National Association of Pastoral Musicians
September 3, 2021

NPM Major Awards Given to Pastoral Ministers

The National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) presented two awards to pastoral ministers who have faithfully served the Catholic Church throughout their lives. NPM’s Executive Director, Jennifer Kluge, shares the joy of the Association for both awardees: “What a pleasure it is to bestow NPM’s most prestigious awards on those who have not only impacted music and the liturgy, but continue to lead us in a dynamic and faith-filled Church.”

The Pastoral Musician of the Year award is given to an individual who exemplifies the best of NPM, one who has given substantial witness or promotion to the role of pastoral music in parish, diocesan, or institutional life. This year’s Pastoral Musician of the Year recipient Richard Cheri lives with his wife Cynthia, and son, Richie, in Montz, Louisiana, near his place of birth, New Orleans. Richard has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Theology and a Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics. Formerly an adjunct professor of theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, a mathematics professor at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, Louisiana, a member of the faculty at the Xavier University’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies and a high school teacher (retired May 2018), Richard is currently an adjunct professor of mathematics at Loyola University in New Orleans and South Central Louisiana Technical College. He also serves as the Director of Liturgy and Music at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, the coordinating director of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Gospel Choir, and the Executive Director of the Lyke Foundation which sponsors the Archbishop James Patterson Lyke Liturgical Conference. He has toured with the Moses Hogan Chorale and is a composer, arranger, and producer with World Library Publications. (Source: Archbishop Lyke Conference)

Meg Matuska, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for NPM,  says: “[we are] happy to honor Richard Cheri’s decades of service to the Church. As a teacher, performer, and leader of prayer, he has generously shared the richness of the Black Catholic tradition, and for that we are grateful.”

The Jubilate Deo award is given in recognition of a substantial contribution to the development of pastoral liturgy in the United States. Fr. John Baldovin is the 2021 Jubilate Deo recipient. John F. Baldovin is Professor of Historical and Liturgical Theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He is a priest of the New York Province of the Society of Jesus. He received his BA from the College of the Holy Cross, an MDiv from Weston School of Theology, an MA, MPhil and PhD from Yale University.

Fr. Baldovin has taught at Fordham University, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and, since 1999 at Weston and now BC’s School of Theology and Ministry. He has also been visiting professor at The University of Notre Dame and St. John Vianney National Seminary in Pretoria, South Africa. He served on the advisory committee for the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy of the USCCB (1989-1993) as well as the advisory committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) from 1994-2002. He is past president of the N. American Academy of Liturgy as well as the international ecumenical Societas Liturgica. (Source: Boston College School of Theology and Ministry)

Jeremy Helmes, Chair of the Board of Directors for NPM, reflects on awarding the honor to Baldovin: “Fr. John Baldovin has shaped the liturgical life of the Church in the United States and throughout the world by his scholarship, his teaching, and his pastoral ministry. For over 50 years, Professor Baldovin’s work bringing together liturgical history and liturgical theology has been a shining example of how the academy serves the Church at prayer. NPM is proud to bestow our highest honor upon him in the 2021 Jubilate Deo award.”

The 2021 NPM Major Awards were presented to Mr. Cheri and Fr. Baldovin during the National Convention, which took place July 27-30 in New Orleans, Louisiana. They will each provide remarks as part of the association’s annual Members’ Meeting on Monday, September 20. A list of past award winners is available here on the NPM website.


Amanda Bruce, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications


National Association of Pastoral Musicians
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Phone: (240) 247-3000

Related links:

NPM Website:

NPM Awards:

Boston College: Faculty, John Baldovin Bio.

Black Catholic Messenger: “Richard Cheri named NPM’s Pastoral Musician of the Year”. By Nate Tinner-Williams, July 29, 2021.

Archbishop Lyke Conference: Richard Cheri, Bio.