HOUSTON – For the first time in its 40-year history, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) will host a national convention in Houston, July 11-16. The milestone event will also mark a historical collaboration with another conference celebrating liturgy and culture.

The Unity Explosion Conference, sponsored by Region X of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), was originally scheduled for June in Texas. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, the episcopal moderator of NPM, extended the invitation to combine the conferences in Houston and the Unity Explosion-Region X administrators unanimously accepted.

Unity Explosion started in 1989 with the vision to liturgically recognize, embrace and share the gifts that Catholics of African descent bring to the universal Church.

“It is our hope that visiting participants will experience the unity of cultures and how multiple cultures are significantly represented, in ways other than language, within the conference and especially throughout the liturgies,” Evelyn Wagner-Wright, a core committee member for the 2016 NPM conference and organizer with Unity Explosion, said of the upcoming gathering. “(Attendees may also) appreciate and embrace the diversity of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and witness active participation by an assembly which has been nurtured and enhanced by the richness of diversity.”

With NPM fostering the art of musical liturgy, any person in ministry can benefit from the education and formation offered at the convention. Many NPM members belong to interest sections for various musical ministries, for clergy, for chant or pastoral liturgy, and for musicians serving African American, Hispanic and Asian communities. Some members are not actively involved in a particular musical or liturgical ministry, but want to support the important work of pastoral musicians.

Wright believes conference attendees will develop skills and acquire knowledge and resources to share within their ministries and home parishes, and gain a “growing understanding and appreciation of the importance and appropriateness of music for the liturgy and how to evaluate its liturgical, pastoral and musical qualities.”

For more information about the NPM conference with Unity Explosion, visit www.npm.org.

Reprinted with permission from Texas Catholic Herald