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 | By Donald Carson

A Day of Beauty and Truth Through Sacred Music

Diocesan Musicians Gather for Diocesan Sacred Music Convocation

Parish directors of music, choir directors, instrumentalists, and vocalist from throughout the diocese gathered for the 2021 Diocesan Sacred Music Convocation on Oct. 23 at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman. Francisco Carbonell, director of music and resident composer for the Diocese of Birmingham, led the group through the role of sacred music throughout the history of the Church, from its roots in Jewish tradition right up to the very Mass celebrated at the close of the convocation.

“We must approach music in the liturgy with a humble heart. We are very small,” Carbonnell told the group, focusing on the thousands of years of rich musical history in the liturgy. “Sacred music lives simultaneously in both the tangible [or] human and the invisible [or] other-wordly realms and is at its best when directly connected to the intent of the liturgy,” he explained.

He also encouraged those present to use the vast tools and resources available within the Church in striving toward the highest levels of liturgical celebrations in their parishes. “If there was a pyramid of all liturgical celebrations, all, even those at the base of the pyramid, are completely valid,” Carbonell said. “The Church intends for us to always to be at the top, at the pinnacle of the pyramid. That is the goal.”

Also speaking during the convocation was Father Justin Ward, Vicar for Sacred Liturgy and Episcopal Master of Ceremonies for the diocese. “Sacred music must transcend us, helping in our journey to the perfect liturgy in Heaven,” Father Ward said. “It must equip the community to be transformed; it must look and sound like nothing else we encounter in our week. It is a glimpse of Heaven,” he added.

Throughout the day, the musicians rehearsed with Carbonell for a beautiful Mass celebrated by Father Ward at the close of the convocation.

To explore how Carbonell can help elevate the role of sacred music at your parish, download the schedule of Diocesan Choir rehearsals in Hoover and Huntsville, or get details on the Dec. 12 Christmas as the Cathedral event, visit or email