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Lenten coffeehouse with Fr. O'Hare

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There are many ways to experience Lent. Music provided the backdrop for spiritual reflection at the Lenten Coffeehouse with live music by Father Keith M. O’Hare, pastor, at St. Louis Church in Alexandria March 16.

Around 70 people attended the concert in the rectory parlor. Father O’Hare performed music from his “All is Well” album released in 2017, as well as other Christian and popular songs. He interspersed spiritual reflections. Andrew Lane, a friend of Father O’Hare, accompanied him on guitar and percussion


“I like to write songs, it’s my heart expressing something,” Father O’Hare said. “These songs are prayers and reflections, not just to me. We hope tonight, through music, reflection and being together, that our heart gets opened. God always has something he wants to give us, especially through the gift of music.”

Father O’Hare wrote many of the songs while he served in Bánica, the diocesan mission in Dominican Republic, as the pastor of San José Church in Pedro Santana. He said there were times when the electricity was out and how powerful the silence was during those times. 

Father O’Hare said he doesn’t sit down to write a song, but music often comes to him. Before singing his own compositions, Father O’Hare explained the lyrics. Attendees followed along on sheets. “While I was tuning my guitar, inspiration came,” he said. “It can happen when you’re not trying.” 

He composed a song based on the Hail Mary when he was strumming his guitar one day. “There’s a lot of great Christian songs out there but not a lot that (focus on) Mary,” he said. 

Near the end of the evening, Father O’Hare invited attendees to chant along with a decade of the rosary. 

“We pray the rosary all the time and it’s easy to fall into a rut,” he said. “I want to teach you a song.  Think of something you want to pray for. You can make it your own mystery. Chant is at the pace of the heart. It calms.”

Parishioner Fawn Katzbahn said the coffeehouse offered another avenue to reflect on music. 

“It’s a much more intimate way of sharing in the Lenten experience with people that you don’t know, but we are all on common ground,” she said. “Father’s presentation allowed us to connect in a way. It has the potential to enrich the Lenten season.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019