More than 3,100 Catholic pastoral musicians gather to 'sing a new song'
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than 3,100 Catholic pastoral musicians from around the United States, Canada and Mexico gathered at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville to prepare for the implementation of the revised English translation of the Roman Missal.
Parishes around the United States will begin using the revised text -- and some new music with it -- for the celebration of Mass Nov. 27, the first Sunday in Advent.
"Whether we will sing new words to old tunes or new words to new tunes, the upcoming changes will affect all of us," Dominican Father Paul Colloton told the crowd during the opening of the National Pastoral Musicians Convention July 18. Father Colloton is the organization's director of continuing education.
Then he called on the crowd -- or as it seemed at times, the 3,000-voice choir -- to sing with him the line, "Sing to the Lord a New Song," the theme of this year's convention.
Father Colloton acknowledged that the new missal translation will bring changes in the Mass but said it also offers Catholics an opportunity to find a "deeper relationship with Jesus Christ" so that "we can sing to the Lord with new words," and he directed the crowd to sing the latter in unison.
The crowd did nearly as much singing as listening during the opening program.
Keynote speaker Msgr. Ray East wove music intermittently into his speech.
He opened the address with a passionate delivery of "Give Me Jesus," an African-American spiritual, thrilling the crowd with his velvety baritone. Spontaneously throughout his address, he drew the crowd into song, too.
Singing the Magnificat at one point, Msgr. East told the crowd, "That 'yes' Mary said changed the history of the world.
"I also believe that your 'yes' to everything that (is changing in the liturgy) will change our worship for the better," he said.
Msgr. East, pastor of Teresa of Avila in Washington, noted that some people came to the convention "with anger" and some came "sad." A variety of emotions have animated responses to the new Roman Missal, he said.
"All of us came here with questions, panicking about the advent of Advent," he said, as the crowd murmured with comments. "But I hope that somebody came here to Louisville with an open mind ... with an open heart to listen, to learn, to study. And I hope somebody came to 'Sing to the Lord a new song.'"
Pastoral musicians, who will find themselves teaching congregations about the revised text as they introduce new music, will play a key catechetical role in the changes, he noted.
"We have a new role, and we have to be converted in our hearts to expand this role," the monsignor told them.
Camilla Gehring, who traveled to the convention from her parish in Columbus, Ind., said she and her fellow choir members at St. Bartholomew Church hope the convention helps to prepare them for this new role.
"The new liturgy is a big draw for a lot of people," she said. The convention "gives us a chance to be exposed to the new arrangements ahead of time."
During the convention, attendees have had the opportunity to listen to and purchase music for new Mass settings written for the revised translation.
While the convention focused on the revised missal, it also drew liturgists looking for professional development, camaraderie and a little inspiration for their ministry.
A group from Louisville's Church of the Epiphany said they came for the fellowship and the opportunity to meet the big names in Catholic pastoral music.
"It's like a shot in the arm, being in the presence of other musicians," said Cindy Simpson, a cantor at Epiphany. "It's just so exciting."
Faith Murphy, the parish's choir director, said she attended the convention to develop her skills as a director.
Among the thousands at the convention center were about 400 volunteers, primarily Catholics from Archdiocese of Louisville parishes, who kept the convention running behind the scenes.
Organizers said this year's convention is largest in its history. That's in part because of the upcoming changes in the liturgy, said Judy Bullock, director of the Louisville archdiocesan Office of Worship and the chair of the convention.
Pictured above: Singers from parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville, K.Y., perform July 18 during the National Pastoral Musicians Convention July 18-22 in Louisville. The convention drew more than 3,100 pastoral musicians and liturgists from the United States, Canada and Mexico. (CNS photo/Marnie McAllister, The Record)
— Marnie McAllister, Catholic News Service
Father Shawn O'Neal: In this debate, remember Church teaching on human rightsAs a means to develop a comprehensive plan to reform our nation's current immigration system, a group of senators has introduced legislation formally called the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013."...
Father Matthew Buettner: Radical ChristianityRecently, the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt end when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Three young people died in the explosion, including an 8-year-old boy who received his first Holy Communion just 11 months ago. Along with these...
The Poor Clares: Joy and sacrificeSt. Paul was a man passionate with zeal and consumed by love for God and desire for the salvation of souls. His actions and words were geared toward one purpose: the claiming of souls from the dominion of the devil, and the deceit used by him...
Brian Williams:The honest 411 on Vatican III recently had the opportunity to take a class about the Second Vatican Council offered through a diocesan adult education program. While much was covered within a relatively short span of four classes, one subject occupied much of our time...
William L. Esser IV: Love and 'gay marriage'It's always best to get your disclaimer on the table early, so here is mine: I'm a lawyer, I love my Catholic faith, and I love my country. So it should come as no surprise that I have been following the recent "gay marriage" cases before the...
Peggy Bowes: Be the stranger"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." — Blanche DeBois, "A Streetcar Named Desire" I was quietly praying the rosary, holding a "Pray to Stop Abortion" sign outside Planned Parenthood in Winston-Salem, when a delivery truck...
Deacon James Toner: On Christian RealismWe Catholics often find ourselves trying to chart a wise and balanced course between justice and mercy, between solemnity and a touch of appropriate humor, between the classical and the contemporary. So it is with the law of love and the fact...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Warrior saints are found throughout historyRegarding the April 26 letter criticizing St. Nicholas of Flue, I am disgusted that an American would insinuate that a soldier who distinguishes himself or herself in combat is not following...
Who would be worthy?In a letter in the April 26 Catholic News Herald, St. Nicholas of Flue was referred to as someone who "did not follow those teachings" of Christ because he defended the faith with his sword and...
St. Peregrine is a model to followI greatly admire the saints. The stories of youthful saints speak powerfully to me and never fail to captivate me; since I am 15, I can relate particularly to them. When I read the article about...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy