Five Questions on the Formation of Music Ministers
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 829
    While looking for a USCCB reference to cite, I stumbled onto the following:

    http://www.usccb.org
    (on the left) Church Life and Ministries
    (on the left) Liturgy
    (on the left) Newsletter
    (on the left) 2009 Archives
    (on the right) March

    Time-challenged? Use this ...
    http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/March2009.pdf

    See PDF page 2 and 3 and 4; it starts with ...

    Five Questions on the Formation of Music Ministers
    Delegates to the 2006 National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions recommended that the
    Newsletter "reaffirm the importance of on-going liturgical formation of music ministers, in order that
    such ministers develop: basic technical skills necessary for musical leadership; a knowledge of the scriptures
    and an understanding of the Liturgical Year; a spirituality of ministry through music; and a knowledge of
    the basic elements of the liturgical rites and of the role of music in the liturgy." For the benefit of our
    readers, we present five questions and answers related to the necessity of the formation of music ministers:


    1. What does the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy have to say
    specifically about the proper training of liturgical ministers?
    [...]
    2. Is there any mention of formation in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal
    that refers to proper formation for ministry?
    [...]
    3. How does Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord
    encourage the formation of music ministers?
    [...]
    4. What does Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship
    have to say specifically about the formation of music ministers?
    [...]
    5. Has the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation (USCCB/CCA)
    contributed to encouraging the ongoing formation of music ministers?
    [...]
  • "“Bishops and pastors should encourage liturgical musicians to take part in ministerial formation opportunities offered by universities,colleges, seminaries, ministry formation programs, dioceses, and national ministry associations. Parishes anddioceses should provide the financial support needed to ensure competent liturgical musical leadership” (no. 51).

    The pastoral musician should be a competent musician with a specialty in one area of performance. In fact, the
    parish Director of Music Ministries must be a resource person possessing the necessary skill to coordinate the
    various musical roles involved in the liturgy. Music ministers need to be encouraged by bishops, but particularly
    by pastors on the local level, to take part in ministerial formation opportunities."

    Flip the subject and object of the first sentence, and we might make some progress.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 620
    Experience has shown that in those dioceses where there is a commission for sacred music, attention is given to providing musicians with at least some type of formation.


    With standards like those, what could go wrong?

    One aspect of the formation process is that of the academic formation. The document suggests that a master’s degree or, at least, a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field of study is appropriate.


    If memory serves, this would exclude Jeffrey Tucker.

    If a degree is not possible, then the lay ecclesial minister is called to seek out the various formation opportunities that are available: local diocesan courses or study days, educational partnerships among dioceses, programs from academic institutions, online programs, and programs sponsored by various national organizations.


    You mean, like CMAA?

    "Parishes and dioceses should provide the financial support needed to ensure competent liturgical musical leadership"


    *Crickets*

    "Especially in these difficult financial times, all will be challenged to find creative ways to provide the necessary training at a minimal expense."


    Gee, they might have to settle for a CMAA workshop.

    "Has the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation (USCCB/CCA) contributed to encouraging the ongoing formation of music ministers?"
    "The USCCB/CCA serves as an accrediting commission of the Catholic Bishops of the United States, establishes accreditation standards, policies, and procedures, and accredits quality ministry formation programs sponsored by institutions listed in The Official Catholic Directory that prepare persons for ministry. The USCCB/CCA also establishes and approves certification standards and procedures for the certification of specialized ecclesial ministers by (arch)dioceses and organizations."


    Sounds good...maybe CMAA could get accredited...Is there a catch?

    "In 2005 the core standards and competencies adopted by the Board of Directors of the Director of Music Ministries Division of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) had developed core standards and competencies as well as a number of specialized competencies for the Director of Music Ministries. In March 2005, the Board of Directors of the USCCB-CCA gave NPM approval to adopt the common core standards and competencies along with the specialized competencies for directors of music ministries. The Commission has also approved the procedures developed by NPM for awarding the designation of Certified Director of Music Ministries (CDMM)."


    D'oh!
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,119
    NPM!?!

    Well, there you have it.
  • A play on Chesterton:" NPM has been tried and found wanting, also difficult and found tired". As one who was in on those standards, they got constantly watered down and people got upset that they had to demonstrate competency.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    If NPM keeps at it, pretty soon they are going to require that Catholic musicians be able to read music. While I am at it, just what in the h*ll is a pastoral musician? All this time, I have been content to be called an organist. It's a perfectly respectable title, don't you think?
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    The person in charge of the 'strum and thump' band cannot read music let alone count. This was a group formed w/o my knowledge.

