Graduate Sings Praises of St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians in Catholic New York 12/9/15

With its first graduate to be certified this month, the St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians marks a milestone.
The Academy, a joint project of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, and the archdiocesan Office of Liturgy, offers a four-course, master’s level program for parish musicians.

The 10 students enrolled receive training in the history, theology and pastoral principles of liturgy and sacred music. The fully accredited program is intended to be completed over four semesters, with classes offered in the spring, summer and fall semesters. Graduates receive a certificate of accreditation as a pastoral musician for the Archdiocese of New York.

Courses include Introduction to Liturgy; Liturgical Music: History and Principles of Sacred Music, and Liturgical Music Planning; Liturgical Year/Art and Environment in Worship; and Principles of Chant. Faculty members are from St. Joseph’s Seminary.  Shana Mahoney, the music director of St. Barnabas parish in the Bronx and the first graduate of St. Cecilia Academy, said her study “gave me a confidence to know that I now have the basic knowledge, tools and the resources I need to do my job as music coordinator of my parish.”

She said the Academy is helpful in filling the “gap” that exists between the top-level training professional musicians receive at universities and conservatories, and the specific preparation they need for “real-life opportunities” in the Church.

Father Matthew Ernest, the director of the archdiocesan Office of Liturgy and one of the Academy’s faculty members, said, “St. Cecilia Academy fulfills a long-standing need to provide quality education for our dedicated parish musicians.”
Musicians sponsored by their parishes receive a 50 percent discount on seminary tuition upon enrollment. Information: Office of Liturgy at [email protected] or visit