Retreating together in study and song, musicians of the Diocese of Superior gathered virtually the morning of Saturday, July 30, for their annual workshop.

Due to the presenter’s COVID concerns, the Diocese of Superior’s 2022 Music Ministry Workshop and Retreat was again held online this year.

Paul Birch, director of the Office of Worship, led off by thanking Liturgy Training Publications for offering the opportunity to host a virtual event when an in-person gathering wasn’t possible.

Danielle Noe, an editor with Liturgical Training Publications, was the featured presenter.

An editor at Liturgy Training Publications, Noe has a master of divinity from St. John’s University School of Theology and Seminary, in Collegeville, Minnesota, and a bachelor of arts degrees in English and theology from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She is co-host of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s radio show “Focus on the Liturgy,” and she has worked in music ministry for more than 20 years.

After beginning with a prayer and a song, Marty Haugen’s “Send Down the Fire,” followed by a reading from St. Paul to the Colossians, 3:5 12-17, Noe asked a question: “Why do we love to sing?”

Growing up, her ambition was to go to a university near Nashville and join the music business. Singing, she said, is “my happy place.”

“To me, life is a musical,” she added, speaking of music as a “universal language” that conveys unity, healing, joy and reminiscing as well as a means of communicating with God.

“Music is a gift from God,” she continued, paraphrasing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2012 Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship.

Noe encouraged attendees to answer a few questions – “How do you experience Christ at Mass? How does this encounter change you?” and “Outside of the ‘obligation’ to attend Mass, why is it important to go to Mass and participate fully either as a member of the assembly or as a music minister?”

Reviewing the Vatican II statement, “The liturgy is the source and summit of Christian life,” she spoke of someone who asked her about helping the poor. “An excellent question,” she said, and played a short video, “Why do we go to Mass?”

At Mass, Christ is present to us in four ways, the video explained: In the person of the priest, in the Word of God proclaimed, in the assembly that participates and especially in the Eucharist. Thus, the Mass is the most important thing we do all week.

After further reviewing the liturgy throughout the first half of the presentation, Noe moved on to human dignity and the role of music in forming the faithful “in God’s song of charity and justice,” which she identified as the “normal consequences of our liturgical celebration.”