For some of us, our gifts and talents are very apparent from a young age. For others, it takes time and dedication to develop the gifts that we are given by God, and it is only by saying “yes” to Him that we are led into incredible places that we never expected. This was the case for parishioner Emily Flint.
Emily has been a St. Mary’s parishioner her entire life and is part of a generational family in the parish. She didn’t start singing or doing anything musically until she was in middle school.
“I was so shy,” Emily says. “I never sang or did anything musical — not even around my family. But then I started singing with another girl who had a beautiful voice. I said, ‘I can do this tiny step.’ And eventually, I felt that I could start singing on my own. It was another small ‘yes.’ I had never taken any music or piano lessons, but I started to play around on the piano and it was clear that I had an ear for music. Then, Sue Bauer, our music director asked me to play one hymn before Mass. It gave me another small opportunity to say ‘yes.’”
All through middle school and high school, life continued to present Emily with opportunities to grow in talent and grace. She began taking piano lessons and voice lessons to hone her skills with the natural talents that God had given her. All of these opportunities led her to her senior year, as everything shut down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“(Our former pastor) Fr. Mark Rutherford approached me and asked me to sing and play at the Masses that would be recorded for the parishioners,” Emily says. “He said that it would bring people joy and peace to have music during these difficult times. It felt like all of these little things that I had been saying ‘yes’ to led me to a place where God was saying, ‘I have brought you here for a reason!’ The piano was brought right into the center aisle of the church and being able to be there in person with Father and serve others in this way was absolutely the most beautiful experience of my life.”
Through embracing her God-given gifts and talents and then turning around and offering those gifts directly back to God, Emily blesses those who surround her with joy and beauty.
“When I am singing, I can feel the appreciation that comes from our parishioners,” she says. “They will come up and share the ways that my singing has touched their hearts. That is truly a gift to me.”
In addition to being the parish’s main cantor for Masses, on the second Wednesday of every month, Emily is joined by Aaron Longuski and Majella Edwards for Heart to Heart Holy Hour. This hour of Eucharistic Adoration, filled with praise and worship music, begins at 7 p.m. and all are welcome to this special time to give glory to God in a beautiful way.
“Music has such a way of making people vulnerable and helping them connect with God,” Emily says. “Being a part of the Music Ministry has been so rewarding because as I give of my time to God, I feel this incredible, tangible love from God. I am getting to know God and His Heart.”
It is truly one of the greatest joys in life to be able to look back and see God at work in your life. And while she just graduated from college, Emily is still young, and it is clear that He has been working beautiful things in her life. Each small “yes” that she has made over the years has led her closer to Him and into a place where He can use her to serve others.