Musings in Hispanic Music Ministry
Welcome! ¡Bienvenidos! These days, there’s many excellent forums to be found on the topic of Hispanic music ministry. There’s also many wonderful minds contributing to the important dialogue on liturgical music and bilingual liturgy. What a privilege to add my voice to theirs… though it is only one among many who are collectively trying to find our way in this new reality.
My own ministerial journey, which began over three decades ago, has taken me from suburban Detroit “folk” masses to inner-city Spanish masses in Chicago, from diocesan liturgies in borderland Texas to impressive large-scale gatherings in cathedrals, arenas, stadiums, and conference ballrooms across the country. This blessed adventure even includes unexpected involvement in papal visits and saintly celebrations. I’ve seen so much along the way, not to mention the unique perspective I’m afforded by the editor’s desk where I sit. But in the scheme of things, I also realize I’ve seen very little. There’s so much more “out there.”
For that reason, I’m the first to admit I don’t have all the answers. There’s a part of me that questions regularly if I really know what I’m doing at all. In all honestly, I don’t. I can’t. And I would venture that none of us in this field could legitimately call ourselves “experts.” Bilingual music and liturgy as we know it in this country is a relatively new phenomenon. We are still foraying unknown waters, making new discoveries, and trying new approaches. Years ahead, we’ll look back on this period and, with the benefit of hindsight, affirm what we got right and reject or revise that which we didn’t. When it comes to bilingual music and liturgy, we still find ourselves in a time of trial and error, with the latter expectedly in abundance.
As I always preface in my workshops, there does not yet exist a higher institution of learning doctorate degree in bilingual liturgy or multilingual liturgical music; there are no individuals out there with a Ph.D. in this field (that I know of) to serve as authoritative experts on such things. I, like many of my colleagues doing this work, am simply a practitioner who has amassed some wisdom in pastoral experience, but who is also very much still learning and open to new discoveries and discourse.
There’s astoundingly so much to explore when it comes to bilingual Spanish-English liturgy. For some communities, the very notion of attempting to meld languages in a liturgical context is a source of anxiety and trepidation. For others, it’s simply second nature. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of parish bilingualism, know that in ¡Cantemos Amén!you have a page that seeks to equip you with pastoral insights to help you better engage in this ministry.
For my part, every time I see what’s being done in a different corner of this ministerial world, it keeps me yearning for more. I relish the opportunity to reflect on it all within these pages. So when it comes to matters concerning this exciting world of Hispanic music ministry, I look forward to journeying this path with you, my fellow ministers, filled with wonder and fervor for God’s amazing works.
Hasta pronto… till next time…
¡Que cantemos Amén! Let the church sing Amen!