By Sooner Catholic Staff
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OKLAHOMA CITY (March 28, 2013) — It was standing-room only at the 6:30 p.m. Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Oklahoma City. Yet, the hundreds of parishioners who crowded the pews maintained an impressive reverence throughout the entire bilingual service, which included the traditional "washing of the feet" and the concluding "transfer of the Blessed Sacrament" from church to tabernacle.
In his homily, Father Tim Luschen urged the faithful to ask themselves how they can metaphorically wash the feet of others in a meaningful way today.
"Let us give ourselves to others, which is indeed symbolized by the washing of the feet," he said. "If we follow the Lord, we will live forever."
The choir performed moving and memorable selections from composers Olivier Messiaen, Jeff Ostrowski, Thomas Tallis, Ola Gjeilo and Antonio Lotti. While the majority of the music was modern, the pieces gave more than a nod to the early periods of Western classical music - and, in the case of Tallis, drew directly from them.
"The ministry of sacred music at St. Charles Borromeo is of integral importance to the liturgy," the St. Charles Borromeo website proclaims. "The music of the ordinary of the mass, the propers and hymns draw the faithful closer to God by allowing them to fully experience beauty, the power and the mystery that is the Roman Catholic liturgy."
That mentality was evident at Holy Thursday Mass. Less familiar, perhaps, than popular hymns, the choral arrangements - which included measures in plain-chant-like unison, counterpoint and ambitious four-part harmonies - showcased the versatility of the choir and provided meditative themes for worshipers in the pews.
"It was the angels that first sang 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will,' the website says. "When we sing the same today, we join our voices with them and with hundreds of generations of believers before us. Organ voluntaries, choir anthems and motets, as well as vocal and instrumental pieces, draw the faithful away from the temporal world and into the foretaste of heaven, assisting them in their prayer and their worship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.