2023 NPM Winter Meeting
By Jeanine Gerlach
St. Rose of Lima Church, Hill City, hosted the Rapid City NPM Chapter’s Winter meeting January 21. More than 20 music ministers from across the diocese were in attendance
Fr. Mark Horn, pastor at St. Rose of Lima Church, welcomed attendees and led the day’s presentations with a discussion on “Forming Our Faith as We Worship.” He described Liturgy as an other-worldly experience, where the words, vestments, actions differ from that of everyday life. According to Father Horn, “Liturgy protects that mystery, and reflects the participation of the people of God in the work of God. The people of God, through baptism, are infused with the life of the Trinity, and are called to show God’s faith.” Father Horn recommended the podcast called “The Liturgy Guys” (Dennis McNamara, Chris Carsters, Jesse Wyler), and the Adoremus bulletin for additional studies on Liturgy.
Regarding music in Liturgy, Fr. Mark noted a song has two parts – word and breath. Our Father speaks the Word, and the Spirit breathes it. Sung Word (liturgical chant) is from God, to God, and about God. He referenced the guiding principles in Musicam Sacram, which addresses usage of Gregorian Chant. He said it is his belief that, when possible, chant should be utilized.
The second presentation of the morning was by Roger Severson, a music minister at St. Rose of Lima, in “Teaching New Music to the Congregation.” Severson’s approach to teaching new music to a congregation follows these core principles: the words matter the most; the voice is primary, and instrumentation is secondary/background; find the best key suitable to the vocal range of the congregation. Severson recommends, “Singing the new song as a prelude the week before. The next week, invite the congregation to sing, teaching it to them phrase by phrase, then sing the entire song together, before Mass begins.” For some songs, it may be preferable to teach the refrain first, then move to the verses. Severson then led attendees in teaching two new songs, using these techniques.
The “Sage on Stage” presentation featured Toni Ramos from St. Isaac Jogues Church in Rapid City. Ramos, a long-time parishioner at St. Isaac Jogues, noted that although she grew up in a family of professional drummers, she said all she ever wanted to do was sing. Sometime following her move to Rapid City, Ramos attended a Mass at St. Isaac Jogues, where she felt an immediate sense of belonging and acceptance from the parishioners Ramos said, “Accepting an invitation to sing in the choir was a pivotal moment in my faith life.” She found absolute joy in singing for the Lord. With the diversity of liturgical services at St. Isaac Jogues, including a full Lakota Mass, Ramos shared her experiences in learning Lakota, and celebrating in faith with the Native elders in the parish.
Closing the day, Maria Munoz from Blessed Sacrament Church in Rapid City led a discussion on “Bilingual Music in a Liturgical & Multicultural Environment.” Munoz shared with attendees a video from the USCCB presentation on “Building Intercultural Competence,” which addressed the changing population of Catholics in the U.S., with primary representation now reflected in those of Hispanic/Latin America/African American/Pacific Islander heritages. The video addressed efforts in dioceses across the country to communicate and work beyond cultural identity, noting an approach of: Unity in Christ, Prayer, Hospitality, Solidarity, and Mission, partnered with invitation to connect with diverse members in your parish, noting we are called to come together in an inclusive way that benefits the entire assembly.