All Saints’ Music and Liturgy Director Collaborates on Book for Music for Liturgy of the Word

By Colleen Rowan

BRIDGEPORT—Stephen Pishner, composer and director of music and liturgy at All Saints Parish in Bridgeport, joined fellow composers David Haas; Sister Kathleen Harmon, SNDdeN; Paul A. Tate; and Lori True; to produce “Cry Out with Joy,” music for the Liturgy of the Word.

The product features four books for years A, B and C and another for solemnities, special feasts and sacramental celebrations. It is a collection of the complete Lectionary psalms, Gospel acclamations and universal prayer responses.

“Our goal,” Pishner said, “was that each of us would do a psalm setting with a melody that would be easy to be sung by the assembly (with) piano accompaniment, guitar cords and then the psalm verses would be set to a chant kind of tone.”

The work is a culmination of a three- to four-year project. Pishner said that Haas and True wanted to put something together that would be a useful tool for pastoral musicians.   Pishner travelled to St. Paul, Minn., twice a year to work on the project.

What makes “Cry Out with Joy” special, Pishner said, is that the books also provide a catechetical element that allows cantors “to enrich their spirituality as they see themselves as a prayer instrument for God.”

“It’s a fully designed book to have music for the Liturgy of the Word,” Pishner said, “but it is also designed so that the cantor finds this as a resource not only for educational purposes but also for spirituality and their prayer life.”

Inside the book, cantors will find a Prayer of Preparation so that he or she can pray as he or she prepares the song for the coming Sunday. The prayer, Pishner said, is crafted out of the sentiments that are in the Scriptures of that day or that season.

There is also a section entitled Psalm Reflections, which expresses why the psalm of the day is used, how it is tied to the other Scriptures and how the other Scriptures tie into that. “In this notion with how this book is, it sees the psalm as the bridge to the Gospel of the day,” Pishner said.

The front of the books also provide a description of the work, the vision, how to use the resource, understanding and singing the responsorial psalm, the unique element of the Liturgy of the Word, why is it sung and why psalms are appointed for particular days. There is also an introduction of each liturgical season.

Pishner became director of music at All Saints 31 years ago and, in 1990, he became director of music and liturgy at the parish. He also assists with diocesan events and projects.

“Cry out With Joy” is available for purchase at