    Donna
  • so this is very interesting to me, and, I must say, it is new to me. I had no idea that the USSCB had some vague accreditation system that links up with NPM somehow. I wonder whether and to what extent this accounts for the willingness of pastors to send music directors to NPM events, at parishioner expense, only to have the musician come back with a head full of show tunes they are prepared to impose on the congregation?
  • And please don't post that this is not true. I've heard many dozens of cases of this, and experienced several personally.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    Jeffrey, it is true. I have witnessed the same thing. I know none of us would suggest that the relationship between the bishops, NPM and the publishers is incestuous.
  • It is true. I watched it happen several times. A whole diocese in the Midwest bought it, hook, line and sinker.
  • CW asks "While I am at it, just what in the h*ll is a pastoral musician? "
    He's fallen somewhat off the grid (and unjustly, in so many ways might I add,) but Jason Pennington, late of Fatima Parish, Lafayette, LA., definitively answered that specific question in the most profound of essay I've ever read, Charles.
    You can't find it at the current parish website. You might ask BMP at Christus Vincit if he kept a copy.
    It, too, is required reading.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    I have never heard of BMP at Christus Vincit, so I have no idea what that is. I will look at the parish website and see if what you are referencing is there. My point was, that "pastoral musician" is something of a manufactured contrivance for NPM's purposes. It is another case of manipulating language to produce a "fuzzy" result. I am quite happy to be an organist, choir director, organist/choirmaster, or director of music. Just don't call me a minister. I hate that term even more than pastoral musician. Protestant churches have music ministers. But again, I have come to the conclusion that NPM exists to obfuscate, make the precise imprecise, and promote an agenda. Oh, don't forget, also to sell music, which I think is part of the agenda. One of the best things my pastor ever did was cancel all our memberships to NPM.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 829
    "Delegates to the 2006 National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions"

    http://www.fdlc.org
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    Thanks for the article. I still don't like the term, "pastoral musician," but couldn't find anything in the article I would disagree with.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,119
    "Hi, my name is David, and I'm a 'pastoral musician'."

    "Hi, David."

    "Well, first I want to say that the first step in recovering from being a 'pastoral musician' is to realize that you have a problem."

    And so on, and so on. I was a card-carrying "pastoral musician" for a number of years, and am proud to say that all it took was to read a few good articles over at Adoremus Online to figure out that I had a problem that needed treatment. The treatment? Regular reception of the sacraments, regular singing of chant and polyphony (when I could find it) and a systematic avoidance of Haugen, Haas and Joncas (or, as any good spiritual director would put it, avoiding the "occasion of sin").

    All humor aside, it is absolutely shocking and scandalous that an organization like the NPM would be the "go-to" group for "formation" of musicians. When I first became an active participant in discussion threads on this forum, I posited the question as to just how the Consociatio Internationalis Musicae, described as the first organization for the advancement of sacred music during the Second Vatican Council to receive "approbation" from the Holy See was somehow elbowed out of the scene, much like a cuckoo chick kicks weaker chicks of other species out of its stolen surrogate nest, by the more powerful Universa Laus, which later became NPM, much like the Consociatio became CMAA.

    HOW did NPM become so powerful, all-controlling and unimpeachable? WHERE are the American Bishops in all of this?

    I would only add that I can't help but see a parallel between what's happened to the Church and what's happening in American government. Much like the elitist in Washington who are prepared to tell you what's good health care or economic balance and what's not, ISTM that the USCCB is collectively telling us what is good liturgy and music, and what is not, based primarily on the "advice" of those who have a financial stake in the matter, but apparently little else.
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 173
    Precisely what is the value of NPM's "designation of Certified Director of Music Ministries"?

    I'm not sure what this puffery is good for besides flattering the ego. Can't we simply be known by good, honest titles that describe our function? Chorister, music director, organist, and so on?

    I know I'm preaching to the choir . . . I doubt that few (any?) of us identify ourselves as "pastoral musicians."
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 829
    I am barely keeping ahead of all of your questions. Discovered these with some more hunting around ...

    http://www.npm.org/Sections/DMMD

    http://www.usccbcca.org/
  • so this page references "Lay Ecclesial Ministers"

    didn't the Vatican abolish such reckless titles?

