Jena Thurow-Mountin, M.Div. candidate at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary, is providing updates from the 40th annual NPM convention in Cincinnati, OH.

The 40th annual NPM convention kicked off Monday afternoon with the sound of a newly-cast bell rather than the traditional pounding of the gavel. Outgoing NPM president Msgr. Rick Hilgartner said it best in his homily Monday afternoon: “It is fitting that, after 40 years, we call together this convention with a musical instrument.” The NPM bell, however, is not the only change to the start of this year’s NPM convention – for the first time in recent history, the convention began with a celebration of the Eucharist, rather than a keynote address. It seems particularly appropriate to begin this gathering in prayer (by the way, happy Feast of St. Benedict!). Msgr. Hilgartner offered a central question for pastoral musicians and liturgists to ponder throughout the week: what is our role in the work of the church?

Similarly, in Tuesday morning’s plenum address, Dr. Tim O’Malley urged church musicians, liturgists, and catechists to consider their role in the New Evangelization. “We need choir directors who are catechists and evangelizers,” O’Malley said. He offered his plenum in the context of last week’s Convocation of Catholic Leaders, at which liturgy, sacramental catechesis, and music were left largely undiscussed. O’Malley concluded by providing practical ideas for forming members of the church in the tradition of Catholic songs, hymns, and texts. You can view the entire morning plenum event here.

A few noteworthy numbers from Monday’s opening ceremonies:

  • 2,000 participants packed the grand ballroom for Monday’s events.
  • 44 out of the 50 states in the U.S. are represented at this year’s convention, in addition to several countries (including Canada, Ireland, and the U.K.)
  • Over 60 high school students are participating in this year’s NPM Youth Institute, held at Xavier University.

More to come after tonight’s plenum, evening prayer, and Musical Safari event!

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