"Sometime Next Year"

It's hard to believe that February 2011 is actually here. We have all known for quite some time that Father Myers would be retiring "sometime next year." Then it became several months away, then a few months away. Now it is this month. When I started at Holy Comforter in January 2003, I would have to admit that I had very little knowledge of the Village of Kenilworth on Chicago's North Shore, or its namesake in Warwickshire, England. I had heard of Sir Walter Scott's historic 1821 novel, Kenilworth, but had never read it. I vaguely remember hearing about a Kenilworth Castle and a Helmsley Castle but had no idea about any connection that would later be part of my life. Both were in far away in England and seemed too remote to really have significant meaning for me. I had become acquainted with Hymn 57 ("Lo, he comes through clouds descending") long before I knew it would become such a poignant part of my life. As if this were part of some master plan, the tune Helmsley (which we sing to Hymn 57), has an association in England that is not too far away the Warwickshire Kenilworth. Helmsley is a small Yorkshire town that also has a castle - Helmsley Castle. Originally, it had been thought that Thomas Olivers, one of John Wesley's preachers and hymn authors, had adapted this now familiar tune from something he heard whistled in the street. Research now indicates that this tune resembles a popular tune written by Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778), an 18th British composer whose music was overshadowed by the great George Frederic Handel. In 1906, one of the visionaries of modern hymnody, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) included this tune in the English Hymnal. Since 1975, the connection between Kenilworth, Helmsley, and Hymn 57 has been Father Myers. Thank you, Bob, for the wonderful memories, your friendship, the laughter, and your love and support throughout the years. You'll be missed but never forgotten!