Music at St. John's and St. Thomas



Our two parishes have a long history of music in many different styles. The music at the Hispanic Mass and the Brazilian Mass reflects those lively and beautiful cultural traditions. Whenever I celebrate Mass at those Masses, I really enjoy their music. I invite you to do the same.

Today I want to update you on the progress of our music program at English Masses in our two parishes. A lot of time and care have gone into planning. I will try to summarize it as best I can. Under the leadership of Holly Zagaria, we have some wonderful new things happening this fall in the next few months.

A. Music at the 10 AM Mass at St. Thomas.
Deacon Chuck Hall and Anne Waters will be leading the music at the 10AM Family Mass at Saint Thomas. Deacon Chuck will be assuming the role of Mike [Beaulieu, former Leader of the Contemporary Music for the 10:00 a.m. Mass at Saint Thomas] with both vocal and guitar skills. His talents and style will bring a new dimension to our music at that Mass. He and Anne Waters will coordinate their music with Holly Zagaria.

One important goal of our music program for all our parish Masses is to draw on music from the Breaking Bread hymnal so that our parishes can share a common repertoire of music, both traditional and contemporary.

As Music Director, Holly leads the process of music selection with hymns that suit the liturgy of each Sunday. We also look forward to the music skills that Anne and Deacon Chuck bring to the 10 AM Mass and will be brought to the 5 PM Youth Masses which serve our teens.

B. Children Singing at our Family Masses.
Isn't it wonderful to hear the voices of children singing at Mass! Fr. Steven has been teaching the children at the Brazilian Mass to learn and sing a new song each month. This has had terrific results.

So we are going to introduce something new at both of our parishes to have children learn and sing a new song once each month. Many of us know Tracy Palen as a very competent parish secretary who serves both of our parishes. You may not know she is a cantor and leader of children's music for many years. So Tracy will work with Holly, Deacon Chuck and Anne to offer a new way of involving children singing at our Family 10 AM Masses.

On the second Sunday of each month at St. Thomas and on the third Sunday at Saint John’s, Tracy will gather the 2nd graders who are preparing for First Holy Communion during their usual class time before Mass. Each month she will teach them one new hymn that belongs in the Mass, such as an entrance song, offertory song, communion song and closing song. During her time she will explain the words and teach the melody. The children will then come to Mass and sit in the front of the church with their parents to help lead the singing, under the leadership of Tracy. Each month they will learn a new song and these songs will be sung at their First Holy Communion Mass. Other classes will join the 2nd graders but this will differ in each parish.

Our goal is to help children learn and express their faith through singing and to bring them and their families more often to Mass.

C. St. John's Children's Choirs.
We are blessed to have two musicians who teach and lead church music. Our music director, Holly, will be working with Kellie Tropeano, music teacher at St. John's School and Bishop Fenwick High School, to develop the Mass music program for our St. John's School Masses.

We all know how well-chosen, well-prepared music helps children to pray at Mass. To enhance this at each month's school Mass, Holly and Kellie will prepare children in their music classes. One way to really promote children singing is to have a children's choir. So they will help create a group of children's choir to sing at these Masses.

We want to grow a School Children's Choir into a Parish Children's Choir which will sing at the 10 AM Family Mass at St. John's during the year. This Parish Children's Choir will be open to all children from either public or Catholic school.

Parents: bring your children and let others know what we are doing to make our liturgies child friendly!

D. Combined Adult Choir. Both of our parishes have had adult choirs who sing at the 4 PM Saturday Mass. Our goal this year will be to merge our two parish choirs into one combined choir with Holly, which will rotate with the parish schedule. We appeal to old and new adult choir members to join in the coming months.

Please help us by supporting and encouraging these new initiatives to help our people to sing at Mass. Studies show that good music, that involves strong congregational participation, is one of the three most influential components of building a parish and its liturgy.

Let's all pray and sing loudly!









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