Tag Archives: Celtic Woman

car time and concert

10 Dec

December 13, 2015 02

I am really looking forward to the drive from Cincinnati on Friday, the day of shopping and eating in Atlanta on Saturday, Mass at the local Peachtree City parish and the concert at The Fred on Sunday, and the car-time during the drive back on Monday.

is there anything else that you would like?

18 Mar

It must be something in my voice or on my face. People frequently ask me if I am Irish. I always say that I wish I were.

I am enamored with things Irish, which might explain some of my delight in a group of women Irish singers, Celtic Woman. 

Celtic Woman was formed 10 years ago as a “one time” event. This year they celebrate their 10th anniversary.

The group has evolved over the years. My favorite combination is Alex Sharpe, Chloe Agnew, Lisa Kelly and Lynn Hilary, with fiddler Mairead Nesbitt, as pictured below.

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My favorite album is “Songs of the Heart,” as pictured above.

This has more than a little to do with the fact that …

(1) I was in Dublin at Powerscourt House and Gardens in 2009 on purpose: to attend the filming of this album, with the pastor of one of the girls,

CW favorites 07

(2) when this combination was on stage, 

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(3) when red, white and blue fireworks went off during the singing of “O, America,”

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(4) when I was sitting in the front row,

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and (5) consequently, appear on the video four times.

Lisa Kelly has been and continues to be my favorite of my favorites  0 Lisa Kelly and Rob Fox closeup 01 a email copy b

One of our parish staff asked me, “What would you like for your retirement?”

I answered, “I’d like to have Lisa Kelly come to sing at my final Mass at St. Andrew.”

He immediately laughed and responded, “Is there ‘anything else’ that you would like?’


Issa, Mary and Joseph in Beit Jala

24 Dec

In accord with a “sleep in heavenly peace” tradition of mine, I fell asleep last night and will fall asleep tonight (Christmas Eve) and tomorrow night (Christmas Day) listening to some of favorite Christmas songs, in the glow of a laser cut photo of “my kids from Beit Jala” on the dresser across the room.

My iPod’s strange bed fellows include Bruce Cockburn, Celtic Woman, Cincinnati Pops, Hayley Westenra, Josh Groban, Kathy Mattea, Roisin Dempsey, Sissel, Tine Thing Helseth, The Roches and Becky Kelley.

Eventually the music stops, but the kids light up my entire night, as they light up my every Christmas, as they have lighted up my whole life. Nine  years ago, Issa, Mary, Ranim, Tamara and Tamer came as 8th graders from Beit Jala (Bethlehem) to visit us here in Milford. They have returned home and have already graduated from college. But they remain forever in my heart, and will always be “my children” to me.

These children, okay, these young adults, still have their homes in “the little town of Bethlehem.”

With the seven hour time difference, and with all of us being Christians, and being at Mass and with family, it is difficult to make connections by phone. But I will try. I might have to leave a message for Mary. I hope to make contact with Joseph, who is Ranim’s father. I must … I have to talk with … or at least a message for … Issa. “Issa” is “Jesus” in Arabic.

How can I let Christmas pass, without being in contact with Issa, Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem?

The tweet was a treat!

24 Dec

My kitchen is in a pre-Christmas mess, of course, having had a breakfast of fried goetta and eggs, but the most important preparations for Christmas are in their finishing moments. The homilies for the 3:30 p.m. and for Midnight Mass have pretty well come together – and I have rehearsed the new chants of the Masses of Christmas. The homily has a better chance of coming off well than the chanting does, but whatever.

So, in an inbetween moment, I tweeted Lisa Kelly, my favorite singer in Celtic Woman: How about a Christmas Eve RT for the “only priest you know who is on Twitter?” (When I saw Lisa in Atlanta after the concert-taping of their new “Believe” show – I have a photo on my phone to prove it – she met me with, “Father Rob, the only priest I know who is on Twitter.”) Don’t you know, minutes later Lisa re-tweeted to her 5, 678 followers a “Merry Christmas” to me. The tweet was a treat!

