A Mass in honor of divine mercy and Hymn to St. Michael the Archangel, composed by David Butler, were premiered at the noon Mass on Pentecost Sunday at St. Michael Church in Buffalo. Butler, a well known Western New York musician and teacher, arranged and conducted the scores of his original works for voice, strings, piano and congregation. He was assisted by Jim McNeill, Colleen Mazella and the Burnett String Ensemble. Father Benjamin Fiore, SJ, pastor, presided and preached at the Mass.
Butler has been involved in Ignatian retreats, spiritual development and prayer groups for many years, which provided inspiration for his work. He wrote the Hymn to St. Michael in part as a tribute to Jesuits who have guided him. He arranged the original Mass score to suit a smaller vocal group with strings, but hopes to offer a full-scale version with choir and orchestra in the near future.
The festive theme of Pentecost was a fitting setting for the premiere, offering a liturgy of unique harmonies and joyful sounds. A large congregation of parishioners as well as students, family and fellow musicians of Butler filled the historic church for Mass as well as a reception.