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A Blessing Of Musicians-St Cecilia Ecumenical Choral Festival

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Cathedral Basilica Choir performs

The pews were full at St Anastasia Catholic Church on Friday night in celebration of St. Cecilia. The second annual St. Cecilia Ecumenical Festival Concert brought choirs from throughout the Northeast Florida region to St Anastasia so that they could raise their voices in joyous song and receive a special blessing.

St. Cecilia was the patron saint of music and it has been told that she could hear the angles sing. The celebration was held in honor of all the musicians who use their talents for the betterment of man and to sing praises to our Lord. The prayer to St Cecilia was recited to inspire the musicians to use their talents to “gladden the hearts of people by filling the air with God’s gift of music.”

This event was put on as a fundraiser for Home Again St Johns, and brought ten choirs together to celebrate music. The group from St. Monica’s Catholic Church traveled all the way from Palatka and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church of Palm Coast, sent their gifted musicians to celebrate along with the many church groups in St Johns County.

Our own Ancient City Baptist Church started the night with two selections, including a special flute solo from Dr. Michele Gregoire. Other church choirs from the area in attendance included: First United Methodist Church, Memorial Lutheran Church, Christ the King Anglican Church, Memorial Presbyterian Church, the Cathedral Basilica along with the host church, St. Anastasia Catholic Church. The choirs graced the church with a diverse groups of songs and the Island String Quartet treated the audience to a special musical interlude.

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Singing For The Lord

Al Deinhart, Board Member of Home Again St Johns, addressed the audience to thank them for their support and to share what services Home Again St Johns provides for the homeless. Home Again St Johns mission is to alleviate the suffering of the homeless. Along with the Salvation Army, this unique partnership is supported by other businesses, government agencies and non-profits in the area.

What started in 2008 as an idea of Mayor Joe Boles, has grown to over 500 volunteers who provide their time and talents to assist and help the homeless every month. Beginning in 2010, “Dining with Dignity,” Home Again St Johns meal program, was started to make sure no one in the community goes hungry. With the support of volunteers the program has served over 127,000 hot, nutritious meals to the homeless and hungry.

As the evening came to a close, the musicians were invited once again to the front of the church and a blessing of the singers and musicians was performed by the clergy. In an act of camaraderie, the choirs came together and “wowed” the audience with a beautiful rendition of “Our Last Amen.”