we share. Whatever your faith tradition, may the blessings of the Christmas season remain with you throughout the New Year!

Peace, joy, love!

My cat Neo at our aluminum tree