Music workshop part of ongoing catechesis

Ron Sondag, pastoral associate at Good Shepherd Parish in Smithville, Missouri, gives a presentation at a music workshop Feb. 10, sponsored by the Greater Kansas City National Association of Pastoral Musicians. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JOE MCSORLEY

by Joe Bollig

SHAWNEE — There’s more to music ministry than most people realize, and even musicians need some help to keep up with changes and the latest resources.

Learning more about music’s role in the Mass — and spending time in prayer and fellowship — drew about 100 persons involved in parish music ministry to a half-day workshop on Feb. 10 at Good Shepherd Parish in Shawnee.

The workshop, “Here I Am, Lord: Answering the Call to Music Ministry,” was sponsored by the Greater Kansas City National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Those who attended included parish musicians, parish music directors, cantors, choir members and clerics.

“We were hoping to gather as a Catholic community to learn more about the music we are singing at Mass,” said Kristen Beeves, music director at St. Agnes Parish in Roeland Park, and one of the event’s organizers.

“Hopefully, those people who attended will share what they’ve learned to grow their parish music ministry and spread their knowledge to all parishioners,” she added.

The workshop included time for prayer, singing, reflection and discussion. Participants examined music for the Triduum and the Easter season.

They also studied excerpts from “Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship,” a November 2007 document published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Many involved in parish music ministry — and pastors, too — are unaware of the aforementioned document and some of the changes regarding music in the Third Roman Missal, said Barbara Leyden, director of music at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee.

“Even though [‘Sing to the Lord’] was put out many years ago, and the Third Roman Missal [in 2011] and the General Instruction, a lot of Catholic musicians aren’t aware of these documents that are supposed to guide our ministry,” said Leyden.

The workshop was beneficial to John Martin, a volunteer lector and cantor at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park.

“I wanted to learn about the recent developments in the liturgy,” said Martin. “It’s been 10 years now, but we’re still implementing changes in the liturgy [in the Third Roman Missal] and learning new techniques that I can implement in my personal practice of music ministry at Holy Spirit Parish.”

One of his major takeaways is that there is a need for Catholics to be educated about the role and proper use of music in the Mass. This would eliminate confusion and misunderstanding.

“Even many of us involved in liturgical music in our parishes may not be familiar with the changes and recommendations made by the United States bishops,” said Martin.

“We have a need for catechesis,” he said. “We should be communicating the changes throughout the parishes.”

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