"Ready in 5, 4, 3 ..." became a familiar phrase for the fifty students and staff from St Joseph's Mercy Secondary School who travelled to RTE early on the morning of 27th January to sing at the broadcast Sunday liturgy. Following the ICMA Summer School last July, Roger Childs, the Director of Religious Programming at RTE, invited the Schola to provide the music at mass to celebrate the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. Members of the All School Choir, staff and parents were the worshipping community. Three alumni of the Schola programme returned for the event: Laura Duffy, Caroline Moloney and Alice Walsh.
Music for the event reflected the rich variety of sacred music that is now in the Schola's repertoire. Gregorian chant was reflected in the Kyrie XVI, led by Niamh Fitzsimons, Brionna Meagher and Alison Pentony, and the sinuous Agnus Dei from the Missa de Angelis. Contemporary-style liturgical music was represented by the responsorial psalm 'Lord, You Have the Words', sung by Lorna O'Dea and Ruth Sheridan, and 'Deep Within' as the offertory piece, both by American composer David Haas, along with the rousing 'City of God' by Dan Schutte as the recessional hymn. More traditional-style hymnody featured the robust 'Christ be With Me', by Irish composer John O'Keeffe and the haunting 'Taste and See' by John Gibson. Mass parts included the sprightly 'Gloria' from the new Mass for John Carroll by Michael Joncas, with cantors Adele Crilly and Eimer Finn; the 'Alleluia' from Liam Lawton's Glendalough Mass, led by Gillian Moloney and Katie White, and Eucharistic acclamations from the Mass of Saint Paul by Ephrem Feeley.
The Mass reflected the liturgical practice of the school, where participation is valued and encouraged. Powerful readings of the day from Nehemiah and 1 Corinthians were read by Claire Pentony and Ms Mulligan, Nessa Farrelly led the Prayers of the Faithful and Lovely Angeles was altar server. Fr Kevin Heery, school chaplain, presided and gave a thought-provoking homily, referring to the significance of Catholic Schools Week: "Our school is a community of faith for at the heart of our school is our Lord Jesus Christ who not only builds community, but challenges us to live up to that unity."