In 1988 a group of parishioners formed an organization, The Friends of Liturgical Music at Corpus Christi. Its goal is to build a fund whose only purpose will be to ensure the excellent performance of sacred music that is an integral part of the liturgy at Corpus Christi. Donors, both parishioners and others, have been generous enough to support the entire cost of the professional choir for the past decade. Because the organization is entirely volunteer, overhead is minimal; all money raised goes directly into the music.
One of our goals is to educate today’s generation of Catholics, growing up with little experience of anything but contemporary popular liturgical music. We believe it is important to continue offering, as an alternative, the best of our musical heritage—not for its own sake or as a purely aesthetic experience, but because of the spirit of reverence and solemnity that it adds to the Eucharist, the central rite of our faith.
Furthermore, this style of music—integrated into the liturgy—reinforces the strongest connections with our Roman Catholic history and traditions. The Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, said, “The musical tradition of the Universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.”
While it is universally acknowledged that the centuries-old tradition of liturgical music is among the great legacies of Western civilization, in modern times this particular legacy has become less the treasure of the Church and more the province of the concert hall. Religious orders and church congregations find that increasing demands made upon decreasing funds have imperiled their continuing stewardship of liturgical music within the Church.
However, our music program is costly, and members of the parish must also assume the other financial burdens of a church and school located in a far from affluent inner-city area. We believe, though, that Corpus Christi is especially suited to uphold and expand the Catholic Church’s incomparable musical heritage. The parish, with its visibility within the musical and academic communities of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has long tended the Church’s legacy with distinction. We hope that the reach of our influence will be widespread, more than justifying the challenging cost.
The Friends of Liturgical Music is now a 501(c)(3) organization, so contributions are tax deductible as provided by law.
To help support the Friends of Liturgical Music at Corpus Christi, make your check payable to “Friends of Liturgical Music” and mail it to:Friends of Liturgical Music Corpus Christi Church 529 West 121st Street New York, New York 10027