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I Can Still Remember How That Music Used to Make Me Smile

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Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Bo O’Shaughnessy details a night of fun and fellowship and reflects on the spirituality of intentional community.

Here at Casa San Salvador, my housemates and I live in an intentional community, meaning we make a purposeful commitment to grow in our relationship to one another and with God. Practically speaking, this is meals and prayer together five nights a week, contributing to a communal grocery budget, and having weekly house meetings and “community” nights. Our community nights have involved activities such as watching a movie, learning a card game, or going on an excursion. Recently, we gathered with Cap Corps, another Franciscan volunteer organization in DC whom we have grown to know well, for a potluck-style dinner. Chris and I took to grilling veggies and brats, and Emma, Patrick, and Nick from Cap Corps came over with a few savory dishes of their own. Afterwards, we sat together around a toasty fire, keeping warm amidst the brisk spring evening. 

As the daylight dimmed, and the sun faded into the horizon, Emma and Patrick decided it was time for some music. Strumming their guitar and ukulele respectively, we all sang along to a dynamite lineup of John Denver, Darius Rucker, Green Day, and Noah Kahan. We finished with a full, 8-minute rendition of American Pie by Don McLean. And that was ALL five verses… On or off key, right or wrong lyric, there is a beautiful freedom, a joyous vulnerability, in singing passionately. I first learned this lesson from my father, who always urged me to sing during Mass, simply emphasizing, “It’s good for you.” Reflecting the fullness of his heart, he is a man who loves to sing and has a special talent of being able to find a song lyric to apply to any situation. On this Sunday night, his wisdom held true, singing, laughing, and growing in fellowship around the campfire smoke.

The importance of friendship, companionship, and community to Jesus’ life and ministry is laden in the Gospels–his choosing of the twelve apostles, breaking bread at the Last Supper or with the Emmaus travelers, weeping for the death of his friend Lazarus.  This is reflected in Jesus’ teachings, as he states in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” These themes are carried through in Acts, where community was crucial to the spread of the good news by the early Church. Their togetherness was a direct expression of Christian values (see “Fellowship of the Believers” in Acts Chapter 2) and provided a foundation for the courageous missions enacted by the disciples. Our intentional community here at FMS reflects a similar experience. Whether it is finding a listening ear after a taxing day at work or a lively dinner conversation about our faith, we foster a culture of support, empowering the personal, spiritual, and professional growth of each individual. 

Question for Reflection: What is a friendship in your life that you are thankful for?


Bohdan (Bo) is from Denver, Colorado and recently graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in Neuroscience and Behavior. He is drawn to FMS for the opportunity to deepen his faith, live in an intentional community, and learn to live simply in the Franciscan tradition. Furthermore, he is super excited to serve as a Respite Care Assistant at Christ House where he will be providing basic medical care among other responsibilities. Bo is currently applying to medical school and aspires to become an impactful physician for underserved communities. He looks forward to forming deep relationships with the residents and being a listening ear to their stories and experienced adversity. In his free time, Bo enjoys exercising (especially hiking, skiing, and playing pickup basketball), reading, and spending time with friends. He cannot wait to explore D.C. with its abundance of museums and rich history and culture.