Archbishop ‘Preaches To The Choir’ At St. Cecilia Mass
Published: December 14, 2006
ATLANTA—Harmonious melodies hung in breaths of praise at the Cathedral of Christ the King as music ministers from across the archdiocese gathered together Nov. 27.
To commemorate the patron saint of musicians, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory celebrated the Mass of St. Cecilia five days after her feast day of Nov. 22. Previously, the archdiocesan choir had organized a St. Cecilia Mass, a prelude to this archdiocesan-wide Mass celebrated by the archbishop.
With the congregation made up of singers and musicians, those in attendance served as both cantor and choir, as the music rose up loudly in the Cathedral in nearly perfect harmony.
Archbishop Gregory, himself a singer, spoke in his homily of the many images of heaven and of followers constantly singing God’s praises. Music, the archbishop said, “is such a profoundly moving human activity that it only seems right that it will be the enterprise of those who have reached that most perfect state of being with God himself.”
Music is a divine gift, and one that helps to draw God’s children closer to him. In that sense, it is a gift that is of great importance to the life of the church, Archbishop Gregory said.
“That is why some people will travel great distances to participate in church services that have moving and beautiful music,” he said. “There are certain qualities of worship that bring people to any given parish—good preaching, good singing, warm hospitality and reverent ambience. Parishes that have these four gifts usually have no open seating on Sunday.”
He then thanked the congregation for sharing their gifts with the church and for “helping God’s people to enter into His presence in music and in beauty.”
“As I have traveled throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta these past nearly two years, I have repeatedly been edified with the beauty of our music ministry,” he said. “We sing many different styles of songs but always with generous hearts and under gifted leadership.”
“Tonight, we gather to thank those who guide us in song,” he continued. “We pray that you keep up your efforts and skills. I, for one, suspect that you’ll be called upon to lead us for all eternity in that place that every believer longs to enter.”
A reception was held in the parish hall immediately following the Mass.
For many who serve the church through song, the Mass was an affirmation for the ministry they provide.
Kathy Kuzcka has been the director of music ministry at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Alpharetta for 11 years. She appreciated the Mass and said it was a “great acknowledgment for the role of music in liturgy.”
“Music is a wonderful tool that allows us to express our love and our faith in ways that words cannot,” she said.
Kuzcka first began in music ministry through campus ministry at Hofstra University in New York, and said music has impacted her own relationship with God.
“Music is the instrument by which my faith has been deepened,” she said.
Mark Beno recently began serving as music director at St. Joseph’s Church in Marietta. An accountant by trade, he said he is fully enjoying his new role and said he was grateful that the Mass honored those who lead music, both volunteers and paid staff.
“I really appreciated (the archbishop) taking the time to thank us, especially the unpaid volunteers. Music is something you do because you love it and that’s why our people are here week after week,” he said.
Music itself is a prayer, Beno said.
“They say when you sing, you pray twice. I truly believe that,” he said. “Music really can help you get closer to God.”