BRIDGEPORT—Six young parishioners of All Saints Parish in Bridgeport represented the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston last month at Music Ministry Alive! (MMA).
Pictured are young parishioners of All Saints Parish in Bridgeport who attended Music Ministry Alive! In the front row, from left, are Marissa Bailey, Ashley Roop and Emily Estanich. In the back row, from left, are Christopher Roop, Alex Estanich and Zach McClain.
Held annually at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., in July, MMA is a prayerful and faith-filled event that engages and empowers young people to serve as liturgical music leaders in the church. This year, 149 youth and 55 adults attended the gathering, which was led by composer David Haas and many other composers, theologians and pastoral ministers.
“To me, MMA was life changing,” said Emily Estanich. “The knowledge and wisdom I gained from it isn’t comparable to any other experience I’ve had. I’ve never made best friends so fast, and even though I’ll miss them I’m so glad I met them! It was a really enriching adventure and I wish I could share it with everyone!”
“I loved MMA because it changed me and made into a better Catholic,” said 15-year-old Ashley Roop. “I wanted to go to MMA, because I want to go deeper in my faith and to be a better singer. People should go it is amazing and it’s life changing.”
MMA participates in the mission of the church by forming and advocating on behalf of young people who have the gifts and desire to serve as musical and liturgical leaders, said Stephen Pishner, director of Music and Liturgy at All Saints. Haas and the many other pastoral musicians and theologians who lead it believe that there is an urgency to mentor and form young people in music ministry with a program that forms young people musically, liturgically, spiritually and in their leadership skills.
“Music Ministry is a great experience for youth and there is an adult track,” Pishner said. “I attended in 2005 and would highly recommend it to parishes throughout the diocese. It is not only an energizing and great musical experience, but truly an experience of the heart. The time there is leads to a deeper faith, ongoing conversion, a rediscovery of the gospel of Jesus, an awareness of the social justice teaching of the Catholic Church.”
“My thoughts about MMA are that there is not a way to truly explain the feeling that you feel while participating,” said Chris Roop, 17. “It’s an experience worth going to and visiting more than once. I completely encourage all who are eligible to go to try and audition for it.”
Alex Estanich, who has attended a number of years, said: “Each time … I was struck by the incredible community that exists at MMA. Not just musically, for everyone there has many gifts, be it vocally, instrumentally, or both, but also personally. There is an overwhelming sense of acceptance, kindness, and genuine care that I have felt during all three of my years at MMA that I have yet to even come close to finding elsewhere.”
All Saints parishioners Zach McClain and Marissa Bailey also attended.