Monday, February 2, 2009

A priest devotes entire sermon to sacred music

Yesterday, at the Traditional Latin Mass (What a clumsy term! It should just be called "Mass." It's the Novus Ordo that ought to have all the adjectives.) at St. Peter's in Merchantville, NJ, the pastor, Fr. Anthony Manuppella, devoted his entire sermon to sacred music. This same sermon was recently published in Sacred Music under the title "The Furious Power of Sacred Music."

I have been sitting on the organ bench and directing choirs for almost ten years now, and not once--never before!--have any of my employers devoted such a magnanimous effort toward the promotion of sacred music. I sat back in my little corner where I chill out during the sermon and got misty-eyed thinking about the implications of this. An entire sermon on sacred music! I've only ever heard one other in my entire life, that one having been delivered by Fr. Robert Pasley, the esteemed Rector of Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ, one of the finest Traditional Rite parishes in the country.

Now if all this preaching were just mere words, as unfortunately so often can happen, it would actually be an abomination, Pharisaical ear-candy for the chant enthusiasts in the crowd. But such was not the case here. I have worked at St. Peter's for a year, and I can say that our pastor sees to it that I have everything that we need to do a good job. Music is important; indeed, it is a priority.

If it wouldn't threaten my job security I'd be campaigning for Fr. Manuppella to be made a seminary rector, or something, for the importance of sacred music is not an issue that is popular in the clerical ranks, though, in a paradox of paradoxes, the Diocese of Camden seems to have more of them per capita than most.

Pastors, study sacred music. And preach on it. If nothing else, it will give your musicians sufficient energy to get through Easter twice over.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't begin to express what a gift and blessing Fr. Anthony has been to St. Peter's. I have never known a priest who loved the Mass more.

Laura, Mary Veronica said...

Love this post! I wish there were more like Father Anthony! Especially in my diocese!

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