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Turn to Jesus (Article)

The New Evangelization through Music
Leaders of US youth apostolates gather to discuss the role of music in the liturgy and evangelization

music ministry meeting
A group of musicians and apostles shared their thoughts on using music in the new evangelization.

October 18, 2011. Irondale, AL. This past September 29 and 30, a small group of priests, religious, and lay people gathered at the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word convent in Irondale, Alabama for dialogue, training, and formation on the role of music in the life of the Church´s faithful. Emily Roman, a Regnum Christi consecrated woman, participated in the gathering. In the following interview, she shares her experience of those two days.

Q: Who was involved in these meetings?

Roman: Well, there were twelve of us there for the full two days. It was really a great mix of people for being such a small group. The majority of the people were involved some way in FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). The rest consisted of three sisters from the convent where the meetings took place, two Legionaries of Christ, two consecrated women of Regnum Christi, a member of the national board for an apostolate called Fraternus, and an expert in sacred music.

It was a great group of musicians and apostles. Some had experience writing and recording songs like Br. John Klein LC, Jimmy Mitchell and Jill Swallow. Others were music directors in various places. Many had either majored or minored in music in college. Some even used their musical background with large groups of youth they were reaching through various programs in the Church.

And me? Well, I had experience in vocal and instrumental music in high school prior to consecrated life and I was the music director at Mater Ecclesiae College for two years, but that seemed like small potatoes compared to the rest of the crowd. Let’s just say, I was very happy to contribute what I had, but even happier to be enriched by everyone else.

Q: What were some of the things discussed?

Roman: Music, the new evangelization and the liturgy are all very expansive topics, so you can imagine that we discussed a lot of things and wished we could have discussed much more.

First we addressed the power of beauty in general and its ability to move the heart. We talked about the power of experiences brought about by music and the need to use it more in evangelization. We also touched on the challenges that the Church faces regarding youth ministry, music, liturgy and evangelization. But we didn’t spend much time on this since we were all pretty convinced of the challenges and needs that we face here.

What we spent the most time discussing was liturgical music. Now, this is a very touchy topic with most people. But I was so impressed to see that, despite the diversity of our group, everyone there was ready to set aside his or her own opinion to do exactly what the Church prescribes for liturgical music. I just kept thinking to myself, “This is the spirit of the new evangelization!”

Q: Did the gathering include anything else besides these meetings?

Roman: Oh yes! Even though many of us were not connected in any particular way before the meetings, we kind of became a little family. We all started each day with a holy hour in the sisters’ chapel. I’m convinced that this was where our fellowship and like-mindedness came from— that and our daily Mass together with the sisters. In the breaks and meal times, we would share everything from ideas for the mission to spiritual experiences to family photos.

Then, of course, we had a jam session one night. What else would you expect from a group of musicians? We started by playing mostly praise and worship songs, but later each person shared a song or two that they had written. It was so enjoyable. Towards the end, someone suggested one more song: the Salve Regina which is a hymn in Latin to the Blessed Mother. We stood, facing an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and sang it with all our hearts. And with that, we ended the night.

Q: How would you summarize these meetings?

Roman: For me it was a great experience of the Church as the Mystical Body: each member united with the other, all faithfully following Christ the Head according to our specific missions.

From a bigger perspective, that of the Church in the United States, I’d say it was a great catalyst for renewal starting with these youth apostolates, but soon to spread to every corner of Catholic America. There’s a lot to be excited about. It’s a great time to be Catholic.



Related links

Official web site of the Vatican.
Legionaries of Christ
For Your Vocation
Mater Ecclesaie College

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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