Liturgical Music

“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.”

Sacrosanctum concilium, 12

Welcome from our Director of Sacred Music, Sharon Silleck:


A little about Sharon

Sharon Silleck is a graduate of Luther College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organ Performance and Sacred Music, studying organ with William Kulhman and conducting with Weston Noble. Sharon earned dual Master of Music degrees in Organ Performance and Choral Conducting Performance at Yale School of Music with teachers Charles Krigbaum and Marguerite Brooks, respectively. While at Yale, Sharon was a student of the Institute of Sacred Music and was a graduate assistant organist and choir director at the Battell University Chapel.

Sharon has been the Director of Sacred Music at Saint Mary of the Assumption Church in Lancaster since 2014, serving as organist and choir director, and at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church in Columbus prior to this. Sharon also directs the choirs at Fisher Catholic High School and teaches music at Saint Mary School.

Sharon Silleck, can be reached through the Church Office at 653-0997 or via e-mail (here)

A Note on Learning the Mass of St. Philip Neri, composed by Paul Jernberg, from Sharon Silleck

Friends, in the weeks leading up to Advent we began to learn a new Lamb of God setting from the Mass of St Philip Neri. in the coming weeks, we will begin to hear and learn the Holy, Holy, Holy, Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen. In an effort to help in the learning process, below are recordings of the melody line for these Mass parts.

An Introduction to the Mass of St. Philip Neri, by the Composer, Paul Jernberg


“The composition of this work has been my response to the need for a fitting musical setting of the Ordinary from the new English translation of the Roman Missal. In the creation of this music it has been my goal to fulfill three essential criteria, namely, that it have a true sacred character, that it be imbued with the qualities of authentic artistry, and that it possess a noble accessibility will allow it to be received into the hearts of ordinary people of good will throughout the English-speaking world.” (Paul Jernberg Website)

Listen Below to the Melody Line for the Mass of Saint Philip Neri

Our Parish Choirs

Adult Choir
The Adult Choir sings primarily at the 8:45 Sunday Mass, and all other principal celebrations in the liturgical calendar. The Adult Choir is open to adults and high school students. There are no try-outs, just a willingness to praise God through song. A meeting with the director of music before one’s first rehearsal is needed to place the new member’s voice and to assign a robe and music. The choir sings from September through the end of May and also for our Patronal Feast of the Assumption of Mary in August. Rehearsals: Wednesdays at 7:00 PM. To volunteer for this ministry please contact Sharon Silleck at 614-419-5768.

Children’s Choir
The Parish Children’s Choirs are open to all children in grades 3 – 12 who like to sing and who can commit to our weekly rehearsal schedule. The Choirs teach children vocal production, music theory, sight-singing, and elements of music history and serve the parish community by providing Sacred Music for Masses and other liturgies. This program also aims to cultivate a fuller expression of Catholic devotion and service to holy Mother Church. The Royal School of Church Music Voice for Life program is utilized as the core teaching methodology for the parish choristers. Singing in harmony is introduced through a repertoire from across the centuries, and occasionally includes four-part music sung with the Parish Choir of adults. The Choirs will sing at Mass on a once-monthly basis, according to a schedule provided at the beginning of each semester. While the two Choirs rehearse separately, they will join together on special occasions. To participate in these groups please contact Sharon Silleck at 614-419-5768.

Funeral Choir
The Funeral Choir leads the sung prayer of the Funeral Liturgy. This group of people gathers on short notice to provide this invaluable service to families who are grieving the loss of a loved one and/or family member. To volunteer for this ministry, please contact Sharon Silleck at 614-419-5768.


Parish Cantors
Cantors are experienced singers who lead the congregational singing at our liturgies and also proclaim the Word of God from the ambo as the psalmist. Cantors are selected by audition and interview with the Director of Music, Sharon Silleck. One need not be a member of one of the choirs at Saint Mary to assist in this work. Cantor Handbook from the Office of Divine Worship.

Liturgical Music at Various Sacred Liturgies

Nuptial Wedding Mass (Nuptial Mass Guidelines PDF)
Only liturgically appropriate music may be used at wedding liturgies. All music, sacred or of a classical nature must be approved by the Director of Music. All wedding liturgies will utilize the parish organists and cantors. All weddings liturgies will have three parts that are always sung: the opening hymn, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Gospel Acclamation. These elements are led by a parish cantor. Thirty minutes immediately prior to the wedding liturgy, the organist will offer prelude music to create a sacred atmosphere to prepare the congregation for the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. Ushers should reverently and quietly escort family members and friends during this time.

Popular and secular music is not appropriate for use during the wedding liturgy. This also applies to vocal or instrumental music played during the prelude. You must contact the Director of Music, Sharon Silleck, to set up an appointment to plan the music for your Wedding.

Funeral Mass
A funeral is a time for the Parish to gather and pray for the repose of the soul of the deceased. Because funerals are Parish liturgies and not private services, the music must follow the guidelines laid out by the Church. Music that is used at Sunday liturgies is illustrative of the type of music that is appropriate for use in the Funeral Liturgy. Secular music is not appropriate for the liturgy, nor is recorded music acceptable. We are blessed to have our own Funeral Choir which leads the Assembly during the Funeral Liturgy and provides prelude music prior to the Mass.

The Director of Music is always available to assist with music selections for the Funeral Liturgy. This is a very difficult time for the family and we are honored to help in this way. The Director of Music, Sharon Silleck, can be reached through the Church Office at 653-0997 or via e-mail.

Our Austin Pipe Organ

The primary instrument at sung liturgies is the human voice. Another important instrument at the center of our liturgies at Saint Mary of the Assumption is the magnificent pipe organ. “In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.” (SC 120). Our basilica pipe organ was built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut in 1988. It was installed in January of 1989 and first played at the Easter Vigil of that same year. It replaced another Austin Organ that had been in use for 75 years (Opus 425). Our present instrument (Opus 2714) consists of 3 manuals (keyboards), 34 ranks of pipes. That is 2,093 individual pipes. The pipes are made of zinc, spotted metal, poplar, walnut, mahogany, and sweet maple. The 93 pipes that you can see along the front and side of the instrument are called façade pipes, and only 9 of them are speaking pipes. The others are only for show. The remainder of the speaking pipes are found behind the façade pipes tucked away from view. We are truly blessed to have such a fine instrument supporting our liturgical worship.

8 Principal
8 Holzgedect
4 Octave
4 Flute
2 Super Octve
IV Forniture
8 Frompete
Chimes (prepared)

16 Rohrgedeckt
8 Rohrflote
8 Viole de Game
8 Voix Celeste (TC)
4 Principal
4 Waldflote
2 Blockflote
III Plein Jeu
16 Basson
8 Trompette
8 Basson-Hautbois

8 Bourdon
8 Flauto Dolce
8 Dolce Celeste (TC)
4 Koppelflote
2 2/3 Nazard
2 Principal
1 3/5 Tierce
1 1/3 Quint
III Cymbel
8 Cromorne

32 Resultant
16 Principal
16 Subbass
16 Rohrgedeckt
8 Octave
8 Rohrflote
4 Super Octave
16 Trompete
16 Basson
8 Trompete
4 Cromorne