|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?
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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.