There are different kinds of spiritual gifts – but the same spirit.
A group of 12 Mercyhurst University student liturgical ministers shared their artistic gifts over a spring break evangelization trip to Florida from Feb. 20-27.
Students from the Liturgical Dance Ensemble and music ministry joined staff music minister Daniel Cabanillas to perform at a Catholic church and retirement home in the Tampa, Fla., area. The music ministers brought with them a repertoire that included traditional Latin works as well as praise and worship favorites.
The music ministry group has taken their praise and worship set on the road before – in fact, just down the road from the Erie campus to Emmanuel Presbyterian Church at 35th and Perry streets. The church hosts a “Faith Café” there every Saturday night featuring live music from local choirs, and the Mercyhurst music ministers performed there last spring.
Members of the Liturgical Dance Ensemble danced to four pieces with the choir: “Ave Maria,” “The Lord’s Prayer,” “The Prayer” (a duet made popular by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli) and “Come Holy Spirit.”
Ensemble members, all dance majors, included senior Kelsey Chamberlain, sophomore Margaret Doherty, freshman Brianna Macri, senior Eileen McDonnell and junior Linnea Stureson.
Senior music therapy major Brittany Barko, a student leader and vocalist with music ministry, said the dedicated group scheduled rehearsals for 9 and 10 p.m. during finals week to prepare for the trip. Busy schedules during the day and evening left no other time available for the musicians and dancers to rehearse together – but the students didn’t mind staying up a little later.
“They love their faith and are so committed to the ministry,” Barko, an Erie native, said.
Joining Barko were student music ministers Sara Fox, junior forensic anthropology major; Lauren Smith, freshman fashion merchandising major; Michelle Farley, junior bioarchaeology major; Sarah Anderson, sophomore religious studies major; Nathan Turner, junior intelligence studies major; and Julie Smicinski, junior intelligence studies major.
Barko noted that she’s the only music major out of the troupe of music ministers, which she thinks is great – students of all majors are welcome and encouraged to join the music ministry team to share their gifts. The group that traveled to Florida includes singers, two guitarists and a djembe player.
“These are the people on campus that we share our faith with,” Barko said.
For more information about liturgical ministry opportunities for students at Mercyhurst, contact campus ministry at 814-824-2301.