Treating Church Musicians Not So Well

On that NLM thread, I was dismayed to read of the situation of one of the internet’s church musicians and bloggers:

I got an email this week from my Church’s secretary saying that they have hired a new guitarist for the Saturday evening Vigil Mass and giving me three days notice that I wasn’t needed further at that Mass. I had a cantor preparing to sing the Mass, had to call her and tell her not to come.

My wage? Cut by 1/3. Three days notice.

I was thinking of an organist/choirmaster colleague of mine, who, after getting a glowing evaluation, was told two weeks later his position (director of music) was being eliminated in favor of another position (director of liturgy and music). But the pastor encouraged him to apply for the new job.

Some people think we need a motu proprio.

I think maybe it’s time for a union.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Treating Church Musicians Not So Well

  1. Liam says:


  2. David says:

    “I think maybe it’s time for a union.”

    Yes, that’s something I’ve thought about before. Everytime I’ve gone through getting a new pastor everyone is on edge wondering how the new pastor’s whims will effect all our jobs. I’ve seen some unbelievably unjust things go on, and all for no reason other than the pastor’s whims.
    In our city there seems to be quite a lack of church musicians these days.A lot of places looking for music directors and I can hardly find subs anymore. I guess people are getting smart and choosing other professions. But that means there will be less supply and more demand. This could be good, hmm, yes, very good.

  3. Gavin says:

    I have a very “union” mindset about my career. If I’m not pleased with the salary, I won’t take a job. And if someone pulled that crap on me, I’d quit and file a grievance with the AGO. And if there aren’t any good Catholic jobs about…

  4. Anne says:

    It’s not only the musicians who need a union. The director of youth ministry/DRE at my troubled parish had her whole year planned out and ready to discuss with the brand new pastor. Instead he fired her (he came here only one week ago) on Tuesday of this week and told her to be out by today (Fri) at 4! She spent her whole holiday packing.
    Good idea…church workers need a union.

  5. David says:

    “Instead he fired her (he came here only one week ago) on Tuesday of this week and told her to be out by today (Fri”
    Then he’ll hire somebody new and after he realizes he was hasty to begin with he’ll fire that person. For sure, it’s not just musicians. That really is something I’ve been upset about for a long time, that pastors really don’t answer to anyone. I mean, the bishop isn’t going to step in unless it’s something big. just local matters of injustice aren’t a concern for a bishop.

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