Wednesday, November 20, 2002

A St. Cecilia's Day Message from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians

Dear NPM Members,

On Friday of this week (November 22), the Church will keep the memory of St. Cecilia, long revered as the patron of musicians. Many of us will be gathering for liturgies, concerts, or other celebrations of this feast day. Even if you cannot participate in a special event, I invite you to take some time to give thanks for the gifts of music and song that reveal God¹s presence among us and give voice to our praise and prayer.

Many people have been overcome by fear, discouragement, anger or hopelessness in the face of the difficult issues facing us in the world and in the Church today. In the midst of people¹s struggles, we pastoral musicians continue to use the gift of song to draw people into songs of lament, songs of prayer ­ even songs of praise. May these songs give authentic expression to their longings, bring healing to their pain, and provide them strength to work for change.

In A Pastoral Musician¹s Book of Days (NPM Publications, 2000), Gordon Truitt included the following prayer for musicians for St. Cecilia¹s Day. This prayer is adapted from the Liturgy of Thanksgiving in the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil. We offer it as a gift to you and to the other musicians of your communities.

God the Creator, who sings all things into existence;
God the Son, who makes us one with the heavenly song of the angels and saints;
God the Holy Spirit, who sings in us with words too deep for human understanding:
We ask you to bless those who bless you,
to sanctify those who trust in you,
to save your people and bless your inheritance.

Safeguard the fullness of your church;
sanctify those who increase the beauty of your worship
and lead your people in singing your praise.

Lead all pastoral musicians to a share in your glory by your divine power
and do not forsake those who put their trust in you.

Father of Lights, from whom comes every good and perfect gift,
to you we sing glory and praise and thanksgiving and worship:
to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
now and always and forever and ever.


J. Michael McMahon, D.Min., President
National Association of Pastoral Musicians
225 Sheridan St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20011-1452
Phone 202-723-5800
Fax 202-723-2262

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