Welcome to Music at St. Martin de Porres Church!
Using your musical gifts is a wonderful way to contribute to building up your Church, to give back to God what He has given abundantly to you. Our music volunteers do a wonderful service both to God and to our congregation in helping make our Masses beautiful.
Ways to get involved:
Join our choir! The choir rehearses every Thursday from 7:30-9:00 p.m., and sings year-round, alternating Saturday nights at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Every age and skill level is welcome.
Cantor or sing backup vocals! We are always looking for singers to cantor or sing backup vocals for our cantors. This is a very fun way to be involved, and we can help you learn if you haven’t done it before. Children, youth, and adults are welcome to help with singing at the Mass.
Play an instrument! Are you a musician? We’d love to have guitar, flute, violin, or any other wind or string instrument. Are you a pianist or an organist? Would you like to play for Masses? We may be able to use you as a substitute.
If you would like to be involved in any of these areas, we suggest you do two things: first, read our statement of philosophy of music at St. Martin de Porres Church, which appears below. Then, if this is exciting to you, contact our Music Director, Fernanda Nieto, D.M.A (firstname.lastname@example.org) , or stop by the piano after Mass and introduce yourself. We’d love to meet you!
Statement of Philosophy of Music at St. Martin de Porres Church:
Our approach to worship music at St. Martin’s is based upon the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, in particular the Vatican II document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium. Chapter one of Sacrosanctum concilium states: “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows…. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, grace is poured forth upon us as from a fountain, and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God….” (SC 10) The document goes on to state: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people, ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people’ (1Pet. 2:9,4-5) have a right and obligation by reason of their baptism.” (SC 14)
What does this mean? The Church teaches that the Mass is the highest form of prayer in the Church. It is the one sacrifice of Calvary, the wedding feast of the Lamb, the outpouring of the grace of God for the sanctification of the world. “For in the liturgy God speaks to his people, and Christ is still proclaiming his Gospel. And the people reply to God both by song and prayer.” (SC 33; italics ours) Therefore, to participate in the Mass is to communicate with God, to hear from Him and to speak and sing to Him in prayer. It is to offer our lives, the lives of all those we love, and the life of the world. To participate in the Mass is to partake of God and be united with Him in the Holy Eucharist, ultimately to be transformed by Him and go forth to transform the world.
Music for the Mass, then, is also prayer and must assist with prayer. It is not a performance or meant to draw attention to the singers or musicians; rather it is a servant of the Mass and meant to draw attention to God. It should prepare us, help us forget mundane distractions and attune our awareness to God, who is present with us in the Mass. It should help us focus on and reinforce the message of the readings and the homily. It should help us move smoothly and without distraction from one stage of the Mass to another, with each stage a deeper penetration into the mysteries of God. It should help us, above all, immerse ourselves deeply in prayer and communion with God, ultimately the deepest communion with God in the Holy Eucharist. It should give us opportunity for heartfelt expressions of love, of rejoicing, of thanksgiving to God for His beauty and grace, and His love for us. It should help us leave each Mass with a deeper appreciation for His wonder and power than we had before, and take that wonder and power into the world with us.
In selecting music for the Mass, we follow as carefully as possible the guidelines for music outlined in Sacrosanctum concilium. The central points are listed below:
1) “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.” (SC 7.112) “The treasury of sacred music is to be preserved and cultivated with great care…” (SC 114)
For this reason we constantly seek out the most beautiful of the old chants, motets, and hymns for our choir and soloists and, whenever possible, for our congregation.
2) “The Church, indeed, approves of all forms of true art which have the requisite qualities, and admits them into divine worship.” (SC 112)
Along with the most beautiful traditional music we also constantly seek to find and incorporate the most beautiful contemporary music.
3) “The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being especially suited to the Roman liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.” (SC 116)
We constantly seek to find and use the most beautiful and appropriate of the traditional Gregorian Chants, especially for special seasons or feast days.
4) “The use of the Latin language… is to be preserved in the Latin rites. But since the use of the vernacular, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or in other parts of the liturgy, may frequently be of great advantage to the people, a wider use may be made of it…” (SC 36) “Whenever the sacred action is to be accompanied by chant, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs…” (SC 114)
We sing our responses in English for most of the year, but we also make a special effort to assist our congregation in chanting the responses in Latin, such as during the seasons of Lent and Easter, and to encourage an appreciation for the beauty of Latin, which remains the universal language of the Church.
Following these guidelines, we carefully select the music to be sung at each Mass, seeking theological accuracy; beauty, reverence, and prayerfulness; relevance to scripture readings and homily; and close attention to how each piece relates to the others. We draw from a wide variety of traditional and contemporary music, and work to incorporate it into the Mass in a way that helps make the Mass a truly beautiful whole, rather than merely a collection of parts.
In short, we strive as much as possible to incorporate the most beautiful of the full heritage of Catholic Sacred Music, from the most ancient chant to the most recent contemporary music, in a way designed to deepen our experience of the Mass as the highest form of prayer in the Church. We do this for the glory of God, for the sanctification of the people, and most of all for the experience of each Mass as a deep and transformative immersion in the presence of God, which we take with us into the world, for the transformation of the world.