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New Organ for Our Church

Dear St. Catherine of Siena Parish Family,

This past weekend, I preached in my homily about the importance of reverence in the liturgy and a renewed awareness of the sacredness of the Eucharist. Although there are many ways to encourage a deeper reverence and awareness of the sacredness of the Eucharist, one of the specific ways I have tried to promote this is through the use of sacred music in the liturgy. In this regard, the organ, especially, plays a distinctive role in fostering a deep sense of beauty and majesty, lifting our hearts and minds from the secular to the sacred. Additionally, the organ plays an important role in supporting our choir in singing polyphony and chant as well as supporting congregational singing.

Five years ago, when I arrived at St. Catherine’s as pastor, our music director and organists approached me about the possibility of purchasing a new organ for our church. They communicated to me that although the current organ was functional, there were several issues that made it difficult to play, particularly the fact that one of the manuals was no longer working at all and part of another manual was also not working properly. Additionally, because the organ is so outdated and the technology obsolete, it is very difficult and costly to repair when other issues arise. Moreover, there are several other issues with regard to the speakers and their placement that cause distortion in the sound and also make it very difficult for the cantors and choir to sing with the organ.

For the last few years, we have been discussing the possibility of a new organ and have been in contact with a number of organ dealers and have obtained several proposals. A few weeks ago, however, we were made aware of an opportunity to purchase a very high quality used organ at a significantly discounted price. The organ is a three manual Walker digital organ that has a life span of about fifty years and was installed only six years ago in a church in New York that unfortunately is closing down. The name of the church, providentially, is also St. Catherine of Siena. After consulting with our music staff as well as our finance council, I decided to go ahead with the purchase of the organ. Although the timeline is still somewhat preliminary, it looks like the organ will be installed before Christmas.

I am very excited about this new instrument, and I am confident that it will enhance the beauty of our liturgies even more. Additionally, I have been speaking to our music director about making plans to resume our choir and devoting additional resources to developing our music program in the parish. I ask you to join me in praying especially through the intercession of St. Cecilia, patron of music and musicians, that our parish will truly be a model for reverence and beauty in the liturgy especially through our promotion of sacred music.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Neil


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