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St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians

What is the Saint Cecilia Academy?

The St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians is a program offered by the Archdiocese of New York’s Office of Liturgy in cooperation with St. Joseph’s Seminary and College (St. Joseph’s Seminary).  The program is comprised of four courses (12 graduate credits), earned through St. Joseph’s Seminary (a MSCHE, NYSED and ATS accredited graduate school).  Upon completion, students are granted certification as a pastoral musician by the Archdiocese of New York.  Credits earned through the St. Cecilia Academy may be used toward the Master of Arts in Theology program at St. Joseph’s Seminary, should a student wish to apply to the MA program for continued study.

Why would a musician want to attend the Saint Cecilia Academy?

Many dedicated parish musicians (salaried and unsalaried) have received musical training, but have not had the opportunity to study the principles of liturgy and sacred music. The Saint Cecilia Academy provides this training in a cost-effective manner.

What courses are offered?

The following courses are taught by highly qualified professors, and are offered on a  rotating basis:

Introduction to Liturgy (3 credits)

Liturgical Music: History of Sacred Music, Principles of Sacred Music,Liturgical Music Planning (3 credits)

Liturgical Year/Art and Environment in Worship (3 credits)

Principles of Chant – Theory and Practicum (3 credits)

Courses are fully accredited Masters Level Courses and may be used toward the pursuit of the Master of Arts Degree in Theology from St. Joseph’s Seminary.

Where and when are the courses offered?

Most courses are offered at both St. Joseph’s Seminary and the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception (Huntington) via a distance learning classroom.  The schedule of offered classes for the forthcoming semester may be found at:

What happens after taking all four courses?

At the conclusion of this course of study, a qualified musician (i.e., one who holds a degree in music or who can demonstrate musical proficiency) will receive a certification as a pastoral musician in the Archdiocese of New York.

What are the associated fees?

Musicians sponsored by their parish may enroll in the Saint Cecilia Academy at no cost.

Once enrolled, students receive a 50% discount off Seminary tuition ($750 per course, plus a one-time $50 registration fee).  Parishes may wish to cover the cost of tuition for their musicians, especially if they are unsalaried.

What are students saying about the Saint Cecilia Academy?

“The Saint Cecilia Academy matched all of my expectations. It gave me the confidence to know that I now have the knowledge, tools, and resources I need to do my job as music coordinator of my parish. As professional musicians, we receive top level training at music universities and conservatories, but very little official training that prepares us for the real-world opportunities that many musicians encounter in the church – i.e., ‘church jobs’. If you are a professional musician who works in the church, this is the program that fills that gap.”
– Shana Mahoney, Saint Barnabas Church, Bronx

“The Saint Cecilia program has surpassed my expectations. The Seminary is a beautiful place that fosters learning and fellowship. The classes have been wonderfully useful and relevant to my work. Attending the Saint Cecilia Academy allows me to be challenged and to better myself and my work so that my parish can better glorify God and find sanctification. It is a friendly, inviting, nourishing atmosphere–all will feel welcome and all will benefit from what there is to be learned.”
– Paul Loman, Saint Ann Church, Yonkers

How can I sign up or find out more?

Contact the Office of Liturgy or fill out our registration form for more information!