Sacred Music

“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”  – Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium #112 December 4th, 1963

Welcome to the St. Peter Cathedral sacred music page!

Music has a profound impact upon the liturgical celebrations at the Cathedral. Our Catholic faith teaches us the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium) and it is “through the praise of God that humanity ascends to God” (Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas). Therefore, the Cathedral places great emphasis on sacred music, since it forms an integral part of the solemn Liturgy. As the Mother Church of the Diocese of Marquette, St. Peter Cathedral serves as a model in liturgy and music for all of the 93 parishes and missions across the Upper Peninsula. Building upon the Church’s rich legacy of music, the Cathedral sings the full range of sacred music worthy of the sacred liturgy— Gregorian Chant, Polyphony, Hymnody, Anthems, etc. On Sundays and Solemnities throughout the year, the Cathedral Choir sings at the 10:30am radio-broadcast Mass, as well as at various parish and Diocesan celebrations. Strings, Brass and other instruments add to the joy of the occasion at various celebrations, including Christmas, Easter, the Chrism Mass, and Ordinations to the Sacred Priesthood.

The Cathedral Concert Series presents concerts and recitals throughout the academic year. Featuring local, national and international artists, the series promotes the artistic, educational and cultural enrichment of the entire region.

For more information on sacred music, please contact Benjamin O’Brien, Director of Sacred Music, at (906) 227-9122 or bobrien@dioceseofmarquette.org

Reflections on Sacred Music…

“The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action.”
― Pope Paul VI, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963)

“Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.”
― Pope St. Pius X “Tra le sollecitudini” (1903)

“The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, for it is the traditional musical instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendour to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up people’s minds to God and to higher things.”  -Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium #120, December 4th, 1963

“Begin with the beautiful, which leads you to the good, which leads you to the truth.” -Bishop Robert Barron (2011)

​“These qualities [sacredness, beauty, universality] are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently, the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity.” –Pope St. Pius X “Tra le sollecitudini” (1903)

“The Church esteems the service (choir) that you present in the community: you help it to feel the attraction of the beautiful, which detoxifies us from mediocrity, lifts us higher, toward God, and unites hearts in praise and in tenderness.” –Pope Francis (2019)

“Music has the power to lead us back…to the Creator of all harmony, creating a resonance within us which is like being in tune with the beauty and truth of God, with the reality which no human knowledge or philosophy can ever express.” – Pope Benedict XVI, 2007

“The power of sacred music increases the honor given to God by the Church in union with Christ, its Head. Sacred music likewise helps to increase the fruits which the faithful, moved by the sacred harmonies, derive from the holy liturgy. These fruits, as daily experience and many ancient and modern literary sources show, manifest themselves in a life and conduct worthy of a Christian.” ― Pope Pius XII  “Musicae Sacrae” (1955)

The History & Legacy of the Pipe Organ…

Music in the Liturgy…

Resources…

Pastoral Letter on Sacred Music in Divine Worship
Most Reverend Archbishop Alexander K. Sample
“Rejoice in the Lord Always”

An Instruction on Sacred Music in Divine Worship
Most Reverend Bishop John F. Doerfler
“Sing Praises to Thy Name Most High”

USCCB Committee on Doctrine

“Catholic Hymnody at the Service of the Church”