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“Have courage. Go forward. Make noise.”  – Pope Francis

Music Ministry Alive participates in the mission of the Church by teaching and advocating on behalf of young people who have the gifts and desire to serve as musical and liturgical leaders. We believe there is a need to mentor young people through a program that helps shape them as musicians, liturgical ministers, spiritual beings, and leaders.  Such apprenticeship is needed from adult leaders to help encourage and empower young people to fully dedicate their gifts throughout their lives.

Fiona Dyball_2The annual Music Ministry Alive formation camp for young liturgical musicians was held from July 27-August 5 at St Catherine’s University in St Paul, Minnesota, USA for the 16th time this year.  Started by liturgical musician David Haas and supported by Fr Jan Michael Joncas, Marty Haugen, Lori True, the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet, and the USA National Pastoral Musicians, this wonderful formation camp draws young people from all over the USA and also offers an adult stream to support and empower adult mentors working in active parish and school ministry with young people. There are instrumental and vocal streams, as well as specialist breakout sessions with some of the best educators in liturgy in the USA.

Australian Pastoral Musician’s Network member Fiona Dyball participated in this camp this year as an instructor in the vocal stream. She is currently completing her Masters in Theological Studies, majoring in liturgy, at Boston College and holds a Fellowship and travelling scholarship from Boston College. She has previous tertiary qualifications in music, education and religious education, and a Masters in Music Studies from the University of Melbourne.

 The massed choir of 150 members is a special highlight of the week and the concert on Saturday night, open to the supportive public, is uplifting, culturally diverse and joyful. The focus is on music from the worldwide Catholic tradition, as well as new pieces for the emerging repertoire. Selections such as the Sanctus from Faure’s Requiem and For the Beauty of the Earth by John Rutter sat easily with pieces such as Rory Cooney’s Canticle of the Turning, Tony Alonso’s Touch The Earth Lightly, Lori True’s Who Is The Alien? and the powerful Latidos de Dios (The Heartbeat of God, translated by Mary Louise Bringle). The focus of the week, however, is always liturgy: there is morning and evening prayer each day (including Taize prayer and chant selections), and the week moves always toward the beautiful Sunday Mass where there is full and active participation by all.

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MMA has touched the lives of approximately 2000 young people and 500 adult leaders representing 44 states of the US, 3 provinces of Canada, England, Ireland, Africa, Australia, Peru, Chile and Germany.  This is an inspiring experience that is well worth the visit to the USA for students 15-21 years of age, and also for adult mentors in school and parish contexts. It provides fellowship, teaching and learning tools and strategies, repertoire choices, resources and, importantly a joyful, hope-filled and uplifting experience of Catholic worship and faith-filled community. This partners explicitly with active and Christ-centered mission.


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For more information, please feel free to contact Fiona on this email:

Dates for Music Ministry Alive 2015: July 28-August 2

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Where: St Catherine’s University, St Paul Minnesota, USA.

Cost: Youth (scholarships available – does not include cost of airfare). $500.00 (the early registration fee of $450.00 applies until March 15), which includes registration, housing, and meals. Fees are due at the time of application. Private lessons are optional and cost an additional $35.00 per lesson.

Adult: (scholarships available – does not include cost of airfare). The cost for adult track participants is $425.00, which includes registration and meals. St. Catherine University campus provides accommodation: there are air-conditioned rooms available for an additional $300.00 fee.  For international participants, costs can be waived for course fees by arrangement. Please contact the MMA staff for more information, and for an application for MMA 2015.

Liturgical Music Support in Australia: Australian Pastoral Musicians Network