Monday Morning Musings

Posted on November 20, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

St. Ninian’s Cathedral Choir . Nov. 13, 2017 – Funeral Mass for James MacPherson

( Bernice MacDonald Photography )


One week ago, our friend, James MacPherson was laid to rest. Much has been written and said about this humble man who was the organist and choir director at St. Ninian’s Cathedral for almost a half a century. He treasured friendships. And he had two families: his immediate family of brothers and sisters and the Senior Choir at St. Ninian’s … his “ unofficial family.”

The picture above was taken moments after his funeral mass. The choir formed an honor guard in front of the cathedral to bid their friend adieu and then scurried inside to grab this iconic picture. Several people in the picture came out of “ retirement” to sing for their friend and leader. And we were blessed with not one but two organists to perform at the funeral mass. Dennis MacDonald and Al Fougere did a masterful job on short notice. The choir is deeply appreciative for Bernice MacDonald coming with but an hour’s notice to take the picture. It is safe to say that this particular configuration of the group will never perform together again.

Everyone in the choir had deep respect for James. A number of the women in the choir were his “ surrogate “mothers.  “ We had so many great times over the decades performing at Sunday mass, the Baccalaureate Mass for St.F.X., the Highland Games masses ( opening and closing ) and ordinations. Christmas and Easter were always special with midnight mass the crowning event. And every year in December, the choir assembled at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home to perform a few Christmas pieces for the “ Lights of Love” campaign. It will be tough going there this year without James to guide and inspire us.

Bernice posted the choir picture on Facebook several days ago and the response was huge, not just from choir members but from the general public. Would you be interested in having a copy of the picture for posterity? Just private message me or send me an e-mail at and I’ll add your name to the list. The cost is $15.

Where are the three busiest gathering places in the community… excluding the NSLC?!

My picks would be People’s Place Library, the Farmer’s Market and St. James United Church. The first two need no explanation. If you haven’t been to the library or Farmer’s market, you likely live on the dark side of the moon. But why St. James as my third choice?

St. James has become a hub for a wide variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is a place of worship and the congregation is led by its affable and articulate pastor, Rev. Peter Smith. But oh, it is much, much more than a place to sing and pray. It is the home of the twice weekly Hot Lunch program which provides a hot meal to anyone who needs it. It also is a popular place to hold meetings, Book Fairs, concerts, potluck dinners and tea and craft sales.

I had an opportunity last week to spend some time with their Senior’s Fellowship Group telling them about my adventures in India. There’s a warmth about these people that’s not hard to detect.

Anyone who enters St. James, feels a sense of welcoming.

And in a spirit of ecumenism, men from different Christian churches gathered on the weekend for the annual Men’s Prayer Breakfast at St. Ninian’s  Place. Yes, there are a few prayers spoken but it’s really about fellowship, a drum that I continue to beat within these lines. Brian Macleod was the guest speaker and he gave a compelling talk about his journey in life thus far.

Let us start off a new week with a sense of gratitude.

Have a great week.


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2 Responses to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Greg Albert says:

    Good Morning Len I guess James took over from Bessie Mac Donald who played the organ for years at St Ninians.Any more about your trip to India ? Have a good week ok.

  2. Mary says:

    A picture to treasure.Thanks for sharing this Len. Miss his phone calls already.

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