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Nurturing the music minister


The Archdiocesan Pastoral Services Team recently hosted a retreat at the Henley Beach parish hall for liturgical musicians. An invitation to take time in prayer, reflection, and renewal in the company of other musicians.

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The day was led by David and Emma Kruse, who work for the Brisbane Archdiocesan Office for Evangelisation. In 2022, the Kruses launched Enemy Love Records as a platform to produce and promote high quality Catholic music and to support a ministry to musicians and artists. The retreat brought together choir members, professional musicians, cantors, guitarists and accompanists who volunteer their time and talent to their parish.

There is a great need for those in the music ministry in our parishes to be renewing ourselves each year. Reflecting on the music we know, the music we’d like to introduce and what can be put on the shelf to rest for a while. The breadth of repertoire available to us can be equally a blessing and a hindrance; with beloved hymns and chant from long ago as well as new music continuously being created as our congregation evolves.

There is also a need for our parishes to be invitational to those with gifts and talents in music and singing. There may not be a collection of musicians sitting in the pews who feel confident in leading music for an entire Sunday liturgy but there are ways to invite and mentor people into this ministry.

If your parish is relying on recorded music for most Sundays because there are no trained liturgical musicians in your community, then the importance of an invitation is paramount. Reaching out to a nearby parish or high school to find someone who could confidently start people off in song during the liturgy is a great start. No instruments needed.

We know that Mass is not about ‘the music’ but we also know that authentic and well-rehearsed music  appropriately selected for the Sunday liturgy has the potential to elevate prayer, deepen connection to the Word of God and foster unity of minds even if that is raising voices together without a piano or organ.

When we took this moment to spiritually nourish the church musician with a retreat day, it was just as much to benefit the musician as it was to benefit the community to which they returned. Often, the most beneficial way to improve a choir is not musical at all, but simply to show gratitude and encouragement for their gifts.

It’s not just the notes that we play and sing, but also the conviction of our hearts, cultivated week in and week out, that facilitates our congregation’s encounter in the liturgy. We let our faith inform our music by simply being faithful, and staying out of God’s way as he ministers to his people. If we relentlessly seek his grace, we become better reflections of his grace to those who walk into the church seeking him too. For that reason, the Pastoral Services Team is offering music workshops to nurture the gifts of our song leaders and offer support and further training in areas of liturgy, technology and music.

If you are a church musician, choir member, APRIM or music teacher wanting to know how to broaden your repertoire, unite the parish and school through music, update an aging sound system or increase your choir numbers, please contact our office so we can work together –

Lauren Bierer is liturgy educator with the Office for Worship.


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