Ministers of Music (Pastoral Musicians)

Pastoral Musicians

“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 music is united to words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn Liturgy.”
Sacrosanctum Concilium, 112.


As a part of the Center for Worship, Pastoral Musicians, directed by Mr. Don Giannella, serve an important role in the spiritual lives of Villanova University students. The group’s primary focus is to serve as leader and support of the community’s singing at all three Sunday evening Masses through the goodness, beauty, and mystery of God revealed in music. Our mission is accomplished by presenting both familiar hymns and the great choral works of classical and contemporary composers.

Not only present during liturgy, Pastoral Musicians serve the wider University and church communities by assisting with other campus events, those of the parish of St. Thomas of Villanova, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as requested.

Pastoral music at Villanova is an essential component of liturgical celebration. We seek to add delight to prayer, foster unity of minds, and confer greater solemnity upon the sacred rites. Achievement of these goals requires a level of excellence and commitment consistent with the high purpose to which the Church calls us.


Students who wish to participate, either as vocalists or instrumentalists, are invited to come to any rehearsal for more information. At that time, prospective members can complete application forms and schedule listening sessions with the director and student leadership board.

Listening sessions involve singing scales, a well-known hymn and a short assessment of sight-reading to discern both the needs of individuals and the group as a whole.

Time Commitment

  • Rehearsals take place on Tuesdays from 5:30–7:00 pm in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church and are mandatory for all members. Participation at one of the three Sunday evening Masses, to which members are specifically assigned, is also obligatory.
  • A 45 minute rehearsal prior to each Mass is required.
  • Members are also expected to arrange their schedules to accommodate various special events which take place during the year (e.g., Orientation Mass, Parents' Weekend, Advent Lessons & Carols, Baccalaureate Mass).