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National conference to focus on music and art of celebration

The Catholic Voice


Contact the FDLC National Office in Washington, D.C., at (202) 635-6990 or at

Diocesan liturgists, liturgy commissions, pastors and church musicians will gather next month in Omaha for the National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.

The event, Oct. 11-13 at the Doubletree Downtown Hotel, will focus on the essential role that music plays in worship and the art of celebration. Participants will address where the next generation of musicians is coming from, said Brother William Woeger, FSC, director of the Divine Worship Office of the Archdiocese of Omaha.

'There's a real concern right now, especially with the new translations coming out which will render some of the service music obsolete, that in this country today we do not have the pool of talent, the caliber of talent that we had when English came into the liturgy 30 or 40 years ago," Brother William said. 'That becomes a real concern because music can gradually go down the tubes."

The conference, which has a registration fee of $187, is the direct result of the 2004 Synod of the Archdiocese of Omaha, which called for a program of liturgical renewal in the church in Northeast Nebraska.

It is hosted by the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) Region 9, which includes dioceses from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

The FDLC, founded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy more than 25 years ago, is a national organization composed primarily of members of diocesan liturgical commissions, worship offices and/or the equivalent diocesan liturgical structures. It serves as an official collaborating agent between the local churches through diocesan worship offices and liturgical commissions and the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.

Attendance requested by archbishop

One major component of the program is the participation in the National Meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss requested that every parish be represented by their priest and the two parish appointees at the conference.

'The priests have been told by the archbishop that they are to have a representative from every parish there," Brother William said. 'Everyone is welcome, but the idea is that someone from every parish goes and that the parish basically sends them."

The Fall Clergy Conference will be held in conjunction with the gathering.

National speakers, numerous workshops

The conference will feature nationally recognized speakers Anthony Ruff, OSB, Marie Rubis Bauer, and J. Michael McMahon.

Ruff, a Benedictine monk at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., teaches theology and liturgical music at St. John's University and is the founding director of the National Catholic Youth Choir. He will speak Oct. 11 on 'Singing the Liturgy: What Is the Goal and What Are the Challenges?"

Rubis Bauer is the director of Cathedral Music Ministries and organist at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. On Oct. 12, she will talk on 'Emerging Models of Formation Empowering a Singing Church."

'Taking the Lead "“ Meeting the Challenges Ahead" is the title of McMahon's talk on Oct. 13. He is the president of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, author of several publications, and music editor for Celebration.

The liturgical conference also will feature workshops specifically designed to respond to the parish needs that were identified by archdiocesan priests, deacons and lay leaders at the archdiocese's Synod.

Each day begins with 7 a.m. Mass at St. Mary Magdalene Church, located one block from the hotel. Morning Prayer begins at 8:15 a.m. and the keynote speakers start at 9 a.m.

All groups will spend the mornings together listening to keynote speakers, participating in round table discussions and interacting with the speakers. In the afternoon, the groups will separate and attend the sessions designed for them.

The Clergy Conference will address the Art of Ordained Priestly Celebration, the Art of Chanting the Liturgy and the Art of Preaching the Homily.

The Archdiocesan Liturgical Assembly will feature colloquia and workshops on topics such as Music Ministry Formation, Youth and Liturgy, Art and Architecture for Worship, Liturgy and the Latino Community and Reflections on Hospitality and Liturgy.

In addition to the FDLC and the diocesan liturgical leaders meeting, the North American Schola Cantorum Association will meet.

'I want to make a deep impression on the national organization because I think right now we have a body of resources here in Omaha related to music that can really impact the nation," Brother William said.

He said he hopes that having the North American Schola Cantorum Association in Omaha will increase that dialogue with other centers for music.

The Catholic Voice

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