SALT LAKE CITY — The Second Vatican Council stated that “choirs must be diligently promoted while ensuring that the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs.”
As part of that service, three different Hispanic choirs provide the music ministry at the weekend Masses and other events that take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Salt Lake City.
Corazon de Maria (Mary’s Heart), Nueva Alianza (New Alliance) and Canto Nuevo (New Song) minister at the Saturday vigil and Sunday Masses, as well as at Adoration, weddings, baptisms and special celebrations such as that for the parish’s patron saint or the Stations of the Cross.
Marcelo Cortez started Canto Nuevo eight years ago with just children, trying to cover the lack of a choir to sing at baptisms that took place on Saturdays.
At the time, the youngest choir member was 7 years old, Cortez said. Those same choir members continue to sing today, but now the choristers also include six men and four women.
“We are open to anyone who wants to participate,” Cortez said.
The choir practices for 90 minutes every Wednesday afternoon at the parish. Besides singing at baptisms on Saturdays, it now participates in Sunday Masses as well as at parish events.
“We continue worshiping God. … We have to be grateful to God,” Cortez said, adding that, for the choir members, singing and providing music is a way to say thank you to God for their lives.
“We want to give back all the blessings that the Church has given us,” he said emphasizing that what they do is because they love God.
“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 solemn liturgy” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 112).
The choirs of Our Lady of Guadalupe help each other to cover the needs of the parish, Cortez said.
“We all coordinate to participate and to be present in all the events,” said Cortez, who is in charge of the calendar for the choirs.
“One of God’s greatest gifts to us, his creation, was the gift of song. In words and music, our ancestors in faith – Moses, David, Deborah, Paul, St. Gregory – have taught us how to revel in God’s infinite love, proclaim his glory, give thanks for his abounding generosity, and plead for mercy and forgiveness,” states the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Corazon de Maria Choir began at the parish more than 17 years ago. Alberto Mulato, who is responsible for this choir, said serving the parish as a choir is “a great joy; being able to share our talents in the parish, serving our community, is a blessing.”
The service to God is important “because it’s all we have to give him; he deserves much more, but we can all give him some,” Mulato said.