On March 24, Celtic Woman will be in Cincinnati. Tickets are available now only by way of a donation to our WCET-PBS station. I did some serious Christmas shopping through CET. My friends Sue and Paul, my friend Aimee, and my two sisters and their husbands will be enjoying the show with me.

Unfortunately, but happily, Lisa Kelly will not be with Celtic Woman at the March show. She will be staying home in Ireland to have her fourth child. Good for her and her husband, Scott. At Midnight Mass tonight I will remember the “six” of them. Perhaps remembering them at “the children’s Mass” would be more appropriate.

On my way back from a trip to the Holy Land in June with a group of teachers from the schools of our Archdiocese, I might be making a side trip to Dublin for the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress, in order to concelebrate with the Latin Patriarch and a few of his priests from the Holy Land – and maybe my priest friend from Booterstown parish. Hmmm … I wonder when Lisa’s baby will be born and baptized.

You can find some lovely “Celtic Woman” Christmas music on iTunes. Their new “Believe” CD and DVD is available now from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, for release at the end of January. And don’t forget, Dan Virzi and WCET has tickets available for the concert. You won’t be disappointed.

Celtic Woman’s “Believe” – did I wind up on the cutting room floor?

21 Nov

While in Atlanta, I visited Ebenezer Baptist Church, and sat near the pulpit from which Dr. Martin Luther King first preached. Being the only person in the church, I tried to hear the cadence of his words.

And I spent time in the Presidential Library of Jimmy Carter, a man with a heart for the Palestinian people in their struggles, which has endeared him to me.

But my reason for making the 460 mile, eight-hour drive to Atlanta was to sit in the Fox Theater for the live taping of “Believe,” Celtic Woman’s new show.

I had been in Ireland for the taping of their previous “Songs from the Heart” – and Atlanta is a lot closer than Dublin.

My seat at the Dublin show won me a place, actually four places, on the “Songs of the Heart” DVD: at the end of The Moon’s A Harsh MistressGoodnight My AngelMy Lagan Love – and my best performance, in the middle of  Slumber My Darling / The Mason’s Apron.

My chances of being on this next “Believe” DVD are not so likely. But I will be watching our local WCET at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 4. My friend at WCET, Dan Virzi, is hoping for a lot of pledges to the station during the show. I am hoping, hoping against hope, for only one appearance.

My question to Scott Porter, CEO of Celtic Woman, on Twitter was, “Did I wind up on the cutting room floor?” His reply tweet was evasive and teasing, “@AndrewAbuna You’ll have to tune in to find out.”

Even if I am not seen on the show or on the new DVD, the trip was worth every minute in the car. The music of Celtic Woman is lovely and pure. Besides, I came home with a photo of me and Lisa Kelly, my favorite Celtic Woman, taken after a “Hi, Father Rob, the only priest I know who is on Twitter.” I was going to post the photo here …

… but I can be teasing and evasive, too. I guess you’ll have to sneak a peek at the “wallpaper” on my laptop or my cell phone.

Support WCET/PBS on December 4 – and look for me! 


In Perpetuity Is A Long Time

7 Aug

“The purchase of this ticket and attendance at this concert will mean that you grant permission for your image to be visually recorded and broadcast in all media now known and to be invented, including the world wide web throughout the world in perpetuity.”

Celtic Woman, a  group of three Irish women singers and a fiddler, is taping a live concert at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, during the first week of September.

“You must be seated by 7:15 pm EST” … That makes sense. I’d like to have everyone seated in church fifteen minutes before Mass begins on Sunday, too … “Please be prepared, as this is a TV and DVD filming, that the performance may stop and start at any given time” … Okay, that one is understandable. But hear this one … “You grant permission for your image to be visually recorded and broadcast in all media now known and to be invented … in perpetuity” … That’s a long time.

Knowing that I was in Ireland two years ago for the taping of Celtic Woman’s last DVD, some have asked, “Well, are you going?”

My standard, evasive McAnswer is, “Atlanta is closer than Dublin.”

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