USML | Music Department

Mundelein Seminary

Music Department

“The seminarians of Mundelein Seminary are steeped in the Mundelein Legacy of grandeur, nobility and beauty of sacred music and the all-male choir. Their musical and liturgical training includes clear enunciation and intonation, adequate phrasing, chanting, and part-singing. Singing in other languages including, Spanish, Polish, Latin, Asian and African languages is not uncommon with adequate preparation for the assembly for active participation. A broad knowledge of appropriate repertoire for use during the Mass and The Liturgy of the Hours is encouraged.”


- Liturgiae Celebratio: The Celebration of the Liturgy at Mundelein Seminary, page 37

Music at Mundelein Seminary

Church music through the ages is a collective testimony that acknowledges the work of God in human history. This testimony transcends the contexts of time, space and culture. Music at Mundelein Seminary has increasingly become a convergence of musical traditions found throughout our global Church.   

 The manner by which music is incorporated into Catholic liturgical life is no small undertaking, and increasingly pastors are being called upon to offer a vision rooted in the theological, pastoral, and liturgical intentions of the Church.

 At Mundelein Seminary, candidates for priesthood are invited to fully integrate their spiritual, intellectual, human, and pastoral formation as they avail themselves to the range of ministerial and growth opportunities the music program provides. We train future priests to sing with confidence and to chant the parts of the mass that are assigned to the priest and/or deacon. Seminarians are also afforded opportunities to engage in pastoral decision-making in the selection and preparation of music in liturgies at Mundelein Seminary. The music program is oriented toward future pastoral application of the knowledge and experience acquired at the seminary for the sake of enhancing liturgical and community life in parishes and dioceses.

 Music and the Pillars of Priestly Formation

 Human Singing is at once public and profoundly intimate. In the process of vocal training, the seminarian comes to know himself better. The physiology of singing demands that the seminarian recognize his own physicality by paying attention to his posture, breathing, and facial expression. Effective public singing requires appropriate rest and mindfulness of one’s wellbeing. As such, successful vocal development involves humility, self-knowledge, and docility on the part of the candidate. Additionally, a seminarian who participates in a vocal or instrumental ensemble experiences the importance of cooperation, social sensitivity, respect, and mutual accountability within groups.

 Spiritual— Through music we offer praise to God, receive a word from God, and communicate that which is contained in our faith. As seminarians train to be leaders of sung prayer, they discover that they must personally encounter God in this three-fold dynamic of praise, reception, and catechesis before they are able to lead others to the same. As a medium of spiritual truth, Church music affirms the virtues of faith, hope, and love within the singer as he ministers to others through song. Inasmuch as music is regarded as the language of the soul, music in the spiritual life of the candidate for priesthood is deeply significant. In the words of the Psalmist, “The Lord puts a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God.” (Psalm 40:4).

 IntellectualResources and theories abound in the world of music ministry. Through the music program, seminarians are provided a framework, based on the principles articulated in the teaching and pastoral documents of the Catholic Church, by which to engage the milieu. These guiding principles shape future priests’ understanding of the roles and goals of music ministry in a variety of contexts. Exposure to the history of church music allows seminarians to maintain a receptive attitude to contemporary developments while understanding their own responsibility in the preservation of the rich musical patrimony of the Catholic Church. 

 Pastoral—Preparation and performance of music in the liturgy is a ministry. The role of music in the liturgy cannot be understood without regard for the needs and abilities of choirs as well as the assembly. It is envisioned that seminarians are able to identify within themselves the difference between personal preference and pastoral consideration. Music also plays a part in the cultural competence of future priests who will minister in the global Church. Recognizing the increasing need for able ministers in the Hispanic community in the United States, the music program at Mundelein Seminary affords seminarians regular exposure to Spanish-language hymns, songs, and Mass parts.



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