Thursday, December 6, 2018

God’s Plan in My Gift of Singing: Part 7 – Discerning My Path

Written by  Garth Horn

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Phase 12

After my first year of study in the Performing Arts Music Program in Edmonton, I decided to venture out, volunteering at St. John the Evangelist Church. One Sunday, Stewardship Ministry forms were handed out and I checked off Music Ministry. The next Sunday, the Pastoral Associate asked me if I would be interested joining the 10:00 am Sunday Choir. Without hesitation, I said “Yes”!

This step was a spiritual eye-opener to the Christian Contemporary Music being played (and proclaimed) in the Church at the time, with singers and composers like the St. Louis Jesuits, Rev. Cary Landry and the Dameans. This music had guitar accompaniment which I could relate to. Once again, the connection of Sacred Scripture to music opened my heart to receiving God’s message and opened my voice to give praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.

After graduating from college with a Music Diploma, a classmate and I decided to form a duo playing music in bars and lounges. After 3 months of learning enough Pop music to perform, we got a gig at an Edmonton bar/lounge. The contract was for a month and the money was good. After we had performed a few times, the bar manager said we needed to entertain the people more so they would drink more. We attempted to entertain and perform but I came to realize I was not a bar performer. After the music contract was over, I decided to leave the duo and move back to my hometown and worked for my brother on the family farm.

I enjoyed the country air and the outdoor farm work. It was during the sitting on the tractor cultivating the fields that I reflected on the spiritual experience I had at Church in Edmonton and the friends I met there.

After the harvest season I decided to move back to Edmonton to get more involved with St. John the Evangelist Church. Once again, I packed up my Mustang Cobra 11 with clothes and my guitar. My Mom and Dad wished me the best as I set out on a spiritual journey.

After several months of singing in the choir at the Church, the Pastoral Associate and choir director asked if I would be interested going to a weekend retreat to discern a vocation to the Priesthood. This gentle invitation to discern my spiritual life was indeed a stepping stone on my path of life.

After the weekend retreat, I phoned my Mom about it and that I thought of maybe entering the seminary to study toward Priesthood. Mom was surprised and she wished me well in my discernment.

A short time later, I received a letter from my Parish Priest in my hometown. He heard from my Mom about my interest in the studies to becoming a Priest. He explained he was being transferred to a large city Parish and invited me to come and stay with him, work in the Parish as a Parish Worker for one year and observe the day to day routine of a Priest’s life. After a year, I could decide whether I wanted to make the steps to enter the seminary. This letter was like an invitation from the Lord saying “Come and follow Me on your journey”.

After one year working as a Parish Worker and living with the Parish Priest (and gaining 25 pounds from all that homemade, rich tasting food prepared by the hired cook), I decided to speak to the Bishop about the Seminary.

In September 1984, I packed my belongings back into my Mustang and moved into residence with other young men at St. Pius X Seminary on the University of Saskatchewan campus to study towards the vocation of Priesthood. This is when I was introduced to Personal Prayer and allowing one hour a day to pray for the Lord’s guidance. To make a long story short, after many hours of Personal Prayer and one year of intense university and seminary studies, I decided to leave the seminary and say “No not for me” to priesthood and an say an eager “Yes” to being a priestly people, to share my gifts and promote the love of God in my every day living.

 

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