Important Statement regarding Music Ministry
and COVID-19 (May 22, 2020)
“Liturgical song has a preeminent place” among the liturgical arts.
Sacramentum Caritatis 42
Imagine a funeral without a most beloved hymn, or a wedding with a silent procession. A Christmas Eve without “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” or an Easter Sunday without “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” Music touches us at a deep, profoundly human level like nothing else can. Music is essential to the celebration of the liturgy.
No recording or virtual choir can replace the live experience of singing in a church full of people: it is inherently an embodied action that requires us to be present in the flesh, just as Christ was and is present to the church in the flesh.
Pastoral musicians have been, and continue to be, important leaders in parish communities. No one is sadder than we are over the loss of the sound of human voices in praise, in consolation, and in faith. But we now find ourselves in a time when singing together, based on scientific evidence, is somewhere between difficult and dangerous.
We are grateful for the leadership of our bishops and pastors in ensuring a safe worship environment and promoting the common good. We call for continued cooperation among medical experts and pastoral ministers in developing solutions for singing safely and pledge our support for such efforts. We pray for the sick, the dying, and everyone adversely affected by this crisis and its ramifications. While we are fasting now in ways we have never known, we look forward to a time when we can once again raise our voices together in song in a great sonic feast.
-National Association of Pastoral Musicians
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought many of our ministries to a grinding halt. In the span of one week, many of us went from choir rehearsals and fish fries to self-quarantine and confusion.
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