The brick had sopped up groundwater for generations. The foundation was flooded. The walls were beginning to crumble and the main aisle was collapsing. The roof and steeple had leaks, even one right over the pipe organ. Water damage over decades had rotted its insides. Our church was no longer safe.
With a building that was literally falling apart, and a potentially bleak future, the parishioners of Annunciation could have faltered. But this congregation was built tough.
Over five years, the parishioners of Annunciation raised money and restored the church, from its very foundations to the choir loft, from the brick walls to the pipe organ. They held Mass at the local Presbyterian church and in the basement, while crews rebuilt Annunciation from the ground up.
It was a sight to behold, a once-in-a-generation effort to rescue the church and carve a out path for future generations.
While the church building and pipe organ were restored, we founded a sacred music program with the mission to restore sacred music to the liturgy.
Today, huge numbers of Catholics are concerned about the quality of music at Mass.
In 2014, a survey by US Catholic magazine found that just 13 percent of Catholics thought that the current state of liturgical music was excellent. Yet, 80 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that "music is a very important part of my experience at Mass."
But do we really have to settle for anything less than excellence at Mass?
Annunciation Church is a congregation of 200 parishioners, in one of the smallest towns in the Midwest. Anyone looking at Annunciation five years ago would have said that we had everything working against us.
A crumbling building. A small town. Demographic trends. But none of it prevented us creating exceptional beauty at Mass.
If we can create beautiful sacred music at Mass....you can do it too! That’s the message we want this album to send: excellent sacred music is possible everywhere in America. That means your parish!
We want Restoration to be a project that anyone can point to and say that yes, this is possible where we are too. Beautiful sacred music is possible, in every community.
Music affects us in ways beyond human knowing, far beyond words. How we create it at Mass is of profound importance. Its aspect in the liturgy is no small thing.
As Saint Pope John Paul II remarked in 1989:
“As a manifestation of the human spirit, music performs a function which is noble, unique, and irreplaceable. When it is truly beautiful and inspired, it speaks to us more than all the other arts of goodness, virtue, peace, of matters holy and divine. Not for nothing has it always been, and will it always be, an essential part of the liturgy.”
Share this website with your family, your pew buddies, your study group, your priest, your musicians, your choir. Sharing this website (and enjoying the album!) are the most effective actions you can take to help us spread the message.
To support Annunciation Church directly, please visit this website to make a donation.
Copyright 2019 Annunciation Church, Edward Atkinson, & The Saint Ambrose Schola Cantorum