7/11/12 | 767 views
Bringing Liturgical Music Training Closer to Home
When Dr. Jennifer Pascual attends the 25th Convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) July 23-27, she’ll be going to Pittsburgh both as the new chair of the association’s board of directors and as a founding member of the New York Archdiocesan NPM chapter. Both prospects have her excited.
“It’s kind of like coming full circle because I was one of the earliest NPM scholarship winners,” said Dr. Pascual, the director of music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, of her new post. “Every parish I’ve been in since 1988, I’ve been a member, and I’ve been attending the national conventions since at least 1996. It’s just giving back to the organization what they’ve given to me.”
Dr. Pascual was elected chair of the national organization in January. In March, she wrote to Cardinal Dolan in her new capacity, asking his permission to set up a chapter in the New York Archdiocese, which had none. The cardinal quickly granted her request.
“He was very welcoming about having NPM here,” Dr. Pascual said. “The last two dioceses he was in, St. Louis and Milwaukee, NPM was also thriving in those cities and so he said in his letter that he knew well the work of NPM and would be very happy to have it here in New York.”
Dr. Pascual and a small core committee of New York members immediately began sending out emails, faxes and fliers to archdiocesan parishes and individual liturgical musicians letting them know that the New York chapter had been established. In the spring they held two programs, one at the Maryknoll Center in Ossining and one at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan, to discuss the new settings of the revised Mass and also to spread the word about the existence of the new chapter.
Those two meetings exemplify the role Dr. Pascual says the NPM can play for liturgical musicians in the sprawling and diverse archdiocese. One issue for liturgical musicians is travel. Most cannot afford travel to distant conventions she said and having a chapter in the New York area brings training and workshop opportunities closer to home.
“We’re trying to have something here in New York where people can travel 50 miles and be able to benefit in a small way, the way they could attending a convention,” she explained. “One of our goals is to find out who the musicians are in the archdiocese and reach out to them when they need help, especially in parishes…in the suburbs, where they can receive music lessons, training, liturgy training. That’s the main goal.
“But it’s also to network with other musicians, so that we can get together, not just to socialize but to share resources and ideas that everybody can benefit from,” she continued.
Dr. Pascual expected at least a dozen New Yorkers to make the trip to Pittsburgh and said she would try to set aside time so they could get together as a chapter during the meeting, even though as chair she expects to be very busy.
“They’re really excited,” she said. “Some people that have attended these meetings have been members of NPM for years. They are excited that it’s finally coming to New York.”
Browse our archive of photos