    "a person is not a minister simply in performing a task, but through sacramental ordination."
  • G
    Posts: 1,284
    pretty soon they are going to require that Catholic musicians be able to read music.


    One of the parishes at which I sub would need to get a new organist and a new conductor/chooser of song.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Jeffrey, your quote is exactly the needed thing. In this year of the Priest, I plan on being strident about the fact that I am NOT a minister. Besides, it sounds so cheeeesy.

    Concerning NPM and low standards...
    Perhaps some people prefer to (wrongly) emphasize 'minister' over 'music' because they are more uncomfortable with the false title of musician than the false title of minister.

    It would involve an emporer and no clothes, but it would be more honest for lots of folks in parishes out there to be called, as G indicates, 'chooser of song'.
  • Maybe a new pseudo liturgy can be cobbled together: The Choosing of the Song.
  • Perhaps anti-liturgy is a more apt term…
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    Don't you think this is an effort on the part of NPM to put themselves on the level of AGO standards and exams? They adopted AGO standards for organ a few years ago, I know. I will never attend another NPM Convention unless it's somewhere fun with lots of Museums and beautiful churches- like DC LOLOL
    Donna
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    I have never been to an NPM convention, so I have no first-hand experience. Just in looking at their convention brochures, however, it seems they do some very silly stuff along with any good things they offer. Our pastor, at a liturgy committee meeting - don't know why we call it that since that committee has no control over the liturgy, just special program printing, church decoration, etc. - said we have grown past what NPM offers and cancelled all our memberships. He did that with my consent. My predecessor, the Presbyterian, turned Catholic, turned NPM-er, said, "Are you saying NPM has become irrelevant?" Several of us said, "yes!" BTW, if and when I retire, I hope God gives me the wisdom to leave graciously and get a life. We have several in the diocese who need to do exactly that. LOL.
  • Yes, NPM (or at least a portion of the group) has always seen itself as the denominational representative in line with such organizations as ALCM (Lutheran), PAM (presebyterian) and AAM (Episcopal). Using the (AGO) Guild's guidelines was a way of conjoining themselves to the mission of the Guild in terms of pushing the level of ability. NPM has always known that the ability level is far behind that of the rest of church music community in America. However, the problem is that NPM has too many other groups within itself vying for resources, time and development. I left in 1996 after a convention in which I was reprimanded for a) playing the organ by a major presenter b) told that "good music" was far beyond the reach of any Catholic congregation and I should go to being an Anglican or other group.

    Their time has passed. Many within them that I still know understand that and hold on to the past, as it was some glorious possibility. Many saw Summorum Pontificum as the death knell. For the life of me, I cannot see that document as the totality of the death of NPM. I tend to believe that it is a combination of things. All I can say is Deo gratias when I read Ratzinger's The Spirit of the Liturgy and Robert Taft's opus on the Divine Office. Those were moments of conversion for me.

    Thank God for musicasacra.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    Since it says this,
    "One aspect of the formation process is that of the academic formation. The document suggests that a master’s degree or, at least, a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field of study is appropriate."
    (Again, "appropriate" can be seen in many different ways)

    I'm very curious of the background of David Haas and Haugen. I googled David Haas, and he is teaching music and theology. (nothing about his background except where he was born and where he is now.) Is he certified to do that?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    Wow, I didn't know this.(never was interested in knowing about them)
    "Haugen was raised in the American Lutheran Church (ALC) in Minnesota, and also writes contemporary hymns and liturgies for the Lutheran church despite being a member the United Church of Christ.
    "Haugen holds a degree in psychology from Luther College. After graduating, Haugen pursued a career as a musician.
    "He holds a position as composer in residence at Mayflower Community Congregational Church (UCC) in Minneapolis.
    "Haugen also leads workshops around the country, entitled "Living Liturgy." From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I'm not sure he is a Catholic. I know that he can writes hymns for Christians, but he is almost controlling (maybe it's a too strong word) Catholic litrugy with his texts and musical style and telling us how the Catholic worship be? Does he believe in the Sacrament of Eucharist? And we are singing his famous Sanctus? Just good intention and easy to sing along 'prestty melody' is not good enough for me to sing their songs.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    There was a time when people like Haugen and Haas would have been dismissed as mediocrities, or at least as "know-nothings." It's a judgement on our church leadership, and musicians who should know better, that these two have gotten the exposure they have received. Haugen is not Catholic, and has even stated he couldn't belong to a church that doesn't ordain women, etc. I don't know about Haas. Maybe he's a half-Haased Catholic. ;-)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    I know most musicians in this area who attend NPM convention almost idolize them. (My friend who is a music teacher in a parish school said she almost couldn't breathe when she saw David Haas in person ;-) Wow.
  • Wouldn't it be of more benefit were we to deliberate these five questions' worthiness from within our own organization's perspectives? We seem to have de-railed, as we seem predisposed to do, to muck about in swampy areas that cannot provide a benefit other than procrastination.
    From my brief and limited experience with CMAA, it certainly appears that it harbors plenty of intellectual, artistic and (ahem) pastoral musclemass that should and does continue to increase its networking capabilities with equally gifted bishops, priests and other "decision-makers" who help formulate USCCB policy documents; ie. Cardinal George, for heaven's sake.
    I know of my own naivete. That said, is it beyond a possibility that a Cardinal George could serve the Church in America by convening major players such as the two huge publishing houses in his See, scholars and economists (in the theoretical sense!) from organizations such as CMAA/NPM/AGO, and others to scrutinize through the rhetoric towards some concrete, fixed goals that would be recognized by all as more than "pie in the sky?"
  • Haas is Catholic. A query sometime ago yielded that info for me.

