By Patrick Kuplack, 21
“Love God and do what you will.” Or, in the words of Fr. Matthew Schultz: “Have fun; just don’t sin.” With Christmas break now over and students relatively well-rested (or at least less burnt out than at the end of the Fall semester), the campus began to creak back into life last week after its long winter nap. But what is a reconvening of the Thomas More family without a raucous celebration? Blessed with a first week of only three days of classes, the student body was chomping at the bit for the weekend. And why? Well, because the clerical King Wenceslaus, Fr. Schultz himself, had graciously invited TMC to a contra dance!
Now all those who roll their eyes in boredom obviously have never seen a contra dance “Thomas More Style,” much less when the boisterous young men of Gregory the Great Academy are thrown into the mix, along with the spirited folks from Fr. Schultz’s parish two hours north. The muster was held at St. Francis of Assisi parish, about twenty minutes from the college in Litchfield, NH.
“Dance and song. These are activities which affirm the joy of human existence and particularly the joy of the Catholic life, bringing communities together in a way few other things can.”
Kicking off the festivities with the height of all festivity, Fr. Schultz offered a Traditional Latin High Mass in the early evening, sung by the TMC Student Schola. The homily addressed St. Anthony of Egypt and finished with a call for vocations in emulation of the great hermit. Mass was followed by Rosary, and then a feast of pizza provided by our magnanimous host.
With music supplied by the Contra Banditos, the contra dance band of Thomas More College’s own Buildings and Grounds Director Tom Ford, the accordion was bellowing and the guitars strumming by eight!
Spirits were high on Friday night as the swinging couples vied for space in the comfortably crammed parish hall, promenading their partners to classic tunes, whooping loudly, and pretending to remember all the steps to the Virginia Reel. It was a scene remarkably resembling Fezziwig’s ball in A Christmas Carol, with a be-cassocked Fezziwig presiding, face beaming and his jovial laughter leaping to the rafters.
The dancing closed out with several carols—joyously roared out by the revelers with arms over their comrade’s shoulders—and a blessing from Father. But though the dancing ceased, the music did not, and the post-party jam session commenced, led by the Gregory the Great boys. And for two more hours the St. Francis of Assisi parish hall resonated with the sound of increasingly ragged, yet nonetheless enthusiastic, voices.
Dance and song. These are activities which affirm the joy of human existence and particularly the joy of the Catholic life, bringing communities together in a way few other things can. There is something inherent within these beautiful arts which enables us to live the human life as it ought to be lived: with order, intensity, and joy. And it is thus that the Spring semester at Thomas More College began, setting the tone until the final day of exams.