“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:”
-William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
On Divine Mercy Sunday, as “gentle rain from heaven” did indeed drop “upon the place beneath” and subsequently on all the gathered pilgrims, the Collegiate Choir lifted up their voices in song for the Mass at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA. After Mass, the choir led the Divine Mercy Chaplet, singing a version of the chaplet in four-part harmony.
In addition to singing for Mass on Sunday, which was broadcasted around the world by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Polyphony Choir also sang for the vigil on Saturday evening, traveling down a day early. Despite the rain, 18,000 pilgrims traveled to the Shrine for Divine Mercy Weekend. Pilgrims were especially blessed this year with the presence of the relic of Saint John Vianney’s heart.
The music of the choir was well received. One priest commented, “You were the angel choirs from heaven.” The choir heard many such comments from pilgrims after Mass and received emails from those who watched on EWTN. One couple who was at the Shrine sent an email, “This was, by far, the best music that I have ever heard at a Mass. Please express my wife and my heartfelt appreciation for an aspect of the Holy Mass that I had never experienced before. It gives us hope, to have young adults so dedicated to the faith, that we love.”
The students themselves were happy to be able to share this gift of music with others. “I feel so grateful that I get to sing for so many people,” remarked Allyson Anderson ’20, commenting about the trip. She continued to explain that “the message of mercy is the fulfillment of everything we learn here at the college.” Allyson stressed that the choir’s trip was not a performance, but rather a pilgrimage, during which singers in the choir could offer to God and to the Church the best they had in the form of music. So, as it rained, the choir sang, heralding a deeper spiritual rain: the rain of God’s Mercy.
– Contributed by Adriana Smith, ’22