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The 'Waste' of Sacred Music

Our program of Sacred Music at St. John Cantius is recognized locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. You may be surprised to learn that no parish funds are used for our sacred music costs. It is an expensive program when measured against routine music costs in most parishes. Annually, our cost is in the realm of $125,000.00. Some might ask, “Could not these resources be used to feed the hungry and minister to the poor and homeless as well as to support other worthy causes and needs? Why this waste?”

The first person to ask that question was one of the twelve Apostles. He objected strongly when a woman came to Jesus in a crowded room. She carried an alabaster jar, which in itself was a precious commodity in the ancient Near East. The jar was filled with even more costly aromatic oil. The woman broke open the jar, sacrificing it, and poured out the oil while anointing Our Lord’s feet. The Apostle exclaimed, “This costly oil could have been sold and the money given to the poor! Why this waste?” You know his name. It was Judas Iscariot, who was known to be a thief who stole from the Apostles’ common purse.

Our Lord’s answer was crystal clear: ‘The poor you have with you always and you do not lack for opportunities to serve them. But me you do not have with you always.” Less familiar are the words with which He ended his answer: “In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, whenever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

In other words, this “waste” will echo down through the ages to the credit of a generous woman. Has ever a prophecy been so fulfilled? This episode is recorded in all four Gospels, which in itself is significant. And this “gospel” has indeed echoed down through the ages to this Holy Week and Easter 2000 years later when again it is recounted in our midst. We have the answer to our question.

We do not offer our very best sacred music for public acclaim. We do not offer it because it is enjoyed by some who could be called “culture vultures.” Nor do we offer it because our aesthetic taste for fine music is veneered with a piety that values great works of sacred music performed in the very liturgical contexts for which they were written.

We offer the best sacred music of which we are capable “against his burial,” that is in honor of the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose passion, crucifixion, descent to Hell, Resurrection, and Exaltation to the right hand of the Father is our hope for salvation. We offer our sacred music because He is Who He is. We offer it Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, ‘for the Greater Glory of God.’ There is no reason greater than this.

The organization constituted as the Patrons of Sacred Music is the alabaster jar. Our donors fill that jar with costly aromatic oil which is then poured out on the Sacred Body of Our Lord by our music director, organist, singers, instrumentalists, and all who unite their hearts with this precious offering.

—Craig B. Johnson, Founder, Patrons of Sacred Music


Our Annual Patrons of Sacred Music Reception!

Come enjoy an evening featuring a tour of our completed Casavant Organ followed by 30 min. sacred organ and choral music recital. The evening concludes with hors d'oeuvres and beverages in the hall for a brief update and presentation.

When: Tuesday, April 9th

Time: 5:45 pm

Tickets: $75 per person.

Registration can be taken by phone 312-243-7373 or email


If you would like to become a Patron of Sacred music see the form below

or send us an email at

Patrons Membership Form pdf
Download PDF • 210KB


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