The purpose of music ministry is to lead and coordinate the sung praise of the liturgical assembly, enabling it to speak as the voice of the Church, the Body of Christ. The harmony of music and the ritual action of singing together are icons of the Church’s mystical communion in Christ. “We, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another” (Romans 12:5–6). While the spiritual refreshment of individuals is frequently a fruit of liturgical song, the primary purpose of music in the liturgy is to enable the Church to worship as a community. The ministry and participation of each individual is subordinate to and directed toward that communal goal.
“He who sings, prays twice” (St. Augustine), but “the praise of God exists in the heart rather than on the lips” (St. Thomas Aquinas). This means that we should all always try to sing—particularly the psalms, the ordinary parts of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, etc.), and the responses (“Amen,” etc.)—but it is more important that we all have in our hearts the same intention, whether or not we are able to sing. “Even when listening to…the singing of the choir, the assembly continues to participate actively as they ‘unite themselves interiorly to what the ministers or choir sing, so that by listening to them they may raise their minds to God.’” (Musicam sacram, no. 15; Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, no. 12)
Music Ministry Update (May 2022)
Mary Holzhauer will join the music ministry staff as Director of Music on July 1, with primary responsibility for Sunday Masses and choirs. Mary has been the organist and pianist at St. Catherine’s for many years and is also on the faculty at Ithaca College and Opus Ithaca, where she teaches various topics in diction, art song, piano, and other areas of music performance. We are extremely fortunate that Mary will be joining our parish music ministry. Matthew Hall will remain on staff with primary responsibility for Saturdays and the organ restoration project. Patrick McMullen will continue to play at parish liturgies approximately once a month. These changes were set in motion by Patrick’s move to Geneva, NY, to continue his graduate studies in plant pathology and also Matthew’s need to be at Cornell on Sunday mornings for campus ministry, and the increasing demands of Matthew’s diaconal formation program.
Choirs and Cantors
We are always in need of new singers to join the choir! Experience singing in a choir or with reading music is helpful but not required. You can join the choir to sing at 8:30 or 10:30 on Sundays, funerals, feast days, or any combination of the above. Sunday choir members are invited to attend the weekly rehearsal on Thursdays, 5:30-7:00 p.m. Please consider serving in this essential liturgical ministry. Email Matthew Hall, Director of Music ([email protected]) to express interest or with questions.
Music Ministry Prayer
O God, our Father, we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence to serve you in the company of angels and saints. Strengthen our weakness and pardon our negligence. Help us to fulfill worthily the ministry you have entrusted to us, that what we proclaim with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and what we believe in our hearts we may show forth in our lives. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our 1912 Tellers organ is a 29-rank, 4-division instrument. For more information, please see the Organ Historical Society database: https://pipeorgandatabase.org/organ/58669. We also have a Young Chang baby grand piano.
Photos by Matthew Hall, Rich Rasmussen, Anne Woodard