Why I Love Music Ministry And Why That Matters

Why I Love Music Ministry And Why That Matters

There is something special about friendships founded on more than each other.
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There is a strange tendency in today’s world to treat religion as either taboo or a total joke; for much of my life, I have been the lone ‘church enthusiast’ of my friend group. I’m not here to argue over the problems of the Catholic Church or justify my reasons for my faith—that’s a conversation for another day.

I am here to talk about my own experience with music ministry in college and how it has changed my life for the better.

I am a proud member of the Villanova Pastoral Musicians: the music ministry group responsible for weekly masses as well as various other ministry-related events on campus. I’ve been a part of this group since the very beginning of my college years — it was the first group I joined — and I am so lucky to have found it so soon.

I’ve previously written articles that discuss my passion for getting involved: I believe that joining extracurriculars on campus is a vital piece of the college experience. While that was my main reason for joining pastorals in the first place, this group has proven to be so much more than an opportunity to make friends and gain leadership experience for me.

I went to public school for most of my life — aside from four formative years in high school, of course — and while I have a family of churchgoers, my personal faith journey wasn't something I really thought about. I was what I like to call a lazy Catholic: I attended church, I checked off all the right boxes in my theology classes, I understood the ‘gist’ of my faith (if you can even HAVE a ‘gist’ of an entire faith dogma; but I digress), but I didn’t challenge myself to actively build, explore, and understand my own belief system.

Cue my entrance into Pastorals.

I signed up for Pastorals’ week-long pre-Orientation program—called Caritas—with the intention of getting to know the campus early and maybe make a few friends to ease my transition into college (the purpose of Caritas is to integrate new freshmen into the group while learning music to perform at the school year’s opening mass). I wasn’t sure what to expect; I figured if I didn’t like it I could easily quit.

I was in no way, shape, or form prepared to be moved by the experience.

Never before had I been around so many deeply faithful, truly spiritual young adults in my life. It was inspiring. For the first time in my life, I witnessed young people participating in mass because they wanted to, not because they felt they had to. When they prayed, you could almost feel it. The music we produced wasn’t just beautiful; it was powerful. Mass took on an entirely new meaning for me.

I had never felt as close to God as I did in that first week.

The beauty of Pastorals didn’t just end at the mass, either; the people involved in this group live their faith every day. They believe in service, in loving one another, in forgiveness. I have made some of the best friends of my life through this group, and I truly believe that that is a direct result of God’s presence and effect on them. I’ve never had to question their place in my life or my place in theirs.

There is a unique beauty found in friendships founded on something greater than each other.

Between the beautiful music and the promise of faith-founded companionship, Pastorals quickly became my home-away-from-home. There is one story from my own experience that encapsulates the beauty of campus ministry—specifically Pastorals—more than any of my words possibly could, and that is why I have chosen to close out this article with it:

Villanova has a tradition within the orientation mass to invite the parents to lay their hands on their child and say a blessing over them as a way to signify the start of their college journey. My parents, unfortunately, could not attend the mass as they were moving my sister into her apartment half a state away. When the time came for the freshmen members of pastorals to step down from the choir and join their families for the blessing, I simply stayed put and didn’t say anything.

To this day I’m not sure who noticed first or started first, but within seconds approximately 30 pairs of hands descended on me, acting as my stand-in family members and giving me my very own Pastorals-esque welcome into the Villanova community.

I felt truly blessed, indeed.

Cover Image Credit: Villanova Pastoral Musicians

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit

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1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay

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Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible

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Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit

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God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others

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We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop

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Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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