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June 15 . . .  “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” . . . “Panis Angelicus”

Spring, 1959. The morning classes were over. I was on the walking path toward the college’s little post office. She, having checked her mail box already, was walking with a friend who also attended the college. The two girls appeared to be heading toward the ladies dorm. I didn’t know who She was, but I was struck. . . It was the first time I really saw Her face.

Four years later, as husband and wife and with our bachelors’ degrees concluded, we left Nyack College’s hillside campus for further studies in the Midwest. We traveled with uncertainty, yet with confidence, toward the campus of Wheaton College to continue our graduate level education.  There was one thing a new college site wouldn’t change.  I would continue to see Her face.

Fast forward to many years later.  I heard “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”. The haunting music still captivates my imagination. Especially on the 15th of June. This year that date marks fifty three years ago when Joyce and I exchanged our wedding vows and sealed them with rings and a kiss. I hope you enjoy Celine Dion’s version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”; it is very touching. Use this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIcmpEXCW78)

Joyce wisely wanted the wedding music to include “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck, and which tenor Maurice Bowman sang that evening in Erie, PA. I like it as much now as I did the first time I heard it. Friar Alessandro’s version is  at www.youtube.com/watch?v=tufbM2TJoBs). The translated lyrics are:

“Heavenly bread . . . That becomes the bread for all mankind . . . Bread from the angelic host . . . This is the end of all imaginings . . . Oh, miraculous thing!

“The body of God will nourish even the poorest . . . The most humble of servants . . .  Even the poorest, the most humble of servants . . . Even the poorest, the most humble of servants”

 

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