Day 5: The Impromptu Choir and Theology Lessons of ASB Baltimore

As I was wandering down the hallway of the St. Martin’s residence looking for something to do after meeting with a resident, I ran into the legendary Sr. Rosario and another volunteer. She was in the middle of explaining a prayer service with Lectio Divino organized for tonight, and was searching for some people to help out with singing the hymns. Sister led us into the temporary chapel, handed us hymnals, and began rehearsing hymns on the organ. Over the span of the hour, more volunteers joined in as they peeked into the chapel and found us practicing. By the end we had mastered singing the chosen hymns for Lectio Divino and chants for Night Prayer.

There was an eclectic mix of voices, including those trained in singing, and others who surprised us all with their hidden singing talent, The mix of faith backgrounds was even more admirable. There is a handful of Catholics on the trip, a few with a background in Buddhism, one in the Baptist Church, and others who have never practiced a religion or belonged to a faith community. It’s been a blessing to witness my co-volunteers’ responses to these services and learning about the teachings of the Church.

I have been moved most by one volunteer here with no background in the Christian faith. On Sunday he had come to Mass with us and admitted that he was nervous that he’d do something disrespectful the whole time. He has been so easy-going with everything he’s been roped to related to prayer, with such genuine innocence and concern for doing everything right. Another one of my favorite interactions with the faith was a conversation with another volunteer who has a background in Buddhism, but has been trying to go to Catholic Masses and other Christian services because he appreciated overlap in the moral teachings of the religious groups. I’m always intimidated to explain how I practice my faith to others and the purpose of it, so it has been refreshing to have these encounters with my peers this week.

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