Prayer Service attracts Catholic community

Katie McClurg

The combination of the nationally renowned preacher Father Ray East and artist-in-residence musician David Haas is what intrigued many people across the metro to come to the “Taize Prayer for the Poor” service at Benilde-St. Margaret’s on February 9.

The Taize prayer, which originated in France, is contemplative in nature and it integrates song, prayer, messages, and silence. “This prayer form has been popularized across the United States in parishes and other communities because of the healing it provides,” said Fr. Ray.

This service was specifically geared toward giving thanks and praying for the poor, another reason Fr. Ray felt a need to do it at BSM. “I’m amazed at how much is already being done: people who are sick, you guys are selling [Hershey]Kisses to raise money for them, people without homes you guys are going on a mission trip to build them homes, people who are thirsty you raise money to build wells. BSM really is in a sense lighting a candle, being an example to others,” said Fr. Ray.

The symbolic icon of the Holy Trinity greeted those who attended and welcomed into the chapel with numerous candles and soft music from BSM students as well as musicians from across the metro. “My favorite part was the reflection by senior Sarah Crawford and Fr. Ray, it was extremely moving,” said Ms. Becca Walsh, religion teacher.

It wasn’t just BSM staff and students who attended this unique service, but dedicated people from Faribault to Hibbing made the long drive to come see Fr. Ray. Fairbault native Sharon Jefferson and her mother are avid fans of Fr. Ray and have attended his services a total of seven times. “It was a long drive, but his services are always so moving that it is worth the time,” said Jefferson.

But this is not the first year for this dynamic service; Haas and Father East have put on concerts to raise money for the Minnesota Music Association. Additionally Father East has been coming to BSM for ten years now, since he first received an invitation from former President Jim Hamburge. “I came and I fell in love with BSM immediately,” said Fr. Ray.

While he was here he got involved with Kate Cuddy and Haas, but he insists that it’s the students and the BSM community that keep him coming back. “I always look forward to getting to come to BSM because I love the energy I feel at this school and I love the people, especially the students,” said Fr. Ray.