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Local choir leader takes part in beatification ceremonies

El Paso choir leader takes part in beatification ceremonies.

Peter Kolar is the director of the El Paso Diocesan Choir. It’s a job he's had for more than ten years. But recently he was bestowed with a distinguished honor. His original composition - a liturgical piece called Misa Luna - was chosen for the beatification ceremony of a future saint.

“As a director as a musician or in my case as a composer, you contribute works, or by writing a piece, and if it gets played at a parish or a diocesan celebration, that's a pretty big deal," Kolar said. "To have it on this level, at a beatification of a future saint, it's on a different level. It’s quite extraordinary.”

According to the El Paso Diocese, about 20,000 people gathered in Oklahoma on September 23rd for the beatification of Father Staley Francis Rother, a native of Oklahoma who was martyred while working Guatemala in 1981. The music that's chosen for beatifications goes through a rigorous approval process that ultimately needs to be approved by the Vatican.

“There were some struggles,” he said. “There were some people who wanted other things and some other options. And folks were advocating for a Latin option instead of a vernacular option. But the bilingual seemed to really fit well for them, the Spanish and English nature of the acclimations being sung in both languages.”

Earlier this month, Kolar played piano live for the beatification of Father Solanus Casey in Detroit. Kolar says he's humbled to have taken part in the services to honor not one but two future saints.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be part of the music ministry for that great liturgy,” he said. “Another incredible moment for our American Catholic church.”

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