Austin to host Hispanic Music Ministry Conference

By Carla L. Smith

Music, in particular liturgical music will be the focus of the Hispanic Pastoral Musicians Conference in Austin July 27-29.
The conference will be held at St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School in North Austin and is aimed at Spanish-speaking and bilingual music ministers and liturgy coordinators who serve in parishes with liturgies in Spanish. 
The conference moves to a different city each time it is held. David Wood, director of the diocesan Worship Office, said the Austin Diocese is proud to host this biennial event, which is expected to draw 300 to 400 registrants.
“We are very excited to be hosting the conference and believe it will be a great benefit to the diocese of Austin and the region as a whole,” Wood said.
Conference attendees will be treated to presentations by nationally known presenters, prayer and reflection sessions, workshops and singing. Bishop Felipe J. Estevez of St. Augustine, Fla., Father Juan Sosa of El Instituto Nacional Hispanero de Liturgia, Senior Editor Peter Kolar of Hispanic Music and Publications for World Library Publications, as well as Bishop Daniel Garcia of Austin, will be featured at the conference.
During the event, ministers will be asked to explore their musical service to the church and the liturgy, as well as their roles as ministerial disciples. As liturgical music ministers they are entrusted with an essential and integral role in proclaiming the Good News, and they will have opportunities to share and expand their experiences during various seminars and sessions.
In addition, both formal and informal discussions will provide opportunities for past participants to reconnect and for new attendees to learn new ideas and methods regarding music and the role it plays in the liturgy. 
Music is an integral part of the Mass and many elements are musical by their very nature, Wood said. Participating in the Mass cannot be overstated and the primary way of doing so is to sing. 
“Singing as a community establishes bonds. We do not sing in the liturgy, we sing the liturgy,” Wood said. “St. Augustine said singing is for one who loves and our deepest expression of love and self-offering to God is in song through the liturgy.”
Hosting a conference for Hispanics and Spanish-speaking parishioners is a way of serving the nearly 65 percent of the total Catholic population in the diocese that self-identify as Hispanic. It is also a means to enrich the liturgical experiences at the 63 diocesan parishes and missions that celebrate at least one Spanish Mass each weekend.
With this in mind, the Austin conference will review the role Our Lady of Guadalupe has in both our culture and worship. Bishop Garcia will offer a review of what the church provides as found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
This conference is possible thanks in part to several sponsors and donors, Wood said.
“We are very happy to have received a grant from Our Sunday Visitor, which allows us to reduce the cost of registration,” he said. “Additionally, Bishop Vásquez has donated to further discount the registration of ministers from the Diocese of Austin.”
Wood said organizers are grateful for support from music publishers: Oregon Catholic Press and World Library Publications. 
Early registration (completed before June 1) is $65 for ministers serving within the Diocese of Austin. If registering between June 2 and July 1, the cost will be $80. After that, the cost will increase significantly. Registration and additional information is available at or by calling (512) 949-2400.