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Singing priests in Miami share ray of musical sunshine for Easter season

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MIAMI (CNS) — The coronavirus pandemic has certainly revealed the various talents of Miami archdiocesan priests. Among them: Father Jose Alvarez and Father Alex Rivera, pastor and parochial vicar, respectively, of Epiphany Church in South Miami.

The two provided a musical Easter greeting to their parishioners April 15, which was posted on Epiphany School’s Instagram (@epiphany_school_miami) and the parish website, http://www.epiphanycatholicchurch.com.

Father Alvarez took up his 12-string acoustic guitar and joined Father Rivera in a mellow rendition of the Beatles classic “Here Comes the Sun.”

Before the singing started, Father Alvarez noted the connection between Easter and the new life that arises in spring.

“Birds sing, flowers bloom and the sun shines all the brighter in the spring — the s-u-n,” Father Alvarez said. “But also during the spring, and during Easter, the Son — the s-o-n, the risen Son of God — also comes to us, to bring new light into our lives.”

The “Here Comes the Sun” video was meant “to remind you of this reality,” Father Alvarez explained in the video.

The two priests have been taking turns posting online reflections for their parishioners each week, in addition to recording the weekend Masses and posting them on YouTube.

“This time is all about reaching people through the website and social media,” Father Alvarez told the Florida Catholic, Miami’s archdiocesan newspaper. Though he admitted he personally has no social media presence. “I’m lucky I know how to use a cellphone.”

But he’s convinced this time of quarantine and pandemic is a moment of grace that everyone — priests and parishioners — should treasure.

“The Lord had a river of life within him and that’s what led to the resurrection. That’s what I try to tap into and make people aware of, that there’s a whole culture of life within them in the middle of all this,” Father Alvarez said.

The idea for the duet came from that conviction, and something else he noticed about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances in the Gospels.

“The risen Christ is very creative. He appears. He surprises them (his disciples) constantly. So we thought how can we surprise in a creative way that is consistent with the Easter message,” the priest explained.

The video is the priests’ first public collaboration. According to Father Alvarez, they only rehearsed “two or three times” before hitting the record button.

“We live in the same house. I play all the time and Alex can obviously sing but this is the first time we do anything together,” Father Alvarez said. “The response has been overwhelming. My phone hasn’t stopped. And I don’t even have social media. It’s gone viral — whatever that means.”

“I’m just happy about the fact that it brings people joy,” he added. “A little joy and hope goes a long way at this time.”

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Rodriguez-Soto is Miami editor of the Florida Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Miami and the dioceses of Orlando, Palm Beach and Venice.


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