Coming together to give worship, our identity is that of Catholic Christians, unified by our common faith but
not necessarily by common ancestry or political ideology. We come to give thanks to God.
This weekend is the Fourth of July, a national holiday, but not a day on the liturgical calendar. We celebrate
the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time and also give thanks that we are blessed to live in the United States.
Music ministers use pieces whose lyrics are based upon scripture, or at least inspired by them, hence you
don’t hear the latest pop tunes at mass, but rather music that shapes the ritual we celebrate.
This week I've programmed the hymn America the Beautiful for the closing song, and although not based
on scripture, the text is inspiring and helps us to focus on giving thanks to God for the gifts given us.
The poem was written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 and the final version which we sing was completed in
1913. What inspired Ms. Bates?
"One day some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a
prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired.
But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like
The author appreciates and expresses God’s goodness in creation, and the principles of human freedom,
community, and self sacrifice, values we Catholic Christians celebrate weekly. (July 4, 2004)