Mission & Ministry
LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS, POPE JOHN PAUL II TO ARTISTS (1999):
"To all who are passionately dedicated to the search for new “epiphanies” of beauty so that through their creative work as artists they may offer these as gifts to the world."
The artist, image of God the Creator:
"None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you."
Cappella has a particular mission and ministry, deep in the very heart of our Catholic liturgy. We are inspired by our University Ministry patron, St. John Paul II, who, in his Letter to Artists, urged us to craft our music, beauty—as a gift to the world. We give thanks to our Creator for the gifts that He has given us and seek only to offer them back to Him in humble praise. We worship through our music, singing the musical treasures of the Church as well as also welcoming other styles of music that promote the good and beautiful. We do this in service to God.
The stained glass in our chapel becomes luminous when the light shines brightly through it. We look to our Creator to shine through us and our music in the same way, sharing His light and beauty with others.
The University of Mary is faithfully Christian, joyfully Catholic, and gratefully Benedictine. Cappella seeks to reflect our Benedictine values in all that we do: community, hospitality, moderation, prayer, respect for persons, and service. Enjoy these student quotes that demonstrate our intent to live out these values through our mission.
Community: Cappella is a family, striving together, united in purpose, using music to build community.
"I have always felt the most engaged in prayer when I am singing. Being a part of a choir inspires individual prayer as well as communal prayer and this comes together in one piece of music. Many of us have different prayer intentions but we are singing the same notes, the same words, and we are given the same instruction. That individual devotion behind one piece transforms the music from ink on paper to a beauty that we bring to God. It is a way for us to create an art, give thanks to God and bring our troubles to Him in the middle of the day. Every time I come to practice, it lifts my soul and sets my day back on track. It's a beautiful way to pray together and support each other."
"Coming into Cappella I had absolutely no idea the effect it would have on me. Within just the first week I had met people that I now consider another family to me. They are always there whoever you need anything and I know I can always count on them. We have created a community of love and joy but also a community of vulnerability and sacrifice. To be able to make the amazing music that we have, we had to truly put ourselves out there to connect with these people and be able to put impactful meaning into the music that we sing.'
"One of the things that makes Cappella so amazing to be a part of is that we aren't just a choir - we're a family. We look out and care for each other. Through the hours spent in rehearsals, Masses, travel, and team building events, we have grown to know each other deeply and developed a sense of community throughout the ensemble."
Hospitality: "receive all as Christ" whether each other, those on campus, or beyond in our travels.
"Being in Cappella has truly been a lifechanging experience. It has helped me grow in my prayer life and encounter God through the music that we sing every day. I've heard countless testimonies of people coming to encounter God through the music we sing. It has been a great tool for evangelization as well. Because our main focus is the mass, It gives me another reason to invite my non Catholic friends to the mass. What I love about Cappella is that our focus isn't ourselves. We might be music performers, but that isn't our main role. We are all members of music ministry, and our focus isn't ourselves, but helping others encounter God through our music."
"It was one of Cappella's very first rehearsals. We were new to each other, new to Mary, and new to the year. I was living on my own for the first time and going through all of the beautiful and terrifying experiences that come from being a freshman in college. I held so much worry but, as we sang and the light filtered in through the colored windows of Our Lady of the Annunciation chapel, I felt God holding me. All of my anxieties washed away and I knew that this was were I was supposed to be."
Moderation: "honoring all God's creation" and living with gratitude and balance.
"There are so many different majors in Cappella: music, business, social work, speech pathology, philosophy, engineering, etc. The amount of different personalities and interests among the members of Cappella is incredible! It adds a lot of life and joy to the choir! Everyone brings such a different perspective and approach to things, and there is an extra depth to the way we sing because of it."
"We sing a wide range of sacred music pieces in Cappella and it has opened my mind to many diverse pieces of music. I don't think I can choose a particular genre of music that we sing but I love singing music for the Triduum. Liturgically, it is my favorite time of the year. Another reason it is difficult to choose one kind of music is because each piece that we sing can be so different from the last, but each piece highlights a certain type of voice and it allows for all of us to hear the gifts that we each have, creating the community that we continue to develop."
"Another thing I have learned from Cappella is I have learned to hear music in all sounds, not just in choral music. Cappella has enhanced my sense of hearing in that I now can recognize the beauty and creativity of the Divine Heart in the slightest of sounds. Music does not have to be sung
from notes on a page; music can be the whisper of a baby's heartbeat, or the humdrum of a voice in conversation. Music is sound that reflects my Creator’s loving and jubilant heart. Cappella has taught me to hear (and see) the deep beauty in everything I encounter."
Prayer: "abiding in the Divine presence, listening and responding."
"In Cappella, the meaning of the music we sing is always at the forefront of our minds and our mission. We are deeply committed to living and preserving the beauty and authenticity of prayer through our songs. We sing our devotion, so every song we sing is a prayer."
"Being a part of Cappella has given me the opportunity to pray with music more fully than I ever have before. Ever since the beginning, singing a piece of music has meant so much more than just learning the notes, harmonies, and rhythms. It means knowing the piece in a deeper and more beautiful way. It means singing with a greater intentionality, with a greater purpose, with greater heart. I think that's really what makes Cappella so special... when you have a choir where every person prays the music they sing, something incredible happens."
Respect for Persons: "recognizing the image of God in each person"
"Sacred Music is my prayer of joy to God. Being able to sing Sacred texts allows my whole being to pour itself out to my Maker. I can pour out all of my deepest thoughts and emotions simply by singing a song of love. I also am able to hear my Lord speak to me through the faces of my fellow choir members, my director, and the beauty of the text, rhythm and pitch."
"In Cappella, we sing music composed from hundreds of years age to today in genres ranging from chant to spirituals in languages from all over the world. The music we sing is as diverse as the people of the Church and reflects the beauty within the many ways people praise our Lord."
"It has been such a blessing to see the fruits that have come about through all of this. The Lord speaks to His children though sacred music, and being a part of that is an incredible gift. If, at the end of time, we can say that through Cappella, one single soul was brought to the Father, it would all be worth it. The worth of a single soul is immeasurable!"
"Through us, He has chosen to speak… may we never forget the great honor this is, and the great responsibility we are entrusted with. We get to be the people through whom He whispers to one of His suffering children: ”You are mine, O my child! I am your Father – and I love you… I love you with a perfect love.”
Students are seen choosing their window at the beginning of the year...beautiful or flawed, the light shines through just the same.