National Association of Pastoral Musicians
May 31, 2023

Press Release: 2023 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: “It is a joy to bestow NPM’s most prestigious awards on those who have not only impacted music and the liturgy, but continue to lead us in meeting the needs of our Church.” NPM’s 2023 awardees are Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Pastoral Musician of the Year, and Dr. Paul Ford, Jubilate Deo Award recipient.

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 is Dr. Jennifer Pascual. Dr. Jennifer Pascual was appointed Director of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in 2003, the first woman to hold this prestigious liturgical music position. Jennifer earned a D.M.A. in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, a M.M. in Piano Performance from the Mannes College of Music, NYC and the B.M. in Piano and Organ Performance and B.M.E. from Jacksonville University, Florida. She has served as an organist and choir director in four US dioceses and three Roman Catholic cathedrals. From 2007 to 2014, Dr. Pascual was professor and Director of Music at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York. She currently also serves as the Director of Music of the New York Archdiocesan Festival Chorale.

Dr. Pascual has served as a member of several sacred music organizations as well as a frequent recitalist, clinician and adjudicator at national conventions. She has participated in numerous international music festivals in the United States and abroad, is a recipient of the Paderewski Medal and Theodore Presser and Paul Creston awards and has performed as an organist and conductor in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain and the United States.

Highlights of her career include the privilege of overseeing the liturgical music Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to New York in 2008, as well as the visit of Pope Francis in 2015. She also served as conductor for Mass (2008) and Vespers (2015) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Mass at Yankee Stadium (2008) and Mass at Madison Square Garden (2015). In 2008, she conducted the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir for President Bush at the White House for National Day of Prayer and was also named a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, papal recognition of service to the Church. Annually, Dr. Pascual participates as a conductor in the Handel Messiah Sing In at Lincoln Center.

With the broadcast of live Mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on The Catholic Channel, SIRIUS/XM 129, the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir which she conducts can be heard at the 10:15 a.m. Mass on Sundays from September to June. Since 2006 she has hosted a weekly radio talk and music show called “Sounds from the Spires” broadcast on the same channel on Saturdays at 1:00am, Sundays at 12:00am, 6:00am, 8:00pm, and Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. (all Eastern times). Three of Dr. Pascual’s organ recordings and a St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir recording can be found at JAV Recordings.

When asked about this year’s award, Dr. Pascual expressed gratitude at being chosen: “Having been an NPM member for over 30 years, I am so honored and humbled to be receiving the Pastoral Musician of the Year Award. When I served on the NPM Board of Directors, we went through the process every year of selecting the Pastoral Musician of the Year. Many great and famous names surfaced; never would I thought I would be nominated and receiving this honor when many are just as and more deserving. It is because of every pastoral musician’s devotion, hard work and dedication to the church that we are a singing church – keep that fire going!”

Meg Matuska, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, shares these reflections on Pascual as the 2023 Pastoral Musician of the Year:

We are happy to honor one of our most esteemed colleagues, Jennifer Pascual, as the Pastoral Musician of the Year. Her outstanding contributions to the field as a superb cathedral musician, archdiocesan leader, and communicator to a wide audience have made her an inspiration to NPM members for many years. Her steady leadership of the association and her dedication to musicianship of the highest quality are examples for all of us. The association is grateful that she has so generously shared her gifts with us.

The Jubilate Deo Award is given in recognition of a substantial contribution to the development of pastoral liturgy in the United States. The 2023 Jubilate Deo recipient is Dr. Paul F. Ford. Paul F. Ford is a nationally recognized musician, teacher, author, composer, pastoral liturgist, and speaker. Born in Ludlow, Massachusetts, he grew up in Ridgecrest, California. He finished minor seminary in 1967 in Fresno, California, where he sang under the direction of Dimitri Kostiw and studied organ with Esther Frankian. He finished major seminary in 1973 at Saint John Seminary in Camarillo, California. Rather than being ordained, he became a Benedictine monk at St. Andrew’s Abbey, Valyermo. The monastery sent him to be the first Roman Catholic doctoral student in the school of theology at Fuller Seminary. Dr. Ford left monastic life and began teaching at Fuller where, for ten years, he was teaching assistant to the dean of the school of theology and lecturer in New Testament spirituality. Ford returned to Saint John Seminary in 1988 to teach spiritual theology, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, and liturgical music. He is the author of six books and seventy-two articles. 

With the success of his English version of the Graduale Simplex, By Flowing Waters: Chant for the Liturgy (two books and three CDs), the Liturgical Press asked him to edit the successor to The Collegeville Hymnal. Instead, he persuaded the Press to move in the direction of Give Us This Day, a monthly publication of daily prayer, and Psallite, a collection of more than three hundred antiphons and psalms for Sundays, solemnities, feasts, weddings, and funerals. With the Collegeville Composers Group, he is the coauthor of eight music books and seven CDs.

He has assisted individual bishops in writing pastoral letters and in analyzing Roman documents, and in the editing of the music portions of the U.S. editions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The opportunity of his seminary’s jubilee, a new parish church, and a new cathedral led Ford to write about the Rite of Dedication. Similarly, the new translation of the missal caused him to assemble and distribute a Companion to the Roman Missal at the dozens of workshops he gave in the west. He has done extensive work on the Chrism Mass, Candidacy, and the Mass for Ministers of the Church.

In addition to these accomplishments, Ford is an internationally known scholar of the writings of C. S. Lewis. He is the author of the award-winning book, Companion to Narnia, of Pocket Companion to Narnia, of Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis, and of Words to Live By: A Dictionary for the Mere Christian. His wife, Dr. Janice Daurio, is a philosopher at in colleges, universities, and seminaries for forty years.

He is dedicating his retirement to preparing permanent deacons and helping parishes renew their experience of Sunday Mass.

Dr. Ford expresses his gratitude for being this year’s Jubilate Deo award recipient:

“I feel imposter syndrome big time. Up to now, my claims to fame have been: writing for Joyce Ann Zimmerman and Gordon Truitt, speaking at the invitation of Virgil Funk, sparring with Rembert Weakland and Roger Mahony, reading Paul Turner and John F. Baldovin, learning from Edward Foley and Columba Kelly, singing in honor of Judith Kubicki, being rescued from the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship by Frederick McManus, and riding the elevator with Joseph Gelineau! Domini and Dominae, non sum dignus. Thank you!”

Jeremy Helmes, Chair of the Board of Directors for NPM, shares these thoughts about Ford as the 2023 Jubilate Deo awardee:

“Dr. Paul Ford has given much to the liturgical life of the Catholic Church in the United States.  In addition to his decades as a seminary formator, Dr. Ford has been a staunch advocate for the primacy of scripture in the liturgical song of the worshipping community. Through his collaboration with other scholars and artists, his teaching, his composing, and all of his ministry, Paul has been a constant prophet of the Word of God as integral to the Eucharistic worship of the Church. NPM is pleased to bestow our highest honor, the Jubilate Deo award, upon him.”

The 2023 NPM Major Awards will be presented to Dr. Pascual and Dr. Ford during the 46th NPM National Convention, which will take place July 10-14 in Reno, Nevada. 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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Related links:

NPM Website:

Jennifer Pascual – Website:

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral – Jennifer Pascual:

Paul F. Ford – Website:

Nugget Casino Resort – Reno, Nevada: