Teaching and forming young Catholics to appreciate truth and beauty in Catholic liturgical music, especially Gregorian chant, will be the focus of a conference next month for Catholic educators, campus ministers, musicians, parents and others devoted to forming the next generation. “Our hope is that people will be inspired by the beautiful liturgies of the conference, as well as by presentations and discussions with others about what they can do to build programs and structures which support musical excellence,” said conference director Jennifer Donelson, associate professor and director of sacred music at St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers, New York.
“We also hope that those attending will see the important role that musical beauty can play in the formation of Catholic identity, catechetical formation, and outreach to the fallen-away and ‘unchurched,’” she said. “The organizers and presenters have a firm conviction that the Church’s teachings and heritage of sacred music are crucial for drawing hearts and minds to Christ, and that the musical formation the Church has to offer plays an enormously positive role in the spiritual life.”
The “Gregorian Chant in Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education National Conference” will be held on March 10-11 at St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers, New York. The Cardinal Newman Society is proud to be a supporting organization the conference, as it was for Donelson’s past efforts with the 2015 Sacra Liturgia conference. At that conference, Cardinal Raymond Burke of the Knights of Malta and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco encouraged Catholic education that teaches and models beautiful Catholic liturgy.
Taking up that theme, next month’s two-day conference will feature nearly 40 presenters of workshops, papers and recitals on topics including “Liturgical Formation in Catholic Schools,” “The Schola Cantorum as an Integral Part of the Catholic School,” “A Practical Perspective in Starting an After-School Children’s Choir Program” and “The Dollars and ‘Sense’ of Catholic Education.” One of three keynote addresses will be given by Monsignor Robert Skeris, director of the Center for Ward Method Studies at The Catholic University of America, on “The Theology of Worship and Its Music” and the cultivation of active participation of children in liturgy through the singing of the Church’s sacred music. Father Christopher Smith will address liturgical formation in Catholic schools. A graduate of Christendom College and the University of Navarra, Fr. Smith is pastor of a booming parish in South Carolina with a parochial school that has placed liturgical and musical formation at its center. The final keynote will be delivered by Mark Langley, founding headmaster of the Lyceum, a classical Catholic school in Ohio. A graduate of Thomas Aquinas College, Langley will discuss the central role that a choir has in the intellectual and spiritual formation of students in a Catholic school. A complete list of topics and presentation abstracts can be found at the website for the conference. Participants will have the opportunity to sing Gregorian chant, and solemn lauds, vespers and Mass will be celebrated each day.
The registration deadline for the conference is February 24th, and the cost is just $75 for both Friday and Saturday or $50 for one day. For more information or to register see: http://dunwoodiemusic.org/conference/registration