A few Sundays ago after 11:00 am Mass, a friend remarked that it was “addition by subtraction”.

I’ve never been much a math person, so it took me a few minutes to understand what she was saying.  This was the Sunday where we didn’t have an organist or a pianist for the morning Masses. At 7:30 am and 9:00 am, Michelle  Rodriguez quite capably led the congregational singing. 
At 11:00 am, Kyle Minett was the cantor.  Both did a tremendous job

I was at 11:00 AM Mass, and I heard a little nervous laughter when Kyle announced he was going a cappella.  But, I also noticed that his heartfelt plea to “sing with me” did not fall on deaf ears.   Hymnals were opened and voices were raised. It was pretty nice.

I also heard more spoken responses than usual.  Perhaps the lack of musical cues from the organ or piano meant everyone was paying more attention?  Whatever the reason, it was lovely to share those familiar prayers.

That’s what my friend meant about addition by subtraction.  The lack of accompaniment encouraged the congregation to fill the quiet with song and prayer.  That effort on the congregation’s part added meaning to our liturgy.

Now, by no means am I advocating for a steady diet of        instrument-free Masses.  The organ and the piano add so much richness to our liturgies.  We’d be less without them.  But I am suggesting that those Masses got me thinking about what kind of music do we want to enhance our liturgies?

It’s an interesting question, and it’s one we should all be      pondering during this time of transition.  How do we want music to enhance our liturgies?

Fortunately, for the next few months, we are going to have a wide variety of music options at our weekend liturgies. I       volunteered to help out with the scheduling of cantors and    musicians for the short term (what was that my Dad told me about volunteering?).  While complicated, it’s been a delightful; experience.  So many kind and talented people have been so willing to help out.

We’ll have a mix.  Some organ, some piano—even some   Masses with guitar accompaniment.  You’ll see many of our regular music folks, plus a few old friends are coming back.

Some Masses will have a cantor and a musician.  Sometimes the pianist will both play and sing.

Don’t worry.  You won’t see a rock band in the sanctuary of the Cathedral.  What you  will see is talented    singers and musicians who will provide a wide-variety of liturgically-appropriate music.

That “wide-variety” part  is by design.  As we go through the  process of hiring the next director  of music, we want to get a better understanding of what we--the St. Raymond Parish community--are looking for in our music.  To that end, we’ve asked the musicians to select a  variety of music that they believe encourages congregational singing. 

So, if you like a particular song SING.  That’s one easy way to have your opinion heard. Please also share your thoughts when you encounter Fr. Bill or Fr. Ryan after Mass.  You can also send an email to with your thoughts.  Your feedback is very much needed and welcome.

Fr. Bill is working on a plan for how he’ll conduct a search for  the new director of music.  A lot of that process will be driven   by what we want as a parish in terms of music and music leadership.  Now’s the time to hear your voice—at Mass and in any other way you are comfortable sharing.

If you enjoyed the music, please take a minute to thank the  musicians after Mass.  I’ve gotten to know them all a bit better through this process, and I am so appreciative of their grace, talent and willingness.  Your thanks and kind feedback will most            appreciated.

I look forward to HEARING you soon.

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez

Director of Development | 815-722-6653, ext 217



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