Jesuit Heritage Week Joint Choir

At this year’s Jesuit Heritage Week Mass, which took place on January 26 in Gaston Hall, the music was led by members of all the sacred music choirs on campus. It included the University Chapel Choir, the 7:30 Mass Contemporary Choir, and the University Gospel Choir. This was the first time all came together for a Sunday night service.

Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson (new window), president of the University Gospel Choir, reflects on her experience below.

Jesuit Heritage Week Mass - Jesuits2

The Jesuit Heritage Week Service was an amazing and a new experience for many of us in the Gospel Choir. This service was the first Catholic style Mass for many members in the choir, but for all of us, even myself who serves as President of the Gospel Choir, it was the first time singing traditional Catholic music and it was an amazing experience! Being a Protestant and being able to worship through song with your Catholic fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is an opportunity that is rare, but it should not be.  Within the few days we spent together, new friendships were found and a greater appreciation for and understanding of the Catholic religious tradition was constructed.

On a normal Sunday the Christian church is divided between Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox and as well as subgroups of denominations that further divide us. Each group has a different interpretation of religious difference, each group has an opinion of the other group, but as I stood on stage and looked out at the congregation, I saw Catholics shaking hands with Protestants and saying “Peace be with you.” I saw Baptists shaking hands with Methodist saying “Peace be with you,” and I saw all persons joining together in song and scripture to unify our Christian faith.  While being amongst the crowds had to be an amazing opportunity, the smiles and affection observed from the stage made me proud to see such a strong and loving Christian family at Georgetown.

Even though there are not many instances that Catholics and Protestants get to unite, I believe the joint Christian service during Jesuit Heritage Week should become a new custom. I love the Jesuits; they are dear to Georgetown University, and honoring them in this week keeps the Ignatian tradition alive. The omnipresent spirit of Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam puts differences aside and unites people who are so similar in faith, but never worship together. The Jesuits realized that together, as a unified Christian body, we better understand each other and a greater level of worship is induced.


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