    Yes, Charles, we should push the concerns of this organization with the powers that be.
  • G
    Posts: 1,284
    Maybe a new pseudo liturgy can be cobbled together: The Choosing of the Song.


    The Church has it already -- it is called the Liturgy Committee Meeting.

    I had known about the semi-official status of NPM, (and FDLC) with the US Bishops, but hold that CMAA's association with the Consociatio trumps it.

    When I looked into certification, or whatever NPM calls it, several years ago, I realized how ridiculous the organization is, (although I have several good friends who are fine musicians who maintain that on balance it is a good thing.)

    I still may go through with it though, to enhance my "credibility" with the Forces of Dimness I may be suing for work or influence in the future.

    I'm curious, how many diocese actually have the recommended Sacred Music Commission?

    I know ours does not, per se, and the suggestions, pronouncements and fiats of the musical half of our diocesan office that handles liturgy and music are hinky when they are not flat out wrong.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    Don't get me started on our "Diocesan Music Committee'

    Donna
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    Me either! A pox on their houses, a murrain on their cattle, and may their cauldrons overturn!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 5,026
    Jason Pennington's essay on the term "Pastoral Musician" is still available at the Christus Vincit blog, although he doesn't write for the site these days.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 829
    Since that BCL Newsletter mentioned "Co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord"
    I started reading through it. The PDF is 70 pages.

    The Introduction is on PDF page 6 and 7; here is a fragment:

    [...]
    significant degree of preparation, formation, and professional
    competence. They require authorization of the hierarchy in order for the
    person to serve publicly in the local church. The entrust to laity
    responsibilities for leadership in particular areas of ministry and thereby
    draw certain lay persons into a close mutual collaboration with the
    pastoral ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons.

    These men and women of every race and culture who serve in parishes,
    schools, diocesan agencies, and Church institutions are identified by many
    different position titles. In Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord
    we identify them in a generic way as "lay ecclesial ministers."
    [...]
    We intend Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord to be a common frame of
    reference for ensuring that the development of lay ecclesial ministry continues
    in ways that are faithful to the Church's theological and doctrinal tradition and
    that respond to contemporary pastoral needs and situations. Unlike the USCCB
    documents Program of Priestly Formation and the National Directory for the
    Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons
    , Co-Workers in the Vineyard
    of the Lord
    does not propose norms or establish particular law. It expresses
    at this point in history what we bishops have learned from the experience of lay
    ecclesial ministry in the United States. It suggests concepts, goals, strategies,
    resources, and ideas to consider. It invites local adaptation, application, and
    implementation to achieve consistency where possible and to encourage diversity
    where appropriate. It calls Church leaders, ordained and lay, to become more
    intentional and effective in ordering and integrating lay ecclesial ministers
    withing the ministerial life and structures of our dioceses.
    [...]
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 823
    Wow.

