The Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Millennium Organ Debuts
The dedication of the Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Millennium Organ is a welcome moment for stopping to count blessings and give thanks. It seems we have had more than our share of such moments in recent years. God is good!
And so are you, the parishioners and friends of St. James Cathedral. It is your generosity over the past several years that is responsible for the gloriously restored Cathedral, the
great ceremonial bronze doors, and, now, for the magnificent new organ in the Cathedral's east apse.
Those of you who know the Cathedral are aware that the new organ replaces a small choir organ which was built by the Casavant firm in Quebec and given to the Cathedral by the Baillargeon family. When that instrument was installed back in 1926, its
purpose was quite different from that of the new organ, built by Manuel Rosales, which we recently dedicated. Its main purpose was to accompany the Cathedral choir which, in those days, sang from behind a screened area in back of the altar in the east apse. The main purpose of the new organ is to support the singing of a large singing congregation, the likes of which could never have been imagined in 1926.
This is the kind of problem any pastor should be delighted to have: a congregation so successful at singing the Church's liturgy that it requires substantial musical support from both ends of a block-long building!
Of course, those whose musical ears are well-trained will also note what a joy it is to have, in addition to the historic Hutchings-Votey organ
in the west gallery, a new instrument that is brilliantly well suited for the repertory of the French and German schools.
As we celebrate this historic moment and thrill to the kind of sounds that have never before been heard in the awesome acoustic of St. James Cathedral, I know that you will join me in giving grateful thanks to the God whose praises have sounded in this Cathedral for nearly one hundred years. With the
psalmist of old, may we continue to "praise the Lord in his sanctuary...with the blast of the trumpet, with lyre and harp, with strings and pipe. May
everything that has breath praise the Lord. Alleluia!"
The Very Reverend Michael G. Ryan
Pastor, St. James Cathedral