I recently attended the National Pastoral Musicians Convention in Cincinnati, an event in its 40th year. To commemorate the anniversary a large bronze bell was cast. It sat prominently in the Grand Ballroom and called the attendees to prayer and plenum sessions. Unfortunately the convention has dropped attendance in the past few years, and the event seemed to lack some of the spirit I witnessed 20 years ago. The NPM officers realize this and are working to increase attendance and revitalize the convention. Many of the speakers were seasoned composers, musicians, or liturgists, and I sensed an urgency to pass the torch to those who would become the next David Haas or Marty Haugen. These two composers themselves have become mentors, so the caliber of their style will continue giving the Church worthy ritual music.

In a similar way our culture has lost much of its focus on America’s great ideals of equality, freedom, ethics, hard work, integrity. Before it’s too late we need persons of stature to mentor our next leaders. Who will become the leader with the charism of Martin Luther King, the President with the compassion of Abraham Lincoln, the adventurer with the spirit of John Glenn? Who will continue the poetic genius of Maya Angelou, the research of our Nobel Prize winners, the spiritual insight of Mother Teresa? Could a brass bell wake us from our dying culture? Can we pass the torch before it’s extinguished?

Reflect a moment on how you are impacting the future. To whom are you passing your wisdom and skills?

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