    Am I the only one who is uncomfortable at the number of rocks being thrown on this topic, the amount of vitriol? Are we not one Body of Christ, diverse with many talents and points of view?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    No true vitriol involved, and only virtual rocks being thrown. Although I must admit zinging a few of the real ones on occasion might be enormously satisfying. ;-)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,718
    I'm with Carl. Bashing NPM is all good and fun, but it's hardly worthy of the CMAA to get ahead by bashing an organization of well-intentioned Catholic musicians. Yes, it would be better if the USCCB would make the CMAA the primary church music and training organ. They didn't, and until the CMAA has the thousands of members and large influence of NPM, they won't.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    I wouldn't agree that all the musicians in NPM are well-intentioned. Some are, some are not. Individuals like Haas, who are so hung up on the importance and significance of the assembly, appear to be semi-Protestant. Seems like Luther had similar views, as well. But I do agree that it is numbers that count. When we are larger, we will have more influence. One parish at a time, for as long as it takes!
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,119
    IMHO, we aren't bashing NPM, we are merely pointing out the danger of their influence and influence-peddling.

    Gavin, you suggested that the majority of the members are well-intentioned. This is the same canard the political liberals of this country rely on to excuse every form of irresponsible and destructive action and behavior: good intention. In political debate, anyone who dares challenge the outcome, result or consequences of ill-conceived liberal programs is demonized as being a hate-monger spewing venom because they refuse to acknowledge the "good intentions" of those who advanced the destructive program or policy.

    If we are to be intellectually honest about the NPM and the role they've played in the advancement of the progressive movement that has systematically hollowed out the Catholic Church in the US, we must never shrink from pointing out their destructive actions, nor be beaten down with the suggestion that we're not allowing for their "good intentions."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    David, I agree. It seems to me that if the devil were trying to construct an organization that would corrupt the liturgy and damage the faith of millions, he couldn't improve on the job done by NPM. Now whether NPM did it by design, accident, or sheer bungling is open to question.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 829
    CCCA: "Wouldn't it be of more benefit were we to deliberate these five questions' worthiness from within our own organization's perspectives? We seem to have de-railed"

    So, back on topic ...

    The USCCB Newsletter quoted the FDLC ...

    1. What does the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy have to say
    specifically about the proper training of liturgical ministers?
    [...]
    2. Is there any mention of formation in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal
    that refers to proper formation for ministry?
    [...]
    3. How does Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord
    encourage the formation of music ministers?
    [...]
    4. What does Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship
    have to say specifically about the formation of music ministers?
    [...]
    5. Has the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation (USCCB/CCA)
    contributed to encouraging the ongoing formation of music ministers?
    [...]
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,798
    I'm not sure "well- intentioned" is necessarily always the 'right' intention and heading towards the right direction.

    While I'm reading the Church history for my kid's homeschooling, I'm keep reminded and amazed at how the small number of Chiristians, without any physial weapons, won the victory over the huge Roman Empire with weapons and earthly power. It took long time, but they never gave up. The persecution made them even more stronger.
    (Have you ever watched the movie, "Quo Vadis." I know it's an old one, but good. I watched it again with my children last week. It shows how brave the early Christians were.)
  • Thanks, eft, for putting us back on the rails. Carl et al, that's what I discreetly as possible was calling into question. NPM's relevence vis a vis their relationship to the USCCB and "accreditation" are important. But that is ancillary to the thread topic. Start a new one.

    In the interest of time on m' day off, I'm going to be flippant (which is difficult at my girth level) with #3-5:
    3. With verbiage
    4. Nothing, as the USCCB did not petition the CDW/Vatican for authoritative approval.
    5. No, not to my knowledge.

    What's really an underlying and compelling notion to me is that I believe would that any number of bishops scattered around this great land would simply ask the locally acknowledged clerical and lay "experts" in these matters to initiate local academies within their sees on a VOLUNTEER BASIS(!), and then said "jump!"- most of us would say "How high?" in less than a heartbeat's time.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,562
    Charles, don't go getting charitable on me. I know at our ages the temptation is strong to be good and try to get into Heaven. ;-)

    More seriously, there is great merit to what you suggest about local academies. It isn't necessary to have national organizations do everything. Sometimes it's much more effective to work from the bottom up, rather than the top down.
  • It says a lot when only one member of the Diocesan Music Committee is an active music director...right, CharlesW and Donna?

    Local academies are a great idea since they don't get mired in orders and agendas from above, often from people who are not even active in their field...

    The association of the AGO and NPM is a joke and seriously undermines the work, goals and status of the AGO. It's silly. It's stupid. It's like a gourmet restaurant being owned by McDonalds.
  • "I know at our ages the temptation is strong to be good and try to get into Heaven. ;-) "

    Damn skippy, especially if one has been named "Charles."
    Old geek seeks "Grace" while married to Wendy. Inquire inside.