Welcome to the Section for Musicians Serving Religious Communities

This ministry encompasses a broad range of responsibilities that are similar to, yet different from those of pastoral musicians who serve in parishes.  Ours is a distinctive ministry!


The purpose of the Section for Musicians Serving Religious Communities shall be to provide a forum for Musicians Serving religious communities to create a network of support for one another, to support the mission of NPM, and to draw on the resources of NPM for professional and educational growth.


  1. To be an ongoing resource, discerning and offering direction to those with specific needs.
  2. To address common and specialized issues and challenges.

Historical review

  • Many of us attending the various conventions felt the need for assistance in the specialized area of our ministry in religious communities.  With NPM’s encouragement, Sr. Nancy Burkin organized the section for Musicians Serving Religious Communities.  Thus, following the Cincinnati Convention in 2003, an Ad Hoc Committee was formed for Musicians Serving Religious Communities.
  • In September, 2008, the NPM Board of Directors approved the charter for Musicians Serving Religious Communities and we became an NPM Standing Committee.
Breakout Session Topics
  • 2007 (Indianapolis): Liturgy of the Hours (Cyprian Consiglio)  and “Funerals” (Kathleen Harmon)
  • 2009 (Chicago):  Celebrations in Houses of Religious Communities:  1) Formation and 2) Transitions (Andrew Ciferni)
  • 2010 (Detroit):  The Impact of the Physical Environment on Worship and 2) Music, Text, and Graphics (Normand Gouin)
  • 2011 (Louisville)
    - Music for Special Rites within Religious Communities
    - Lifelong Learning and the Implementation of the New Roman Missal with Older Adults
  • 2012
    - Celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours in Parish or Religious Community (J. Michael Thompson)
    - Enhancing the Liturgy of the Hours: Morning and Evening Prayer (Kathleen Harmon)
  • 2013 (Washington, DC)
    - Music as an Aspect of Religious Vocation (Cynthia Serjak, RSM)
    - Music for Religious by Religious (Mary Frances Fleischaker, OP)
  • 2014 (St. Louis) Anointing of the Sick: Resources for Religious and Parish Celebration (Kathleen Harmon, SDN de N)
  • 2015 (Grand Rapids)
    - Funeral Rites:  Mourning and Celebration of Resurrection (Kathleen Harmon, SND de N)
    - Techniques of Music Therapy for Our Elders in Prayer and Ritual.  (Lindsey Perrault)
  • 2016 (Houston): Liturgical Formation in Religious Communities (Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB)
  • 2017 (Cincinnati): Encouraging the Congregation's Reluctant Singers (ValLimar Jansen)

About us

Members on the Steering Committee are:
Sr. Barbara O’Neill, IHM,  (chairperson), Sister Jane Conway, SSMN, Bro. Robert Lahey, S.M., Sr. Nylas Moser, ASC, and Sr. Terry Thorman, SC.

NPM sponsors several e-mail forums as a way for NPM members to ask questions, share information, and offer mutual support to one another in the ministry of pastoral music. An e-mail forum for the NPM Section for Musicians Serving Religious Communities is available by contacting  Sr. Barbara O'Neill, chairperson at boneill@ihmsisters.org