On Tuesday, January 9, Reverend Bradley A. Zamora, Director of Liturgy and Chairperson and Instructor in the Department of Liturgy and Music, delivered the keynote address for the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The CRCCM is the collegial gathering of musicians serving cathedral churches in the United States and Canada. It engages in dialogue, reflection, deliberation, resource exchange, mutual support, and ongoing professional development in consideration of the musico-liturgical practice in unique Cathedral settings as models for the Church-at-large. CRCCM both seeks and stands ready to consult with other liturgical and musical organizations in the pursuit of beauty and excellence in worship, for the spiritual and cultural enrichment of the community, and the greater glory of God.
Father Brad in his keynote, “Pulling Out All the Stops: Recalling Your Own Encounter” sought to provide a framework for what a “spirituality of cathedral musicians” might look like. Asking those in attendance why they do what they do, Fr. Brad gave a how-to of sorts on living out the vocation of a cathedral musician.
“We have to go back to our initial encounter with Christ. Ours is a ministry that is rooted in the Church and is biblical of sorts. As musicians our spiritual lives in many ways are based on the lectionary, – ‘ours is a lectionary based ministry and spirituality.’ Think of those beautiful scripture passages that speak of God’s knowledge of us and his plan for us rooted in Him and how through an encounter that plan unfolded,” he said.
Drawing from the vision of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document “Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship” and also from the theology of encounter that is rooted in the writings and teachings of Pope Francis, Father Brad challenged all those in attendance to hear the Gospel, experience conversion, profess faith and proclaim the praise of God. These are the four facets of a life of discipleship that is rooted in an encounter with Christ and at the center of cathedral music ministry.
In the first sentence of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, he says, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” Our faith, and dare I say it, our ministry, our work, is nothing without this personal encounter with God especially for those who minister in the Church.How does one do such a thing… Prayer, yes, the Mass, yes, but also by allowing ourselves to encounter God in one another.”