Announcement: Parish Pipe Organs

Next to the church building itself, a pipe organ is usually one of a parish’s most valuable assets and the preeminent liturgical appointment in its patrimony.  When properly maintained, these instruments will give decades of faithful and reliable service to a parish community.  As such, they should receive appropriate care from artisans who are well versed in the craft of organ building and maintenance.  Pastors are to be advised, however, that the pipe organ industry is not regulated or licensed, and some organ “builders” or “restorers” do not have the best interests of the parish or the instrument in mind.  Disreputable practices, such as the indiscriminate removal of parts of an organ or only certain ranks of pipes, can greatly harm the musical integrity and monetary value of these instruments.  Pastors who are approached by an organ firm for the purposes of removing any part of a pipe organ are urged to contact the Liturgy Office before agreeing to such a project.

In an effort to preserve the pipe organs of the archdiocese for use by future generations, the archdiocesan Liturgical Music Commission, under the supervision of the Office of Liturgy and in consultation with the Office of Pastoral Planning, is undertaking an inventory and assessment of pipe organs in those church buildings which are to be relegated to profane but not sordid use as a result of Making All Things New.  The resulting reports will be forwarded to the vicar general/chancellor and the archdiocesan Insurance Division. This work is intended to ensure that the organs in these churches are carefully conserved throughout the parish transition process until a final decision is made by the chancery concerning the disposition of these instruments.  Representatives of the Liturgical Music Commission will soon be contacting the pastors of the affected churches to arrange for an evaluation of their pipe organs.  In the meantime, the commission requests that no organ builder, restorer, or other representative be given access to any portion of these instruments.

Questions or concerns regarding this process may be directed to the Office of Liturgy at [email protected] or by calling 914.968.6200, ext. 8177.  As well, pastors may wish to consult the newly published Archdiocesan Guidelines for the Installation and Maintenance of Pipe Organs, which can be accessed on the Liturgy Office’s website.