By Susan Bailey
The CFP correspondent
Alana Kearney has long associated prayer with music. She was part of the effort to introduce Taize-style prayer in the Worcester Diocese. Her mother, Mary Mullaney, says, “With the assistance of her voice teacher, Richard Monroe of St. John’s High School, she helped us launch our monthly First Friday contemplative prayer, now held at Assumption College. This is the fourth year of Taize prayer.”
Now studying music and psychology at The Catholic University of America, she is a member of the CUA Chamber Choir. They along with other choirs provided the music for the Canonization Mass of Saint Junipero Serra celebrated by Pope Francis at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Wednesday.
“When it was first announced that the pope would be coming to CUA, I texted my dad in Worcester and he responded by saying ‘You’ll be singing a solo for him, I assume.’ Of course he was joking, but I never imagined that I’d actually get the chance to be up there singing with the choir. When we heard over the summer that the chamber choir would be singing for the pope, I was overjoyed. Our choir consists of 28 of the top singers in our program including undergraduates, graduate students, alumni, and faculty,” says Ms. Kearney.
Kearny was grateful for the wisdom of her choir director who kept the group focused on the important things: “As our campus gets crowded with barricades and busy with tourists, our choir director, Dr. Leo Nestor, keeps emphasizing that Pope Francis is coming here to celebrate the Eucharist, and to me has really stuck with me through this whole process leading up to the Mass. Pope Francis is a wonderful leader of our Church and I think it is important to remember the reason he is coming: to canonize Blessed Junipero Serra and celebrate the Eucharist with our community in Washington D.C. I am humbled to be able to use the voice that God has given me in the presence of his Holy Father.”
Ms. Kearney said she had tears in her eyes when the Holy Father first approached the altar.
“Pope Francis was so humble and his message was so great — we should love one another as Jesus loves us,” said Ms. Kearney, recalling his homily.
“Singing with the choirs was amazing. All my life I have loved singing in church and it feels like it has all been leading up to this day – singing for the leader of the Church. Everyone who attended this Mass will always remember this day.”