At Sunday’s last Youth-Led Liturgy of the school year at Maternity BVM Parish, parish members recognized two graduating seniors in the Youth Ensemble, Colin Kestel who plays violin and Anna Marie Schelling who sings with the group.

Parishioners thank Colin and Anna Marie.

“Well done good and faithful servants,” said Chris Lord, Music Director. “You will be missed!”

Both seniors participate in multiple ways in the parish. Anna Marie often volunteers to help live stream Masses. She comes from a family of music ministers. Her mother, Monet, sings in the adult choir, while her brother, Jack, plays percussion in the youth ensemble. Meantime, Colin plays his violin for other major liturgical celebrations at the parish as well as the monthly Youth-Led Liturgies. He and Anna Marie are both involved in orchestra and choir at Bradley-Bourbonnais High School.

“Our parishioners frequently comment how much they enjoy the music at out Youth-Led Liturgies,” Lord says. “These talented young musicians enhance our liturgical prayer so much.”

Students in grades six through 12 participate in these popular Youth-Led Liturgies, where they serve as cantors, Eucharistic ministers, greeters, lectors, musicians, readers and ushers. At Sunday’s Mass, Fr. Moses Mesh, CSV, Parochial Vicar, blessed all of the graduating seniors who were present.

“We wish you all the best as you embark on the next stage of your journey,” parish leaders said. “Whether you’re near or far, your Maternity BVM family is always here for you just as the Good Shepherd is always there for his sheep.”

Fr. Moses Mesh blesses seniors.

Music Ministry has always been a strength of the parish. In fact, for its momentous 175th anniversary celebration in 2022, parish leaders chose to showcase its music ministry at the opening event.

“We are fortunate that our parish community is enriched with a tradition of beautiful music, said Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, pastor.

In all, music ministry ensembles include an adult choir, praise band, its youth ensemble, its Mustard Seeds Children’s Choir, an area wide festival hand bell choir, and individual soloists.

It all adds up to one of the core missions of the Viatorians, to raise up communities where faith is lived, deepened and celebrated. Plus, these vibrant young musicians confirm what St. Augustine said: “The one who sings prays twice.”