Though she could not comprehend the Latin, something about a powerful, building song the Chor Leoni Men’s Choir performed at a Christmas concert two years ago captured Emma Larson’s full attention.
Even after the show was long over and Larson had left the Orpheum theatre in Vancouver, that single composition continued playing in her mind. It was the Ave Maria.
“I had no idea what that meant, but in that moment, ever since I heard it, it stuck in my head.”
A day later she did an internet search for “Ave Maria.” She learned it meant “Hail Mary.”
Having grown up in a music-loving but non-religious home, Larson had no idea what the Hail Mary was and knew little about Catholicism. But the stirring in her heart made her want to hear the song again, and she was soon looking up various versions online.
She discovered a second Catholic hymn: Ave Maris Stella. “That’s when I just couldn’t get enough. It was just so beautiful. After hearing that one, I started looking more into Catholicism. What was this about? Why was this music so beautiful?”
The COVID-19 pandemic set in not long after that remarkable concert, and Larson found herself with plenty of spare time to read about Catholicism. She started with the Rosary and soon learned there was a Catholic cathedral named for the Holy Rosary in Vancouver.
Around the same time Larson was also facing a personal crisis. She had ended a relationship she’d been in for some time during college, and as a young woman in her early twenties, was seeking solace and new beginnings.
She happened to hear about a popular Anglican church in downtown Vancouver and gave that community a try. When their worship services moved online, she continued watching them and others, while also researching Catholicism and teaching herself to pray the Rosary.
“In terms of learning about the Rosary, and the different mysteries, I loved that. I loved learning about the Sorrowful Mysteries, just how she endured this unimaginable sorrow and suffering,” said Larson.
“Something that I found really cool about Catholicism is there so many names or titles for Mary. That was something I didn’t find in any other church. Everything about Catholicism rang really true to me.”
One day, she discovered Holy Rosary Cathedral’s YouTube channel and watched Mass for the first time.
“I didn’t understand the Mass or anything, but it immediately drew me in.”
Read more at Catholic News Agency