Ministry Pleasing to the Ear

Pastoral musicians came together in worship, music and formation, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Diocese of Camden and the Year of Faith, last weekend.

On Nov. 16, diocesan adult and youth choirs gave praise to God in a choir festival at St. Joachim Parish in Bellmawr.

With a “multicultural and multigenerational presence” of more than a 100 people, said Damaris Thillet, director of Music Ministries for the diocese, the evening celebration included adult and youth choirs from St. Joachim; St. Clare of Assisi, Gibbstown; St. Charles Borromeo, Sicklerville; St. Joseph High School, Hammonton; St. Gabriel the Archangel, Carneys Point; St. Stephen, Pennsauken; Christ Our Light, Cherry Hill; and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lindenwold.

Also participating were guests Jaime Cortez, a composer, arranger and performer; and Pedro Rubalcava, a composer, vocalist, musician and director of the Hispanic Ministry Office of the Oregon Catholic Press (OCP), who for more than 30 years has been directing liturgical music groups.

With songs in English and Spanish, attendees were treated to such numbers as “Somos el Cuerpo de Christo (We Are the Body of Christ),” and “How Great is Our God.”

Some musicians even composed arrangements for the pieces, such as Ray Sambor, Jr., who created his own arrangement for the violin for “You Alone.”

The evening was one of “happiness and joy, with the different styles of music,” said Thillet. “All were able to share the gift of music, with joy.”

The next day, Nov. 17, a Diocesan Day of Formation for Pastoral Musicians took place at Christ Our Light in Cherry Hill, a bicultural, bilingual day for more than 130 diocesan musicians to gather, worship together, and discover ways to best share their gifts with the diocese.

Rubalcava led a breakout session on Saturday, speaking on music as a tool for evangelization and challenging the musicians to educate themselves to better serve their communities.

Other workshops touched on how to improve the participation of the congregation; how to highlight the Year of Faith; and how to create an effective multicultural celebration.

“All the musicians were praying, learning together as the Body of Christ,” Thillet said.

The events were sponsored by the diocesan Office of Lifelong Faith Formation, Music Ministry.

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