Chris’ last Sunday as Music Director for the Family Mass will be August 13, but please join us for a special Family Mass on Sunday, July 23 at 9:00am. There will be a special farewell reception for Chris in Powers Hall following Mass.
A Letter from Chris Holownia, Family Mass Music Director
Dear St. John’s Parishioners:
After a long period of discernment, I have decided to pursue a religious vocation to the Jesuits and will enter their novitiate at St. Andrew Hall in Syracuse, NY this coming August. This announcement is bittersweet, as I have been a member of the St. John Parish community since I was in elementary school and will miss my colleagues, friends, and fellow Family Mass Musicians tremendously. I am both excited and nervous to begin this next chapter of my life, and saying farewell is quite difficult.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who has helped to make my experience here such a positive one over the past 10 years: thank you for welcoming me, challenging me, supporting me, and trusting me as I learned the ropes. St. John’s is a special place, and I am proud to call myself a member of this great faith community. Please know that I will cherish my time here for the rest of my life, bringing my career at St. John’s forward with me wherever I go, and I promise to come back to visit whenever I can!
St. John’s Music during Christmas 2016 was effulgent with its glowing joy. Those of you who were present at our Christmas liturgies knew immediately that this great Feast of the Nativity is remarkable, glorious. A couple of weeks before Christmas a parishioner put fear in my heart as she was so filled with anticipation of being with her family, as well as her church family, and stressed how she just knew the music would exceed her expectations. I thought quietly to myself – it had better!
What is amazing is how it takes so many dedicated individuals to make that “beyond expectation music” happen – to them an avalanche of gratitude should be shown. It’s the children, the teens, the young adults, “young thinking” adults – those who sing, play an instrument, parents who patiently wait for their children attending rehearsals, the children who permit a parent to attend rehearsal, the loving spouse/partner who is temporarily left alone while the other attends rehearsal. Special accolades to Family Mass Music Directors who work diligently as they are outnumbered by the surrounding children, the cantors who do their part at extra Masses.
Christmas 2016 was my twentieth Christmas here at St. John’s. With each passing year the excitement, the beauty of the music reaches a new height. In a huge way that reach for the height, the stars – particularly the bright Star over Bethlehem happens because of you – St. John parishioners – you are the church, you are the church choir. Thank you for your love and support. If at anytime you would like to experience and know what it’s like being part of one of our music groups at St. John’s – know that you will be warmly welcomed. Come, get into the “sing” of things!
Gratefully yours, Laurence Carson
This coming Sunday, December 13 at 2:00pm is our Annual Parish Christmas Concert. Each of the music groups which support our liturgies throughout the year will be performing seasonal music for you to enjoy. The Family Mass Musicians, the Christmas Youth Choir, the Parish Choir and the newly formed Teen Choir will be sharing some of the music they’ve been practicing these past weeks – now you can hear them! Joining us for the third year in a row will be the Puppet Nativity. They are coming to us from Rochester, NY. Their participation in our concert is truly a welcome addition. Please come – admission is free – all are welcome! Parking is available in the school lot on Ledyard Street and the Church is wheelchair accessible.
I grew up at St. John Parish – got confirmed, lectored, taught CCD — and I am lucky to say that this is now my 9th year serving as a music minister here. Our program has grown exponentially over the past few years, as you might have noticed judging by the hoards of children singing each Sunday morning. If you are interested in joining the Family Mass Musicians at 9:00 a.m. or the Contemporary Music Ensemble at 5:00 p.m., please email me or contact me at 617-513-0823. We rehearse every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. downstairs in the music office as well as certain Sundays at 3:30 p.m., and there is no experience necessary – only the desire and willingness to sing. I ask only that children be in first grade, but there is no age limitation on the other end! If you play an instrument, you are also welcome to inquire. Finally, there is no need to make a firm commitment; if you can’t make it every Sunday morning, we’d still love to have you join us whenever possible. I look forward to speaking with you!
~ Chris Holownia, Music Director for the Family Mass and 5pm Mass on Sundays
Actors/Actresses in Grade 3 and older – help “perform” the Passion Play at the 9:00 AM Family Mass on Palm Sunday, March 29. Attendance at one rehearsal this Saturday, March 28, from 9:00 AM- 12:00 is required/mandatory. Confirmation candidates earn 5 hours of community service credit.
Please contact Maria Wardwell (781-237-2148 or email@example.com) or Chrissy Harding (781-416-7362 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for information and registration.
Children in grades 1-8 are invited to participate in the St. John’s Easter Youth Choir. High School Assistants are welcome. There are 5 rehearsals: 3/1, 3/8, 3/15, 3/22 and 3/29 at 10:50-11:50 in the Chapel. Sign up and first rehearsal 3/1. The children will sing at the 9:00 AM Family Mass on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015. Registration closes Sunday 3/8. For more information and to register call Maria Wardwell 781-237-2148 or Maria.email@example.com.
Back in November, parishioners were asked to complete a Music Survey, which was available both online and in paper form in the bulletin. The goal of the survey was to help us take stock of our current music ministry as a whole, in an effort to review, with your help, what we do well and to discover areas of potential change and/or improvement. More than 180 parishioners responded to the survey, which is the highest response to any survey we have undertaken here at St. John. Many thanks to all who participated and who took the time to provide such detailed feedback. The overall data results have been tabulated and is available in this week’s bulletin or online HERE.
Our next step is to study and analyze all the thoughtful and thorough answers provided in the comment sections of the survey to see what trends and conclusions can be drawn, and we’ll be publishing more information in the coming weeks.
More than 180 parishioners responded to our recent Music Survey, which is the highest response to any survey we’ve undertaken. The results are being tabulated now and will be published in the bulletin and on the website after Christmas so stayed tuned!
Please join us on Sunday, December 14 at 2pm in the Church for traditional and contemporary Christmas music performed by St. John’s adult and youth choirs, instruments, and soloists. Featuring the “Puppet Nativity” from the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, sharing a wonderful telling of the Christmas story. Admission is free. Parking is available in the school lot on Ledyard Street and the Church is wheelchair accessible.
Throughout the next several weeks, St. John’s will be highlighting many of the staff members at St. John’s who make our Parish a vibrant, welcoming community. The article, Who’s Who at St. John will enable you to get to know each staff member a little bit more. The first two entries highlight members of St. John’s Music Ministries, Maria Wardwell and Chris Holownia.
Maria Wardwell – Family Mass Cantor
Maria has been cantoring with the Family Mass Musicians since 1998. A Wellesley College graduate, Maria has performed as a singer and actress her whole life. She is very involved in community theater and performs in and around the Boston area. She is the president of the Footlight Club, America’s oldest continuously running community theatre which performs at Eliot Hall in Jamaica Plain. Maria and her husband have lived in Wellesley since 1990. They have 2 sons – Nate, who is a Middle School teacher for Teach for America in Charlotte, NC and Ben, who is a sophomore at Colby College in Maine. When Maria’s not cantoring at St. John’s or performing in a production she is busy working as a Learning and Development Account Executive and Facilitator for Wilson Learning Worldwide.
Christopher Holownia – Family Mass Music Director
Chris has been the music director for the Family Mass and Sunday 5pm Mass ever since he graduated from Yale in 2007. Chris grew up in the parish and his parents are still active parishioners. He is currently teaching foreign languages including Spanish, Latin and Chinese at the Rivers School in Weston. He advises the philosophy club at Rivers and also music directs their winter musical. Chris is the resident music director for the Woodland Theatre Company in Medfield and during the summer he is a music director for the Weston Drama Workshop. In his “free time” Chris directs the music for other area musicals, acts on stage, and sings in area choirs.