St. Mary's Church Souls in Harmony Campaign
God has blessed St. Mary’s Church with a grand combination of the aesthetically powerful and ornate Gothic architecture that dates back 188 years when the Church was built, and the magnificence of its original Casavant Op. 2462 pipe organ, installed 110 years later in 1958. This blend of “sight and sound” is rare and of historical significance. In 2008, St. Mary’s was named to the National Register of Historic Places, an honor that added to its prominence as the first Roman Catholic parish in Rhode Island. The Casavant, with its great variety of sound and large tonal capacity, is ideal as the instrument for liturgical music and choral offerings and is of historic merit in its own right “demanding respect, pride and best treatment” by congregations and the public at large.
Throughout the decades, the generous support of parishioners have provided needed financial resources to preserve and protect the remarkable building of St. Mary’s Church and its prominent place in the culture and history of the nation, the state and the City of Newport and surrounding communities. As of this year, nearly 3,000 individuals are active members of the Church who help fulfill the mission of St. Mary's, which is to continue the work of Jesus Christ through worship, education, stewardship and service. Thousands of other individuals, families and groups visit St. Mary’s Church for spiritual guidance and uplifting or to tour its distinct architecture and stunning stained glass windows, attend a special event such as the Church’s “Return to Camelot” presentations or to enjoy a musical performance by members of the Music Ministry, which has grown in numbers over the last several under the direction of Cody Mead.
Your investment in St. Mary’s Souls in Harmony campaign is requested to prepare for our future while embracing our obligation and responsibilities to preserve and protect the heritage of our Church and its property as a national historic landmark, and to fulfill our mission to be a center for community, stewardship, education, ministry and worship to Jesus.
The genius of a vibrant church in the twenty-first century is the blending of all it offers with the community. Today, a church is not just a place to come on Sundays for Mass or visit occasionally for a dose of spiritual rejuvenation; rather churches must be creative organizations that inspire and share, educate and teach, and be the safe haven that feeds the soul and mind and rejoices in God’s word and work on earth and in heaven. From time immemorial, raising voices in praise of God is done in the universal language of the soul – music. As the accomplished pianist in his own right, Pope-Emeritus Bendict XVI noted as to the valuable role of music to a person and the world, “Music (is) capable of opening minds and hearts to the dimension of the spirit and of leading persons to raise their gaze on High, to open to absolute Goodness and Beauty, which have their ultimate source in God.”
THE CASAVANT ORGAN REFURBISHMENT
After nearly 60 years, the need is urgent to refurbish the Casavant pipe organ. Already there are failed, failing and/or obsolete mechanical components inside the console; its façade obstructs the final arches and clerestory windows in the loft area, and the cantilevers are bending and leaning forward, which is a safety risk. Once refurbished, the instrument’s tonal and mechanical strengths will be at peak performance.
THE CHOIR LOFT REHABILITATION
Rehabilitation of the environment ensures the structural, engineering, aesthetics and architectural integrity of the space. The new floorplan configuration provides for multiple choir and instrumental formations with appropriate seating arrangements that positively affect the experience of the Parish choirs and offers the greatest acoustical advantage to the congregation by mitigating aversive sound limitations. Once rehabilitated, the usefulness of the space for ensembles such as choirs and instrumental groups will contribute greatly to our Music Ministry programs and allow the Church to advance and initiate more concerts and educational endeavors for and with the public while growing our choir membership.
THE MUSIC MINISTRY ENHANCEMENT AND EXPANSION
In scared worship, music and song unit a congregation in faith. The Music Ministry will bring new possibilities to its congregation, the community and the broader public with choral festivals and national conferences, choir trips and tours, and instructional and educational workshops for adults and children. An expanded ministry creates a more diverse array of musical performances and provides for greater partnerships and alliances in the larger community.
THE RESERVE FOR MAINTENANCE
Your generous gift in support of the St. Mary’s Souls in Harmony campaign will be protected into the future with an established maintenance account dedicated to the preservation of the organ and upkeep of the choir loft area.